Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Denounce the Human Rights Abuses in
WASHINGTON - June 30 - The situation in
violent when over 10,000 people gathered in the streets to protest the coup
Monday evening. Using tear gas, high-powered water and guns (it is still not
clear whether soldiers were armed with rubber bullets or otherwise) many people
were wounded and there has been one confirmed death in the capital,
Tegucigalpa . In the
capital, pro-coup marches are occurring, defended by the police and national
guard. As of Tuesday morning, the resistance movement to the coup is
gathering in Tegucigalpa ,
to determine how and where to take to the streets. Therefore, there is
anticipation of violence today, as soldiers are expected to react violently
today to protesters as they did yesterday.
Violence has also broken out outside of
Tegucigalpa . In the interior of the
country, especially in the state of Olancho, the military has been conducting
home invasions in order to capture and detain youth. Many youth have fled
to the mountains, and their whereabouts are unknown. The military is
violently disbursing pro-Zelaya marches, and many protesters are missing.
The local media is refusing to air any comments about the violence and human
rights abuses taking place in the country, insisting that nothing is
amiss. An international news crew from TeleSur was detained and beaten
while broadcasting the oppression of protesters by the military.
Yesterday in a meeting of the Rio
Group, President Zelaya reiterated that he is the only president of
Honduras , and
that he has not stepped down. He declared his plans to return to
Thursday, mostly likely accompanied by the Secretary-General of the
Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza. Argentine
president Cristina Fernandez also plans to accompany Zelaya on Thursday.
The coup in Honduras has
been unanimously condemned throughout the Western
Hemisphere , and has also been condemned by the United Nations and
European Union. Zelaya spoke on Tuesday in front of the United Nations.
Notably, two army battalions have refused orders from the coup
government. They are the Fourth Infantry Battalion in the city of
Tela and the Tenth Infantry Battalion in La Ceiba (the
second largest city in Honduras ),
both located in the state of Atlantida.
The coup leaders include several well-known human rights abusers, such as
the retired Captain Billy Fernando Joya Amendola, who was a member of the
CIA-trained 3-16 batallion from 1984-91, one of the most notorious battalions
noted for human rights abuses during that time.. Bertha Olivar, of COFADEH,
calls the coup advisers a line-up of the "Galley of Terror".
Furthermore, two coup leaders, Air Force Commander General Luis Javier Prince
Suazo and Army General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, were trained at the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC, Formerly known as the
School of the Americas--SOA), a US army school located in Fort Benning, GA,
whose graduates have been linked to some of the largest human rights atrocities
in Latin America's history.
COFADEH (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos y Desaparecidos en Honduras or
the Honduran Committee of Families of the Disappeared or Detained), a leading
Human Rights group in Honduras, has gone hospital to hospital attempting to
document the cases of violence and human rights abuses. They are conducting
this documentation work because the national Human Rights Commission, headed by
Ramon Custodio and the Fiscal (Attorney General), Sandra Ponce, have thus far
refused to document and denounce human rights abuses since the coup began
Monday morning and are fully supporting the coup government.
One of the first moves of the the army and de facto government was to cut
electricity and telephone lines throughout most of the country. Later Monday
two television channels were re-established, both of which maintained that
Zelaya had voluntary resigned, the change of power was constitutionally
legitimate and that the new President had the support of the majority of the
Honduran people. Through TeleSur, a transnational South American television
news station, the public in South America has been able to see on the ground
footage of protests in Honduras
as well as streamed footage from the Honduran pro-coup news stations. Hondurans
within their country are much less informed than larger Latin
America because the coup government has been able to stop TeleSur
from broadcasting. Information is arriving to Honduran people about the
whereabouts of President Manuel Zelaya and the vast international support he
has by way of people from outside
Honduras calling to cell phones of
friends and family inside who are inside the country. The biggest issues now
are human rights abuses inside the country.