Part 3: Honduras Coup Repeat Update 15 December 2017 to 31 December 2017
Throughout, people are blocking highways everywhere, burning tyres and stopping vehicles from passing through, with the intention of paralysing the economy and Honduran production until the JOH dictatorship regime collapses.
15 December 2017
This is especially so on major days of action like this one. It is said that on this date, starting at 6am, there were 95 barricades all around this rather small country on this coordinated day to stop it all. All barricades were repressed by the military. Of these, 7 barricades were repressed with live gunshots, 9 people were wounded by these gunshots, and 10 people had been arrested.
15 de diciembre
At the Guacamaya neighbourhood, Dos Caminos, Villanueva, Cortés, (19th person killed by the regime in this fraud) David Octavio Quiroz, aged 32, was participating in the blockade protesting the fraud of JOH when the military fired gunshots at the protesters. People ran fleeing gunshots at the military. David didn’t escape being shot, a gunshot went in his left arm and went diagonally through his body, inside and through his chest. He was taken to hospital but him, his family and visitors were constantly harassed by soldiers who stayed beside his hospital bed the whole time taking photos and videos against those who visited him – some of these being protest participants. It was in the midnight hours the next day that he died, his heart had stopped as a result of the gunshot wound. The hospital Mario Catarino Rivas had minimal resources because of the corruption of the JOH regime. David was a humble, responsible person, he worked as a welder and was a church leader. He was one of millions of Hondurans sick of the corruption and of the governing delinquent politicians.
david octavio quiroz
At the blockade where David Octavio Quiroz was killed, at Dos Caminos, where the repression started with teargases and ended with bullets, at least eight people were wounded altogether – 3 more by gunshots and others by rocks. Those also gunshot wounded are Denis Josué Reyes (34), José Cruz Orellana López (56) and Héctor Hernández (32) – the last one was taken to hospital with David. It was one of those protest where afterwards, protesters picked up bullets around the streets to keep as evidence that soldiers were using gunshots against people.
Another place where the repression was especially brutal this night with gunshots and gases around the midnight hours was Río Blanco, in San Pedro Sula. (The 20th person killed by the regime in this fraud) Brayan Noé Mejía Gonzales, aged 26, was at this blockade, when he was killed by the military.
Other places where in the midnight hours there was very brutal repression with gunshots and gases were in Fesitranh and Juan Ramón Molina in San Pedro Sula. But many other parts of the country too.
At a barricade of a highway that links La Esperanza Intibucá to Siguatepeque, people were attacked with rocks, teargas, batons and were being chased by soldiers. To escape the persecution, people had to run into the mountains and go into hiding. For a time, nobody had seen or heard from or knows what happened to Berta Zúniga Cáceres or Salvador Zúniga, who went into hiding after being chased for a long stretch by soldiers. Berta Zúniga Cáceres is the daughter of Berta Cáceres, the well known indigenous, environmentalist, anticapitalist and feminist activist who was assassinated in March 2016, Berta the daughter had assumed her mother’s struggle and position as the coordinator of the indigenous organisation Copinh. Salvador is her dad and her mum’s ex partner and is also an indigenous leader.
In San Marcos, Ocotepeque, the authorities cut off the electricity at 6.30pm to carry out the violent eviction. Without any warning they turned up and attacked. They shot 3 teargas bombs inside a shop. People wounded and hospitalised there were: Pablo Fuentes, Angel Omar Mejía, and people gravely wounded were Buenaventura Gavarrete, José Alfredo Maldonado, and Wili Merari Serrano.
At the Jerusalén neighbourhood in La Lima, security forces repressed people, and people fled and responded throwing stones.
In Nacaome, Valle, soldiers entered homes of some protesters to try to arrest people from their homes. But people were brave and defended one another and resisted. Frustrated, police and soldiers reacted by launching teargas bombs at the homes.
In El Progreso Yoro, after taking the Los Castaños bridge, people were evicted, beaten and chased by soldiers – they captured and beat Oscar Fabricio, a youth of the Libre opposition political party.
Each thing that happened carried with it the things that happened before. At 6am, tyres were already on fire and sticks, cement bases and whatever else they could find to block the road were at the 23 de febrero neighbourhood. While the press ignored a youth who approached them speaking up about what happened there three days before, the press was busy ignoring him and covering the ‘heroic work’ that the police and soldiers were doing repressing people and removing obstacles people place on the road. What did happen three days before? 9.30pm at night people were making noise protest with cacerol dishes out on the street as another action calling on the JOH dictatorship to get out, when a group of soldiers suddenly arrived and began shooting at people who were making sounds with cacerole dishes. People then fled into their and their neighbours’ homes for refuge and soldiers continued to attack with gunshots. One home, but not the only one, had bullets hitting the door, the floor and a fan in the living room, in this tiny house that has only one bedroom and had two little girls sleeping in the living room. The little girls screamed when they heard the gunshot, yelling, papi! Mami! What is happening? Their parents ran to save and hug the children and put them in the room, while the pet animal remained in the living room hiding under a furniture to protect itself. The children live with this trauma forever having almost been killed by soldiers. The youth told the press, ‘this looks hard, but if people don’t protest, they won’t let live on the streets, and then we will live under a dictatorship for the rest of our lives.’
At another neighbourhood, 21 de febrero in Tegucigalpa, it was about 11am, the barricade there suffered heavy gassing from some 46 police agents who were there repressing. Glendy Gisell Montoya Aguilar (19) and Freddy Varela ran desperately to flee but they were being chased and ran into a dead end road, so they got caught. The police having caught them starting beating them, they beat the forearm of Glendy and pulled her by the hair and asked her if she was paid to be there, she said no, that it was their free choice to protest for their rights. Against Freddy they beat him all over until he fainted and then dragged him onto the police patrol. The two were arrested and taken to the Belén 4th police station and charged with ‘scandal on a public road’. Human rights organisation Cofadeh came to accompany these and they were finally released at 5pm.
Overall in Tegucigalpa there were many blockades to start with, but as the day developed people concentrated on three important and crucial points of their geography in this city. One of these places was El Carrizal, in which after some teargas bombs from the army side, an army truck was set on fire, after which, immediate repression followed. Soldiers accused protesters of setting the army truck on fire with a molotov bomb. Protesters said, no, it was the teargas bombs that had set it on fire. As they argued, soldiers proceeded to arrest the youths Jorge Luís Sánchez and Mario Josué Anduray. The latter was not even participating in the protest, he was just passing through going to work, with a packed lunch in his backpack. It’s never very clear who is behind such attacks on army and business structures – are they people putting these on fire in rage fearlessly because of the killings and plunder that the army carries out and conserves? Or is it the army doing it themselves to present a story and convince people they need to act with the gunshots, teargas bombs, beatings, and arrests that they do? There is photographic and witness based evidence around for example that the state security forces transport people around who carry out the looting of shops.
The other hotspots in Tegucigalpa were Villanueva and Santa Rosa. In Villanueva people resisted military repression, defending and attacking with rocks to resist and continue barricading. In Santa Rosa people received gunshots from soldiers but luckily nobody was wounded or killed there. Some barricades held ground from 6am to midday.
16 December 2017
In the 10 de enero neighbourhood in Brisas del Valle, Cofradía, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, (21th person killed by the fraud regime) Delmer Josué Medina, aged 28, was travelling in a pickup trailer when soldiers fired shots at him from their vehicles. One gunshot hit his face at the top of his nose, another in one of his legs. The people around him tried to get him medical attention, but because of shameless military intervention, they couldn’t and Delmer died. Delmer has been participating in the resistance protests.
At San Juan Pueblo, Atlántida, late at night, soldiers brutally evicted the barricade with teargas, and then as people ran to shelter in their homes, soldiers shot teargas into the homes, forcing people to then flee their homes and then chased and arrested several of those who did run outside.
TIGREs elite police unit was seen at the southern exit of Tegucigalpa repressing a barricade there. The TIGRE agents were armed with heavily weapons, teargas canisters hanging from their chest, and fire extinguishers. They are a US trained and funded police unit that was created in the name of fighting drug trafficking and organised crime, so people questioned, what are they doing there repressing protesters already repressed and beaten?
17 December 2017
In Choluteca, (22nd person killed by the fraud regime) Jarol Uriel Garcia (36), was killed. No further details are known about this killing, but we know this night in the midnight hours in Choluteca, there was repression against the protests against the fraud. Soldiers threatened people with being ‘taken off the streets’. Military police captured about 20 youths who were protesting. Some time later, some of the arrestees had been released and had gone home since, but the whereabouts of some others were then unknown. The media was blowing the protesters’ action out of proportion there – protesters burnt a tyre, and the press said protesters set a media channel on fire and burnt it down. The protest barricaded a highway that goes from the city of San Marcos de Colón to the border with Nicaragua at El Espino.
At 11pm near the Lomas del Norte neighbourhood, an 11 year old girl told her dad José Luís Borjas Lagos (41) that she felt like a soft drink so he agreed to go out looking for one with her. The only place open with soft drinks for sale in this hour was a local chicken shop so they went there. There were three youths hanging at the shop: Brayan Josué Oseguera Flores (18), Jacqueline Vanessa Flores Flores (22), and Gerson Alexander Flores Valle (25). Military police suddenly turned up at the shop and started their harrassment by asking the young people to remove the rocks that were left there by protesters – they obeyed – but the military police proceeded to search all five people there and arrested all five including the 11 year old girl arbitrarily accusing them of ‘extorsion’. They were not freed until 4pm the next day. From the time of arrest, police drove all around the capital city to display to everyone their arrests, and insulted and beat people including hitting one youth in the face. They spent 4 hours trying to placate the 11 year old in this terrorising situation. They were then held in the cells of CORE 7 until release.
Another known case is of Alejandra Saravía. Her family, mum and especially her aunt were attacked by staff of the regime – around 20 gunshots were fired at their home, guns were pointed directly at the mum and aunt. She placed this complaint on facebook and had intentions on placing formal complaints at the authorities the next day. She said if anything happens to her or her family, this regime is responsible.
18 December 2017
18 and 19 December 2017 were intense days of protest and repression, because on the 18th, the public official Gazette published JOH as the winner of the election, and on the 19th, JOH himself went out to the press to announce himself as the president re-elect.
As confrontation heightened between protesters and military police at the highway intersection barricade at the Felipe Zelaya neighbourhood in San Pedro Sula, Cortés, military police fired a gunshot into the head of (23rd person killed by the fraud regime) Cristian Fernando Hernández Yánez (24) and it was not long before he died. People around him tried to help him. Someone next to him was heard begging, ‘you can’t die, I’m your mate! Your can’t die, ..your daughter! Old man…’ The military police that killed Cristian was under the command of Coronel Oscar Reyes Paz, who in turn is under the command of JOH.
cristian fernando 2017
At the same site, which is also in front of the factory gates of Lear Factory, a white van coming through had three men come out of it and fire shots at protesters wounding a child and a pregnant woman. These three men shot repeatedly at protesters wounding several of these, and were seen later entering the Lear Factory using the same van – white Ford Escape, without realising people were observing this. The three man are identified as two other security guards of International Security Sistems company led by the parliamentarian elect Bernardo Enrique Yllescas of Alianza Patriótica party of Romeo Vásquez in Cortés, who also owns the company International Security Sistems. The security company is contracted by Lear.
The barricade near the Garífuna community Sambo Creek was violently evicted by military police using teargas, following where over 50 military police agents invaded the Sambo Creek community firing live gunshots, wounding one garífuna youth. They broke the homes to get in, and chased people without caring if someone was too old or too young to be attacked.
In Villanueva there was news going around that a six months old baby died from teargases, that the mother was carrying the baby in their arms and that they were coming from los Pinos. We don’t know if it happened for sure or not but many assassinations do happen that don’t make it into being public knowledge.
In El Hato de Enmedio, there were gunshots fired by security forces against protesters in the midnight hours. Similarly, in El Pino and in Atlántida, people had been wounded. On the eastern exit of Tegucigalpa, protests were repressed with teargas bombs, there were children choking and suffocating from the teargas.
As the broad-scale direct action of barricades everywhere was being felt, four airlines announced the cancellation of flights that day.
An anonymous testimony came out from technical staff who worked on the system for processing election results. They admitted being ordered to put a stop on the system. At the time they thought it was strange but followed the order. Subsequently they were ordered to stop updating the database and to manipulate the votes so that votes in favour of JOH suddenly and steadily increase. They were ordered, to do it, or they or their relatives would be killed, and so they carried out this order.
An anonymous youth had for participating in protests against the dictatorship received multiple death threats by hooded military police. One time he was leaving work and two soldiers stopped him. The soldiers were on a motorcycle marked ‘PM’ (stands for military police) but had no numberplate on it. They said to him, ‘son of a bitch, don’t go around on strikes, because we are going to fuck you up.’ Days before he already did notice being followed, but he ignored it. Each time he was threatened, he knew that the threats were made by the same people despite their faces being always covered, because he recognised the shape of their bodies and their way of talking. Like him, there are many others at risk of losing their lives at the hands of military and police agents.
19 december 2017
On 7 Avenida, Comayaguela, Francisco Morazán, (24th person killed by the fraud regime) Juan Carlos Flores Silva (26) was passing through the market area doing errands when he was hit by a bullet and died – soldiers were there ‘intervening’ in a case of shops being looted. Juan Carlos was a Liberal Party activist. He died in hospital
In the López Arellano neighbourhood in Choloma, Cortés, (25th person killed by the fraud regime) Katerine Nicole Bonilla (14) was participating in the road blockade at her neighbourhood when military police fired gunshots that killed her. There is a video of other youths there carrying her body. Her family is enraged. Katerine’s mother is a humble woman who worked as a school cleaner at a local public school.
At Río Blanco Zapotal, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, (26th person killed by the fraud regime) Marlón Evelyn Mendoza Herrera (24) was travelling through the site of the blockade there when he was persecuted and shot many times with gunshots, and died. A doctor on the scene was also wounded. This is a blockade on which on the previous day people were playing football at the blockade.
In Villanueva, Cortés, people tried to occupy the police station, and police fired shots against seven people. There was a callout to help with transport.
In Villanueva, Tegucigalpa, a woman was hurt and detained. People were calling out ambulance but a cop had her under custody.
At the eastern exit of Tegucigalpa – teargas bombs were launched. People were worried about little ones affected by the gases.
On the other side of a Honduras/El Salvador border at El Poy, people of the Movimiento Popular de Resistencia – 12 de Octubre (MPR-12) blocked the passage for 3 hours in solidarity with the Honduran people against the JOH fraud imposition. Many Honduras approached to express their gratefulness for the gesture and to also protest and chant together in an act without borders. Honduran soldiers and police on the other hand didn’t dare cross the borderline with all the rocks thrown in their direction, but Honduran security forces did launch teargas across the border at them.
In Cofradía, Cortés, soldiers were attacking people inside their own homes.
For the suspected burning of the military truck back on 15.12.17 in El Carrizal, Tegucigalpa, the Honduran state suddenly issued a capture order against Eduardo Enrique Urbina Ayala – but human rights organisation Cofadeh refuted any possibility of his involvement because he had come to Cofadeh on 10.12.17 to report on the persecution he was suffering related to his student activism at UNAH, and was advised to exile and put on an international bus the same day to flee from Honduras because of the level of danger he was in.
At the 105 Brigade of San Pedro Sula, there was an emergency meeting involving JOH and Chambers of Industries of Cortés, in which the resolution was to repress protesters at all costs, and orders were given then and there to assassinate.
20 December 2017
In Choluteca, soldiers were firing live gunshots at protesters. A protester was filming this for a minute when the soldier saw them doing that and went to knock over the camera and attack the cameraperson. There is also video footage from this date showing soldiers firing gunshots at protesters in Río Blanco, San Pedro Sula. And there were photos going around showing police transport, let off and pick up people who loot the shops, who are infiltrators.
In the Centroamerica Oeste neighbourhood, Fernando Madrid and Bryan Gutiérrez were arrested.
In Comayagua, security forces attacked protests with teargas, hurting a woman and child.
21 December 2017
At the Cuyamel River at Sambo Creek, Garífuna community leader Luís Enrique Garcia, an ex-president of the neighbourhood and member of Libre party, was at 8pm attempted against.
22 December 2017
FUSINA security force not only assassinates people, but it charges people, and was from this date offering money in exchange for information about protesters, playing on the hunger that the same government had generated in people.
23 December 2017
Amidst all this judicial persecution with invented charges, a couple more people were charged, Johnny Andrés Salgado Fuentes, charged with ‘undue use of police uniform’, and Gustavo Adolfo Cáceres Amaya, charged with carrying explosives of material of war or of combat. Hearings began 27 December 2017.
24 December 2017
In Peña Blanca, Cortés, (27th person killed by this fraud regime) Walter Daniel Lemus Ramirez (38) was at his road stall stand close to his home selling merchandise and listening to music of the Libre party this Christmas Eve and had resolved to not head home until he had sold all the produce, when at 8pm, two people on a motorcycle shot at him without saying anything. As Walter realised that he was wounded he ran to his home to ask his partner, Nely del Carmen Gómez, for help. Seeing what had happened to her partner, she ran out onto the street to scream for help – it was frightening especially because the street was very quiet and no cars or taxies were passing. Within minutes though, someone did pass in a van and reversed to answer her call for help and take Walter to the clinic. Having been given the lift, he was able to walk into the hospital. Nely pleaded for the doctors to not let him die, to please do something, but Walter told her, ‘leave it, it’s in the hands of the doctors now.´ It seemed that they did restrain from treating him and let him die. He was admitted in the Santa Cecilia clinic with a gunshot on the right side of the body, and died hours after being admitted. Nely had to leave the home as it was too painful to live with the memories that the house is associated with, and of the promises left hanging, with the blood of her partner spilled about there – there was a trail from the stall stand to the house of his blood. She was annoyed at him for putting on Libre music when it was Christmas, something that would have made him a target. That and his Libre flags – he had one in the workshop and another on the motorbike he rode. Nely went to the workshop the next day and saw footprints of someone having had been there, who must have pulled the flag from its place because it appeared to have been thrown onto the ground. Walter leaves behind his partner, a 13 year old daughter and a 6 year old son.
This ‘boxing day’ was a day of ‘casual assassinations’, casual, in that they did obviously happen in relation to the protests, but they were not so openly blatant as people in uniforms having fired the shots in plain view.
In the Toronjal neighbourhood in La Ceiba, Atlántida, (28th person killed by this fraud regime) Julio Alexander Funez Rodriguez (22) was on his motorcycle on the highway, where there are some blockades against JOH, when an unidentified person (according to La Prensa) riding a motorcycle fired gunshots at him and killed him. Julio was a law student.
julio alexander funez
At Jesús de Otoro, Intibucá, at 4pm, (29th and 30th persons killed by this fraud regime) Héctor Napoleón Guevara (30) , known by his friends as ‘Teto’ and another youth with him – name unreported, who had both participated at the antifraud protests locally, were riding together on a motorcycle on his way to ‘Vega del Perico’ where he goes everyday to look after cattle, when both were shot at. Their bodies were found with gunshot wounds (Héctor had one in the head), as well as stab wounds in the neck and face. Héctor’s friends said he was someone who was very loving, a good friend, a good dad, and a dedicated uni student. At age 30, he worked with cattle and had always identified with the social struggles within his community. He was involved in the highway blockades against the fraud that the community had self organised.
It was also informed that at Aldea Los Naranjos, in Santa Cruz de Yojoa, the compa – name unpublished – (31st person killed by this fraud regime) who organised the blockades in the area was similarly ‘casually assassinated’.
27 December 2017
On both 26 and 27 December 2017, there were many cases of raids against homes in the municipality of Pimienta in the province of Cortés – from these raids, 14 people had been arrested and accused of various crimes. From these, 11 were sent to prison, while 3 were given bail. Another raid was in El Progreso, Yoro, where 5 were arrested and accused of robbery, damages, and starting a fire. The right wing newspaper, La Tribuna published a headline article entitled ‘Torturers of police, burners of police stations, also fallen there are looters of shops’, criminalising and smearing names of protesters and trying to make people think they ‘deserved’ to be arrested.
28 December 2017
Another raid by a heavy police contingent was reported to have occurred in the morning hours in the neighbourhood ‘Victor F. Ardón’. They invaded a home in the name of searching for ‘burnt tyres’ and grabbed three youths. They handcuffed these, and afterwards, simply said it turned out that they got the wrong neighbourhood and home, let these go and left without any apologies or explanations. The police go around in this neighbourhood asking for information about people who ‘burn tyres’, like police have done in many other neighbourhoods.
Elsewhere, police chased people who, outraged by the regime’s killing of 3 minors, had set on fire a police station – it is also said that police captured suspects as well suspected of having captured and stripped naked police that were repressing people.
Having been widely accused of assassinations in these dates, military police went out on missions to buy people back by bringing a truckload of nacatamales and coffee onto the street – traditional christmas food in Honduras. They had people line up and receive food from them in two neighbourhoods in Tegucigalpa; one near the university hospital and another a crematorium.
29 December 2017
Persecution with captures and intentions to capture continued:
Kevin Cubas (student), Poleth Cubas (student) and two other youths were captured.
In Gualala, Santa Bárbara, three youths of 3 different communities there were being persecuted by plain clothes soldiers and hooded persons for having protested against the fraud on 15 December 2017. Without any judicial order, these agents wanted to invade their homes. On the desk of the secretary of the National Congress there is a list of people to be captured in the following days that includes the coordinator of MAS social movement and human rights defender in Santa Bárbara.
And, the JOH regime just fired 135 Cobra cops for participating in the strike against the repression and for better salaries.
30 December 2017
A new judge in the southern region, Iris Amanda Hernández, who had only arrived in the region just before the 26 November 2017 election, and who is constantly protected by a contingent of military and navy force, on this date issued eviction notices on fifteen families who have lived for over 30 years on different beaches on the Exposición Island that is within Zacate Grande Amapala, Valle. This is for tourism development, she stated, and that people had to vacate by end of January. People put two and two together and knew by ‘tourism development’, she meant ‘model cities’. People are being displaced, and the island is being handed over to the Suazo Tomé family. Families in other parts of Zacate Grande, an area where families have been defending the territory for decades against dispossession by the ultra rich and by mega projects, they know it is only a matter of time until all of Zacate Grande would be evicted. People are having assemblies and organising to defend their territory.
31 December 2017
The 11 arrestees were officially made political prisoners, as a further hearing was had this date, and the judge had decided to imprison these. Ultimately, for participating in anti-fraud protests.
On these days…
As well as insurrectionary direct action blocking major highways of the country and spectacularly setting tyres on fire, people have organised collections of food items for families of assassinated and wounded people fighting the fraud for christmas. Different neighbourhoods have organised curfew concerts to gather outside and play and listen to protest music and sing and dance in defiance of the curfews. There was a national cacerolazo (noise protest involving the banging of cacerole dishes), at midnight of Christmas. There was a campaign publicising JOH’s different personal and less personal phone numbers for people to call from public phones to ‘congratulate him on winning the election’. And, to say goodbye to the old year, people from many different parts of Honduras made giant puppets of JOH and burnt these as they counted the seconds to the new year.
And an update about disappearance the disappearance of Manuel de Jesús Bautista on 3 December 2017
Previously, it was published here that
Manuel de Jesús Bautista (22) was last seen detained with two comrades by military agents. They were captured after participating in a highway barricade. He is from Naco, Cortés. Manuel is disappeared.
…Manuel continues to be disappeared and his brother and family are in pain not knowing what had happened to him, without any closure as to if he is dead or alive. When Manuel and 3 other youths were arrested they were captured for being out and about ‘in violation of the curfew’. They were all very brutally beaten and were not allowed to speak. They had teargas sprayed in their faces. One of the people Manuel was arrested with was a relative of his, so they know he was beaten at least almost to death. When the others had been released at first they were so traumatised they were not able to articulate anything. It was the next day that they spoke about the beating, and how they couldn’t see much because their faces were so full of blood. One said he saw the soldiers shoot at Manuel from a car and took away his body. Manuel’s family had in pain gone around looking for him in registries of police stations, morgues, hospitals, clinics, military buildings, but he is not registered anywhere, and military police also did not confirm having arrested and held him.