Monday, 8 August 2011

Berta Oliva: 'The coup is intact'


By Raul Fitipaldi, 28 July 2011.

Any conversation about Human Rights in Honduras is a theme that never ends. The open wound from the Coup d’état perpetrated June 28, 2009 by the trio of the Oligarchy-Military-United States is bleeding and runs across Our America from North to South. Not only the 18 territorial provinces of Honduras, not just the 19th Department (as the Hondurans in the exterior are called, no inhabitant of the continent of Morazán, Bolivar and Artigas could have been at peace with this aggression, based in a style of intervention that seemed to have been laid to rest in the mid 1980’s in the region.

Two days before the assassination of another social communicator, Nery Geremias Orellana (26), the 14th (journalist) assassinated since the Coup and its “institutional continuation”, a manager of Radio Joconguera in Calendaria, close to the Honduran border with El Salvador, we met, via Internet, with Bertha Oliva, revitalizing the old virtual bridge between Honduras and Florianopolis, Brazil. To speak with Mrs. Bertha Oliva (55), founder of the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared Detainees in Honduras (COFADEH) is undoubtedly an experience of peace, of love for the people, devoted to the truth and the constant memory of and homage to the past and present victims of all the coups that have lived in the history of Honduras. Bertha Oliva de Nativi, mother of two children, began on her path to justice paying homage to her husband, detained and disappeared in 1981 under the presidency of Policarpo Paz Garcia. Her husband was the political leader Tomas Nativi about whom she said in another interview: “He was a revolutionary who dreamed with children, bread and school. One day his dreams will be reality, but our country still continues being a republic that is used and occupied”.

Making an effort to try to always keep her in the center of our computer screen (for 50 minutes) using the small web camera on the computer of colleague Ronnie Huete, Bertha Oliva received us in COFADEH. From there she told us the following regarding the report of the official Truth Commission (Details of the report are below in the appendix) and about other aspects of Honduras more than two years after the Civic-Military Coup d’état that imposed the dictator Roberto Micheletti Bain (68) “as president” of the nation of Lempira:

- Desacato; What are your conclusions about the report of the Stein Commission?

-B. Oliva: The report by the Truth Commission sponsored by the government, strengthens impunity. In fact, we could not expect anything different. It is a report that worries me.

-Desacato: What is the profile of Jose Miguel Insulza, general secretary of the OAS on this theme?

- B. Oliva: Mr. Insulza is part of the impunity.

-Desacato: Is the report well done legally?

-B. Oliva: Technically it is well conceived, it even appears to be a complete report, but it is not. What happens is that the coup-makers and the dominant classes are in a hurry to close this matter.

-Descato: Is this a part of the agenda in the conversations of the transition president Profirio Lobo Sosa with the political parties?

-B. Oliva: It seems to me that the intention of Lobo and good part of the political party hierarchies is to continue forward with the old agreements. These, while crimes against humanity and crimes against the country have stayed hidden, under the rubble. This is the implementation of the line coming from Washington.

-Desacato: In the Stein report what is the character of the military forces that participated in the act?

-B. Oliva: They give guarantees to the military hierarchy and a process that seems to cleanse them of guilt in such a way that they can occupy strategic positions in national institutions and businesses, such as is the case with General Romeo Vasquez Velásquez who leads Hondutel (the national telecommunications company). What is definitely applied is a “justice” that is efficient for the golpistas, meanwhile for the rest, for those who opposed and oppose the Coup are persecuted.

-Descato: Like the cases of Enrique Flores Lanza, Father Tamayo, and Father Fausto Milla?

-B. Oliva: Look it makes one sad, it is painful to see Father Fausto Milla, an elderly man, leave the country under threats, with a suitcase, together with his assistant, Denia Mejia. It is possible that he will never be able to come back. Father Milla is from the National Commission of the True Commission, that has nothing to do with the commission of Stein, it is an independent international commission made up of, among others, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nora Cortiñas, Mirna Perla and many persons recognized in the arena of Human Rights. I feel the aggression against Fausto Milla is a way to attack and to intimidate the True Commission that is independent of the (State) power.

-Desacato: The President of the transition, Porfirio Lobo has used up a considerable amount of money on propaganda about Honduran peace and reconciliation.

-B. Oliva: The peace of the cemetery, the situation of defenselessness (in the face of violations) is tremendous and growing.

-Desacato: But you said that the Stein report is well done….

-B. Oliva: Technically yes, but, for example, it doesn’t say anything about the role of the State in the Coup.

-Desacato: What is the role of the Attorney General and Justice Ministry in general?
-B. Oliva: There is no separation of powers in Honduras. They have lowered the profile of Luis Alberto Rubi and they have not allocated anything to he special prosecutors. Even less has been assigned to the responsibility of Ramon Custodio, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the State. Furthermore only 10% of those who were interviewed come from the ambit of the Resistance, not even ex President Manuel Zelaya was interviewed.

- Desacato: From the Human Rights perspective how do you characterize this moment?

-B. Oliva: At this moment the coup d’etat is worse than before. It is more excused, more difficult to identify but it operates in a more brutal manner against the opposition. There are selective crimes in all areas of society that resist or demand their rights: leaders, professors, campesinos, students. The assassinations are disguised as a settling of accounts, of accidents and in many other ways.

-Desacato: Honduras returned to the OAS after fulfilling some aspects of the Cartagena Agreement; are you in agreement with the decision of the fraternal countries?

-B. Oliva: the situation confirms for us that Ecuador is right. Honduras should not have been reinserted into the OAS. The conditions are not there, nor are the guarantees in place for it. Furthermore, in this way, whatever the good will that one knows our fraternal countries have, with this measure they pulled the focus off of Honduras in the international media and the result is a greater vulnerability. There is a conspiracy to physically and morally liquidate those of us who are standing up and resisting. But we continue forward. Honduras requires that we build a Project for Liberty.

Postscript: One week after this [below] interview (July 19, 2011) Honduras awoke shaken by the news that the president of transition, Porfirio Lobo Sosa reported that there are plans for his assassination, supposedly among the oligarchy, because of a proponed law to create a tax to increase the security system.

Aspects of the Stein report (taken from the press on the date)

“Honduras: “What happened on June 28, 2009 was a Coup d'Etat”.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission denied that the exit of President Manuel Zelaya from power was a “constitutional succession”, as the coup makers, headed by Roberto Micheletti, claimed. None-the-less, it considers that the elections in which Porfirio Lobo Sosa was elected are “legitimate” because they were called for a month before the coup, and recommend a constitutional reform.

The Guatemalan, Eduardo Stein, president of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) divulged today the report titled, “So that the events do not repeat themselves” and it constitutes the store of what happened before, during and after the coup d’etat that took Zelaya from power.

The CVR concluded that the coup was the culmination of a grave political crisis and in particular the confrontation of the executive powers with the legislative and judicial powers in which the Armed Forces intervened in favor of the last two.

According to the commission, Zelaya “went against the constitutional norms to establish a “new regimen” for which the report recommended the creation of the figure of political judgment in the Honduran constitution among other measures to avoid new coup d’etats, given that the Carta Magna lacks a procedure for the destitution of a ruler.

The report also pointed out that the elections through which the president Porfirio Lobo Sosa was elected were “legitimate” in that they were convened a month before the coup d etat. Many governments refused to recognize Lobo as the ruler as they considered the elections to be the product of the coup d’etat. .

Equally, the CVR established that there were innumerable violations of human rights alter the coup d’etat and as a consequence up to 12 people died during the repression of the protests. “The Constitution of the Republic must be reviewed regarding the function of the Armed Forces, including the suppression of any mission of a political character for them”, says the report.

The Commission came out of the Guaymuras San Jose-Tegucigalpa Agreement, which was negotiated, by the overthrown Zelaya and the de facto president Micheletti under the mediation of the Organization of American Status (OAS) and the government of the United Status. The General Secretary of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, traveled to Honduras to be present during the release of the report of the commission since it is supported by that continental organization. Insulza along with the government and the rest of the powers of the Honduran State received a copy of the report.

The CVR was made up of five members (two Hondurans, three foreigners), the rector and the ex-rector of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, Julieta Castellanos and Jorge Omar Casco; the ex vice president of Guatemala, Eduardo Stein; the ex ambassador of Canada in the United Status and Cuba, Michael Kergin and the ex Minister of Justice of Peru, Maria Amadilla.