Sunday, April 10, 2011

Human rights in Honduras

The State Department's newly released human rights report on Honduras is a curious mix.  On the one hand, it has 47 single-spaced pages detailing a wide variety of serious abuses--acknowledgment of these abuses is commendable.  On the other, the report dances around assigning specific responsibility to anyone through creative use of the passive tense and vague phraseology.  One of my favorites comes right at the beginning: "There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control."

Another good one: "The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, but authorities at times failed to enforce these prohibitions effectively."

But sometimes they hit the nail on the head.  This is a good one: "The news media continue to suffer from venality, politicization, vulnerability to special interest manipulation, and weak professionalism in reporting and analyzing news."

At the very least, the catalog of abuses should give State Department officials pause before issuing glowing statements about the progress made by the administration of Porfirio Lobo.

As an aside, it appears Hugo Chávez has agreed to support Honduras' return to the OAS.  Clearly, seeing Juan Manuel Santos' relationship with Chávez as automatically negative for the U.S. is simplistic.


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