Human Rights-Accusations as Political Tool

After Manuel Zelaya was deposed as president of Honduras June 28, 2009, and Roberto Micheletti was sworn in as interim president, the human rights-organization COFADEH (committee for families of detained disappeared persons in Honduras, formed in response to the military dictatorship that ended 1982) made repeated and extremely grave accusations against the government for human rights-abuses: Murders, concentration camps, etc. One of the accusations was that the leader of the leftist party UD, Cesar Ham, had been murdered. If they are right, then Honduras is today the only country in the world where the department of agriculture is managed by a dead man; Ham is a cabinet member of the present government. Incidentally, COFADEH accuses this administration of being worse than the interim one.

Berta Oliva
Berta Oliva

The bottom line is that COFADEH does not have any credibility, does not deserve to be taken seriously. Yet, when 30 Congress members in the U.S. recently wrote to secretary of state Hillary Clinton, demanding that all help to the “coup regime” be terminated, they based their arguments largely on the “disingenuous” claims of COFADEH.

Berta Oliva, coordinator of COFADEH, Honduras, denounced disappearances also under Zelaya. Furthermore, she claimed that people went into political exile. It would probably not be too far-fetched to assume that they went to work as illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Oliva was the unmarried partner to a person who dissappeared in the military dictatorship. There were 184 documented cases of disappearances. When Zelaya took office the survivor of one of them got 8 million lempiras. Oliva, the coordinator of the human rights watch set up to fight for the cause, got 12 million lempiras by the Zelaya administration. The other 182 families got nothing. Most remarkably, the son of Oliva’s ex partner got nothing, but she – who had no legal bonds to him – got 12 millions. This is from a La Gringa’s Blogicito article at the time:

“In December 2008, by presidential decree, Milton Jiménez was declared one of two people selected to receive a large financial settlement for being a relative of one of the 184 victims of ‘detainment and forced disappearance’ in the 1980’s. The amount of his settlement was L. 8 million. The other compensated victim was Berta Oliva, the president of the committee of the Detained and Disappeared Families, who was granted L.12 million. The other 182 families of victims were granted nothing.”

The state ombudsman for human rights, Dr. Custodio, who also fought this battle during the military dictatorship, has now taken a completely different position than Miss Oliva. According to his office the true number of human rights violations during the Micheletti administration was but a fraction of that claimed by COFADEH. Police brutality and excesses are not unique to Honduras, they happen also in USA and Sweden, so one cannot a priori blame them on the government the way that some human rights groups are doing.

It seems clear beyond a shadow of doubt, that human rights accusations have been and are being used as a propaganda tool. Due to the sensitivity of this matter, western media seem inclined to think no smoke without fire, and even if they are too skeptical to forward the actual reports, they have tended to report that “there are reports of human rights violations.” That is bad enough. That is giving a victory to the propaganda.

If we look at statistics, and assume that a group that is murdered to a higher extent than the other group is the victim of that other group, then we might conclude that the resistencia is the aggressor against government supporters, not the other way around. Most likely, though, the murders are done for criminal, not political, reasons, so the whole idea to exploit them for propaganda purposes is sickening, disgusting, and appalling. Let them rest in peace.