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Targeted by Assassins: Women, Children, Families of Honduras

December 9, 2013

21 year old student Lenin Bladimir Dubon;

61 year old Tolupan activist Maria Enriqueta Matute;

23 year old farmer Melvin Amaya;

And, 34 year old Nidya Sujey Cerrato Orellana, whose father was a political candidate in Honduras, and her husband, 45 year old Manuel de Jesus Castro Romero, a car salesman.

These are just some of the nearly 230 sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers who have lost their lives in politically-related attacks in Honduras over the last four years. Most of those killed have been shot, but many have also been tortured for such “offenses” as simply being related to someone who hopes to provide a better life for those living in the country, or, for simply having a different point-of-view. 

“These murders capture the scope and nature of organized repression in Honduras,” Gary Cozette, Program Director of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN), writes. “[Assassins] are targeting non-violent social movements that have risen up in resistance to the June 2009 coup. They include trade unionists, farming cooperatives, land rights and environmental activists, indigenous peoples, afro-Hondurans, LGBT Hondurans, students, teachers, lawyers, journalists, and women in resistance organizations.”

First released in 2011, the document “Politically Related Murders in Honduras under President “Pepe” Lobo” attempted to shine a light on the violence that was occurring almost daily.  It is a chronology of politically motivated or politically related murders in post-coup Honduras.   

As the eve of new and inclusive Honduran elections approached, those numbers again rose. Over a period of 47 months – from January 2010 until November 20, 2013 – 229 Honduran civilians were killed primarily by state security forces or death squads linked to state security forces or Honduran oligarchs behind the 2009 coup.  However, the numbers are likely far greater.

“For example, the LGBT community reports 120 murders of LGBT Hondurans since the coup until now,” Cozette writes. “Only a handful are cited in the report due to source confidentiality, capacity limitations of volunteer and professional organizations, and safety concerns in making these other murders publicly known. “

Murder is not the only form of intimidation families in Honduras are enduring.  There are many acts of hostility, short of death, now in use against the non-violent social movements in resistance, such as targeted death threats, beatings, rapes, abductions, false accusations, arrests, and imprisonments – which have affected thousands.

“The staggering scope of the political violence in Honduras,” Cozette says. “And, the impunity with which it carried out does not conform with the democratic rule of law or to a country that is not at war. “

Please join us in prayer for peace for the people of Honduras and in support of our mission work with those who are suffering.  To learn more about our mission work in Honduras, click here; to read the latest dispatches from our mission co-workers there, click here.

Learn more about the politically-motivated violence by reading the full report from the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America here.

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