COFADEH: Honduran government makes statement on the “possession of weapons”

Posted on April 10, 2010


As a matter of urgency, the Committee of Relatives of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras, COFADEH, addresses the national and international community to express our deep concern at an official government communication issued in an intimidating tone on a national broadcast, similar to those used on radio and television by official broadcasters after the military-political coup in June 2009. The so-called “Government of National Unity and Reconciliation” used private and state radio and television frequencies [on April 9] to remind people repeatedly about the penalties for the manufacture, storage, transport, use, purchase or supply of arms, explosives or war materials, highlighting AK47 rifles, submachine guns, pistols and “chimbas” (homemade gun).

The surprising announcement, broadcasted nationally, was made at a time when several people reported the movement of troops and about 2,500 police into Bajo Aguán, where currently the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguán (MUCA) is discussing with its base a proposal made by businessmen René Morales (Nicaraguan), Reinaldo Canales (El Salvador) and Miguel Facussé Barjum (Palestinian), a proposal that has been taken up by the “government” presided by Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

The official statement does not refer directly to the Aguan agrarian conflict, but it is obvious that it coincides with the warnings made by the Minister of Security, Oscar Alvarez, during the last negotiating session of the conflict at the Presidential House, on Monday, [April 5], where he repeatedly said that the National Police could not refuse to execute eviction orders issued by judges in the area where the MUCA has taken over land.

We alert the international community that while Mr Lobo Sosa makes a political effort in the capital to find solutions to the agrarian crisis and seeks regional recognition in Managua and Guatemala, the government sends police and military troops into Aguán as a measure of pressuring and blackmailing more than 3,500 farming families who are discussing whether to accept or reject the official offer to end the dispute with the three earlier cited agro-industrial businessmen.

The statement on weapons, in real terms, is an indictment on the social and political forces that reject the criminalization of [social] conflicts in Honduras; a typical behavior of the internal security secretariat, which operates in partnership with the Honduran Armed Forces, and a clear reflection of the government’s absence of control on state affairs.