Category Archives: Crime

Anything criminal, except political crimes related to the political crisis of 2009

Cocaine and Honduras

The street value of the cocaine that is smuggled through Honduras every year is much larger than the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). I pointed that out in an article in Swedish Newsmill two weeks ago, and now it has been brought to the front burner also in Washington (Brookings Institute, Honduras Weekly).

Trying to understand the political crisis of 2009 is futile, in my opinion, if one does not take into account the drug smuggling. I have written an estimated 30 or so posts the last 16 months on the issue, exposing how the drug cartels are taking advantage of the situation. They are both making it worse to suit their purposes, and they are manipulating media’s reporting of it, also to suit their purposes.

The cocaine smugglers, who are in cohorts with the communists, socialists, or whatever you call them, benefit when:

  1. the security apparatus is overwhelmed
  2. the people does not trust the security apparatus

It is simple logic to figure out what tactical moves the drug cartels could take, and apparently are taking, to exploit the vulnerability of the country:

  1. commit murders, but do it so the blame falls on the police, or even better, on the state itself
  2. encourage demonstrations, pay people to block the streets and riot
  3. encourage populist ideas that are unconstitutional or otherwise impossible to make work
  4. The idea is simply to make the state fail. To make the citizens distrust their government. To make everyone distrust the police isn’t hard: Just bribe a few policemen to “help” out by doing criminal acts, such as kidnapping or “scaring” supporters of the anti-government so-called resistance. If that fails, dress out as police. The main thing is that the “resistance” believes that they are targeted by government-sponsored death squads.

    For good measure, they can also kill one or two businessmen, or a dozen, what the heck; and make it seem that it was done by the “resistencia”. If they are really successful, real death squads might appear eventually.


    The basic idea is to create mayhem. They have created a terrible level of violence, but all hell hasn’t broken loose yet. The military is still holding their position as the most trusted institution in Honduras, and that bodes well for the future. The fact that the military arrested the president last year, on the Supreme Court’s orders, and stood up to all attempts to bribe them, indicates that the leaders of the country have a solid support from where it really counts. And that any new attempt to overthrow the form of government would be risky, to say the least, since there is no chance, it seems, that the military would fold.

    The second strong force is the private enterprise. They are stepping up with donations to help increase the security, with a surveillance system in San Pedro Sula, capable of integrating 800 cameras with automatic detection of suspect activities. Another good thing with it is that it may provide videos of alleged police brutality, so that it can be determined, finally, if it is the police that breaks the law, or the demonstrators who make false accusations. That could help settle that argument so that the country can move on. The main purpose remains of course to help stop the violent crimes: Murders and kidnappings. And the effect is already starting to be noticed.

Human Rights-Accusations as Political Tool

After Manuel Zelaya was deposed as president of Honduras June 28, 2009, and Roberto Micheletti was sworn in as interim president, the human rights-organization COFADEH (committee for families of detained disappeared persons in Honduras, formed in response to the military dictatorship that ended 1982) made repeated and extremely grave accusations against the government for human rights-abuses: Murders, concentration camps, etc. One of the accusations was that the leader of the leftist party UD, Cesar Ham, had been murdered. If they are right, then Honduras is today the only country in the world where the department of agriculture is managed by a dead man; Ham is a cabinet member of the present government. Incidentally, COFADEH accuses this administration of being worse than the interim one.

Berta Oliva
Berta Oliva

The bottom line is that COFADEH does not have any credibility, does not deserve to be taken seriously. Yet, when 30 Congress members in the U.S. recently wrote to secretary of state Hillary Clinton, demanding that all help to the “coup regime” be terminated, they based their arguments largely on the “disingenuous” claims of COFADEH.

Berta Oliva, coordinator of COFADEH, Honduras, denounced disappearances also under Zelaya. Furthermore, she claimed that people went into political exile. It would probably not be too far-fetched to assume that they went to work as illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Oliva was the unmarried partner to a person who dissappeared in the military dictatorship. There were 184 documented cases of disappearances. When Zelaya took office the survivor of one of them got 8 million lempiras. Oliva, the coordinator of the human rights watch set up to fight for the cause, got 12 million lempiras by the Zelaya administration. The other 182 families got nothing. Most remarkably, the son of Oliva’s ex partner got nothing, but she – who had no legal bonds to him – got 12 millions. This is from a La Gringa’s Blogicito article at the time:

“In December 2008, by presidential decree, Milton Jiménez was declared one of two people selected to receive a large financial settlement for being a relative of one of the 184 victims of ‘detainment and forced disappearance’ in the 1980’s. The amount of his settlement was L. 8 million. The other compensated victim was Berta Oliva, the president of the committee of the Detained and Disappeared Families, who was granted L.12 million. The other 182 families of victims were granted nothing.”

The state ombudsman for human rights, Dr. Custodio, who also fought this battle during the military dictatorship, has now taken a completely different position than Miss Oliva. According to his office the true number of human rights violations during the Micheletti administration was but a fraction of that claimed by COFADEH. Police brutality and excesses are not unique to Honduras, they happen also in USA and Sweden, so one cannot a priori blame them on the government the way that some human rights groups are doing.

It seems clear beyond a shadow of doubt, that human rights accusations have been and are being used as a propaganda tool. Due to the sensitivity of this matter, western media seem inclined to think no smoke without fire, and even if they are too skeptical to forward the actual reports, they have tended to report that “there are reports of human rights violations.” That is bad enough. That is giving a victory to the propaganda.

If we look at statistics, and assume that a group that is murdered to a higher extent than the other group is the victim of that other group, then we might conclude that the resistencia is the aggressor against government supporters, not the other way around. Most likely, though, the murders are done for criminal, not political, reasons, so the whole idea to exploit them for propaganda purposes is sickening, disgusting, and appalling. Let them rest in peace.

Knark-kommunisternas planer avslöjade: 15-års “Reich”

Ett dokument som påstås vara upprättat vid ett besök i Nicaragua av Venezuelas president Hugo Chávez (spanska, engelska) lägger fram hela den välgenomtänkta planen för hur Latinamerikanska länder skall tas över, köpta för en miljard dollar per land och år av Venezuela. Vare sig dokumentet är äkta eller förfalskat så är det intressant, för hela strategin som presenteras har redan implementerats i ett eller flera länder. Min egen reflektion då jag läste det var att Chávez verkar ha studerat hur nationalsocialisterna kom till makten i Tyskland, för likheterna i strategin är slående.

Pepe Lobo och Mel Zelaya är inte bara kompisar, de verkar också ha liknande intressen.
Pepe Lobo och Mel Zelaya är inte bara kompisar, de verkar också ha liknande intressen. Lobo har nu startat en process för att ändra grundlagen så att en konstituerande grundlagsförsamling kan hållas - just det projekt som fick Mel att förlora presidentposten den 28 juni, 2009. Projektet är i grund och botten knark-kommunism.

En artikel om dokumentet har även publicerats på Huffington Post, vilket är anmärkningsvärt eftersom det är en blogg på vänsterkanten som tills nyligen varit ensidigt Chávez-vänlig. Detta betyder att vinden kanske har vänt, så Honduras inte längre behöver stå ensamt i kampen mot detta hot mot frihet och demokrati i Amerika. Ojala.

Notera att dokumentet, upprättat i januari 2009 enligt vad källan påstår, säger att Zelaya skall återväljas i november 2009 (presidentval hölls den 29 november). Problemet är att en president inte kan återväljas i Honduras. Därför skulle grundlagen ändras, det är en av punkterna i programmet. I mars 2009 utlyste Zelaya mycket riktigt en folkomröstning den 28 juni, om att hålla en folkomröstning den 29 november, om att tillsätta en konstituerande grundlagsförsamling. Han påstod att han själv inte skulle kunna väljas om, officiellt, men sanningen läckte ändå ut. Ledande personer i Honduras kände till planen redan före den 28 juni.

Planen var att folkomröstningen skulle riggas (Zelaya vann), han skulle på natten förklara att resultatet var så överväldigande att han bestämt sig för att utlysa grundlagsförsamlingen meddetsamma (massvis med Chávez-media var där och nyheten var redan skriven), han skulle så utse sig själv till ordförande för den, skriva om grundlagen så att han kunde bli omvald, och kasta ut resultatet av de redan hållna primärvalen genom fönstret. Det faktum att han inte anslagit några medel till de ordinarie valen visar tydligt att han inte avsåg att de skulle hållas.

Riksåklagaren hade väckt åtal för detta försök till att hålla en grundlagsvidrig folkomröstning, och högsta domstolen hade utfärdad ett direkt förbud mot alla i landet att på något sätt delta i den. De krävde också att presidenten rapporterade senast den 25 juni om deras order att stoppa planerna. Då han inte lämnade någon sådan rapport utfärdades en arresteringsorder för honom. Militären förstod att fienden hade förberett ett motdrag om presidenten arresterades, i form av ett väpnat upplopp lett av beväpnade infiltratörer, stormtrupper, från Venezuela. Därför sändes presidenten istället utomlands, och gränserna stängdes, med hänvisning till nationellt nödvärn. De agerade som om rikets säkerhet var hotat av en irreguljär attack. Dokumentet från Nicaragua stödjer deras hotbild.

Vad dokumentet inte nämner är den starka kopplingen mellan vänstergerillor och knarksmugglare i Sydamerika. Knarksmugglingen är dock inte så omfattande i Nicaragua, där säkerhetsstyrkorna har lyckats bekämpa den rätt effektivt. Honduras däremot fungerar sedan några år som landningsbana för hundratals eller till och med tusentals knarkflygningar varje år. Omkring 150 ton kokain passerar landet, uppskattas det. Medan Nicaragua knappt har några landningsbanor (vilket kunde slutat illa för mig men det är en annan historia) har Honduras massvis eftersom en stor del av landet är väglöst.

Värdet av det kokain som smugglas genom Honduras varje år är mer än dubbelt så stort som landets bruttonationalprodukt, vilket jag skrev om på Newsmill igår. Det är en Davids kamp mot Goliath som det lilla landet som kunde utkämpar. Men en dag, det är jag säker på, kommer de att få erkännande för att ha stått upp för fred, frihet, lag och rätt, den dag de avsatte Zelaya och de 7 månader de, under Micheletti, vägrade vika en tum för omvärldens påtryckningar. Om det finns någon rättvisa i världen så kommer de att hyllas en dag.

PS. Sverige kan ta åt sig en del av äran för att de stått upp för dessa höga värderingar, för vårt land har under flera år hjälp till att bygga upp kompetens inom demokrati, och den institution som även i Honduras kallas “ombudsman” för mänskliga rättigheter.

Publicerat 09:28 ET, sist uppdaterat 17:06 ET.

Drug cartels behind journalist murders in Honduras: Analysis

In this month alone – a month that has not yet ended – five (5!) members of the press have been murdered in Honduras. They were all gunned down by multiple perpetrators. Politically the crimes targeted journalists on all sides of the political spectrum. So why?

I have an hypothesis. In late February it started to become clear to more and more members of the press and bloggers that the murders that appeared to be political really were carried out by the drug cartels. Even I blogged about that, February 27th. The discourse took hold in Honduran press.

March 1st came the first murder of a journalist this year in Honduras: Joseph Ochoa. It seemed to be a political murder since the apparent target (who survived) had been targeted before, at which time her pregnant daughter was murdered instead. Her colleague died this time. Cabrera had come out in strong support of interim president Micheletti.

On March 11 David Meza was gunned down in La Ceiba. After this, the Honduran press strongly came out accusing the drug cartels of being behind it.

Within days, on March 14, a third journalist was shot to death, Nahúm Palacios, in Tocoa. He has killed on the eve of a demonstration against the drug cartel violence that the press had planned.

March 26 brought the violent death of two more members of the media, Bayardo Mairena and Manuel Juárez. They were killed in an area where there are many drug-carrying airplanes doing illegal landings to offload cocaine. Mairena had recently reported on organized crime on radio.

You don’t need to be an Einstein to see what is going on. Honduran press and bloggers understand that the security forces are compromised by corrupt persons, bought by the criminals. When the media report facts about crimes, it is inconvenient for criminals and corrupt policemen alike. It is so easy for the police to pretend to be death squads like in the 1980’s, pretend to murder for political reasons to pass the blame on the government and the president, while in reality they are working for the drug lords.

However, their scheme has been unmasked. It worked for a few months, during which much of the world believed that the country was an evil dictatorship, the human rights defenders spreading the intended message to the world. But no more. The truth is getting out there, and the drug cartels have only one strategy left: To murder the press.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my analysis of why we have seen this unprecedented killing spree on journalists in the month of March in Honduras.

Media: Inside Costa Rica.

Two more journalists murdered in Honduras

With the two radiomen who were shot dead near Juticalpa, coming from Catacamas, at 11:10 local time today, the total number of journalists murdered in Honduras in just this month has reached five (5!). When number 3 was shot I wrote that it started to look ugly. Now…

The murders took place in the departamento of Olancho, known for drug smuggling by airplane from Venezuela. The killers were riding in another car. As usual there is no clear indication of motive. The only common denominator in these 5 murders, on 4 occasions, is that it was a pre-planned attack carried out by several persons. The victims do not have a common political background. That is why I suspect the drug cartels.

Update 2010-03-28: One of the victims, Mairena, had recently done reporting on organized crime as well as the conflict over land ownership.

Chávez, ETA, cocaine, terrorism, and Medusa

Half a year after Zelaya was deposed as president in Honduras June 28, 2009, most Europeans had long since forgotten about it. Thinking it does not concern them.

They are wrong.

Honduras is one battlefield in a war. Perhaps one day we will be able to say that Honduras was the El Alamein, or the Stalingrad, of Hugo Chávez. However, most people are not even aware of what this is all about.

Basically, it is a conflagration of ideology and narcotics. Cocaine in this case.

Cocaine has several useful properties: It is extremely addictive; it makes the drug addict willing to take much larger risks than normally; it also makes him or her more willing to violate ethical, moral, and legal norms, including to commit murder; and due to being illegal, it can fetch a very high price.

Thus, cocaine is the commercial (although illegal) commodity of a business, while at the same time being a mind-altering drug that contributes to enable the people involved in the business to violate laws and moral norms.

However, most people cannot be made to act contrary to their deep-held moral beliefs regardless of drugs. That is where ideology comes in.

The ideology is the pretext, the excuse, that is required. It is the discourse that turns white to black and black to white, so that decent people can commit horrific acts without being destroyed by their conscience.

This is a network with links to governments, to guerillas/terrorists (depending on which side you are on), and to drug cartels. As written by Marianella Salazar, there are links between the FARC narco-guerilla in Colombia; the Chávez government in Venezuela; the ETA terrorist organization in Spain; and to Honduras.

Honduras is a critical point on the smuggle routes to North America. Since there is no road connecting South and North America, the drugs have to be transported either by boat or plane at least to Central America. A large number of such planes land in Honduras, and as has been reported in social media, reporting these flights to the proper authorities seems to have no effect – and may even be detrimental to ones longevity. Rumors from Honduras say that Zelaya was and remains involved. Half of all cocaine reaching the U.S. has passed Honduras according to recent estimates.

Another export from Venezuela goes to Europe. A recent study in Stockholm, Sweden, conducted by analyzing the sewage water, estimated that one in 1,000 were using cocaine. In London and Rome the percentage is higher.

The Europeans who use cocaine are also enabling the murders, the cynical use of people, the destruction of societies, and the perpetuation of poverty in Latin America.

It is not an organization but a network, which also branches out to Iran and islamist extremists and terrorists. It is a network that wants no attention to it. Journalists that get too close are murdered; Mexico has in 2010 taken the position as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, with Honduras as second.

Just like Medusa this network has many tentacles, and if any journalist looks too closely at it, little will remain of him but a gravestone. To defeat this Medusa, potential consumers – i.e., future drug addicts – have to be educated, before they try the drug the first time, about the horrible monstrosity that is hiding behind the chemical. But then again, that means that journalists must look at the monster…

A third journalist murdered in Honduras in 2 weeks

It is starting to look ugly. Five journalists murdered the past year, and three already this year: On March 1st, 11th, and now 14th. The latest journalist victim of the rampant crime in the Central American country was Nahúm Palacios, shot dead by two men armed with AK-47 near his home in Tocoa.

Palacios was the news director of a local TV station. The murder took place Sunday night as he was returning home.

Tocoa is a city in lower Aguán, and the center for the farm occupations in recent months (see La Prensa’s videos in Spanish). It is about 30 km downstream of Sabá, where Sweden built a 450 m long bridge after hurricane Mitch, the longest bridge in Honduras (coincidentally, yours truly picked that length).

There are reports in media that these occupations is more than what first meets the eye. They reportedly have heavy arms, receive training from the FARC narco-guerilla in Colombia, and monetary support from either drug smugglers, Hugo Chávez, or both. A few days ago they failed to occupy a factory for palm oil, which they attacked at 5 AM, since a group of militaries on the way to buy bananas by chance passed by. Even though only a few of the soldiers were armed it was enough to swing the balance of the battle in favor of the guards defending the place.

These land occupiers have shown over and over again that they do not like media attention, for instance by shooting at journalists who enter the palm tree plantations. If they had had peaceful intentions, wouldn’t they have welcomed media attention? What is it that they wish to hide?

The police has not yet said anything to my knowledge about the reason for this latest murder, if it had anything to do with his work. However, regardless of the reason in this specific case, it is clear that media should look closely at the development in lower Aguán, since the peace could be threatened by the developments in that sector.

Perhaps a serious injustice was made there in the 90’s, I don’t know, but I do know that two wrongs don’t make one right. If they have a legitimate complaint then the government should take them seriously, but ONLY as long as they don’t go outside the law themselves. Starting a guerilla is a very counter-productive move, and in my opinion it is as certain as Amen in the church that Chávez is behind it. One may wonder if it is not time to start treating Hugo Chávez the same way we treat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il. Venezuela is rather obviously a state sponsor of terrorism by now. The farmers in lower Aguán are well advised to stay as far away from Chávez, FARC, and drug cartels as possible, and to inform the security forces of any foreign infiltrators in the area. Only death and destruction will come from letting this continue to escalate.

To all journalists, reporters, bloggers, and you who write in social media: You can honor Palacios’s memory by continuing to report the truth, now more than ever. For every journalist that is silenced, let there be a hundred more who takes up the torch and spreads the news!

Media: SvD.

Another reporter murdered in Honduras – my hypothesis seems to hold

Update 2010-03-13: La Prensa reports today that the minister of security, Óscar Álvarez, is taking this case very seriously, in view of it being the second murder of a journalist in two weeks, and the fifth in a year. A special task force has been formed with detectives from both Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. The newspaper also describes how the situation for the press in Honduras has gradually deteriorated from the first murder of a journalist in 2003, after the return to democracy in 1981. From 2006 they consider that the situation has got gradually worse, with open hostility shown towards the press from some sectors of society.

If anything good can come of this, it may be that media starts focusing like a laser beam on crime and corruption, so that the people can get on the same page and start fighting, as one man, those who destroy the country. Yesterday I heard a Greek say about his country’s deep economical troubles that poverty stems from corruption, not the other way around. In both countries the medicine is thus the same: The people needs to stand shoulder to shoulder against any and all corruption. As long as there is corruption, crime cannot be defeated, and the murders will continue. It has come to the point in Honduras that it is a matter of life or death to stop corruption; the country has the highest murder rate in the world. This HAS to stop, and it has to stop NOW.

Original text 2010-03-12: A couple of weeks ago a reporter in Tegucigalpa, Joseph Ochoa, was shot dead in what presumably was an attack on his passenger, the more well-known reporter Karol Cabrera. Yesterday the reporter David Meza was shot dead in La Ceiba.

The latter murder seems to have as a common denominator with some others not politics, but drugs. This hypothesis I presented on my blog February 27, and what has happened since unfortunately just seems to confirm it.

Journalists in San Pedro Sula are now also suspecting that drug smugglers are responsible, since Meza had reported on narco-trafficking. These journalists, and others working with media, will be taking to the streets Monday in San Pedro Sula to ask the government to investigate the drug traffickers in Honduras with utmost urgency.

The drug czar of Honduras was murdered in November. One may suspect that the cartels are eliminating people who are opposing them, while at the same time killing a lot of other people to hide the pattern. What is more, by violating the human rights of those sympathizing with the opposition, and claiming to represent the president, they may even be fueling the political crisis according to the old principle of Divide and Conquer, although in a new variant.

The decision by the journalists to take to the streets is a hopeful sign, in that they are trying to unite all political sides against a perceived common enemy: The criminals, the multi-national drug cartels.

Reportrar Utan Gränser förolämpar mördad journalist i Honduras

Ursprunglig text 2010-03-01: Medan jag skrev den förra bloggposten genomförde de som kallar sig motståndsrörelsen ett attentat mot en journalist som varit kritisk mot dem, Karol Cabrera. Hon är sårad, men hennes kollega som skjutsade henne dog. Karols 16-åriga dotter mördades den 15 december förra året, nerskjuten av två personer på motorcykel. President Micheletti kallade då till en presskonferens i vilken han anklagade de som kallar sig motståndsrörelsen för mordet, och uppmanade de media som stödjer dem till att upphöra med sin hatkampanj.

Det går inte att två sina händer om man sprider hat. De som förmedlar hat via radio och TV har också blod på sina händer, även om de aldrig lämnar studion. Pennan är mäktigare än svärdet, men mikrofonen är ännu mäktigare.

Uppdatering 2010-03-03: Karol Cabrera sände live på radion då hon sköts. Sändningen kan höras här, klicka bara på bilden på bilen till höger (“Momento en que atentant contra Karol Cabrera”). La Prensa skriver att den ihjälskjutne var Joseph Ochoa, journalist på den privata kanalen “51”, men att attentatet säkert var riktat mot Cabrera, reporter på den statliga TV-kanalen Canal 8 och på den privata radiokanalen RCV. Mordet ägde rum på samma plats där Cabreras 16-åriga gravida dotter mördades den 15 december då hon färdades i en bil tillhörande Karol, och tillvägagångssättet var detsamma. De som kallar sig motståndsrörelsen har hotat henne därför att hon öppet stödjer högsta domstolens och kongressens avsättande av president Zelaya den 28 juni förra året.

Det kan därför inte råda något rimligt tvivel om att det var “de som kallar sig” som utförde bägge dessa mord, vilket även USAs ambassadör till Honduras Hugo Llorens säger, men trots det säger Reportrar Utan Gränser att man inte bör koppla detta mord till (den avstyrda) statskuppen förra året. Personligen tycker jag att Reportrar Utan Gränser (RSF) prostituerar sig när de så öppet tar politisk ställning för “de som kallar sig”. Fy skäms!

Som om inte detta vore nog så slår RSF salt i såren då de försöker vrida hela historien till att det är regeringen som förtrycker regeringskritiska journalister, och lite längre ner skriver om ett par reportrar på Radio Globo som valt att lämna landet. Det djupt förolämpande i detta är att det är just denna radiokanal som bedrivit den hatkampanj som med intill visshet gränsande sannolikhet lett till detta mord på en regeringsvänlig journalist. RSF har lyckats att förolämpa den mördade genom att i hans egen dödsruna vända sin sympati till dem med blod på sina händer!

Förresten rapporteras att Karol Cabrera är allvarligt skadad men att läget är stabilt.

Addendum: Human Rights Watch skrev idag (3 mars) till Honduras riksåklagare och uppmanade honom att undersöka brott med misstänkta politiska förtecken mot regeringsfientliga personer, inklusive de två från Radio Globo, men nämner ingenting om ovanstående mord eller andra politiska brott mot de som stödjer regeringen. Tyvärr gör det att organisationen inte längre framstår som ojävig, utan att de bara bryr sig om mänskliga rättigheter för de personer som delar deras politiska uppfattning. Därmed blir de helt irrelevanta.