Part 4: Honduras Coup Repeat Update 1-15 January 2018
Some backdated news that appeared later first:
Back on 1 December 2017, at the López Arellano neighbourhood barricade in Choloma Cortés where several people were assassinated in the state repression, Escarleth Potter (23) was inside her home when she heard the gunshots, in response to which she and her dad ran to the gate to close it. They had not imagined that the military police was at their gate already pointing the gun at them. A military police rudely asked her, 'is it true that you were at the protest, daughter of a bitch?' and without more words the military police fired four shots at the body of Escarleth. She was taken to the plundered IHSS hospital, where even six days later she had not received any medical attention. She has several bones destroyed by the gunshots.
On 13 December 2017, Movimiento Independiente Lenca de la Paz Honduras Subcoordinator Martín Gómez Vásque had only just returned to Honduras the day before after him and another comrade having been invited to Europe by Amnesty International to receive an award in recognition for their human rights defence work, when his brother Enrique Gómez Vásquez (42) and niece Reina de la Paz (4) suddenly vomited and died an hour after eating chicken and tortilla. They must have been poisoned, but the authorities have not investigated or given any statements. Martín is traumatised as is the family. He knows it is probably because he spoke up in Europe against Honduran politicians, mayors, parliamentarians, police and nationalist activists and JOH that someone must have done that, while still completely shocked and traumatised that somebody could have done that. Enrique, known as Quique was a dad to five children including Reina de la Paz. The partner is now left to care for the remaining four (aged between 2 and 10) by herself. The family lives in extreme poverty, and they are kept in the dark as to what had happened.
On 16 December 2017, Diego Daniel Aguilar of Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y Justicia (MADJ) was present as a human rights defender at a barricade at the height of Agua Tibia in la Masica when he was brutally beaten and tortured by repressive security forces. Also, during December, the homes and shops of MADJ members Silvia Flores Chacón and Oscar Alexi Guillen were raided illegally in Arizona, Atlántida.
On 20 December 2017, lawyer Priscila Alvarado who defends people arrested for protesting the fraud regime had her office raided.
On 27 December 2017, singer songwriter Nilo Espinal put on facebook that their concerts are being cancelled on them because they protest against the JOH regime.
On 28 December 2017. JOH rejected Organisation of American States' request to send a human rights representative to investigate the human rights situation and generally rejected other such requests.
Since 29 December 2017, Carlos Díaz Avila Zelaya, better known as Ingrid, aged 52, has been disappeared. Ingrid was last seen in an action against the dictatorship in the city centre near the Finlay park. She is a stallholder with 2 stall spots in the market near the Carias bridge. She lives in Tegucigalpa, and is from Sabanagrande. Her friends have looked for her in hospitals, morgues, detention centres, and have gone to different organisations, and have not found any signs of her.
1-15 January 2018
1 January 2018
Sometimes between 8am and 8.30am this new year's day, (32nd person killed by the JOH regime) Wilmer Paredes was riding to his mum's home on motorcycle when he was intercepted just one block from arriving. Wilmer was shot at 13 times by killers in a grey van. Wilmer was a local youth who thoroughly impressed everyone at the local barricade with his bravery. This remarkable strength of his was unfortunately not unnoticed by nationalists who were at barricades taking photos of people and profiling them for targeting. It is known that the state had a list of the youths who are leaders in the barricades in San Juan Pueblo. Others who know they are on this list fear for their lives – more so now that Wilmer had been killed. Wilmer ended up afraid too, but there had been times like a recent time at a barricade, which had people telling a story about him over and over again about his strength. What happened was, Wilmer and others confronted a police who was trying illegally to make someone pay him, and they ended up dispossessing the police of his rifle and handcuffs, handcuffing this police and taking him to the police station handcuffed. Before Wilmer's assassination, Wilmer and others have been persecuted and attacked for their protests against the JOH dictatorship regime – on 7 December 2017 Wilmer and others were captured and attacked by military police during an eviction against a barricade at San Pedro Sula – they were brutally beaten. Again, on 16 December 2017, Wilmer was barricading with 200 others, mostly young ones but all ages, when he was repressed together with 9 other youths. In front of everyone, they were yelled at, beaten, given tazer shocks, and pointed at with guns. They were yelled at, 'where is your united people? Get them together fast, to make tortillas, they'd be super chilled out in their homes. Here we don't want any trouble, slackers.' As the agents yelled they filmed with their mobile phones. This beating, kicking, spitting, throwing sand in their eyes hair and body went for about one and a half hours. From this violence, Wilmer was bedridden for 3 days. After this, Wilmer expressed publicly that he was in fear for his life, and had stopped showing up at protests. He was constantly followed by death squad vehicles. On 29 December 2017 Wilmer sought out support from MADJ coordinator Martín Fernández to help reach out to institutions for protection. They contacted the police contact of the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) that MADJ was given for negotiating their protection measures. The police was dismissive and denied that police was involved in persecuting protesters and said he would take down reports but offered no support. They contacted the National Protection Mechanism lawyer Laura Rivera who said there is no order from IACHR to protect Wilmer Paredes so refused to help prevent Wilmer's subsequent assassination. When Wilmer's mum Adriana heard the gunshots outside, she wondered who was killed that new year's day. It destroyed her to hear people scream it was her son. She touched his body still warm, but he had died.
Some of the first political prisoners for protesting this electoral fraud and dictatorship began on this day – eleven have been arrested accused of stripping naked and beating up three police agents in Pimienta, Cortés, who participated in repressing people. The authorities arbitrarily had the arrestees' heads' shaved against their will under custody. There is no evidence that justified their capture for this crime. They are mostly youths and had been in custody for days and were forced to go without food for days. They are charged with aggravated damages, setting on fire, other ravages and aggravated attempt against police agents. The media headlines smear them. Their names are: José Orlando Santos Ordóñez, Daniel Eduardo Santos Ordóñez, Roque Jacinto Alvarenga Corea, Lourdes Johana Gómez Núñez, Wilfredo Cáceres Sagastume, Jonathan Ricardo Perla López, Maynor Ariel Reyes Mejía, Santos Ramón Paredes Quiroz, Francisco Miguel Gómez Martínez, Melvin Mauricio Chávez Pérez and Edwin Nahún Amaya Sánchez.
3 January 2018
In the neighbourhoods El Hato, Villanueva, and El Pedregal, military police went out at night to intimidate people carrying lists of protesters.
4 January 2018
In the El Hato neighbourhood, in the earliest of hours, several military trucks have been on the highway next to the neighbourhood. In the night the soldiers abused the neighbours there, out of frustration, because El Hato has one of the strongest protest bases in the city. The soldiers invaded the homes and intimidated youths - and they also did the same in El Pedregal and Oscar Castro. People did not know if there were arrests this night.
In Choluteca, from early in the day, dozens of military police have been threatening protesters and have been repressing people at barricades, to the extent of using live gunshots against protesters and ignoring people's screams to not to fire shots at them. The military police was under the command of Héctor Espinal, who ordered the agents to use gunshots against people. They chased and arrested people throughout the day. Five people including one minor have been arrested and charged with 'attempt'. They included Obeth Isai Tercero Santos, Jesús Fernando Portillo Osorto, Ramón Alexis Amaya Aguirre, and Carlos Alfredo Trejo Ordoñez. All were covered in bruises and wounds. One arrestee had a forearm fractured from state violence. He asked to be taken to hospital but was ignored – so he was detained without medical attention. They were later released on bail under the pressure of lawyers. The cameraperson Kevin Castillo of Televida tried to cover the repression and arrests, but soldiers beat him in the hands with batons and in the back and stomach, forcing him to lose hold of the camera, which they threw to the ground and broke it like they hated it. If his head wasn't covered by a motorcycle helmet, he was sure they would nave beaten him in the head too. Two of his colleagues were also beaten. The barricades and repression continued into the early hours of the next day.
5 January 2018
People in many different barricades around the country report that there are lists going around of leaders who participate in the protests. Also, police walk around with paper and pen in hand, writing down numberplates of motorcycles and cars parked at protest actions.
From 8pm hooded military police that arrived in a black pick up truck went onto repressing the neighbourhoods El Sitio and Santa Maria. They arrived to each block arresting people, searching them and barking like dogs. They forced people to get out of their cars. They held a checkpoint until almost midnight.
6 January 2018
At least 3 buses of people from Santa Bárbara going to protest in San Pedro Sula were stopped by a military police checkpoint on their way. They were stopped for a tense while.
At 10.15pm, some youths protesting at the highway that encircles Tegucigalpa were arrested.
8 January 2018
In Montefresco neighbourhood in San Pedro Sula, (33rd person killed by the JOH fraud regime) teacher Santos Edelmiro Alvarado Córdova (53) had two armed people break into his home by force, go inside the room and shoot and kill him. Santos was an active member of the resistance, of the Libre party, and of the Copemh teachers union. His 33 year old son said he used to spend all his time with his dad, that he was such a good dad, and was there lots giving advice always. He was also a very well liked teacher by students and colleagues. Police is trying to say that while it may be related to his political involvement that it may also be related to a custody battle. Of course police and media would try to make everything look like its not political persecution.
Since this date, of the Lean community, Nery Velásquez, aged 31, has been disappeared. People saw them taken by police and went to look for them in all the police station and haven't found Nery in any of them.
At 11pm, a heavy contingent of military police – some in cars and some standing around, surrounded the home of another teacher Geovany Martínez in intimidation. Geovany was for this election a parliamentarian candidate for Alianza.
In Lomas de Occidente and El Hospital neighbourhoods in Choluteca, uniformed national police in patrol 6314 went around brutalising at night. They carried automatic weapons and fired gunshots at unarmed people, wounded, followed, beat up and arrested people, without any judicial order. There were wounded arrestees who were denied assistance of Red Cross paramedics.
9 January 2018
For having published information about a meeting between Nationalist parliamentarian Oscar Nájera and members of Alianza party in Tocoa city, journalist Cesar Obando Flores received death threats. Cesar works as a correspondent of Radio Progreso and a TV co-presenter of the program 'The Owners of the Hearing' of Canal 37. He was called from the number 98518886 by someone who self-identified as Francisco Díaz, saying he wanted to talk urgently with a journalist, but then said, 'I tell you in good faith - don't go around publishing photos of our party or you will very see quickly what happens'. Only minutes after the call, at the park, someone came out of a car threatening him - they took a photo of him and said, 'don't you dare publish the photo and video, you won't live to tell the tale' in a threatening tone.
10 January 2017.
A number of homes have been raided in a number of neighbourhoods in Teguicgalpa. In these targeted neighbourhoods which are also strongholds with barricades and protests, people often hear between 11.30pm and 2am the sounds of dogs barking desperately, of sirens, and screams of, 'let them go! Let them go!'.
Cesar Vindel of Alianza party was grabbed at the market, his attackers bashed him, and kidnapped him in a red toyotal Hilux.
At night, motorcyclists protested in the Centro América boulevarde, against the congress trying to impose a curfew on motorcyclists. The protest was repressed, there might have been arrests.
In Choluteca, journalist Jairo López was granted protection measures of National Mechanism of Protection, but police refused to implement these. He is a victim of threats from National Party groups, people linked with congress president Mauricio Oliva, and certain coronels of the Honduran army, and smear campaigns too.
Priest Ismael Moreno is being attacked with smear campaigns on social media that associate him with violent actions.
There was an alert in Colón, as people protested in Tocoa city and also barricaded the highway by the Guadalupe Carney community as part of the national protest actions against the JOH dictatorship regime. It was concerning that as soon as the barricade began, the security institutions had issued a report saying that 'a group of about 100 people headed by Adolfo Cruz blocked the highway protesting in favour of ALIANZA. There were fears for the safety of the mentioned campesino leader and of all people involved in the barricade.
11 January 2017
On the second day of the above barricade of the Guadalupe Carney community, at 4am, heavy military contingents of at least 400 military agents with batons and shields closed in onto the barricade from both directions. The protest was evicted and dispersed, during which people heard soldiers mutter that human rights are trouble makers.
There are 10 environmental defenders of the Pajuiles community in Tela who have been waiting since August for the hearing. It was postponed in August, and was set for 15 January 2018, but another postponement was announced this 11 January 2018. The justification they gave was that the ombudsman had not been notified of the hearing. Dragging out the hearing process not only prolongs anxiety, but extends the vulnerability of the Mezapa river and Nombre de Diós mountain ranges that the community seeks to defend from the Hidrocep hydroelectricity company. The company is supposed to hold off building as agreed, but there are two machines up there that have been up there for three months now. The community's clean water to bathe in and drink is very much on the line.
12 January 2017
In Tegucigalpa, thousands protested marching from the teachers' university to the Presidential house – they felt surprised by the lack of police and military for most of the way, but when they arrived at the Presidential House and people headed for the entrance, there was a heavily armed contingent of military, military police and police who brutally and suddenly attacked people immediately ruthlessly firing gunshots with long rifles and shotguns and launching teargas. In this attack, wounded were José Luís Hernández, Victor Benítez, Ever Sierra, Alberto Alvarenga, Víctor González González (aged 17), Carlos López Ortiz (visitor), and a girl carrying a placard that said 'Get out JOH' – she was ambushed, held, and beaten with batons on her chin and sprayed twice by pepper gas tanks. Many were arrested – the whereabouts of some who have been held were unknown. Also attacked were the journalists César Silva and Rony Martínez of UNE TV, who despite being surrounded and cornered by soldiers who were beating them, did not stop the filming for a second, until the soldiers gravely wounded their cameraperson Pedro Amador and destroyed the camera. Soldiers also attacked journalists of TV Azteca and HCH tv channel. And Claudia Mendoza, correspondent of Primer Impacto of Univisión, was beaten by soldiers who tried to snatch from her the phone she was recording with – she was sure that the soldiers were drugged up, with the way they acted. Also attacked were journalists of TV Azteca and HCH TV. Libre parliamentarian Jari Dixon tried to intervene to stop the brutal beating by soldiers against a protester, the military responded by brutally beating him and throwing him to the ground. Ex President Zelaya also tried to get the military to calm down – they then shot teargas at him and proceeded to remove him by force. It was following this shocking repression that the nearby Marriott Hotel was then strangely unsurrounded by public nor private security and had its windows and foyer physically attacked – could be furious protesters, but could be orchestrated and carried out by state agents to then accuse protesters.
Meanwhile in Bajo Aguán, an army contingent of about 25 Xatruch heavily armed agents under the command of Hugo Coca, proceeded to arrest campesino leaders Santos Torres and Selvin Alvarado of the Gregorio Chavez farmers cooperative
While UNAH CURLA campus director Gioconda Lee and head of security Manuel de Jesús Antúnez are not facing hearings for the disappearance of university worker Donatilo Jiménez Euceda who has been disappeared since 8 April 2015, instead, Donatilo's sister Jacqueline Jimenez and his spouse Sonia Martínez faced initial hearing this day charged with defamation for having accused Gioconda Lee and Manuel de Jesús Antúnez of the disappearance of Donatilo. The hearing continues on 31 May and 1 June 2018.
13 January 2018
In Choluteca, people in barricades were chased by repressive forces with live gunshots.
On the web live news broadcast space that journalist Cesar Silva was transmitting protests on, someone using the name of Hugo Cancino made in the commentary a death threat against Cesar.
Ever Vilmer Varela (US based Honduran) became missing – he was last seen in protest in Tegucigalpa on 12 January 2018.
14 January 2018
Military police were seen trying to appear as labourers on ladders in midnight hours, when they were still being military police, trying to get rid of evidence of gunshots on city walls to try to complement the lies FUSINA is putting out in the media saying they don't fire gunshots at protesters.
The brothers Martín Fernández and Víctor Fernández, leaders of MADJ, and lawyers for many in social struggle, who fight for environmental and human rights would have been horrified when they saw the pictures going around in social media (including Whatsapp) that pointed to them as having contracted hitmen to murder the activist Wilmer Paredes for refusing to comply with an order to kill – not only would they never do something like that, Wilmer turned to Martín three days before he was murdered seeking his help to obtain protection through state authorities. Martín accompanied Wilmer to make the phonecalls but it was the state authorities that were unwilling to help. Martín wanted to organise somewhere safe for Wilmer to stay too, we are not sure what happened with that. Wilmer's life was lost. Now Víctor and Martín's are further at risk because the regime has historically followed such smear campaigns with either murder or attempts at political imprisonment. The brothers did only just meet Wilmer since the post electoral protests and recognised his leadership straight away and were very impressed by him. People of MADJ rushed to arrive on the scene when they heard something happened to Wilmer, hoping to take him to hospital, but as they arrived, realised he had died immediately after being shot. The state being complicit is very clear. Prosecutors did not come to collect evidence on the crime scene.
It is notable that Atlántida had been very heavily repressed because important highways for the economy get blocked there. A number of the murders of this dictatorship regime have been in this province.
Another journalist Ariel de Vicente is also smeared in social media, accused of generating acts of violence.
So many broken lives with the assassinations, threats, wounds, bodies imprisoned, people tortured in this regime with the imposition of power of JOH, but, of course, the media and people who don't care about people is a lot more concerned about the broken glass windows of Hotel Marriott.
Some other news..
There was an action outside US embassy for their complicity with the JOH regime, in which people gathered a lot of rubbish and threw it all outside the US Embassy, gathering there, expressing their anger.
Another ex-police blew the whistle – Aldo Oliva, who was General Police Commissioner, spoke up about how orders of assassination of identified important persons in Honduras had come directly from the Presidential House, he said he has all the documents to prove it. Investigative journalists at the same time have been investigating the current use of death squads, and have found that today, compared to the eighties, the death squads are supplied with more sophisticated technologies and vehicles to have the capacity of carrying out killings without leaving evidence as to who did it. They also observed that people who get killed tend to have their bodies dumped in four main points of the city for all to see and be terrorised. Also that they tend to be dumped near police and military stations showing that they are either part of a police or military operation, or at least know they won't get into trouble. A while ago another ex police Alfredo Landaverde, before being assassinated, gave declarations to the press about the death squads system. He declared that targets have included politicians, journalists, lawyers, officials, drivers, police and military with information, those who protest and organise, people with information, witnesses, etc. He said death squads can be made up of hitmen, soldiers, and police.
People have been suffering from inflation of prices, especially of eggs, and held a boycott for a week, 8-12 January, of not buying eggs to bring the price down.
27 January 2018 is the swearing in date of the dictator JOH. The week 20-27 January 2018 has been declared a general strike. To barricade everywhere. There are messages to boycott coke and pepsi, to give refuge to those seeking protection escaping persecution, to not go to church, to not pay tolls, to not do banking, not buy this or that. To participate, talk to neighbours, speak up and share about human rights violations. To not use public transport. To prepare for all the food and water each home needs for 15 days in preparation. The determination – no to dialogue with JOH, free all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience at any costs, mobilisation, and general strike.