TEGUCIGALPA – The secretary-general of the Organization of American States, Washington’s No. 2 diplomat for Latin American and a former Guatemalan vice president arrived Monday in Honduras to take part in the installation of a truth commission that will review last June’s coup in the Central American country.
OAS chief Juan Miguel Insulza was scheduled to meet Monday night with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo.
Lobo will probably meet on Tuesday with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Craig Kelly as well.
Former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein, who will be the coordinator of the truth commission, told reporters in Tegucigalpa that the panel will provide the Honduran people with recommendations for avoiding any repetition of incidents like that of June 28, 2009, when the army ousted then-President Mel Zelaya as he was trying to hold a non-binding referendum on overhauling the constitution.
Honduran institutions and the people will then decide in what way they will “accept” or “reject” the truth commission’s recommendations, Stein said.
The truth commission will concentrate on getting to the bottom of what happened before, during and after the coup against Zelaya, who left Honduras for the Dominican Republic within hours of Lobo’s inauguration on Jan. 27.
Stein repeated that the commission will perform a “wide-ranging job of interviewing all the main participants in the crisis” and that the report could be forthcoming in about eight months, though it could take longer.
He acknowledged that some in Honduras wonder whether the commission “has been assembled for no other reason than to whitewash the incidents or if it will do an in-depth study.”
“We hope that the panelists’ work will show it to be an in-depth study. The truth commission has no limitations or any kind of exclusions in its way of working. We want to hear everyone, absolutely everyone, who took part,” Stein said.
He also said that the OAS is providing “nothing more than technical support” and offered “security programming for computer equipment, but beyond things like that has no other role.”
The commission, from the moment of its installation tomorrow (Tuesday), will have absolutely total independence from any kind of Honduran or foreign authority,” Stein said.
Lobo won the presidency last November in an election boycotted by half of registered voters. The campaign and balloting took place under the de facto regime installed by the coup, which killed dozens of Zelaya supporters and shut down independent media. EFE