The Death Squads Are Back: Article from El Libertador & My Commentary

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'While the corporate media repeat over and over the lies of 61% turnout in recent military-run elections - by now thoroughly contradicted even by the Honduran dictatorship's own numbers (which show well over half the electorate stayed home) - in Honduras resistance continues and repression is on the rise. The latest incident is eerily reminiscent of the acts of the famous 3-16 Batallion death squad that operated in Honduras in the 1980's, many of whose members are key leaders and advisers in the de facto government.'

By: El Libertador

Death squads have come back to do what they do. Sunday night a vehicle without plates took the lives of 5 people, all identified as members of the popular resistance against the dictatorship that was installed in the country 5 months ago.

The event occurred in sector 6 of the Villanueva neighbourhood of Tegucigalpa, where unknown men in a white vehicle without license plates opened fire without saying a word on the five now dead men who were near a traffic circle by the belt-line road.

According to one of the residents of the area, who for obvious reasons of security declined to give his name, "the boys (the victims) were active members of the Resistance. They had organized the committees in the Honduras and Víctor F Ardón neighbourhoods so that the neighbours could get involved in the Resistance Front."

The names of the deceased are: Isaac Coello, (24); Roger Reyes (22), Kenneth Rosa (23), Gabriel Parrales and Marco Vinicio Matute (39), while one woman, Wendy Reyes, was wounded and is receiving treatment at the medical school hospital.

Area residents said that in the hours prior to the bloody event, there was an agent of the National Criminal Investigation Directorate (DNIC) watching the area where the crime took place and who mysteriously left shortly before the killings.

José Luna, a sub-inspector of the Preventative Policía responded to questions about the killings by saying “Whenever there are murders, there are people who say the victims were good people." He added that the police are tracking those responsible for the massacre. So far, however, they have not been able to locate the vehicle described in the incident.

During the last few weeks, double cabin pick-ups with no plates have taken on the task of intimidating members of the Popular Resistance Against the Coup d'etat. Reporters of this publication have also complained of being followed and observed by vehicles with similar characteristics, and human rights organizations are also been aware of such anomalies.

My Comments on these tragic deaths:

The DNIC was at the crime scene investigating the death of the five youth that had been shot as crowds of Honduran stood around and watched. Occasionally, a family member could be heard crying out in agony.

Arriving at the wake of the three assassinated youth, family members asked us (a group of journalists and human rights investigators) to avoid filming faces and using names for fear of further repression - from who? ... Police, military or individuals from their communities.

One young woman survived the shootings but is unable to be located by human rights organizations who want to take her testimony, investigate, and ensure her safety. It is suspected that her family is trying to keep a low profile to avoid being targeted and monitored by police and military.

Since the June 28th coup, when murders and assassinations such as this one are reported to the news, one of the first questions asked is 'where they part of the resistance movement'?

As Honduras continues to be militarized, the state of fear that all are living in continues to deepen as it is becoming increasingly difficult to investigate the details of these deaths. Family members are too scared to come forward, denounce and allow documentation of their cases. In some instances, families have even asked human rights organizations not to publish any information about the death of their family member(s). This makes it extremely difficult for the human rights organizations to denounce these killings internationally and get the information out to the Honduran population.

Whether a victim of an assassination is part of the resistance movement or not, the effect on the population is the same. Fear.