Harper Trades in Human Rights for Economic Concessions in Honduras

Posted on August 9, 2011

Stephen HarperInvestment and trade interests trump Human Rights concerns in Honduras Prime Minister Stephen Harper has undertaken a tour through Latin America with stops reportedly including Honduras. The goal according to Harper is “expanding and enhancing market access to create jobs, economic growth, and opportunities for Canadians”. Some believe he will take the opportunity to announce a Free Trade Agreement or significant trade deals between both countries, despite repeated and serious concerns highlighted by both Honduran and International Human Rights organizations.

The Harper Government has consistently downplayed and at times even ignored what many believe to be a state organized campaign of intimidation, violence and murder of Human Rights defenders in Honduras since the June 28, 2009 military coup d’état. The coup was painted by its perpetrators as a constitutional succession undertaken by the Supreme Court and National Congress.

One could say the Harper government has gone as far as enlisting the support of coup conspirators here in Canada. It’s no coincidence that this week the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade along with the International Development Research Centre have invited the Attorney General, Luis Alberto Rubí of Honduras to speak as part of a panel on “Confronting Crime and Impunity in Central America”.

According to multiple news, academic and diplomatic sources say Rubí was a key figure in the manipulation of the legal system that helped pave the way for the 2009 military coup d’état. In fact Wikileaks and the El Faro declassified cables reports show Rubí was “directly involved in the decision to remove Zelaya and used the “legal apparatus under his control to stifle dissent and intimidate/persecute members of Zelaya’s team”.

Suggestions for additional information on Attorney General Rubí role in the coup and Human Rights violations:

  1. The government of Canada supported a Truth and Reconciliation Commission convened by the current Lobo regime in Honduras that issued it’s final report July 7th and Former Canadian Diplomat Michael Kergin: http://www.bennettjones.com/KerginMichael/ (of law firm Bennet Jones – based in Ottawa -) was a member of that Commission.
  2. Honduran Human Rights organizations convened a seperate Commission of Truth, supported by international civil society organizations and some European governments, whose report is due in November 2011, and York University Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Craig Scotthttp://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/faculty/craigmscott.html is a member of that Commission.