Tuesday, July 7, 2009

With friends like these...

The coup situation is Honduras is getting more worrisome as human rights groups begin to look at the coup supporters...and see old familiar faces:

1. Billy Fernando Joya Améndola: Getting the most attention is Billy Joya, a security advisor to Micheletti. Ironically, Joya was already in the Zelaya government and the human rights group Comite de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) actually sent a letter to President Zelaya in April 2006 warning him about Joya's past human rights abuses.

Joya was a member of the notorious CIA-trained Battalion 316, the Honduran Army unit responsible for carrying out of political assassinations and torture of suspected political opponents of the government during the 1980s.

One of Battalion 316's most famous targets was American Jesuit Fr. James Carney who was working in Honduras during the country's civil war. Sometime in 1983 Carney was apparently captured and killed by members of Honduran Army Battalion 316. His family traveled to Honduras after receiving word of his death on September 20, 1983, but where unable to recover his body or information on his death. The initial claims of the U.S and Honduran government that Carney had starved to death were soon contradicted by members of the Honduran military. In testimony by Florencio Cabadero, a former Honduran intelligence officer in exile in Canada, said that Carney was tortured and thrown to his death from a helicopter on the orders of Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, commander of the armed forces and creator of Battalion 316.

2. Jackeline Foglia Sandoval: Another supporter of the coup is Ms. Foglia Sandoval, former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Honduras, who has been quoted as saying of the coup: “I don’t know of any one who isn’t celebrating.” (We know plenty of people who aren't celebrating, but then again, we don't travel in the same circles as this lady). She slams Zelaya, accusing him of inflicting political and economic chaos on Honduras and turning it into a "narco state". And, like any self-respecting spokesperson for the business community, she sure doesn't like Zelaya's coziness with the country's unions and his policy of increasing the Honduran minimum wage.

Just another discontented member of the Honduran wealthy elite? You wish. According to COFADEH, Foglia Sandoval was also associated with Battalion 316. In the '80s, she was head of 316's research division (Sección de Análisis). The task of the research division was to put together profiles of civilians who could be considered possible military targets under the doctrine of national security -- people who would later be disappeared, tortured, and/or killed.

Meanwhile, please keep human rights activist Bertha Oliva and COFADEH in your prayers as they are being targeted for their continuing vigilance and denunciations against human rights abuses at a time when other organizations have been silenced by this government's repressive measures.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this info and for your solidarity with the poor of Honduras.