The Truth Commission mandated by last year’s Tegucigalpa / San José Accord now appears ready to get to work in Honduras, but controversy has already ensnared it. Supporters of last year’s coup are demanding that the government let sleeping dogs lie, while their opponents fear that the Commission will fail to deliver an honest account of the coup.
Meanwhile, the Commission already appears to be hedging on how much truth it will deliver, another troubling sign for a country where sunlight has never been in greater demand.
Signed on October 30, 2009, the Tegucigalpa / San José Accord once promised the end of Honduras’ political crisis. The Accord failed, however, because it did not stipulate a deadline for the congressional vote on Manuel Zelaya’s restitution, which ultimately led then-President Zelaya to pull his support. Meanwhile, de facto President Roberto Micheletti and key international players—including the U.S. government—clung to the Accord, claiming it was still in effect. Since President Porfirio Lobo took office in late January, he has maintained this line and worked tirelessly to restore international recognition to the Honduran government. The formation of the Truth Commission represents a crucial final step along this path, and the eight-month process stands ready to begin on May 4.
But Lobo’s government faces significant pressure from various sectors of Honduran society. Coup supporters have already said that they have no faith in the process, arguing that it is nothing more than a show for the international community. As has been true since last year’s coup, the Honduran Right continues to call for “national unity” and “consensus,” which in this case appears to mean a Truth Commission that does not rock the boat. Right-wing opponents have also lobbied to exclude human rights violations from the Commission’s purview, which have continued after Lobo took office.