Honduras coup investigation underway

 A Truth Commission with strong
international support started investigating the Honduran coup helping the country
regain the recognition it lost when soldiers ousted President Manuel Zelaya
last year.

Zelaya backers call the commission
a farce that cements Central America’s first successful coup in nearly two
decades, and vow not to provide information to its investigators. But the U.S.
supports it and the chief of the Organization of American States attended the
inauguration.

“We will seek the truth in a
disciplined, relentless way,” said commission coordinator Eduardo Stein,
former vice president of Guatemala, at a ceremony launching the initiative.

Soldiers ousted Zelaya on 28 June at
gunpoint after he ignored court orders to stop trying to modify the
constitution. The United States and most other countries suspended diplomatic
ties with the impoverished Central American country.

But the universal repudiation
started wavering after November’s presidential elections, which had been
scheduled before the coup. Porfirio Lobo, a conservative rancher, took office
in January, replacing an interim government.

This commission “exemplifies
our resolve to heal wounds, learn from our mistakes and build together the
future of this country,” Lobo said.

He has won the support of his
Central American neighbours, even leftist Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega,
who had been a strong Zelaya ally. The World Bank and other multilateral
organizations have resumed lending.

President Obama commended Lobo in a
telephone call last week for pressing forward with the Truth Commission, and
U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens said it “should be a tool for national
reconciliation, not to lay blame.”

After a nearly yearlong suspension
from the OAS, Insulza said Tuesday that Honduras could be accepted back
“at any moment, when the member countries decide it.”

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias,
however, said he and other leaders were still trying to persuade holdouts including
Brazil, which insists Honduras must do more to promote national reconciliation.

Stein said the panel hopes to
deliver a final report by January 2011. He said some confidential information
will be sealed for a decade until “the wounds of Hondurans are
healed.”

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