[News] Killing Activists in Honduras

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 24 10:37:58 EST 2009


Killing Activists in Honduras

Written by Joseph Shansky
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/2278/1/

“As a revolutionary I will be today, tomorrow and 
forever on the front lines of my people, all the 
while knowing that I may lose my life." - Walter 
Trochez, 25, murdered in Tegucigalpa on 12/13/09

The bodies of slain activists are piling up in 
Honduras. While it's being kept quiet in most 
Honduran and international media, the rage is 
building among a dedicated network of friends 
spreading the word quickly with the tragic announcement of each compañero/a.

Now that the world heard from mainstream news 
outlets such as the New York Times of a “clean 
and fair” election on Nov. 29 (orchestrated by 
the US-supported junta currently in power), the 
violence has increased even faster than feared.

The specific targets of these killings have been 
those perceived as the biggest threats to the 
coup establishment. The bravest, and thus the 
most vulnerable: Members of the Popular 
Resistance against the coup. Their friends and 
family. People who provide the Resistance with 
food and shelter. Teachers, students, and 
ordinary citizens who simply recognize the 
fallacy of an un-elected regime taking over their 
country. All associated with the Resistance have 
faced constant and growing repercussions for 
their courage in protesting the coup. With the 
international community given the green light by 
the US that democratic order has returned via 
elections, it’s open season for violent forces in 
Honduras working to tear apart the political 
unity of the Resistance Front against the coup.

The killings are happening almost faster than they can be recorded.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, a group of six people were 
<http://www.tiempo.hn/secciones/sucesos/7055-se-hizo-la-muerta-para-sobrevivir-a-la-masacre>gunned 
down while walking down the street in the 
Villanueva neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. According 
to sources, a white van with no license plates 
stopped in front of the group. Four masked men 
jumped out of the van and forced the group to get 
on the ground, where they were shot. The five victims who were killed were:

· Marcos Vinicio Matute Acosta, 39

· Kennet Josué Ramírez Rosa, 23

· Gabriel Antonio Parrales Zelaya, 34

· Roger Andrés Reyes Aguilar, 22

· Isaac Enrique Soto Coello, 24

One woman, Wendy Molina, 32, was shot several 
times and played dead when one of the assassins 
pulled her hair, checking to see if anyone in the 
group was still alive. She was taken to the hospital and survived.

The Honduran independent newspaper El Libertador 
reports that the group members were all 
organizers against the coup. According to a 
resident in the area, "The boys had organized 
committees so that the neighbors could get involved in the Resistance Front."

This massacre was part of a string of 
Resistance-related murders during the past few 
weeks alone. On December 3, Walter Trochez, 25 a 
well-known activist in the lesbian, gay, 
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community was 
snatched off the street and thrown into a van, 
again by four masked men, in downtown 
Tegucigalpa. In the report that he later filed to 
local and national authorities, 
<http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/honduras-full-and-prompt-investigation-needed-death-human-rights-campaig>Walter 
said he was interrogated for hours for 
information on Resistance members and activities, 
and was beaten in the face with a pistol for 
refusing to speak. He was told that he would be 
killed regardless, and he eventually escaped by 
throwing open the van door, falling into the street, and running away.

It wasn't the first time Walter had been subject 
to these kinds of threats. He was a much-loved 
organizer against the coup who had been 
documenting human rights violations, particularly 
in the gay community. Walter had just published 
two articles. One following the elections was 
titled "<http://quotha.net/node/645>The Triumph 
of Abstentionism", on the success of the effort 
by the Resistance to encourage citizens to refuse 
to vote. The other was called 
<http://quotha.net/node/634>“Escalation of Hate 
and Homophobic Crimes against the LGBTT Community 
Rooted in the Civil-Religious-Military Coup d'état in Honduras”.

In both, he concludes: "As a revolutionary I will 
be today, tomorrow and forever on the front lines 
of my people, all the while knowing that I may lose my life".

On Dec. 13, one week later, Walter was shot in 
the chest by a drive-by gunman while walking home. He died at the hospital.

On Dec. 5, Santos Garcia Corrales, an active 
member of the National Resistance Front, was 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/noticias/secciones/nota/63551-NN/muere-decapitado-miembro-de-la-resistencia-hondurena-de-manos-de-la-policia/>detained 
by security forces in New Colony Capital, south 
of Tegucigalpa. He was then tortured for 
information on a local merchant who was providing 
food and supplies to the Resistance. After 
reporting the incident to local authorities, 
Santos’ body was found five days later on Dec 10, decapitated.

There have been others as well, notably a rise in 
murders in the LGBT community since the coup. In 
particular, several transvestites have been 
recently killed in similarly gruesome ways. Human 
rights advocates 
<http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/81019.html>report 
that “up to 18 gay and transgender men have been 
killed nationwide ­ as many as the five prior 
years ­ in the nearly six months since a political crisis rocked the nation.”

The latest victim, Carlos Turcios, was kidnapped 
outside his home in Choloma Cortes, at three in 
the afternoon of Wednesday Dec. 16. He was 
<http://www.telesurtv.net/noticias/secciones/nota/63551-NN/muere-decapitado-miembro-de-la-resistencia-hondurena-de-manos-de-la-policia/>found 
dead the next day, with his hands and head cut 
off. Carlos had been vice-president of the 
Choloma chapter of the Resistance Front, a town 
located a few hours outside of the capital. 
Andres Pavón, president of CODEH (Committee for 
the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras), 
commented: "We believe this horrendous crime 
joins others where the bodies show signs of 
brutal torture
This aggression is directed to the 
construction of collective fear.”

It is a sinister effort to shake up a community 
that is now in fact stronger than ever. As Walter 
Trochez noted (and CNN 
<http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/11/29/honduras.election/index.html>confirmed), 
most of the country refused to go to the polls 
that day. Many of the world’s governments, 
including most of Latin America, refused to recognize the results.

In this climate of fierce repression, citizens 
can no longer depend on authorities for the most 
basic protective rights, and those fearful for 
their lives cannot report to the police. 
Complaints they file, such as those of Santos and 
Walter, could soon become signatures to their own 
death letters. Many believe with good reason that 
the killings are state-sponsored. At the very 
least, they are the result of new conditions 
which allow for the widespread deterioration of state protection.

Pavón and other human rights leaders in Honduras 
have been extremely vocal in denouncing these 
atrocities, but the story has remained under the 
radar for most Hondurans and almost all 
international media. At the time when Hondurans 
most need exposure to these abuses, they’ve been left to fend for themselves.

How did this happen? Why are people being 
randomly executed in dark corners of the country 
for simply standing in opposition to a military coup?

Most of the bloodshed is on the hands of coup 
president Roberto Micheletti and other leaders of 
the regime. However, President Barack Obama and 
the US State Department played a major role in 
allowing conditions to get to this point. The US 
government took no concrete action against the 
thousands of documented violations since the coup 
took place June 28. It’s no shock that the 
violence has worsened dramatically with the eyes of the world now averted.

In a recent interview, Francisco Rios of the 
National Front Against the Coup reiterated Frente 
communiqués which stated that the Resistance, 
though now lying low, is preparing a massive 
organization effort for next year and beyond. 
Rios reported that they have stopped meeting 
publicly as a safety measure for now, but will 
soon begin dividing into chapters around the 
country with plans to emerge as a new, 
strengthened political force. Walter, Santos, 
Carlos, and all of the Resistance fighters who 
gave their lives have inspired others in the 
movement to continue the struggle for justice in Honduras.

Joseph Shansky was reporting from Honduras during 
the recent military coup, and can be reached at 
<mailto:fallow3 at gmail.com>fallow3 at gmail.com.




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