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Military and Police Detain Campesinos

Armed forces began searches late Monday night and captured at least ten campesinos from the Guadalupe Carney community. They were detained for about 40 minutes and then freed, in Silin, Department of Colon. They carried lists and a computer to check the names of those who were being captured. About 600 families live in the area.

According to reports provided by Defensoresenlinea.com, among those captured and released were: Elías Díaz, Isidoro Hernandez, and eight others. Shortly before 11 am, it was reported that Jesus Hernandez was captured from the United Families Cooperative II.

“As the night progresses the situation could worsen, specially if the military and police decide to enter people’s homes,” said a peasant leader.

It was reported that behind this operation could be the landowner Henry Osorto, who seeks to take the land where the community is based and has attempted several times to evict the families from state-owned property.

The leaders in the region made it claer that what the state forces are doing is very dangerous and could easily degenerate into bloodshed.

The members of the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations of Aguan, COPA, a network that brings together several organizations, are also victims of persecution and surveillance.

They reported that on Sunday, April 11, at about 2:00 pm, Jose Serrano, Haydee Saravia and Esly Banegas, all of them from the COPA directive, were driving a vehicle from the center of Tocoa. When they got out of the car naer Esly’s home, a taxi owned by the company Brisas del Aguán parked nearby with an individual inside who was carrying a radio transmitter. The unidentified person stayed in the same place for about 15 minutes, looking at the house.

Again on Monday, April 12, also at about 2:00 PM, the same group of COPA directors were followed for about three blocks by a red Toyota 4×4 with tinted windows and without license plates. The truck parked for a while in the same location as the Taxi had the previous day.

Although both Banegas and Saravia are under precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Honduran State is doing nothing to protect their lives.

Statements issued by presidential appointee María Antonieta Bográn, accompanied by Defense Minister Marlon Pascua and Security Deputy Minister Roberto Romero Luna claimed that the human rights of the peasants of Aguán will be respected.

At the press conference, deputy director of the National Police, René Maradiaga Panchamé, said that the military and police presence is following “specific orders from President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and Minister of Security Oscar Alvarez, as well as the Commissioner of Police, José Luis Muñoz Licona, to maintain order and preserve the rule of law, providing security to all people in the area.“

The repressive actions initiated Saturday night are part of a psychological operation meant to destabilize the peasant movement and generate terror within the population of unarmed civilians.

In this climate of terror, the campaign of disinformation by the media continues on behalf of the landowners, saying that there is an armed movement in Aguán, with the intention of justifying actions which violate human rights standards.