A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, released yesterday, documents violence and a climate of intimidation in Honduras in the aftermath of the 2009 military coup. The 65-page report, titled “After the Coup: Ongoing Violence, Intimidation, and Impunity in Honduras,” identified 47 cases of threats or attacks—including 18 killings of journalists, human rights defenders and political activists—since the inauguration of President Porfirio Lobo in January 2010.
According to the report, the lack of accountability has negatively affected freedom of speech and political participation in Honduras. José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at HRW, said that “until Honduran authorities take concrete steps to reduce impunity and stop the attacks, it will be very difficulty to restore trust in the country’s democratic system.” The report’s recommendations include the allocation of funds for the Witness Protection Program and the establishment of an International Commission of Inquiry to carry out thorough investigations into abuses committed after the coup and into ongoing attacks and threats.
The June 28, 2009, coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya was denounced by much of the international community, including the United States. In the weeks after the coup, the OAS suspended Honduras’s membership.
For decades, impunity has reined in
Since the Peace Accords brought
Not only have Guatemalan voters lost faith in democratic government’s ability to bring economic development and alleviate massive poverty, but vast swaths of the citizenry have come to believe that the laws simply do not apply to the powerful. As the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) has shown, perceptions of corruption and insecurity negatively affect democratic values in Guatemala. Compared with other Latin American countries, it is unsurprising that