Obama Administration Should Demand an End to Coup Regime’s Killings in Honduras

13 August 2009, Washington, D. C. — The Obama administration has an obligation to demand that the de facto regime in Honduras stop ongoing political killings and other human rights abuses, Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today.  Weisbrot noted that human rights observers and international media have documented the killings of at least ten people — mostly of supporters of ousted president Manuel Zelaya, and all apparently politically motivated — since the coup d’etat occurred on June 28.

“The Obama administration is turning a blind eye to the violent repression the coup regime is carrying out against the Honduran people,” Weisbrot said.  “It could very quickly put a stop to these killings by freezing the assets of the regime leaders and their backers among the Honduran elite.”

On July 15, a well-respected human rights organization in Honduras, the Honduran Committee for the Relatives of the Disappeared Detainees (COFADEH), released a report documenting the murders of three individuals.

  • 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo Mencias, who died from a bullet wound to the head during a protest at the Toncontin International Airport on Sunday July 5.
  • Journalist Gabriel Fino Noriega, who was shot seven times after leaving Radio Estelar on July 3.
  • Caso Ramon Garcia, a member of the leftist Democratic Unification (UD) party, who was pulled off a bus and killed by unknown assailants.

On July 23, an International Observation Mission made up of 15 human rights workers from Latin America and Europe representing 13 different countries presented their preliminary report on the human rights situation in Honduras.  In addition to the three cases previously documented by COFADEH, the Mission documented three more murders:

  • Roger Ivan Bados, a UD party member and part of the Popular Bloc, a grassroots organization opposed to the coup, was forcibly removed from his home and killed on July 11.
  • Vicky Hernandez Castillo, a member of the LGBT community, was found dead on June 29 with a bullet wound in the eye and marks of strangulation.
  • On July 3 an unknown individual was found dead in the “La Montanita” district of Tegucigalpa, an area previously used as a “clandestine cemetery for extra-judicial executions during the 80’s”.  The unknown individual was wearing a “Cuarta Urna” t-shirt, referring to the popular survey that was to be carried out on Sunday, June 28.

Since these reports have come out there have been at least four more extra-judicial killings reported in the media:

  • Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador, a 23-year-old construction worker from Tegucigalpa who had traveled to the Honduran-Nicaraguan border, was found stabbed to death in a highly-visible field near the border on July 25.
  • Roger Abraham Vallejo, a teacher from Tegucigalpa was shot in the head and critically wounded during an anti-coup demonstration on July 30.  Two days later he was pronounced dead.
  • Martin Florencio Rivera, another teacher, was stabbed to death on his way home from Vallejo’s wake on August 1.
  • On August 2, Pedro Pablo Hernández was shot by the Honduran military while driving after reportedly not responding to a signal to stop at a military checkpoint.

The reports document other human rights abuses carried out by the regime, including thousands who have been detained, and hundreds wounded.

For more information, contact Dan Beeton of the CEPR, 202-239-1460.