HONDURAS - U.S. Government (D.E.A.) Kills At Least 4 Poor Campesinos in Airborne Attack on Alleged "Drug Traffickers"
- elHeraldo news article: DEAD IN THE MOSKITIA WERE NOT DRUG TRAFFICKERS, ACCORDING TO AUTHORITIES
- DefensoresEnLinea article: CONSEQUENCES OF THE MILITARY OCCUPATION
"It was with great indignation that I heard [director of the Honduran National Police] Commissioner José Ricardo Ramírez Del Cid say that the raid was a success because two drug traffickers died; in this attack it was humble citizens who died," (Honduran Congressman Wood Grawell Maylo)
The violence and repression continue unabated in Honduras since the June 2009 military coup that ousted the democratically elected government. This time, the violence was committed by the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Agency) of the U.S. government.
DEAD IN THE MOSKITIA WERE NOT DRUG TRAFFICKERS, ACCORDING TO AUTHORITIES
(Translated by Adrienne Pine, http://quotha.net/node/2240)
TEGUCIGALPA.- The four people who died and four wounded in the anti-drug raid were not drug traffickers, but rather were honest, humble citizens, stated the Congressman from Gracias a Dios, Wood Grawell Maylo; and the mayor of the town of Ahuas, Lucio Baquedano.
The attack occurred in the pre-dawn hours last Friday when a helicopter with Honduran and U.S. police opened fire against a boat in the Río Patuca, in the place known as Paplaya, believing they were drug traffickers.
This mishap killed Emerson Martínez and Chalo Brock Wood as well as the women Candelaria Tratt Nelson and Juana Banegas, both of whom were pregnant. The attack also wounded Hilda Lezama de Eulopio, Wilmer López, Lucio Adán and Melanio Eulopio.
According to the mayor of Ahuas, Lucio Baquedano, the vessel had departed in the pre-dawn hours of last Friday from Barra Patuca heading toward the town of Ahuas to drop off some divers.
Baquedano explained that the people in question on the return trip were passengers and when they were heading upstream in the Río Patuca they passed a motorboat of drug traffickers who were being pursued by helicopter by agents of the National Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States (DEA). "The drug traffickers' motorboat did not have lights on and the passenger boat did, so it was a visible target that the agents could shoot at from their helicopter," he stated.
He said that the drug traffickers abandoned their boat and fled in the direction of Barra Patuca. He stated that as a result of the incident, the furious residents burned down four houses because they believe that the authorities from Ahuas and from the Moskitia called in the helicopter. "These raids were carried out irresponsibly because supposedly the people participating in them are specialists who are going to act against drug traffickers and not against innocent people," added the mayor.
He asserted that they are extremely alarmed because they now live with the both threat of the anti-drug raids that kill innocent people, and the threat of the drug traffickers who want to operate freely. "We request that the case be seriously investigated, because four people died, including two pregnant women," stated Baquedano. For his part, Congressman Wood Grawell Maylo asserted that the police raids are lamentable because they were carried out irresponsibly.
"It was with great indignation that I heard [director of the National Police] Commissioner José Ricardo Ramírez Del Cid say that the raid was a success because two drug traffickers died; in this attack it was humble citizens who died," he said. The Congressman from Gracias a Dios presented a motion yesterday in the National Congress demanding that the facts be clarified, because now they want to make people think that the dead and injured people were drug traffickers, which the Congressman denied. The spokesperson for the Armed Forces, Jeremías Arévalo, stated that the military did not participate in the raid in the Moskitia, since it was a police raid.
According to the authorities, the Moskitia is one of the routes most used by drug traffickers to transport drugs because of the creeks and abundant rivers and streams in the region.
The Congressman presented a motion to the full session of Congress demanding that within 15 days, the Armed Forces, Police, and Public Ministry prepare a detailed report of what occurred in the raid.
TIEMPO requested a comment on the events from the U.S. Embassy via email and the press office stated that it would send the request to the appropriate office. By press time there had been no official communication.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE MILITARY OCCUPATION
(Translated by Sofia Jarrin)
Although we have not read the official reaction of the U.S. Embassy about the tragic military actions of the Drug Enforcement Agency in detriment of the civilian population of the municipality of Ahuas in La Mosquitia, we can draw three preliminary conclusions.
The first one is that the operation launched at night against suspected drug dealers early Friday, was led by U.S. military uniformed agents of the DEA. Mayor Baquedano from Ahuas and confirmed it, and Commissioner Ramirez del Cid, a former liaison between the US Embassy and Casamata, admitted it.
The second conclusion is, then, that a foreign army protected under the new hegemonic concept of the "war on drugs", legalized with reforms to the 1953 Military Treaty, violates our territorial sovereignty and kills civilians as if it was in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Syria.
Two pregnant women, two children and two adult males were killed by shots fired from helicopter gunships piloted by U.S. soldiers on a boat on River Patuca returning to their community. They were workers of a diving cottage industry.
The third conclusion drawn from the above is that the "failed state" of Honduras gave way to the foreign military occupation under the script of the "war against the drus cartels", similar to what has happened in the past eight years in Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala.
And this reality, from the perspective of a human rights organization, is unacceptable and reprehensible.
In a country under military occupation, as it occurred between 1979 and 1990, as part of the strategy of low intensity warfare against armed insurgencies in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, the main victims were civilians.
The so called Honduran authorities have the ethical and political duty to demand from the US Department of State an explanation and a public apology, and to punish those responsible for the Ahuas massacre.
To keep an act of terror covered up in the midst of media confusion was always a strategy of psychological warfare, a special chapter of state terrorism.
We should not accept this. We demand an official statement immediately!
NO MORE POLITICS AND BUSINESS AS USUAL
Rights Action asks North Americans to keep on, keep on, keep on sending copies of this information, and your own letters, to Canadian and American politicians (congress members, senators, members of parliament) and government officials (especially U.S. politicians and officials in this case) ... and to your local media.
Since the June 2009 military coup, that ousted the democratically elected government of President Zelaya in Honduras, the governments of the USA and Canada are the governments that have most supported and legitimized the post-coup, military-backed regime of Honduras. North American companies and investors have increased their business activities in Honduras since the coup. In no small part, this illegitimate, repressive regime remains in power due to its political, economic and military relations with the USA and Canada.
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- MARIA OTERO, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs; c/o Laura Pena, Assistant: PenaL@state.gov
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Rights Action (email@example.com)
U.S. citizens should write their elected politicians, and other government officials [see below], and demanding a full accounting of this brutal attack on poor campesinos, and full compensation and reparations for the families of the victims.
Despite living through the worst levels of violence and repression since the military regimes of the 1980s, the Honduran people, coordinated through the National Resistance Front, continue with their peaceful struggle to restore Honduras's democracy and to re-found the State and society. To support these efforts, see below.
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