Honduras: Whitewashing the Coup

Since the June 28 military coup in Honduras, the country's de facto authorities have maintained a by now well-established track record of attempting to conceal their anti-democratic, violent disposition. This edition of the NACLA Report examines this process in both Tegucigalpa and in Washington—including the lengths to which Honduran coup authorities went both to undertake a show election in November, portraying it as legitimate (false claims of massive electoral participation, unaccredited electoral observers) while using coercive practices against dissidents in the run-up to the election (police attacks on protesters, blacklists of resistance members, shuttered anti-coup media). The result? No future Honduran president can count on fulfilling a term in office if the country’s new oligarchs don’t approve. Moreover, the election that brought Lobo to office has ensured the continuity of the golpista agenda in Tegucigalpa.


Taking Note

Open Forum

Manuel Cabieses Donoso


Jo-Marie Burt and Coletta A. Youngers
In January Peru’s former president Alberto Fujimori lost an appeal against his conviction for human rights crimes. Although the precedent of his conviction is of global significance, the struggle against impunity in Peru—and all of Latin America—continues.


Daniel Altschuler
Education was a key site of struggle during the political crisis triggered by the coup. The Honduran teachers’ anti-coup strikes brought years of mounting tension between teachers and parents to a head. Parents organized themselves into multiple pressure groups to demand a return to regular school hours, but the coup government quickly sought to co-opt them in a bid to undermine the resistance.
Rosemary A. Joyce
With the U.S.-supported coup government no longer officially in power, and the golpistas remaining on the political scene, one thing is for sure in Honduras: No future president can count on fulfilling a term in office if the country’s oligarchs don’t approve. The flawed election in November that brought Porfirio Lobo to office has ensured the continuity of the golpista agenda in Tegucigalpa, while the resistance stands at a crossroads.
Adrienne Pine
Washington’s coup supporters persuaded many legislators to recognize the Micheletti government and his successor. They have also tried to bury the well-documented record of state violence in Honduras following the coup. What accounts for their success? The absence of a real democratic process in Washington. The “debate” in Washington over who owns the concept of democracy was itself shaped by markedly anti-democratic practices.
Suyapa G. Portillo Villeda
Darío A. Euraque
The Honduran Ministry of Culture, under the administration of deposed president Manuel Zelaya, had since 2006 pursued a novel cultural policy: emphasizing the history and cultural legacy of living Honduran ethnicities while building organic links with regional communities throughout the country. This experiment, however, abruptly came to an end after the coup, when most of the -ministry’s staff were summarily fired and accused of having “indoctrinated” Hondurans with Chavista-inspired ideology.


Michael Marker
Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Poetics, and Politics, by Pamela Wilson and Michelle Stewart, eds., Duke University Press (2008), 376 pp., $24.95 (paperback)
Steve J. Stern
The Battle of Chile (DVD set, 2009), Patricio Guzmán, director. Four discs include the Battle trilogy (Part One, 1975, 96 mins.; Part Two, 1976, 88 mins.; Part Three, 1978, 79 mins.) and Chile, Obstinate Memory (1997, 57 mins.), $44.98, distributed by Icarus Films (icarusfilms.com)
Mainland Passage: The Cultural Anomaly of Puerto Rico, by Ramón E. Soto-Crespo; The Diaspora Strikes Back: Caribeño Tales of Learning and Turning by Juan Flores; Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora, by Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes