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.

Communist propaganda against Honduras continues

A teacher was shot dead at school in a horrible act apparently intended to terrorize the witnesses. But why?

Unsuspecting media in the U.S. propagates propaganda from anti-government groups in Honduras hiding behind the aegis of “human rights defenders”. Reading the statement it is clear from the text itself that it is biased: “THIS IS STATE TERRORISM. … While the attackers’ identities are not known, … [t]heir appearance makes them indistinguishable from organized crime assassins, who operate with impunity throughout Honduras and the region.

Ask yourself, does the government have anything to win from this?

Who has something to win from this?

What is the result on society of these murders?

Who benefits from a society in which people distrust the police?

Exactly, the organized crime assassins. The drug cartels. And what is the by far easiest way to get filthy rich in Honduras? Exactly, smuggling cocaine to the U.S.

Unfortunately, the self-denominated “resistance” in Honduras are playing right into the hands of the violent drug cartels. And unfortunately, some of the assassins could very well be members of the security forces and of a drug cartel at the same time.

But which of the two masters is he serving when he executes a teacher? -The drug cartel boss, not the president of the republic.

Please, U.S. media, keep your head straight. And remember, there is an intimate connection between communism in our times, or as they call it “socialism in the XXI century,” and drug cartels. The ideology is the fly paper that attracts the recruits, attaches them to the cause, and enables them to commit crimes and smuggle drugs “for the cause,” while those pulling the strings are cynical and just want the money.

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.

Shame on Huffington Post

Regular readers of my blog will have noticed that I allow those who disagree with me the same freedom to comment as I give those who agree. Today I read an article on Huffington Post that I disagreed with. Seeing that they profess to allow all points of view to come out, if written in a respectful tone, I wrote a comment to this piece in which the Micheletti presidency of Honduras was refered to as a “dictatorship”.

My comment objected to them calling it a dictatorship, and to call the honorable don Roberto Micheletti Bain a dictator. I further pointed out that calling him so in the article could be construed as a personal attack of exactly the kind that the comment rules do not allow. If the progressive agenda shall have any chance of success we must hold on to principles, I pointed out. Finally I made it clear that I believe that history will have Honduras as a legitimate defender of democracy, even though I doubted that the change of view will ever hit the front pages.

This comment was refused by Huffington Post. There can only be one reasonable reason: They cannot stomach letting their readers know that there is an alternative point of view to theirs on the key events in Latin America. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Who benefits from their behavior? In my analysis, two entities: Chavez with his Bolivarian Revolution and ALBA on the one side, and drug cartels (especially those smuggling cocaine) on the other. Hopefully Huffington Post is acting out of ignorance and not in deliberate support of that twin-headed hydra.

Zelaya & Llorens: Partners in Crime?

The other day a sub-committee in the US Congress had a hearing about Honduras. Among the things brought up were some economical affairs including a settlement in a USAmerican court granting a USAmerican company $51M in compensation from the Republic of Honduras. They insisted that Honduras deal with this. (See p 2 ff in transcript.)

Honduras has now started to do so. It turns out the money was awarded in a settlement, the legitimacy of which under Honduran law is questionable. In fact, they are investigating at present if the persons involved at the institution in question, FHIS, are guilty of corruption for the way in which they possibly misrepresented their country. The disputed contract dealt with reconstruction after hurricane Mitch, which hit in 1998.

This reminded me of a story that went around the blogosphere last summer. Manuel Zelaya was from 1994 the director of FHIS, and at that time he dealt with Hugo Llorens, the present USAmerican ambassador to Honduras. A corruption scandal was also implied.

Could it be that these two stories are linked? Could it be that Llorens is now running Honduras as a USAmerican viceroy just so that they can complete the corruption and bring the money home? Is Barack Obama a pawn in a banana-republic corruption scandal?

If he is not, or does not wish to be, he should fire that Llorens figure faster than quick. He seems dirtier than the lahar that leveled two towns in Nicaragua during Mitch.

On the other hand, Hugo Llorens was the principal advisor to the US President and National Security Advisor on issues pertaining to Venezuela during the failed coup against Hugo Chávez in 2002, and the US was the only country to side with the coupsters. What’s the deal with this Llorens, does he have no moral compass, or does he just dislike presidents who share his name? Or was Zelaya intended as a double agent in ALBA? Does he in reality work for CIA? Myself I don’t believe in ideology as a driving force for these men. No, personal crass economic self-interest makes a more compelling argument in my opinion. Corruption, in other words. Either that, or stupidity. But time will tell, time will tell.

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…

The revolutionary movement in Honduras

Since president Zelaya was ousted last year his supporters have never given up the political idea, for the pursuit of which in violation of the laws he was deposed: To overthrow the form of government in Honduras.

Last weekend a group calling itself the popular resistance movement held their second national meeting to discuss their agenda. The statement issued from the meeting is reproduced in its entirety below (from COPINH).

The title of the document clearly states that they are aiming for a “re-founding” of Honduras. They are thus openly confessing to wishing to overthrow the form of government, since re-founding refers to throwing out the old constitution and replacing it with a new one.

The present constitution bans even arguing for changing certain paragraphs, why arguing for changing all paragraphs of the constitution clearly runs afoul of the law. Among the consequences mentioned is the loss of citizenship-rights for 10 years. So what argument are these groups using for why it would be legal for them to promote this plan?

Their  justification is explicitly provided in the statement: “[We proclaim…] 4. That we are continuing to use our legitimate and sovereign right to exercise the popular power. This power of the people surpasses the representative kind and therefore it is assumed to have the power for delegating as well as for revoking such representation.”

In other words, they consider themselves to speak for all the people of Honduras, even though they are little more than a collection of special interest groups, with a very small number of members compared to the number of people who voted in the last elections (Nov 29, 2009). In fact, not even all factions of the farmer groups themselves support the agenda of their leader, Rafael Alegria.

Ex-president Manuel Zelaya is also promoting a Constituting Constitutional Assembly, by denouncing the present popularly elected president as illegitimate, and by denouncing the state of Honduras before the Inter-American Human Rights Court, requesting that the court convicts Honduras and orders the country to hold a Constituting Constitutional Assembly.

However, although some websites claim that the meeting developed a document with a proposed outline of a new constitution, and a plan for how to implement it, I have still not seen any links to the actual documents. (If you know where to find that info, please write a comment with a URL!)

If this group has a plan that includes an open debate with full right to participation by all citizens of Honduras, then I would applaud that initiative, and encourage the government to support the grassroots initiative. Of course, a condition must be that the activity is carried out within the law, which means that any proposed changes to the constitution must be adopted by Congress.

If, on the other hand, their proposal is not made public, and if input from the majority is neither sought nor welcomed, then their plan is nothing more than a partisan special-interest agenda that has almost no chance of succeeding without the use of force. Nor does it have any democratic legitimacy in that case. It is up to this self-labeled “resistencia” to put their cards on the table now, and reveal in action if they intend to become an armed revolutionary movement, or a peaceful grassroots initiative for constitutional reform.

In words they have already selected the former. If they follow up those words with action, they will become entirely marginalized as a terrorist group. My advice is that they change foot and form a movement for democratic reform, not an unconstitutional revolution. If they don’t, they will be irrelevant, but if they do, they may have a profound positive impact on their native country. May God open their eyes in time.

Manifiesto del II Encuentro Nacional por la Refundación de Honduras

II Encuentro Nacional por la Refundación de Honduras
Instalación de la Primera Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, Popular y Democrática


Reunidos y reunidas, en la ciudad de La Esperanza, con el auspicio del signo de la esperanza, mujeres y hombres de 17 departamentos del país, hemos cumplido con otra cita con Honduras, para mirarnos, debatir y fortalecer, mediante el diálogo, nuestros saberes, experiencias y sueños con el afán de refundar nuestra patria.

Este II Encuentro por la Refundación de Honduras estuvo caracterizado por la espiritualidad ancestral, la creatividad, el intercambio profundo en la diversidad y el ejercicio largo y arduo de instalación de una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente Popular y Democrática que expresara las propuestas que son pilares de nuestro proceso de Refundación del país.

Ante el pueblo de Honduras, manifestamos:

1. Que continuamos en resistencia contra los golpistas y sus aliados nacionales e internacionales, por lo tanto no reconocemos el gobierno fraudulento de Porfirio Lobo.

2. Que continuamos en la construcción de las propuestas históricas del movimiento social hondureño, que se enfilan a erradicar el sistema de dominio neoliberal, patriarcal y racista.

3. Que insistimos en construir, desde diversidad de sectores, voces, y experiencias, un modo de vida justo, digno y feliz para todos y todas los hondureños que ya se ha expresado en las luchas por la tierra, por la justicia, por la defensa de la riqueza natural y por el respeto a los derechos humanos

4. Que seguimos haciendo uso de nuestro derecho legítimo y soberano de ejercer el poder popular. Este poder del pueblo rebasa el carácter representativo y por lo tanto se asume legítimo para delegar así como para revocar esa representación.

5. Que no renunciaremos al propósito de la instalación de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente Popular y Democrática en donde se reconozca e integre la diversidad de pensamientos y de luchas del pueblo de Honduras.

Manifestamos nuestra solidaridad, en este momento, con las luchas que libran las organizaciones del magisterio nacional, del sindicato de la universidad nacional (SITRAUNAH), los pueblos de San Francisco de Opalaca y Nacaome en contra de la construcción de las represas y la lucha por la tierra por parte del Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán; nos solidarizamos con Manuel Zelaya Rosales y el padre Andrés Tamayo, y otros hondureños y hondureñas exiliados, producto de la persecución política así como exigimos que se respete su derecho a ingresar al territorio nacional. De igual manera nos solidarizamos activamente con los presos y perseguidos/as políticos y exigimos la liberación inmediata de 10 campesinos presos a razón de la defensa de la tierra.

El II Encuentro por la Refundación de Honduras es una acción más en este proceso refundacional y de resistencia, que no se agota aquí, sino que se abre y convoca a las múltiples y diversas acciones populares para cumplir la tarea de construir una nueva Honduras.

Desde este territorio ancestral de resistencia lenca, con el espíritu de rebeldía de Lempira, a 14 días del mes de marzo del 2010.

Fecha: 16/03/2010

Bristande fantasi hos Fk och domstol

En dom i Stockholms Tingsrätt har slagit fast att Försäkringskassan gjort rätt då de betalt över 100 tusen kronor i vårdbidrag till mamman, men inte ett öre till pappan, trots att de skilda föräldrarna delar lika på vårdnaden av deras autistiske son och har honom en vecka var. Domaren hänvisade till att lagen säger att bara en förälder kan få vårdbidrag, och då är det rimligt att den får det där barnet är skrivet. Barnet är nämligen bara skrivet på en address trots att det bor omväxlande på två.

Bristande fantasi, säger jag. Fk och domstolen hade ju kunnat säga att visst, bara en förälder i taget kan få vårdbidrag, men det behöver ju inte vara samma förälder hela tiden. Det kan vara mamman vecka 1, pappan vecka 2, mamman vecka 3, osv.

Typisk hjärnförstoppning.

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.