HONDURAS - Victims of U.S./D.E.A. killings ignored
HONDURAN STATE DISCRIMINATES AGAINST VICTIMS OF THE D.E.A.
(Translated by PROAH)
The Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, COFADEH, expresses its total repudiation and extreme concern for the abandonment on the part of the state of Honduras, of the victims of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Honduran security agents' anti drug operation carried out on May 11, 2012 in the community of Paptalaya, Ahuas, Department of Gracias a Dios.
The attack was directed at unarmed people traveling on the Patuca River, impacting 16 families: four people dead including two pregnant women and a 14 year old boy; four wounded, one of whom is also a 14 year old boy; three homes searched; three victims of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and 10 children orphaned.
The operation was carried out by a multinational force, which according to the Honduran Minister of Defense Marlon Pascua, did not include members of the national Armed Forces, and resulted in a very high cost for the opulation of Ahuas and for Honduran society.
Cofadeh calls on the international Human Rights community and the democratic world, to take vigorous action to prevent the rights of the victims from being violated again.
The indifference and cowardliness of state authorities to confront the consequences of their actions outside of the law has resulted in the lack of adequate medical attention for the wounded and the criminalization of their family members for denouncing this.
The child *WILMER LUCAS WALTER (14)* and youth *LUCIO ADAN NELSON QUEEN (22)*, who were traveling in the boat that was fired on by the DEA and Honduran agents, have been hospitalized since May 11 in regional hospital centers and to date have not received the surgical attention required to treat their serious injuries.
Wilmer is at risk of losing his left hand due to negligence and lack of attention and Lucio is weakened by infection as he waits for orthopedic intervention in his right arm.
In the midst of the so called "war against drugs" the principal victims are the indigenous, Misquito villagers including children and women; the principal actor responsible for these serious actions is the State.
However the executive of the current regime, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, has not provided an official report on what happened on May 11, on the contrary he demonstrated ignorance of the events during a press conference at the Presidential headquarters on Friday, June 1 and made discriminatory comments against the Indigenous, Misquito population. Lobo not only cast doubt on what happened and the fatal results, but also insinuated in an irresponsible manner, that the attacked villagers were drug traffickers because they were on the Patuca River at early hours of the morning when this zone lacks public transport, its population travels by water at these hours to avoid the sun and lack bridges and roads in a territory abandoned by the State.
The United States, the second state involved, also evades responsibility. Lisa Kubiske, the U.S. Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, has declared that the DEA team acting in the Mosquitia did so in self defense and because it was their duty in the war against drugs. Even though neither her government nor Porfirio Lobo have carried out a serious and deep investigation into the events on May 11, she prejudged.
Ahuas is militarized, the population and its families are in pain and intimidated. The racism and discrimination towards the victims of May 11th is intentional and in this case clearly registers rejection on the part of the State towards indigenous peoples as a way to deny their capacity and rights which has resulted in social exclusion historically.
AS A RESULT, COFADEH CALLS ON THE INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL COMMUNITY TO:
* Demand that the State of Honduras take the necessary measures to protect and guarantee the lives of the survivors.
* Demand that *Wilmer Lucas Walter (14)* and the youth *Lucio Adan Nelson Queen* recieve swift and adequate treatment required in the State hospitals. Their case is very serious due to the level of invisibility; it requires political will to resolve it.
* Insist that both governments conduct impartial and exhaustive investigations into the acts of May 11, 2012 resulting in the sanction of those responsible; national, foreign, material and intellectual, according to the law as well as full reparation for damages.
* An expedited, efficient, independent and impartial investigation into the violation of the human rights of the people detained and especially regarding torture inflicted which should include:
Who was in charge of the operation?
What was the chain of command?
What were the guidelines for the Honduran and United States agents regarding use of force and in particular on the use of combat weapons?
Who gave the order to open fire and based on what criteria?
Remind the State of Honduras of its obligation to promote and uphold the respect for the rights and obligations contained in the international instruments it has ratified including first and second generation rights. In addition, the special rights of indigenous people.
PLEASE CONTACT THE HONDURAN OFFICIALS BELOW:
Porfirio Lobo Sosa
Tel (504) 2221-4558, 2221-4560, 2221-4562
Fax (504) 2290-5000, 2221-4545
Juan Orlando Hernández
Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés
Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia
Tel (504) 2269-3000 2269-3069 2269-3981
THE PENTAGON TARGETS HONDURAS
By Michael Kramer, May 31, 2012
A delegation of human rights activists from the U.S., organized by Rights Action and the Alliance for Global Justice, recently visited the site of the May 11 massacre of indigenous Moskito people in Honduras.
Four people were killed and others severely wounded while traveling in canoes on the Patuca River. The river is the only way of getting around in an area that has no roads. The victims - who had nothing to do with drug trafficking - were shot by helicopter fire during a joint U.S.-Honduran drug interdiction operation that was planned using counterinsurgency tactics developed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At a U.S. State Department press conference on May 17, the Obama administration admitted that members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST) were aboard the helicopters, that the helicopters were owned by the State Department, and that they were flown by Guatemalan military officers and "contract pilots."
The administration denied that the FAST unit fired any weapons. However, no matter who did the firing, it is inconceivable that the FAST hit-squad did not have ultimate command and control of this operation.
On May 22-23, the human rights delegation visited the remote community of Ahuas in the Moskitia region of Honduras, located on the Caribbean coast. In a press release the delegation reported that it "witnessed an atmosphere of terror being generated amongst dire poverty, in an area where the indigenous people are now losing control of natural resources." (May 27)
The press release adds, "Following the massacre, at least one helicopter landed and at least 10 tall, light-skinned English speakers with limited Spanish proficiency, wearing military-type uniforms, exited the helicopters. ... They aimed guns at, threatened to kill, and handcuffed residents of the town who had come to assist the wounded."
PENTAGON'S EXPANDING ROLE IN HONDURAS
This atrocity highlights the expanding role of the Pentagon in Honduras. FAST teams, headquartered at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va., and Kabul, Afghanistan, are a paramilitary arm of the Pentagon. They are able to move in and out of countries like Honduras with a low profile.
FAST members are mostly U.S. military veterans with Special Operations experience. The fact that FAST appears on an organizational chart of the U.S. Department of Justice means nothing - it is a semi-clandestine arm of the Pentagon.
The main U.S. military base in Honduras is at the Soto Cano Air Base, 60 miles from capital city Tegucigalpa. The U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, which flies Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters, is stationed there. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force's 612th Air Base Squadron maintains a C-5A Galaxy-capable, all-weather, day/night runway for potential large-scale deployments of ground troops. A number of smaller bases have recently been built in La Venta, Guanaja, Barra de Caratasca and Puerto Castilla for use by DEA/FAST.
As the liberation movement in Honduras gathers strength, experience, internal support and international solidarity, the U.S.-backed oligarchy and its figurehead, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, are in a panic. Lobo's reaction to the killings on the Patuca River was to call for more DEA/FAST support!
The drug war is a phony war with a lot of innocent people caught in the middle. The banks - which every year launder billions of dollars in drug profits - are almost never targeted. In Honduras the Pentagon's real target is the liberation movement, whose leading force is the National Front for Popular Resistance, which calls for a new Honduras based on justice for all working and oppressed peoples and freedom from imperialist control.
U.S. troops and DEA/FAST out of Honduras!
[Kramer, a member of Veterans for Peace, has traveled to Honduras on solidarity delegations organized by the International Action Center. Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]
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