Honduran Human Rights Platform and Agrarian Platform issue Statement on Massacre in Aguan

Nov. 18, 2010 Tegucigalpa. Organizations and social movements of the Platform of Human Rights and the Agrarian Platform energetically condemn the brutal attack which members of the Campesino Movement of Aguán (MCA) were victims of on Monday, November 15, 2010 on the Tumbador farm, Trujillo, Department of Colón.

This massacre provides clear evidence of how once again the Armed Forces of Honduras, the National Police and the private army of oligarch Miguel Facussé have united to make the boot and the gun prevail over rights and justice, murdering our people: Teodoro Acosta, Raúl Castillo, Ignacio Reyes, Siriaco de Jesús Muñoz y José Luis Sauceda. All of them are members of the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA) and today, martyrs of the struggle for access to lands that belong to them. There are also four seriously injured. With this new massacre, the escalating agrarian conflict in Aguán, reaches a toll of 16 peasants, affiliated with MUCA and MCA, assassinated in 2010.
We also denounce the media campaign orchestrated by coup sponsored communications outlets in collusion with Miguel Facussé and Security Minister Oscar Álvarez which attempt to portray the victims as guilty delinquents in a crude attempt to imitate the Colombian paramilitary strategy of “false positives” when in reality what occurred is a massacre against peasants who defend their land, backed by the rights granted to them by the National Agrarian Institute (INA).
The murders occurred when between 200 and 300 guards of the private army of Miguel Facussé violently dispersed peasants who had occupied approximately 1200 acres of land which Miguel Facussé had illegally appropriated in the “El Tumbador” sector. The killers used high caliber weapons reserved only for military use for approximately four hours during the brutal act before the indifference of the police units in the zone.
Suspiciously, the police did not arrive at the scene of the crime until12:30 as if waiting for the results to be more dramatic. Their mission and action was then to disperse the peasants and to leave the land in possession of Facussé’s guards.
The Armed Forces have militarized the zone of the Aguan. There are check points from La Ceiba to Trujillo. The army and Miguel Facussé’s hitmen are moving throughout the zone with face masks, in 4×4 civilian vehicles and even inside the city of Tocoa with a clear intent to intimidate everyone and anyone who dares to support the organized peasants.
The smoke screen that has been thrown over the reality of what occurred in this massacre is demonstrated when Oscar Álvarez points to the “need to protect the population”, and when Minister of Defense Marlon Pascua says that they will move the Armed Forces in to the Zone of the Aguán “at the request of the Security Minister.”
Again it is clear that state institutions are at the service of the large landholders in the region and the security guards substitute the repressive organs of the state, proceeding to capture, torture and murder those who oppose the powerful with complete bakcing and complicity on the part of the police.
In response to this barbarity:
1.      We underscore that Honduras is a signatory to international human rights declarations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and as a result is obligated to respect, promote, guarantee and uphold all human rights including the right to life, physical integrity and food of the peasant population of the Aguán.
2.      We exhort human rights organizations, governments and international organizations to pressure the regime of Porfirio Lobo to cease the violence that has caused so much damage to the people of the Aguán Valley.
3.      We demand an investigation into the murders, the pursuit and punishment of the material and intellectual authors of the crimes committed in the Bajo Aguán as well as the implementation of the law in effect (Legislative Decree 18-2008) to resolve the case of the CREM.
4.      We issue an urgent call to international organizations to denounce the criminal actions of the regime, the army, the police and private enterprise of Honduras against the peasants who struggle for the right to a dignified life through access to lands that belong to them according to the laws of the Republic and international conventions.
Tegucigalpa, November 18, 2010