Luis Gradis Espinal, teacher, assassinated

Posted on November 28, 2009

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TEGUCIGALPA, Nov 26 (NNN-PRENSA LATINA-XINHUA) – The assassination of a National Front resistance leader in the southern Honduran region clouds even more the tense political atmosphere in the country, ahead of the general elections on Sun Nov 29.

The body of Luis Gradis Espinal was found yesterday after he was arrested by the police, Front sources said.

Reports by the Front said 56-year-old Espinal, a retired teacher, had left on Sun Nov 22 his home in southern Valle province for the capital and his whereabouts had been unknown since then.

A witness said the vehicle in which she was travelling with Espinal was stopped at the city’s Beltway by a police patrol and the teacher was arrested and also beaten with a pistol on his head.

The Detainees and Missing People’s Relatives’ Committee (COFADEH) reported that Espinal’s body was found in Las Casitas sector, in the capital’s western area.

In a statement , the National Front said that the de facto authorities had increased security and persecution of the resistance members following the finding of more bodies.

The organisation highlighted that this policy had come “to the point of declaring a state of emergency that could be a preliminary to a military offensive against unarmed people.”

The Front reiterated a call to ignore active participation in the elections, which it considers a complete sham to legitimise the military coup that removed President Manuel Zelaya from office on June 28.

Meanwhile a UN spokesman in New York said the United Nations will not send observers to the elections called by the de facto regime in Honduras.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s official spokesman Farhan Haq told Prensa Latina that the organisation will have no role in the polls.

The UN is not involved whatsoever in the Honduran elections, he said in response to a question about an eventual presence of UN observers in the Central American country.

On Tues Nov 24, through another spokesperson, Ban Ki-Moon expressed concern for what he considered a lack of consensus to solve the political crisis in Honduras a few days before the elections.

The UN Chief has always backed a solution agreed by consensus to the conflict in the Central American country, UN spokeswoman Michele Montas had said.

Other important international players, including the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Spanish Government, have already announced that they will not send observers to the polls.

Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay and other Latin American countries warned that they will not recognise the election results, while the United States already proclaimed its support to the polls.

In the capital of Teguciagalpa thousands of Hondurans marched yesterday to support the elections of Nov. 29, to be held under the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti.

The march was summoned by the so- called Democratic Civic Union (UCD) and Human Rights Commissioner Ramon Custodio said the march “is a proof that we want democracy, freedom, and nobody to be above the law and the Constitution.”

UCD member, Luz Ernestina Mejia, told reporters that “this march is specially meaningful because we are about to finish the electoral process, where more than choosing our authorities we will choose our freedom.”

The elections this Sunday, in the middle of a political crisis, has divided the people, observers said.

The Electoral Supreme Tribunal has established 5,260 voting centers for 4.6 million Hondurans registered. Hondurans will chose one president, three vice presidents, 128 deputies to the National Congress and 298 mayors.

SOURCE: NNN-PRESNA LATINA-XINHUA