Proposed truth commission delayed
On Feb. 25, former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein, who was appointed by Honduran President Porfírio Lobo to head the Truth Commission Ad-hoc Committee, announced a delay in the installation of a Honduran truth commission. Stein is tasked with setting the working parameters for the committee and finding its constituents. The establishment of a truth commission had been part of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord brokered last fall in an effort to end the national political crisis in Honduras.
The accord also called for a return to power of Manuel Zelaya and the establishment of a power-sharing government in advance of November’s elections, both of which have been points of contention between the coup supporters and its opponents. Stein said the delay was due to a continued search for the last two international members of the commission, and dismissed any notion of irregularity, saying the Feb. 25 date was “no more than a tentative date on a working calendar.” The commission will be composed of two Honduran nationals and two international members.
The National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) held a massive rally on Feb. 25 to protest the creation of the commission. An estimated 20,000 people gathered in a march that wound through Tegucigalpa ending up at the Congress building, issuing a statement calling for, among other demands, a Constitutional Assembly and the right for Zelaya to return to Honduras.
FNRP coordinator Juan Barahona has called the truth commission proposal a “whitewash of the coup,” whose aim is to exonerate coup supporters, the questionable elections they held and the current government in which it resulted, in order to regain international acceptance. Referring to the amnesty declared by then-interim President Roberto Micheletti on the eve of Lobo’s inauguration, Barahona said, “They’re doing this backwards: first they declare the ‘golpistas’ free of sin, and now they form a truth commission, which can say whatever it wants, but whose report won’t have any meaning.” El Tiempo reported that Lobo intends on having “an opposition member” sit on the commission, though it is unclear if he means someone from the FNRP.
Agreeing with Barahona’s assessment, Berta Oliva, coordinator for Cofadeh, said that “a truth commission shouldn’t mean a clean slate,” but rather an honest holding to account of responsible parties. She also indicated that the commission should consult with the FNRP. According to El Tiempo, the commission will only look at official government sources, such as those used by Congress and the Supreme Court.