FIAN: Big Landowners Impose a State of Terror in Lower Aguan

Posted on June 8, 2011

Militarization of Lower AguánThe Popular Network of Aguan received access to the following declaration of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) in the province of Colon .

The FNRP in the province of Colon DENOUNCES, to the international community,  to national and international human rights organisms, and to the Honduran people, the continuation of the policies of kidnapping, persecution and assassination of members of campesino organizations located in lower Aguan, on the northern coast of Honduras, where under orders from the big landowners, Miguel Facusse, Reinaldo Canales and Rene Morales, the National Preventative Police, the members of the forces from the naval base at Puerto Castillo and of the Honduran army, together with their security guards impose a climate of terror on all the campesinos of Aguan. Among the most notable acts we highlight the following:

  1. Attacks during the night and early morning against the campesino settlements of the MUCA on the right bank (of the River Aguan) with high-caliber weapons.
  2. On Wednesday, May 11 of this year, the campesino Pablo Lemus of the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA) was assassinated having been ambushed near the battalion at the Rio Claro in Trujillo , Colon .
  3. On May 15 of this year, the campesino, Francisco Pascual Lopez, of the campesino movement of Rigores, disappeared; his 10-year-old son who was with him testified to the community that the security guards from the plantation of Miguel Facusse fired at his father. The assassins sent a photo of the assassinated peasant to the Web but his body has still not been found in Aguan.
  4. On May 18 the compañero campesino, Sixto Ramos of the MCA was assassinated when he walked to his work in the fields; he was fired on from a double cabin, black vehicle with armed men wearing ski masks, with high-caliber weapons.
  5. On May 19, 2011, peasants traveling in a vehicle from the community of Honduras , Aguan towards the municipality of Sonaguera were followed by a grey vehicle loaded with security guards and elements wearing the uniforms of the Cobras, the National Preventative Police, ending when the vehicle of the guards overturned on the side of the road. As a consequence, one of the Cobra police fractured a leg.
  6. On Sunday, May 21 of this year, 2campesinos disappeared:  Olvin Gallegos, 17 years old, of the campesino group, Despertar of the Authentic Revindicative Campesino Movement (MARCA) who was on his way to the plantations of Reinaldo Canales and Rene Morales, together with the campesino Secuindino Gomez, 48 years old. Only the bicycle on which they had been travelling was found. To date their whereabouts is unknown.
  7. On June 4, the security guards of the big landowners accompanied by the National Preventative Police, attacked members of the campesino cooperative, La Trinidad, with live high-caliber bullets with no regard for the presence of women and children in the sector.
  8. At dawn on June 5, 2011, guards, police and members of the army attacked the campesino Enterprise, La San Isidro, on land for which procession is  legally disputed by  Miguel Facusse. Two hours after the attack these peasants left the location; the armed men who defend the big land owners began to shoot at campesinos who have taken refuge in the offices of the regional National Agrarian Institution (INA) because of the rains; attacking the governmental regional facilities of the INA and firing on another group of campesinos who were laboring in production. Three people were wounded by bullets among them, Doris Peres Vasquez and Oliver Gonzales, as of this moment there are four disappeared campesinos, all members of the Unified Campesino Movement of Aguan, MUCA.
  9. At 10 in the morning the same day the campesinos José Recinos, Genaro Cuestas, and  Joel Santamaría, were assassinated. They were travelling in a vehicle near the palm fields in Suyapa where they were ambushed and their lives ended. Hours later, officials mounted an operation so that no one could get close to the bodies of the campesinos, later under strong security measures they transferred the bodies to Trujillo, where also they closed off a perimeter of 10 blocks for the intervention by a forensic doctor, the legal authorities opposed turning the bodies over to their families. Later, in the same patrol cars that attacked the campesinos, they transferred them  to La Ceiba, in Atlantida, about 120 kilometers from the site of the assassination. They belonged to the peasant enterprise of San Esteban of the MARCA.
  10. The big agribusiness landowners, according to communications from campesino organizations, up to 50 thousand Lempiras for every four campesinos that the assassins are able to assassinate, stating furthermore that currently in the plantation of El Tumbador and in the installations of the 15th Infantry Battalion there are 150 hired assassins using Honduran army and National Preventative Police uniforms to carry out military operations against the campesinos of Aguan. Because of the type of assassinations committed, with clear indications of savage torture of the campesinos before their murder, the presence of foreigners is perceived among the hired assassins. Some have been detected by their way of speaking and others even when they are hooded their accents have been recognized as gringo or Colombian.

We call on the International community to oversee the fulfillment of the agreements signed by the current regime in order to be able to return to the OAS. It promised respect for life and for Human Rights but less than 24 hours after being newly recognized by the Latin American community it is not capable of avoiding the assassination of campesinos, far from that, its security forces are co-participants in the human right violations in this region. This assassin regime does not merit the privilege of being a beneficiary of cooperation with this organism of regional integration, but rather it deserves international condemnation for the crimes against humanity committed since June 28, 2009.