Honduras: teacher killed in protest

A striking schoolteacher named Wilfredo Lara was killed Aug. 27 while participating in a road blockade at Macuelizo, in Santa Bárbara department of western Honduras. An angered motorist, who apparently opened fire on the blockade with a handgun and hit Lara in the throat, was arrested in the slaying. The blockade was one of ten held throughout the country by the National Coordinator of Popular Resistance (CNRP), made up of more than 30 unions, student groups, indigenous and campesino organizations, and community assemblies. They are demanding land redistribution, the repeal of neoliberal laws on forestry, mining and water, the suspension of planned hydro-electric dams, the punishment of corrupt officials, and controls on the prices of basic goods. (EFE, Aug. 27)

See our last post on the Central America and Honduras.

  1. Journalist forced to flee Honduras
    The news director of the Radio Cadena Voces (RCV), Dagoberto RodrĂ­guez, fled Honduras Nov. 1 after the police warned him that he could be killed by “sicarios” (paid gunmen) in the next 72 hours. “My life changed in 24 hours,” RodrĂ­guez told IPS just before he left the country. “I never expected to abandon my country this way, because the only thing I have ever done is journalism… They came to the radio station on Tuesday to tell me not to leave the building, because I was going to be killed. I had to go to the Human Rights Commissioner to ask for protection, which I was fortunately given.”

    RodrĂ­guez fled the country 12 days after the murder of Carlos Salgado, the host of an RCV program “FrĂ­jol, el terrible”, which mixed humor and news. Salgado, 67, was shot by two unidentified gunmen as he left the offices of the RCV.

    Salgado’s murder and the threats against RodrĂ­guez come amid a climate of growing tension between the government of President Manuel Zelaya and the press. In late October, Zelaya complained to the Inter-American Press Association (SIP/IAPA that certain media outlets were carrying out a campaign against him.

    Since Zelaya took office nearly two years ago, he and his closest associates have been at odds with certain widely-read newspapers in Honduras, while encouraging other publications to form alliances to report on the “official agenda.”

    Rafael Nodarse, owner of the Channel 6 TV station, said that there is a “media war.”

    There is also a climate of growing social conflict. So far this year, 200 protests and strikes have been recorded by the Honduras Documentation Center. The Center’s director VĂ­ctor Meza told IPS that in September there were a particularly large number of protests over soaring crime rates and the high cost of basic food items, and against the privatization of public enterprises. Meza dismissed as “absolutely false” Zelaya’s claims that the protest wave is the result of a media campaign against him. (IPS via Upside Down World, Nov. 6)