One year after Honduras President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a military coup, Honduras has made progress in restoring democracy, according to a report by a high-ranking panel convened by the Organization of American States (OAS). However, human rights violations remain a major concern, the report said.
Honduras was ousted from the OAS after what most of the international community deemed an illegal coup, which resulted in Zelaya being removed at gunpoint from office on June 28, 2009. Those who supported the removal called it an extension of constitutional interpretation, charging that Zelaya had planned a referendum to revise the Constitution to allow for unlimited presidential terms.
The current president, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, took power Jan. 27 after a controversial election, marred by what many claim was an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Lobo pledged to listen to the OAS’s recommendations, including protecting Zelaya if he returns from exile in the Dominican Republic.
The commission wrote that Lobo’s government has taken “positive steps” in regards to human rights. Mexico and Chile, in light of the positive results, announced they will re-establish diplomatic ties with the Central American country, having frozen relations in the wake of the coup.
At least eight journalists and 10 members of an opposition party have been killed since Lobo took power. The reports called for “decisive progress” in investigating those killings. The OAS also wants a definitive account of what happened on the eve of the coup.