Promising young Honduran forced into suffering of exile

Posted on February 11, 2011


Héctor Renán Soto CaballeroThis week saw the forced exile of the young Renan Soto Hector Caballero, director of the Civil Society Group, GSC, a promise to Honduras, but the continued harassment placed his life in a threatening situation.

The Committee of Disappeared and Detained Families of Honduras, COFADEH, sent a denouncement to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, an organization that requested information from the State of Honduras, which to date has been negligent in protecting the integrity of Soto Caballero.

Minutes before leaving his homeland, Hector stated that there are no simple moments, “to think differently in this country is dangerous and for some human rights defenders like myself we are being forced to retreat under such circumstances basically to safeguard our physical well being hoping that the processes that we are promoting continues, we are making a momentary pause because circumstances are too risky to guarantee one’s life in their own country.”

Bertha Oliva, coordinator of COFADEH, said goodbye to Hector with his mother and father who were very concerned with the forced journey of his son.

In relation to leaving his family which is a painful situation, “all of us who leave do so with the intention to return as soon as possible, it depends on the political will to respect freedom of speech of citizens who disagree.

To the international community I make an invitation to review its policy of support, especially to governments to whom they are giving a lot of legitimacy, strong financial support to institutions that have a double standard, a public face of good governance, however, within the country a lot of repression.

We hope that they take these cases as a clear proof that the situation in the country is the same and that a lot of commitment and pressure is needed to change this picture.

I do not understand that those who do so much harm to Honduras walk freely in the streets.

Doris Caballero, Hector’s mother expressed through tears that is difficult for a mother, there are no words, separated from a child, especially Hector Renan who is a promise for the country, who from little has had his principles, for a mother is not easy.

“I make the comparison of the quality of the child, the human that he is and know that there are people who do so much damage to the country and walk the streets freely, I never thought my son would have to go through this.”

Likewise for Hermilo Soto, Hector´s father it is not an easy situation, “as a parent I feel very sad and painful because Hector Renan has to leave the country against his will, he always aspired to live here with his family, make himself a professional and contribute in a healthy and positive manner that will help change things, “he lamented.

With regard to the danger in which his only son has been, Hermilo, accepted that the entire family has lived a lot of stress, severe pain, my wife was about 15 days of no sleep, his sisters cry.

Hermilo added that it has generated a family trauma, “when we realized that he had received death threats, that they were pursuing him, sent him text messages and in this defenseless country, any phone call generates alarm, with that the family loses peace, work productivity is also lower because you do not finish the job because you lose concentration.”

He recalled that when he lived his own risks in the 80’s through his commitment as a trade unionist at the time, maybe he was prepared to take personal risks, but one is never fully prepared to cope with the risks of their children, “I wanted that the risks and uncertainties in which my generation lived in the 80’s were not going to be lived my children.”

He also lamented that, like his son, unfortunately many young people who are unhappy and want to help drive change in this country, cannot live here, due to the intolerance of the powerful, the army, the police, because we have a militarized state, a police state.

In relation to the official discourse which delegitimizes the forced expulsion from Honduras of many people who have gone into exile, it may be because the embassies are not being occupied, or maybe that they are not demanding their right to exile and have to take the less risky road and leave in whichever manner from the country.


International community gives and gives and asks for nothing in return the regime

Soto Hermilo very concerned that the international community are insensitive to the case of Honduras, during the coup the problem of violation of human rights was a topic of much discussion, but now in the continuation of the coup they are not a priority.

“We see for example that the European Union is giving around 40 million euros to the Ministry of Security, a police force with high levels of corruption, senior police officers directing delinquent groups and the international community providing assistance without demanding anything in return for at least a real effort to clear the police,” he lamented.

For years there has been an effort of the international community to strengthen the judicial system, the investigation systems and we have a system that does not protect or is applied to those who violate it, infact it has a political bias; is applied to the weak, vulnerable and not those who do not transgress it.


A message to his son-in-exile

With much pain and on the point of tears, Hermilo sent a message to his son: “Héctor Renan I suggest you keep your belief, I believe that the difficulties and diversities strengthen the character of the people; never forget the values of solidarity we instill in our house and go forward.”

Telephone calls from unknowns in recent days to the house of his parents, are the precursors of exile. This is in spite of the fact that Hector had handed in a phone from where he received a threatening message, now under custody for several weeks by the police.

Since August of year 2010 a denouncement was filed by COFADEH to the Attorney-General, Luis Rubio, but there is no result to date.

Since the coup to date more than 200 people, including President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, are in exile. Between December 2010 and February 2011 many families have left to exile under the imminent threat to their personal safety.