Honduras: “Truth commission” challenged
NewsNotes, March-April 2010
The Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, signed last October between exiled president Manuel Zelaya and the coup regime, called for the creation of truth commission to investigate the events around the June 28 coup; the commission was scheduled to begin its work on Feb. 25. Members of the truth commission include persons appointed by Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, who won the presidency in a widely criticized election in November. In protest of the ongoing machinations and as a sign of solidarity with the Honduran people, 55 civil society organizations in the U.S. recently published an open letter, “You are not alone!,” in Honduras’ most popular newspaper, El Tiempo. Following is the text of that letter. The list of signatories is here.
The undersigned organizations working in the U.S. declare to the international community and to the Honduran people the following:
- The coup d’etat of June 28, 2009 was unconstitutional and illegal; the human rights violations that it generated, including mass detentions, beatings, imprisonment, rapes, kidnappings, and murders constitute crimes against humanity. Nearly every article of the American Convention on Human Rights has been violated, beginning with the rupture of constitutional order and continuing with the thousands of rights violations
- These crimes and the crime of the coup itself have not been investigated and the perpetrators have not been brought to justice.
- The elections of November 29 were organized by an illegitimate coup regime, using violent repression against public protest and civic dissent, making free and fair elections impossibility. These elections were not recognized by most of the Honduran people and by most of the international community.
- Since the illegitimate elections of November 29, and, since the inauguration of the de facto government of Pepe Lobo, the human rights violations continue unabated, involving the military, national police, and increasingly, paramilitary death squad forces, targeting anew trade unionists, journalists, indigenous, Garifuna and campesino communities, and other members of the civil resistance to the coup.
In just the first two weeks of February there have been at least six documented murders, kidnappings or other extra-judicial repression against resistance members:
February 15: Assassination of Julio Funes Benitez, a member of the water and sewage workers union SITRASANAA.
February 12 and 14: Armed attacks by army, police and paramilitaries on Movimiento Unificado de Campesinos de Aguan-MUCA.
February 12: Beating and threats by paramilitaries against Hermes Reyes, a cultural worker with the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ)
February 12: Raid on home and destruction of personal property of Porfirio Ponce, vice president of the union STYBIS and leader of the National Resistance Front.
February 9: Kidnapping, beating for three days of Edgar Martinez, Carol Rivera, Melissa Rivera and Johan Martinez, all active in the resistance movement. The two women were raped.
Therefore, the installation today, February 25, 2010 of the so-called Truth Commission, organized by the criminals themselves, is a travesty of justice. There can be no “truth” and no “reconciliation” without the end of impunity and the restoration of the Honduran people’s democratic sovereignty
As organizations in the United States of America we pledge:
- To continue working in solidarity with the Honduran people.
- To publicly and actively oppose the continuing U.S. government policy and actions, both overt or covert, that support as legitimate the de facto government, that continue to give aid or training to the Honduran military, police forces, or paramilitary forces and that are in contradiction with the rights and needs of the Honduran people.
- We also pledge to advocate for justice for the Honduran people in the international courts and international organizations charged with defense of human rights.
No truth is possible while impunity reigns!
United Steelworkers (USW), AFL-CIO/CLC
Quixote Center, USA
U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP)
Alliance for Global Justice
U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities Network
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
Association of Internally Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES-USA)
National Lawyers Guild, Task Force on the Americas
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Oscar Romero Faith and Solidarity Network in the Americas (SICSAL-USA)
School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch)
School of the Americas Watch – IL
School of the Americas Watch – San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Hondureños por la Democracia, Washington, DC
May I Speak Freely Media, Rockville, MD
Resistencia Honduras NY/NJ, New York & New Jersey
Central New York Caribbean/Latin America Coalition (CNY CLAC)
Proyecto Hondureño, Boston, MA
Comité de Solidaridad con la Resistencia Hondureña, Boston
Chelsea Uniéndose Contra la Guerra, Boston
Centro De Desarrollo Dominicano, Boston
Comité de Refugiados de El Salvador (CORES), Boston
Axis of Logic, Boston and Caracas
Project Voice (AFSC), MA
Centro Presente, MA
Jobs With Justice, MA
Red Nacional Salvadoreña USA
Romero Interfaith Center, Philadelphia, PA
InterReligious Task Force on Central America, Cleveland, OH
Casa Morazán, Chicago, IL
La Voz de los de Abajo, Chicago, IL
IL Maya Ministries, IL Conference, United Church of Christ
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)
Eighth Day Center for Justice, Chicago, IL
Durango Unido en Chicago – Federación de Duranguenses de México
St. Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America, St. Louis, MO
Latin America Solidarity Committee, Milwaukee, WI
Harriet Tubman Center for Organizing, Detroit, MI
MN Cuba Committee Hands Off Honduras, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition (BALASC)
CA Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
CA Coalition for Peace and Democracy in Honduras, Los Angeles, CA
Koreatown Immigrant Worker Alliance (KIWA), Los Angeles, CA
Carolina Interfaith Task Force on Central America, Raleigh, NC
Friends of Chilama Sister City Project, Crystal Lake, IL
Chicago-Cinquera Sister City Project, Chicago, IL
Madison/Arcatao Sister City Project (MASCP), Madison, WI
Binghamton-El Charcón Sister City Project, Binghamton, NY
Lawrence-El Papaturro Friendship Committee, Lawrence, KS
Patria Morazán, Houston, TX
Border Agricultural Workers Project, El Paso, TX
Nonviolence International Hemispheric Social Alliance
Ecumenical Committee of English Speaking Church Personnel (CEPRHI), Nicaragua