Resistance and Repression in Honduras
An unknown number of Hondurans have taken
to the streets today in an effort to stop the coup that the military,
in league with Congress and the Supreme Court, has carried out against
democratically elected President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya.
intermitant power outages and heavy rain, independent media within
Honduras has had extreme difficulty transmitting news. This means that
while there’s been plenty of news in the mainstream media about the
actions people with a lot of political power have been taking–from
Chavez and the ALBA nations to the Organization of American States to
the United States–there’s been very little reported about what
rank-and-file Hondurans have been doing to reverse the coup.
Military Coup in Honduras
Read updates from the Narco News Bulletin here: http://narconews.com
A military coup has taken place in Honduras on Sunday, June 28, led by School
of the Americas (SOA) graduate Romeo Vasquez. Members of the Honduran
military surrounded the presidential palace and forced the
democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, into custody. He was
immediately flown to Costa Rica.
The Honduran state television
was taken off the air. The electricity supply to the capital
Tegucigalpa, as well telephone and cellphone lines were cut. The people
of Honduras are going into the streets. Labor unions are planning for a
general strike. From Costa Rica, President Zelaya has called for a
non-violent response from the people of Honduras, and for international
solidarity for the Honduran democracy.
Photos by Miguel Yuste, El Pais.
The people of Honduras show great bravery by taking to the streets to
defend their democracy and rule of law. General Romeo Vasquez, the head
of the armed forces who led the military coup against the
democratically elected president Zelaya, is a graduate of the notorious
School of the Americas (SOA).
“The U.S. Army School of the Americas…is a school that has run
more dictators than any other school in the history of the world.”
– Congressman Joseph Kennedy (In total, the School has produced at least eleven Latin American dictators.)
Honduras – like the rest of Latin America – has first hand
experience with bloody work of School of the Americas graduates and
with SOA trained military dictators:
In 1975, SOA Graduate General Juan Melgar Castro became the military
dictator of Honduras. From 1980-1982 the dictatorial Honduran regime
was headed by, yet another SOA graduate, Policarpo Paz Garcia, who
intensified repression and murder by Battalion 3-16, one of the most
feared death squads in all of Latin America (founded by Honduran SOA
graduates with the help of Argentine SOA graduates).
“[I took] a course in intelligence at the school of the Americas [in
which I saw] a lot of videos which showed the type of interrogation and
torture they used in Vietnam. Although many people refuse to accept it,
all this is organized by the U.S. government.”
– José Valle, graduate of the SOA, admitted torturer, member of Battalion 316, Inside the School of Assassins, video
here to watch the full-length documentary about Father Roy Bourgeois,
the School of the Americas and the U.S. military’s involvement in
teaching torture techniques
“Torturing was “a job, something I did to give food to my kids”
– Valle, Baltimore Sun, 6/11/95
“The intelligence unit, known as Battalion 316, used shock and
suffocation as devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept
naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves.
Newly declassified documents and other sources show that the CIA and
the U.S. Embassy knew of numerous crimes, including murder and torture,
yet continued to support Battalion 316 and collaborate with its
– Baltimore Sun, 6/11/95
Battalion 316 is founded in the early eighties by General Luis Alonso
Discua graduated from the SOA three times, in 1967, 1972, and 1982
while the nation is under the repressive dictatorship of SOA graduate
General Policarpo Paz García, inducted into the SOA “Hall of Fame” in
1988. Also inducted in 1988 is General Humberto Regalado Hernández a
four-time graduate in the late sixties and seventies who, as chief of
Honduran armed forces, refuses to take action against soldiers involved
in Battalion 316 death squad activity, and indeed appears to cover-up
at least some of that activity.
– Americas Watch reports on Honduras, 1987 and 1994
Fresh from their own “Dirty War”, Argentine SOA graduates such as
Colonel Mario Davico move to Honduras in the early 1980s to teach
Batalion 316 techniques such as arbitrary detention, torture,
extrajudicial executions, and methods of disposing of the bodies of the
– Americas Watch, 1994
One year after he enters the SOA Hall of Fame, fellow officers accuse
Regalado Hernández of misappropriating millions of dollars in U.S.
military aid. Officers contend that equipment provided through U.S.
military assistance was regularly sold to unit commanders by Regalado,
who then deposited the money in a “special account”. Military
assistance supplies sold by Regalado ranged from batteries to tires to
gasoline. Meanwhile, the Reagan administration in 1988, the year
Regalado is inducted into the SOA Hall of Fame suspects Regalado of
providing protection to Colombian drug traffickers living in Honduras.
Regalado’s half-brother (SOA graduate Rigoberto Regalado Lara,
convicted and imprisoned in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges) tells
authorities that his supplier was a close friend of General Regalado
– New York Times, 10/15/89
In 1983, several key members of Battalion 316 somehow find time in
their busy schedules of organizing death squad activity for renewed
training at the SOA, including Lieutenant Colonel Luis Alonso Villatoro
Villeda (trained in “Administration”, then commander of Battalion 316
from 1986-1988), Second Lieutenant Ramón Mejia (in charge of
transporting kidnap victims from various parts of Honduras to
Tegucigalpa, one of the two officers most involved in torture,
interrogation and murder) and General Walter López Reyes.
– Americas Watch, 1987 and 1994
Colonel Juan López Grijalva, another three-time graduate of the SOA in
Battalion 316, returns to the SOA as a guest lecturer in both 1991 and
In April 2002, the democratically elected Chavez government of
Venezuela was briefly overthrown and the School of the Americas trained
militaries Efrain Vasquez Velasco, ex-army commander, and Gen. Ramirez
Poveda, were key players in the coup attempt.
Over its 58 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American
soldiers in counter-insurgency techniques, sniper skills, commando and
psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics.
Colombia, with over 10,000 troops trained at the school, is the SOA’s
largest customer. Colombia currently has the worst human rights record
in Latin America. .