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News :: Human Rights
Honduras: A selective and low-intensity human hunt
26 Feb 2010
Another murder in broad daylight
A little after noon on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the city of San Pedro Sula, there was a knock on the door at Claudia Larissa Brizuela's house, where she was celebrating her 36th birthday. As soon as she opened the door she was gunned down, with three shots to the head that killed instantly. Claudia was an active member of the trade union of employees of the Mayor's Office, where she worked. She was also the daughter of Pedro Brizuela, a prominent local leader of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP).

This new terrorist killing occurred just before a large mobilization planned by FNRP for the capital, Tegucigalpa, to protest against the Truth Commission, which is seen as a way of guaranteeing that all the criminals involved in the coup and the ensuing savage repression will not be punished.

Claudia is the third deadly victim of the government of Porfirio Lobo, who's only been in office one month. Vanessa Zepeda and Julio Funes had already been slain this past month in similar circumstances.

Pedro Brizuela, Claudia's father, linked the murder to his FNRP activities and to an attempt to terrorize anyone who dares to fight for democracy in Honduras.

The repression is now targeting women in particular, as several women have reported that they've been receiving threat calls and are being harassed, also by phone, by unidentified callers who announce the death of their children or of somebody close to them. One woman was followed by a car and another was brutally beaten, losing an eye and several teeth and suffering back injuries.

This selective violence against low-ranking FNRP, trade union and social organization leaders has intensified since Jan. 28, when Porfirio Lobo took office. His security minister, Oscar Álvarez, has stated publicly that the resistance must be eradicated because "there's no longer any reason for it to exist."

The strategy deployed by Honduras' Intelligence Services consists of sowing terror through highly public, almost televised, killings of low-ranking leaders, sparing, for the time being, the more prominent leaders of the opposition. This strategy has apparently a double aim: intimidating the people with a state-terrorism-type "low-intensity hunt" while, supposedly, avoiding major national and international scandals that would be triggered by the killing of more well-known figures.

This regime is not governing democratically; it is not a democracy. And already there are people who have paid with their lives, demonstrating the true nature of the government. It's not by chance that Porfirio Lobo's leading security advisor is José Félix Ramajo, an ISA (International Security Academy) instructor, with connections to the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

Honduras is seeing the reemergence of the state terrorism it suffered in the 1980s, but with a slight difference: the perpetration of selective killings targeting low-rankings activists. There are no massacres, no mutilated or dismembered bodies dumped in the suburbs; there are no high-profile assassination as of yet. The form of repression carried out now is much more perverse, because it uses the media to broadcast the killings and convey a clear message: "You could be the next victim; or your children, or your relatives, or your friends." Anyone can be next. It spreads a terror magnified by impunity to an almost universal scale.

What mind is capable of conceiving this kind of strategy? Just putting it into words is repugnant.

Rel-UITA, the IUF's Latin American Office, once again holds President Porfirio Lobo responsible for these murders, along with all the governments that supported the process that led to the ousting of Manuel Zelaya and the establishment of this terrorist dictatorship disguised as a democracy.

The blood of Claudia, of Vanessa, of Julio and of all the other victims of state terrorism in Honduras should stain the spotless offices of the White House. The inconsolable cries of eight-year-old Eduard and two-year-old Said, Claudia's orphans, should resound in the broad and elegant halls of the U.S. presidency and fill its war-spreading peace-talking President with shame.

Rel-UITA condemns this and all other murders committed against the Honduran people as they fought for their rights, for their democracy, and it will go on denouncing without pause the true perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.

The international community must react quickly and forcefully to condemn the governments that support these inhumane regime.
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