By Sergio Ferrari
Two years after the coup d'état of June 28, 2009, political fragility continues to prevail in a country far from being normalized and in which popular resistance continues to be active and mobilized. Flores coordinates in Honduras the program of HEKS-EPER (Aid Work of the Swiss Evangelical Churches), an NGO with a strong presence in that country.
Five months after the coup that removed President José Manuel "Mel" Zelaya Rosales, elections were held from which the main figures and political forces of the opposition were banned. As a result, Porfirio Lobo Sosa came to the government, who took office on January 27, 2010.
Coup continuation with a democratic facade
The current post-electoral stage is nothing more than the continuation of the coup d'état, explains Leticia Flores. “Honduras continues to live in a situation of total defenselessness and impunity. With constant and systematic violations of fundamental human rights ”.
And with statistics in hand, he argues his claims. According to COFADEH (Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared Detainees of Honduras) between January 2010 and June of this year there have been 34 murders of peasants due to land conflicts; 431 illegal arrests; 26 cases of torture; 36 political exiles; and 6 forced disappearances. "Expression of a systematic persecution of social leaders and their families to try to stop the resistance against the regime," emphasizes Flores.
International press organizations denounced that in the same period 10 journalists were murdered in Honduras. Thus, it has become the Latin American country that registers the highest homicide rate of communicators and the most dangerous, together with Mexico, for the exercise of the profession.
In summary, Flores affirms that “in the country there is no political will to respect the population's Human Rights. The government has created mechanisms to show the international community that it is working, but these mechanisms are not applied ”.
To this worrying situation at the level of individual rights, "is added the catastrophic economic-social and environmental situation," insists Leticia Flores.
With the aggravating factor “that the regime is mortgaging future generations, by giving in concession the few natural resources that remain. If this rate is continued in less than 30 years, the environmental reality of Honduras will be reduced to rubble. "
A “new” Honduras
Despite the political-institutional drama that Honduras is experiencing, “the most positive aspect of these two years and the main bearer of hope is that the people of my country have awakened. There is another town after the coup. There is another Honduras in motion and another vision of participatory democracy that is established from below ”, emphasizes Leticia Flores.
And it is in this context of popular resistance - despite government repression - "that the international community must clearly position itself."
“The pressure of international cooperation, both bilateral and multilateral, official or non-governmental, and in particular from the G-16 Group (United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland; multilateral organizations and the European Union). Even conditioning their support to the effective respect of human rights ”, emphasizes the coordinator of HEKS-EPER in Tegucigalpa.
Who launches a complementary recommendation: “we must not only listen to the promises and commitments of the Government of Porfirio Lobo, which signs and promises everything. But to reinforce the monitoring mechanisms and the Honduran civil society organizations themselves, so that the commitments are really fulfilled. "
Karl Heuberger, head of the Honduras Program at the HEKS headquarters in Zurich, insists that although "the coup has caused a lot of damage, it has opened a historical opportunity given the enormous awareness that exists and that did not exist before in that Central American country."
That is why it is essential "that the international community does not forget Honduras" and helps to consolidate the social actors who have had to take on great historical challenges in the last two years, he emphasizes.
Essential challenges at the current stage for the international community facing Honduras? "Essential and priority issues to implement," emphasizes Heuberger. Among them, the support for the “Truth Commission” –constituted by leading personalities from Latin America and Europe-, which will present its report next November.
"That moment will constitute a watershed for the Central American country. And that is why our wish is that international cooperation as a whole (including the European governments and the G16) supports the Commission; position yourself on your work; disseminate and support your findings, explains Heuberger
In Honduras "today there is a justice system that does not work at all, with almost total impunity." Hence, the conclusions of said Commission may constitute a decisive contribution to close the current coup continuation; unblock a state without justice; reinforce democratic construction; and, furthermore, trying to reduce the growing social polarization that prevails in the country, he emphasizes.
What is at stake - concludes Heuberger - "is not only the Honduran present, but the present-future of all Latin America." It is essential that “all spaces are closed to any coup desire. And the contributions of social movements from the 2009 coup to this part are valued as meaningful learning.
"Without the closeness and decisive support of the international community there is a risk that the Honduran resistance alone will not be able to achieve the democratic change that the country promotes and needs," he concludes.
Sergio Ferrari, in collaboration with E-CHANGER and swissinfo