Thousands marched throughout Honduras on June 28, demonstrating against the coup that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya a year ago.
A year after Zelaya, who governed from 2006 to 2009, was physically removed from office by soldiers on a Sunday morning in his pajamas, Honduras remains divided. Even Latin America is split over their recognition of the current President Porfirio Lobo, who was elected during the crisis last year. Only Honduras´ Central American neighbors – with the exception of Nicaragua – and Peru and Colombia have recognized his government. The Organization of American States refused to allow Honduras return to the body during its 40tth annual summit held in Lima in early June.
Since the ouster of Zelaya, whom the opposition accused of trying to illegally hold a non-binding referendum on whether to call for constitutional reform to potentially lift a ban on presidential reelection, there have been human rights violations, threats and limits to press freedoms, all which have not subsided during Lobo´s government, which began in January.
In a recent statement, organizations Reporters without Borders, World Association of Community Broadcasters, and Committee for Free Expression reported that the period between Zelaya´s ouster and the start of the Lobo government “was marked by acts of censorship against media opposed to the coup, including sabotage, use of violence and military occupation.”
In the past six months, nine journalists have been murdered in Honduras, and press freedom organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, have demanded an exhaustive investigation for these crimes, which are all still unresolved.
In May, the government unveiled a truth commission to investigate what happened before, during and after the coup, without making any reference to human rights violations or journalists´ and activists´ murders since June 2009, a point brought up by the New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice.
But other organizations, including the Committee for Family Members of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras, the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras and the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims, founded their own truth commission to investigate rights abuses stemming from the coup.
The alternative commission will be composed of nine international and Honduran members, including Ecuadorian rights activist Elsie Monge and Nora Cortiña of Argentine organization Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Its results will be released on June 28, 2011.