Pre-Election Repression on the Rise in Honduras Print
Manuel Murillo ¡PRESENTE! Take a Stand for Justice! End Impunity!
Pre-Election Repression on the Rise in Honduras

On October 24, Honduran journalist Manuel Murillo was found dead, shot in the head. Manuel was a cameraman, well known for filming the militarized scene immediately following the 2009 coup led by SOA graduates that removed democratically elected Honduran President Zelaya. He then filmed many of the resistance marches and protests calling for ousted President Zelaya's return. In retaliation, in 2010 he and a co-worker were kidnapped and tortured by Honduran police officers who demanded he turn over videos from the protests. Before he was killed, Manuel was working for one of the Congressional candidates for LIBRE, the new political party formed out of the Honduran resistance movement to the coup.

Manuel Murillo was just 32 years old and leaves behind a 7-year old and 9-year old. Despite death threats he continued his work but had previously told Honduran human rights organization COFADEH that "I am afraid for my life, these people keep looking for me, my daughters and my mother are in danger."

His body was found exactly one month before the November 24, 2013 Honduran elections, the same weekend we will gather at the gates of Ft. Benning to remember all the victims of social and political violence unleashed by SOA graduates and the destructive policies they impose.

In Honduras, LIBRE presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, the wife of ousted President Zelaya, is leading in the polls as many Hondurans look to take their country back from the extreme right-wing privatization agenda imposed through military force in the four years since the coup. As a result, murders and attacks against LIBRE candidates and activists are increasing.

With the US heavily funding the Honduran elections process, Representatives Raul Grijalva, Mike Honda, and Hank Johnson recently sent a letter to Secretary Kerry, expressing concern that the US Embassy "has not spoken forcefully about the militarization of the police,” nor expressed concern about the ruling party's illegal concentration of power and intimidation of the opposition.

In October, the newly created Military Police, a project of the current head of the Congress who is the ruling party's presidential candidate, took to the streets and have already established a pattern of targeting the political opposition. On October 10, they raided the house of union leader and LIBRE member Marco Antonio Rodríguez, forcibly removing Marco Antonio and his young son from the house with guns pointed at their heads, forced them to lay face down in the street, and handcuffed them. When he asked for a search warrant, the Military Police responded, "what search warrant? here we can do whatever we want."

Then on October 23, the Military Police broke into the house of long-time Honduran resistance activist Edwin Espinal, breaking down over 15 doors, blocking off the entrance, damaging the house, to supposedly search for “weapons and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.” The search warrant confirmed the clear political nature of this persecution and criminalization campaign, saying that Edwin "belongs to the LIBRE party and is one of the leaders of that area" and that the house had a LIBRE flag outside.

Despite so much repression and the electoral apparatus in the hand of the two ruling parties, setting the stage for anything but free and fair elections, the Honduran resistance movement continues full speed ahead, determined to create a new future for the country. People across Honduras are preparing to go to the polls on November 24th and speak out for their right to determine Honduras' future. Social movements continue organizing to defend their land, resources and lives from privatization and militarization.

Given the reality in Honduras right now, we must continue to speak out against the SOA training of military officials to enforce corporate interests in Honduras and elsewhere in Latin America and call on the US government to respect the sovereignty of the Honduran people. Join us at the SOA Watch vigil at the gates of Ft. Benning where many of these militaries are trained to call for an end to US backing for the repressive and violent government in Honduras. The vigil will be happening at the same time as the elections, and delegations will be on the ground from SOA Watch and the Honduran Solidarity Network to report on the situation.