Archivos para 30/03/13

Will Congress act to stop US support for Honduras’ death squad regime?

Saturday 30 March 2013, Mark Weisbrot

Soldiers and police clash with striking teachers in Honduras, 2011

Soldiers clashed with protesters in 2011, after Honduras’ President Porfirio Lobo declared the demonstrations illegal. Photograph: Reuters/Edgard Garrido

The video (warning: contains graphic images of lethal violence), caught randomly on a warehouse security camera, is chilling.

Five young men walk down a quiet street in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A big black SUV pulls up, followed by a second vehicle. Two masked men with bullet-proof vests jump out of the lead car, with AK-47s raised. The two youths closest to the vehicles see that they have no chance of running, so they freeze and put their hands in the air. The other three break into a sprint, with bullets chasing after them from the assassins’ guns. Miraculously, they escape, with one injured – but the two who surrendered are forced to lie face down on the ground. The two students, who were brothers 18- and 20-years-old, are murdered with a burst of bullets, in full view of the camera. Less than 40 seconds after their arrival, the assassins are driving away, never to be found.

The high level of professional training and modus operandi of the assassins have led many observers to conclude that this was a government operation. The video was posted by the newspaper El Heraldo last month; the murder took place in November of last year. There have been no arrests.

Now, the Obama administration is coming under fire for its role in arming and funding murderous Honduran police, in violation of US law. Under the Leahy Law, named after Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the US government is not allowed to fund foreign military units who have commit gross human rights violations with impunity. The director general of Honduras’ national police force, Juan Carlos Bonilla, has been investigated in connection with death squad killings; and members of the US Congress have been complaining about it since Bonilla was appointed last May. Thanks to some excellent investigative reporting by the Associated Press in the last couple of weeks – showing that all police units are, in fact, under Bonilla’s command – it has become clear that the US is illegally funding the Honduran police.

So, now we’ll see if “rule of law” or “separation of powers” means very much in a country that likes to lecture “less developed” nations about these principles.

Why would the Obama administration so stubbornly support a death squad government in Honduras, going so far as to deceive and defy Congress? To answer that, we have to look at how the current government of Honduras came to power, and how violent repression of any opposition plays a big role in keeping it there.

The government of Honduran President Pepe Lobo was “elected” after a military coup overthrew the democratically elected government of President Mel Zelaya in June of 2009. Zelaya later told the press that Washington was involved in the coup; this is very believable, given the circumstantial evidence. But what we know for sure is that the Obama administration was heavily involved in helping the new regime survive and legitimize itself. Washington supported Lobo’s election in 2009, against the opposition of almost the entire hemisphere. The Organization of American States and the European Union refused to send observers to an election that most of the world viewed as obviously illegitimate.

The coup unleashed a wave of violence against political dissent that continues to this day. Even Honduras’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission – established by the coup government itself – found that it had “undertaken political persecution … and that it was responsible for a number of killings committed by state agents and those acting at their behest, in addition to the widespread and violent repression of rights to speech, assembly, association.”

This was noted by the Center for Constitutional Rights, in New York, and the International Federation for Human Rights, in Paris, in a report (pdf) submitted to the International Criminal Court. The CCR/FIDH report also identifies “over 100 killings, most of which are selective, or targeted killings, occurring even after two truth commissions concluded their investigations”. Their report goes through October 2012:

“The killings are one horrific manifestation of the broader attack which is also characterized by death threats against activists, lawyers, journalists, trade unionists, and campesinos, as well as attempted killings, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions. The True Commission [the second, independent Truth Commission] described the regime’s “attack” as one of using terror as a means of social control.”

Which brings us the elections scheduled for later this year. Once again, a social-democratic party is in the race, including people who courageously defended democracy against 2009’s military coup. Its presidential candidate is Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the wife of the president whom Washington worked so hard to get rid of. This party is among the victims of the government’s political repression: in November, LIBRE mayoral candidate Edgardo Adalid Motiño was gunned down after attending a rally for Xiomara Zelaya.

So there you have it. A death squad government may not be the Obama administration’s first choice, but it prefers it to a leftist government that Hondurans might elect if they were to have a free election. The current government belongs to Washington, just like the US military base that the Pentagon would like to keep in Honduras indefinitely.

If all that sounds disgusting, and reminiscent of President Reagan’s death squad governments in Central America, it’s because it is both. The question right now, as in the 1980s, is what will members of Congress in Washington do about it?

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Advierten grave situación en cárceles de Honduras

Sábado 30 de marzo de 2013

En las cárceles hay hacinamiento, peleas, fugas, decomiso de armas, celulares y hasta droga, dice informe.

En los centros penales de Honduras, la Policía Nacional realiza operativos donde se han encontrado hasta arsenales de armas

En los centros penales de Honduras, la Policía Nacional realiza operativos donde se han encontrado hasta arsenales de armas ()



Un informe del Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (Conadeh), muestra que en los centros penales del país se comenten “graves violaciones colectivas y sistemáticas contra las personas privadas de libertad”.

Ante esa situación, el organismo humanitario ha atendido las quejas de la población penitenciaria y sus familiares, por lo que se han realizado visitas e inspecciones constantes a las cárceles, donde se encontró que hay retardo en la aplicación de justicia, hacinamiento, inseguridad interna provocada por los incendios y las riñas entre los privados de libertad, situación que deriva en lesiones y muertes en el interior de los recintos.

El documento que fue enviado al Congreso Nacional también establece que existe carencia de medios de rehabilitación, desentendimiento del Estado sobre su responsabilidad con los privados de libertad, introducción de armas, drogas y licores, fugas, un régimen disciplinario en manos de algunos internos, que ha provocado enfrentamientos y muerte entre los internos en diferentes centros penales.


Según los datos presentados por el Conadeh, en el 2012, los centros de privados de libertad fueron el escenario de diferentes hechos que dejaron como saldo alrededor de 389 muertos, de los cuales cuatro de ellos se presentaron fuera de los centros penales y que también se registraron al menos 50 heridos.

También recuerda que durante el año anterior se registraron incendios, motines, fugas, intentos de fuga, atentados contra autoridades penitenciarias, enfrentamiento entre privados de libertad, introducción de armas de fuego, granadas, drogas, licores, y celulares, entre otros.

Incendio en Comayagua

El hecho que provocó la mayor cantidad de muertes, fue, sin duda, el incendio que ocurrió el 14 de febrero en la granja penal de Comayagua, donde perdieron la vida 361 personas, entre ellos 360 privados de libertad y una persona que andaba de visita de uno de los internos.

El informe del Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos establece que el siniestro se registró a eso de las 10:50 de la noche, donde también resultaron más de 30 heridos.

“El informe forense permite afirmar que solamente el cuerpo número 239, autopsia 598-12, no pudo ser identificado”, establece el documento elaborado por Ramón Custodio López.


El organismo humanitario da a conocer que en los centros penales se registraron amotinamientos entre los privados de libertad.

Una de las revueltas se llevó a cabo el 28 de febrero del año anterior en el centro penal de San Pedro Sula, donde más de una docena de reclusos protagonizaron un amotinamiento, supuestamente para evitar el traslado de sus compañeros a otras cárceles.

En el acto resultaron heridos varios privados de libertad que fueron trasladados a un centro asistencial. Las autoridades penitenciarias determinaron trasladar a 22 internos a diferentes centros penitenciarios del país por considerarlos cabecillas de los amotinamientos.

A raíz de los hechos violentos, donde se evidencia que se han cometido con armas de fuego y objetos contusos, las autoridades realizan operativos policiales.

El 24 de febrero de 2012, en un intenso operativo realizado en el módulo conocido como “Casa Blanca” de la Penitenciaría Nacional “Marco Aurelio Soto”, las autoridades policiales encontraron armas blancas, bebidas alcohólicas, 10 teléfonos celulares, 20 chips de diferentes compañías telefónicas, 36 carrucos de marihuana y piedras de crack.

Así mismo, se decomisó un serrucho, una piocha, varios martillos, diversos cuchillos, cortauñas, destornilladores y palos de escoba con puntas.


En el documento también se da a conocer que de las cárceles se fugan los reos.

Para el caso, el 19 de febrero del año anterior, los miembros de la Policía Nacional frustraron la fuga de un peligroso miembro de la mara 18 que fue capturado con un arma de fuego calibre 9 milímetros.

Luego de la captura, miembros del Escuadrón Antibombas y de los Cobras realizaron una inspección al interior del módulo que alberga a los miembros de “la 18” del centro penal de San Pedro Sula, donde encontraron una granada de fabricación danesa R-40 de uso militar, que tendría un radio de acción aproximado de 25 a 40 metros.

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