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I arrived in Honduras one week after ousted president Manuel Zelaya returned to begin his long spell of internal exile in the Brazilian embassy. With my crew from Fault Lines on Al Jazeera English TV, I went straight from the airport to a funeral. A week later, on our last night of filming, we attended another funeral. The first was for a 24-year-old woman, the second for a 50-year-old schoolteacher, and both active in the resistance to the coup. According to their families, both were killed for it.
The coup regime in Honduras is winning. Tepid pressure from the Obama administration is making it easy for the de facto government to run out the clock until the highly compromised elections in just five weeks. Whether or not international observers bless that vote, a new government will take power in Honduras and declare the stain of the coup removed, democracy restored. Absent the kind of meaningful sanctions Washington has so far been unwilling to impose, the status quo will triumph: the backers of the coup will go unpunished.
Unsurprisingly, the US mainstream media is not reporting the story of what is really going on in Honduras. The de facto government and its backers invested $400,000 (that we know of) in bipartisan lobbying, and succeeded in implanting a deeply distorted narrative of events–a nouveau cold war story starring Hugo Chávez as puppet master and Zelaya as marionette. Meanwhile, the voice of the social movement struggling to reform its country’s constitution in the second poorest nation in the hemisphere has been all but ignored.
And the killing continues. Two more alleged political murders in the last two weeks while what scant reporting there was fixated on the negotiations between Micheletti and Zelaya, a surface story that serves the coup regime’s strategy and is largely irrelevant to the deeper issues at play.
In Honduras, people are dying while the world looks the other way. Real international pressure–especially from the United States–is the only force that could stop that now. But time is running out.