Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Is Harper Backing a Murderous Regime in Honduras?

The Harper government, heard through the mouthpiece of his Minister of State for foreign affairs (Americas), Peter Kent, was pretty much OK with last year's military coup in Honduras that toppled democratically-elected president Mel Zalaya.

In February of this year, Kent made a 3-day visit to Honduras where he met with Zalaya's successor, Porfirio Lobo Sosa that caused Kent to gush: “We are pleased to see that President Lobo is beginning the process of national reconciliation, including supporting the formation of a truth commission. This is an important step in healing the wounds created by the recent political impasse and for Hondurans to regain a sense of trust in their country’s democratic institutions.”

It seems Lobo's backers are doing everything they can "to regain a sense of trust in their country's democratic institutions," one of which has seen the return of death squads targetting opponents from the National Front of Popular Resistance. From the online magazine, In These Times:

Since the coup last June, a number of union leaders have died under... ...mysterious circumstances. Many Hondurans believe the military-backed government to be responsible for these assassinations. Of the 43 members of the FNRP that have been killed, about half have been trade unionists.

Gilda Batista, director of the Tegucigalpa-based human rights organization Refuge Without Limits (ASL), has investigated the murder of Zepeda and other recently executed union leaders. Batista says her research leads her to believe that assassination squads are being “financed by the corporatocracy and military.”

Batista believes the targeting of key individuals like Zepeda “sends a message to the Resistance that union members will be murdered if they meddle in the political arena.” In Zepeda’s case, forensics experts finally labeled the case a homicide, but still have not disclosed any details about the cause of death. More than three weeks after the autopsy, Torrez is still awaiting an explanation from the government concerning her daughter’s murder.

“[The Lobo government] knows that the trade unionists are one of the biggest threats economically. The labor movement has been really central to the resistance,” says Dana Frank, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in an interview in a Tegucigalpa human rights office. “In Tegucigalpa, many of the biggest Resistance meetings are happening in the Bottling Plant Union building."

It's no stretch to believe the Lobo regime is the sort of government Harper would support. Is it?

Read more here.

No comments: