Honduras held elections on November 29, 2009, that were deemed illegitimate by most of the international community and resulted in the presidency of Porfirio Lobo, a conservative politician and agricultural landowner. [I] The election occurred just months after the illegal coup overthrowing President Manuel Zelaya and, as a result of a significant boycott, only included candidates who supported the coup. [II]
At the time of the elections, the US mainstream media had an atrocious record of reporting on the coup itself, as well as on the elections that followed, helping to legitimize a startling attack on Honduran democracy. [III]Despite the illegal nature of the coup and numerous accounts of human rights abuses against supporters of Manuel Zelaya - including violence against protesters, mass arrests and crackdowns on press freedom - the US media portrayed the events in a way that painted Zelaya as a villainous follower of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and legitimized those who ousted him, in part by ignoring their many crimes and abuses. [IV]
Unfortunately, in the year that has followed these two troubling events, little has changed: the Lobo regime has continued the human rights abuses that have plagued the country for more than a year, while the media has downplayed, distorted or ignored the crimes of his regime.