Honduras Under Siege
The military coup government of Roberto Micheletti is coming under increasing economic pressure to concede power, whether from holds on US humanitarian aid and World Bank loan money or the sealing of the borders by all three neighbors. On the political front, it has yet to be recognized by a single foreign government. And domestically, it has resorted to the tactics of Central America's dark past to crush the people's angry response to the coup. Beatings, curfews, spot-checks, censorship and death threats. Honduran human rights advocate Bertha Oliva believes that the actions of the 'golpistas' (coup leaders) can only be explained as a reaction to the growing demand for citizen participation in Honduran politics. Though the Golpistas have sought to make their actions appear necessary to defend the republic from a power-hungry President, Manuel Zelaya, Oliva tells The Real News that the real story is the opposite. That it is they, as the polical-economic ruling class, that are afraid of losing their power to an increasingly engaged citizenry.
Bertha Oliva is the Founder and Coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras. COFADEH, by its Spanish initials, is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the fight against impunity and memory of the victims of forced disappearances. Their goof friend was killed during the kidnapping as well. Oliva founded the organization after her husband, Prof. Tomás Nativí, was kidnapped and disappeared in 1982. Today COFADEH is looked to as an authority an all issues relating to human rights and public security. Oliva received the Human Rights Award from Honduras' National Commission of Human Rights, as well as being nominated as one of the 1000 Peace Women for the Nobel Prize in 2005. COFADEH is recognized as having played a major role in the dissolution of Honduras' notorious Department of National Investigations, the repeal of compulsory military service, and the liberation of the country's last political prisoners in 1992.