All is Not Quiet in Honduras as Unionista is Murdered

The swearing in of new President Porfirio Lobo hasn’t brought the peace that the people of Honduras are seeking. Unfinished business post the ousting of Manuel Zelaya is particularly impacting local labor organizers, especially women.

The body of 29-year-old Vanessa Yamileth Zepeda, still dressed in her nurse’s scrubs and killed by a bullet, turned up in the Loarque neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on February 4. Zepeda had young children and was a leader of the SITRAIHSS labor union (Workers Union for the Honduran Social Security Institute). She had been abducted that afternoon while leaving a union meeting.

The fact that Zepeda’s death is being dismissed as an act of “common criminality” is disturbing enough, as if the murder of a mujer should be somewhat acceptable. Since Lobo’s inauguration there have been 10 to 15 assassinations of resistance members and leaders according to activists. Were those also acts of common criminals or the work of the common criminals of government?

This is all happening while the Honduran government tries to reestablish itself in the good graces of the U.S. government. The Honduran Foreign Minister, Mario Canahuati is trying to pave the way for a meeting between Lobo and Obama. Will the U.S. accept the invitation and if so, will Obama question the terror that continues for many in Honduras?

Trade unionists and gay and lesbian groups, who have become increasingly visible and organized as part of the resistance, have been the main focus of recent attacks and intimidation. Campesino communities, especially those involved in contested land takeovers, have also suffered recent increases in violence and repression from police and landowners…here have reportedly been beheadings and a man’s tongue was cut out. Cervantes said Honduran officials known for paramilitary activity in the 1980s have also resurfaced as part of the coup and/or in Lobo’s conservative party.

Via / In These Times

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10 comments on “All is Not Quiet in Honduras as Unionista is Murdered
  1. Let’s do the math. 18 days have passed. There are 14 murders per day in average in Honduras (the highest per capita rate in the world). That makes 252 murders, statistically expected. If 10 to 15 “resistance” members were murdered that means that 4% to 6% of those murdered were “resistance” members. Unless the “resistance” is much smaller than 4% of the population, this is hardly an indication of targeting, is it?
    The murders have to be stopped, period. It does not matter who is murdered, it is wrong. But to try to use this criminality for political gains is sickening.

  2. Pingback: All is Not Quiet in Honduras as Unionista is Murdered | VivirLatino | Honduras today

  3. Yes, murder is bad. No one is saying otherwise but we need to be really careful, especially looking at Latin American history overall whenever someone says, at well there is so much murder overall that it’s no big thing. The deaths need to be fully investigated.

  4. I find it difficult to understand why there is so much denial concerning the locus of responsibility for the assassinations of activists in Central America. Having recently come from San Salvador, where three anti-mining activists have been murdered in the past eight months and where death threats are being received by members of a community radio station that has been disseminating information about the involvement of Vancouver-based Pacific Rim mining, I find it difficult NOT to make the connections and at least have strong suspicions about the reasons why the government is closing its eyes to the situation. Could it be, I wonder, that the impending case being brought to the CAFTA tribunal against the Salvadoran government by a US subsidiary of Pacific Rim is “encouraging” its silence and complicity? All I know is that anti-mining activists are being terrorized into silence, which suits Pacific Rim very well.

  5. I have little doubt, feral sage, that you are right. In Colombia and Mexico as well, labor activists have been targeted and in those countries the deaths are blamed not on politics but rather on the “war on drugs” and we all know the role that the U.S. has played in that

  6. You are right, La Mala, when you say this:

    “especially looking at Latin American history overall whenever someone says, at well there is so much murder overall that it’s no big thing. The deaths need to be fully investigated.”

    In researching for an asylum case for gay men in Peru, most, if not all, of the murders of gays there are never fully investigated. In other words, an observer without full knowledge of the extremely homophobic society there could conclude that the murders were just crazy delinquents when in reality that is not the case.

  7. La Mala, Breaking News, I think:

    I did a search of all of the major newspapers of Honduras for the murder of Vanessa Zepeda and the results are startling: NO MENTION AT ALL. This leads me to believe that something is seriously wrong.

  8. Pingback: Honduras: A Startling Murder « Life Through the Lens of Bryan

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