Enviar este artículo por Correo Electrónico               


Exclusive interview with Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Democracy cannot be built

on impunity


The need to investigate the human rights abuses committed during the coup and break the circle of impunity in Honduras, the threat that this rupture in the constitutional order poses for Latin America, and the role that the United States has played in this context are some of the issues discussed by Nobel Prize laureate and Truth Commission member Adolfo Pérez Esquivel in an interview conducted by Sirel during his stay in Honduras.


-Why did you decide to accept the proposal to join the Truth Commission formed to investigate the crimes committed during the coup?

-I’m a survivor of the (Argentine) dictatorship and I know that a coup d’état always entails human rights abuses. I agreed to be part of this commission because it’s an initiative promoted by human rights organizations and by society.


We can no longer allow any coups in Latin America, and we need to work to strengthen democracy and uphold the full enjoyment of human rights as an absolute value.


-What was the first thing that came to your mind when you heard there had been a coup in Honduras?

-That the machinery of domination was still in place and that this new attack on democracy would have consequences for all of Latin America.


A country’s changes must be decided by its people and not by powerful forces backed by the United States.


-What is your opinion of the United States’ involvement in the Honduran coup?

-History shows that the United States has always favored coups in order to control our countries and protect its interests. No coup can be staged in Latin America without the consent of the US government.


Just look at what happened with the failed coup attempts in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Why is the United States establishing military bases throughout Latin America? Why is it still trying to impose dictatorships, while what the people need are resources for development and not death and subjugation projects?


-How is the situation in Honduras perceived by the rest of the continent?

-I’ve been working throughout Latin America for more than 40 years, and I can see that what’s happening today in Honduras affects us all; it puts life and the rights of the people at risk.


It’s nothing new. We’ve seen it all before everywhere in the continent and the result is always repression, pain, lack of freedoms, and the people’s wealth controlled by the great powers. We cannot stand for that anymore.


-What mechanisms should we adopt to prevent history from repeating itself?

-The real solution is for all our peoples to stand together and for us to unite as nations. We have the recent example of Ecuador. The unity of UNASUR and the peoples’ reaction contributed to stop the coup.


We don’t want any more governments forced on us. We want to choose. That’s why we’re here, accompanying the Truth Commission, seeing how the issue of Honduras is dealt with at the international level, demanding that the United States respect the right of the people to self-determination.


-What do you think of Barack Obama’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize?

-I sent Obama a letter and told him that it surprised me, but that now that he had received it he had to be consistent and work to promote peace. And that is something he definitely has not done.


-Your country, Argentina, suffered a brutal dictatorship and your people had to wait almost 30 years to see its tormentors in jail. What advice would you give the Honduran people in its demand for justice?

-That it must not stand for legal impunity, because democracy cannot be built on impunity. The people need to continue working and insisting in its efforts, so that all those who have committed abuses are brought to justice. It’s the people’s right.


-The Honduran regime has created a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation. What credibility does that commission have for you?

-Reconciliation is not an empty concept. Reconciliation is only possible if it is based on truth, justice, reparation for the victims, and repentance from the perpetrators of the crimes. That is not the case with the government’s commission.


-Porfirio Lobo and Barack Obama both said that we should not look to the past but to the future, in order to move forward.

-That’s immoral, because it would be justifying the crimes that have been committed. What happens with the victims and with their families? Should we forget them then? Bury them?


There is something that is important and that’s memory. Not to ties us to the past, but to shed light on the present, to generate and build life. A people that refuses to look to the past repeats the same atrocities, the same situation of injustice.


-Why is a Truth Commission that seeks to investigate the structural causes of the coup and identify the responsible parties important for Honduras?

-There is no concealing the truth, and the government can’t just clean up its image. The Truth Commission wants to get to that truth, exposing the guilty parties to prosecute them in national and international courts. That is the only way to prevent this from never happening again.



From Teguciglapa, Giorgio Trucchi


April 6, de 2011





Foto: Rel-UITA





  UITA - Secretaría Regional Latinoamericana - Montevideo - Uruguay

Wilson Ferreira Aldunate 1229 / 201 - Tel. (598 2) 900 7473 -  902 1048 -  Fax 903 0905