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The de facto Regime Uses Police and Army Forces to Carry Out Violent Repression in Various Locations Across the Country
After a brief moment of apparent stability, coinciding with the talks between the National Congress and the leaders of the teachers union "Federación de Organizaciones Magisteriales de Honduras" (FOMH), on Thursday 31st of March, the citizens of the country have undergone the worst period of violations to their human rights. A state of emergency, without a doubt, involving the police and the army of the de facto regime in power in Honduras.
The events that occurred systematically over the past three weeks, with direct participation of the administrative apparatus of the State and the instruments which exercise the monopoly on violence - the National Police and the Army -, have once again attracted international attention to Honduras, although limited.
The international community's glance towards the crisis resulting from the last coup d'état remains very insufficient, however, it is still key to drawing up institutional solutions, from which would arise minimum social and political consensus for the purpose of transforming the country.
For this reason, the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) urgently calls the different solidarity groups and interstate political forums to communicate their political standpoints so that an end can be brought to the disproportionate violence and repression being carried out by militarized forces against a demanding and discontent civil population in opposition since the June 2009 coup d'état.
In the different geographic regions of the country, the protests held by the general population in solidarity with the teachers' resistance defending free public education, were repressed with an excessive use of force, violating United Nations specifications on the use of non-lethal weapons.
The Paro Cívico Nacional (National Civic Strike) organised by the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), has led to a tragic outcome.
In San Pedro Sula, the capital of the department of Cortés, the daughter of Silvia Ayala, an ex-member of the Democratic Unification Party (Partido Unificación Democrática), was injured during a violent evacuation of students from the University Centre of the Valle de Sula, where dozens of students and professors were also being detained.
The young student Josué Rodríguez (20) was hit on the side of his right ear by a metal cylinder containing gas thrown by the police to the interior of the university building.
The Regional University Centre was surrounded by police and army picket lines in order to prevent the exit of students and professors, who were being attacked by tear gas grenades thrown directly at their bodies, provoking fainting and vomiting resulting from the inhalation of gases.
In the municipalities of Santa Cruz de Yojoa, Potrerillos, La Lima y Choloma, and Cortés, 43 people were arrested for having participated in the Civic Protest. They were released from the police stations on the night of March 30th, in some cases with signs of having been hit and testimonies of insults and discriminatory comments.
At the turn-off for Las Flores, Santa Cruz, department of Cortés, the Commissioner Rubí, the nephew of the current State General Prosecutor, unleashed a violent repression against the protest and ordered the arrest of 17 people who were transferred to the First Police Station of San Pedro Sula, including among them Lidia Arita, Nedi Santos Castillo, Antonio Maradiaga and Glenda Cabrera. There were also six people wounded by gunshots including Daisy Sabillón and Manuel Miranda who were taken by individuals to the Mario Catarino Rivas Hospital in San Pedro Sula.
In addition, the riot police punctured the tires of more than 30 vehicles using their firearms and knives, and, using tear gas and gunshots, chased the owners who took refuge in forested areas.
In Potrerillos, a municipality in the Cortés department near El Triunfo district, five people were detained who suffered wounds to the head (Alejandro Duarte García), blows to the legs (Luciano Barrera Monroy); and thigh injuries (Haydee Márquez del Cid, Junior Mejía Murillo and Gloria Marina Perdomo Rodríguez).
The lawyers Evaristo Euceda and Iris Bude, who were carrying out human rights defence actions in the police station in Villanueva were attacked verbally and physically by the town's sub-inspector of police.
In the Community of Tacamiche, a peasant settlement belonging to the Municipality of La Lima, Cortés, the repressive forces entered to fire toxic gases into dwellings in revenge for having blocked the road towards the municipalities of San Manuel and Villanueva, Cortés. The Principal of the community school, Professor Esmeralda Flores, along with the teachers Fabricio Sevilla y Pedro Valladares, were taken to the First Police Station in San Pedro Sula.
During the Civic Protest organized on Wednesday, March 30th by the FNRP, one man lost his life in the Planes community of the Tocoa Municipality in the north of the country, as a consequence of the forced breaking-up of the protests by the Police and the soldiers who used live bullets on the crowd. He was a security guard for a chicken distribution company.
In this same place, located near the conflict area of the Aguán River delta - the scene of frequent disputes for possession of the land - 11 people suffered bullet wounds including farm workers, teachers and allegedly police officers.
Among those with bullet wounds, the following were identified: Professor Waldina Díaz from Trujillo; Neptalí Esquivel of the peasant cooperative Nueva San Esteban, Mauro Rosales of the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguán (MUCA), David Corea, cameraman fortelevision in Olanchito, Juan Antonio Vásquez, president of the peasant company Bolero, Paulino Chávez Rosales and Franklin Hernández of the March 4th peasant cooperative, Víctor Euceda of the 4th of February peasant cooperative, Daniel Pérez of the 4th of December peasant cooperative, professors Elías Erazo Hernández and Eduardo Rivera of the Leones community in the Trujillo municipality.
The detention of eight people transferred to the Sabá Police Headquarters was also reported.
In Tegucigalpa, capital city of Honduras, the National Autonomous University of Honduras was once again the target of the combined police and army forces who launched hundreds of tear gas grenades onto the campus from where the students reacted by throwing back stones.
In a military incursion in a peripheral area of the university, six youth were detained and accused for illegal protesting. They are: Maynor Lizandro Aguilar (18), Marlon Alexander Rosales Rico (22), Douglas Manuel Flores (18) as well as Oneyri Oneill Moreno Mejía of the colectivo Arco Iris, Marlon Nahúm Estrada a taxi dispatcher at the university; Josué Sevilla and Ewin Meza who were beaten with nightsticks on their backs. All were released in the afternoon.
Near Colonia Las Brisas in the south of Tegucigalpa, three people, Wilfred Flores Aguilar (33) and two minors Emerson Stevez Flores (15) and Víctor Geovanny Flores (14) were taken from a bus and detained at the La Granja Neighbourhood Police Station. They were released three hours after their arrest.
Before noon, six men dressed in civilian clothes and heavily armed, attempted to arrest the youth Edy Guifarro, employee at the Truth Commission, as the taxi in which he was being driven stopped near the suburb of San José de la Vega . The individuals surrounded the vehicle, beat Guifarro's body and head with their weapons, but he managed to escape running near the congestion of vehicles. The police chased him and shot at him on six occasions without considering that they may injure individuals nearby. Guifarro suffered a perforated eardrum and blows to his skull.
At the headquarters of the teachers' association Colegio de Profesores de Educación Media de Honduras (COPEMH), police intelligence officers attempted to plant evidence against the association as they "discovered" and reported to the Public Ministry a box of Molotov bombs deposited in the public rubbish dump near the headquarters. The general coordinator of COFADEH, Bertha Oliva, qualified the act as a pre-fabrication of evidence intending to strip the association of its legal personality.
In the Municipality of Ajuterique in the Comayagua department, 500 families that had taken possession of a piece of land seven years ago, which they named "Colonia 25th of October", were evicted violently by members of the police and army forces, accompanied by an executing judge. They destroyed the houses located in this place including the community school and church. Five people were arrested, Betuel Guillen (19), Edwin Guillen (18), Pedro Joel Hernández, Selvin Javier Centeno and Osmán Gómez (19).
In the South of the country
In Nacaome, capital of the Valle department, the police and army also launched a bloody repression throwing tear gas inside dwellings in which there were several children who were severely affected. A two month-old baby, Cristopher de Jesús Bonilla García, was taken to a medical centre suffering from asphyxiation after the parents were able to overcome the police officers who were preventing them from providing assistance to their baby, by throwing tear gases directly at them. The father, a youth of 17 years, had to jump over a wall and perform mouth to mouth resuscitation on the motionless baby whom he then placed in the arms of his grandfather, who in turn, on motorbike took the baby to a Doctor for medical assistance.
Also, the minors Mario de Jesús Sauceda (19) and José Raúl Mendoza Posadas (17) were also persecuted and arrested, the latter while he was buying food for his mother. The human rights defender Andrés Abelino Ortiz Ortega (74) was also detained for several minutes.
In the La Flor community of the Ampala Municipality in the Valle department, police officers who were travelling by motorboat, showed up in the community to intimidate its inhabitants, requiring that they inform whether they were involved with the Resistance protesting during the Civic Protest.
This is the report of events of just one day. However, the tendency is that as protests continue, the pattern of aggression exercised against the people, their human rights, will continue for "sedition and illegal protest".
The preceding days have been characterised by staggered institutional violence, for which reason it is logical to deduce that in the days to come, in addition to the combined police and army forces there will be undercover civilians armed in order to provoke the protesters to engage in confrontations which would result in massacres.
It is urgent that the world turn its attention once again to Honduras, now; tomorrow may be too late.
Never forget and never forgive, the wrongdoings and the wrongdoers.
Tegucigalpa, March 31st, 2011
DDHH en Honduras
|This document has been published on 04Apr11 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.|