Take, for example, the issue of who's being killed in Honduras. A recent article in the Global Post -- "Oppression against defenders, journalists and lawyers in Honduras" --mentions that since the coup in 2009, "community leaders, lawyers, journalists, LGBT activists, union workers, political opponents, often those highlighting or fighting against the government’s neoliberal policies," have been the victims of "targeted killings which are being carried out with almost total impunity". This is true. No question about it.
The piece specifically cites figures by the National Human Rights Commissioner (Conadeh) for the number of lawyers killed -- "59 lawyers killed between January 2010 and April 2013". It also notes that the Honduran Bar Association "puts the death toll at 20 percent higher". It goes on:
"This includes high profile lawyers such as Antonio Trejo in September 2012 who was representing peasant farmers (campesinos) in land disputes in the Bajo Aguan valley. More than 100 campesino leaders in the Bajo Aguan have been killed since 2010 without a single conviction. Around 30 journalists have been murdered since 2009, making Honduras one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press.
The latest victim Juan Carlos Argeñal was shot dead at home in the southern department of El Paraíso on Dec. 7, 2013. He was a correspondent for the left-leaning Radio Globo and Globo TV, owner of a local TV station and an activist for the Freedom and Refoundation Party (Libre).
Figures collated by the Canadian group Rights Action found that Libre -- the new political party to emerge from a popular uprising after the coup -- suffered the majority of attacks in the election cycle."
Again, all this is true. But notice the distinct one-sidedness of this story. Everyone who opposes the government is good and innocent. The government and anyone who may support the government is clearly bad and guilty. Really, it's that simple and clear-cut? Are the killings in Honduras confined to those who are apparently in confrontation with the government? No, not by a long shot. A lot of it (perhaps most of it) is drug-related or due to general lawlessness and corruption in a country well known for its dysfunctional institutions -- be it those in power or those in the opposition. There are tens of thousands of members of organized crime syndicates, gangs, and drug cartels running around waging havoc in a nation where most people are poor and helpless, and thus easy prey. That's the other side of the story.
Some of it is random, and some is a mix of all of the above. Here's the opening of a recent article from the Efe news wire service: "An 11-year-old boy was among the three people killed when unknown assailants opened fire on a moving vehicle in the northern city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras police said. The attackers 'shot several times with heavy weapons,' a police spokesman said. The boy and another occupant of the vehicle were declared dead at the scene, while another person died at Mario Catarino Rivas Hospital."
Oh, and those nasty ole police who the left just love to vilify, as if they're sub-human and don't come from exactly the same neighborhoods and families as the noble opposition? They're being killed off at an even faster rate than the journalists and lawyers and community activists. According to the director of the National Police, Ramón Sabillon, 65 Honduran police officers were murdered last year. That's more than twice the number of Honduran journalists murdered since 2009 and six more than all the Honduran lawyers murdered from January 2010 through April 2013. That's another little bit of the story, in case you've been wondering. (1/16/14) (image courtesy Internet)
Note: The author is the editor and cofounder of Honduras Weekly. He is an aerospace market analyst by profession. He was born in Tegucigalpa. He is the author of "The Good Coup: The Overthrow of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras".