Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Truth Delayed?

The official government truth commission, headed by Eduardo Stein of Guatemala, announced yesterday that the commission's report would be delayed until the middle of June.

As recently as 11 February, Stein announced the report would be ready by mid-march.

On April 13, Stein told us report was to be delivered at the end of May, in time for review prior to the OAS General Assembly in June. At that time, he said it was specifically to be previewed to the OAS before it would be made public, in order to help them with their deliberations, so the change of timing now is odd.

Odder still is the announced reason for delaying again: to not influence the OAS member countries in their vote to return Honduras to full membership. In a complete reversal, Stein now says:
"We want to avoid it serving as an excuse or argument for anyone to contaminate the discussion over the return of Honduras."

But it seems that was precisely the point a few weeks ago, to influence the OAS discussion. So what's changed?

Stein himself has admitted the report is done, the list of recommendations finished.

He has a few questions he would like to ask Manuel Zelaya Rosales, who has refused to deal with the commission, but believes he has sufficient knowledge of events from other sources.

Stein told reporters:
"We would have liked to historically document his version of some of the topics, because it it impossible for us to speculate what the intentions of ex-president Zelaya were on taking up certain positions and making certain decision, things that only he can clarify.... For us the work is finished, save some questions that we would have liked to ask him [Zelaya], but it was his decision...."

One wonders why influencing the OAS was fine in April, but has become anathema in May.

And in either case, we wonder if it is appropriate for a so-called "Truth Commission" to be scheduling the release of its findings to advance a political goal of the people whose actions are supposed to be under scrutiny.

Of course, if you begin your hunt for "truth" having prejudged that the current political administration bears no responsibility for the actions that many of its members took to implement a coup and the repression that followed, maybe that kind of politicization doesn't seem at odds with truth at all.

But we continue to think that a truth commission that starts with conclusions, and that times its reports for political ends, has very little credibility.

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