Bolivia Brings to Trial Those Responsible for the Coup d’Etat: Will Honduras Follow the Same Path?

Ollantay Itzamná
Images of acts of social resistance to the coup d’état in Bolivia and Honduras.

We suspected a coup in Bolivia, but in Honduras there was no doubt about it. The coup perpetrators must be tried and punished in an exemplary manner so that their impunity is not an example of reward for future coup attempts.

On June 28, 2009, the former President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, of the Liberal Party, was violently expelled from power by the political-military-religious leadership, before the end of his term, for daring to consult the people about a possible Constituent Assembly.

12 years later, the main perpetrators of that criminal act, such as Romeo Vásquez, Roberto Micheletti and others, continue to enjoy the banquet of impunity, basking in popularity in their political circles.

But also, 12 years later, the Honduran electorate managed to defeat the “coup regime” at the ballot box, and the newly elected President, Xiomara Castro, wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, will take office in a matter of days.

On November 11, 2019, the former President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was violently expelled from power by the political-military-religious leadership, before the end of his constitutional mandate, under the allegation of “electoral fraud”, stoked by the Organization of American States (OAS).

One year after the disastrous and bloody misrule of the usurper regime headed by Jeanine Añez (currently imprisoned), the people of Bolivia managed to reverse the coup d’état at the ballot box, and placed the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) back in power.

Almost two years after that shocking and truculent coup d’état, the Bolivian justice system is subjecting Jeanine Áñez and former high-ranking military and police officers to an oral and public trial for breach of duty. The public trial will begin in 45 days. The maximum penalty sought by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in this case is 10 years in prison. There are additional criminal cases against these and other defendants.

Will Honduras bring its executioners to trial?

In the Bolivian case, even Bolivians assumed that the coup d’état was a constitutional succession, and that the de facto government of Añez was a “transitory government”. It was through international opinion that it was made visible that that bloody event was a coup d’état. Even with those elements in the sociogenesis and consummation of the coup, Bolivia is now bringing to criminal trial some of those responsible for the constitutional rupture.

In the Honduran case, there was no doubt: the OAS itself condemned the act of June 28, 2009 and demanded the reestablishment of the constitutional order! And, once the theater of the ballot box had been performed, the international community did not recognize the government of Roberto Micheletti, who won the elections immediately after the coup.

Now that the people of Honduras sacrificed themselves and did political justice at the ballot box to “restore formal democracy”, will President Xiomara Castro put the Honduran judicial apparatus in order to apply justice and bring to criminal trial those responsible for the 2009 Coup d’Etat?