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Honduras: new government, same terror

Despite the supposed normalization of Honduras since the transfer of power to President Porfirio Lobo last month, grave human rights abuses targeting opponents of last year's coup d'etat continue unabated. On Feb. 15, Julio Funes Benítez, a member of the water and sewage workers union SITRASANAA and a local leader of the anti-coup National Resistance Front, was shot dead in the city of Comayagüela by four unknown men in a taxi.

On Feb. 12, Hermes Reyes, a cultural worker with the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ), was abducted by three presumed paramilitary gunmen on the streets of Siguatepeque, forced into a car, and beaten and tortured before he was released hours later, suffering serious damage to an eye.

Also Feb. 12, Porfirio Ponce, vice president of the beverage workers union STYBIS and a leader of the National Resistance Front, had his home broken into in Tegucigalpa. Family members and neighbors were threatened, as the assailants ransacked his home and absconded with his computer.

On Feb. 9 in San Pedro Sula, Edgar Martínez, Carol Rivera, Melissa Rivera and Johan Martínez—four friends who were all active members of the civil resistance—were kidnapped and taken to a location outside the city where they were beaten and the two women were raped. When they were released three days later, the captors reportedly said the assault was "un saludo de Pepe"—a greeting from Pepe, nickname of President Lobo.