Honduras: two resistance activists murdered

An unidentified man shot and killed Honduran activist Mahadeo (“Emo”) Sadloo on Sept. 7 at his small automobile tire shop in eastern Tegucigalpa. Sadloo had been active in the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) from the time when the grassroots coalition was founded to oppose the June 2009 military coup against former president José Manuel (“Mel”) Zelaya Rosales (2006-2009); he was also a strong supporter of teacher and student demonstrations in defense of public education. Zelaya called Sadloo’s death a “political assassination” and a “declaration of war” against him and his supporters; the FNPR said it was “a political crime intended to demobilize and demoralize the Popular Resistance.”

Current president Porfirio (“Pepe”) Lobo Sosa promised a thorough investigation of the murder. “There is no interest in persecuting anyone politically,” he insisted at a press conference on Sept. 7, “much less in taking anyone’s life.” However, in August 2010 Lobo’s government reportedly considered deporting Sadloo as a foreigner who meddled in Honduran politics. Sadloo, a naturalized Honduran citizen of Indian origin, immigrated to Honduras from Suriname more than 35 years ago. (EFE, Sept. 8; Latinoamérica de Hoy blog, Sept. 7)

On the night of Sept. 8, the day after the Sadloo murder, a group of gunmen killed activist and journalist Medardo Flores in an ambush near his farm outside Puerto Cortés, the country’s main port, in the northern department of Cortés. In addition to running his farm, Flores was active in the resistance movement and worked for the Uno radio station in nearby San Pedro Sula, the second largest Honduran city. He spent the 1980s in exile to avoid being targeted in the “low-intensity war” then being carried out against alleged leftist rebels.

Flores is the 16th journalist murdered in Honduras since February 2010; the most recent victim before Flores was Nery Orellana, the director of a rural radio station who was shot dead on July 19 at the border between Honduras and El Salvador. None of the cases have been solved. The Security Ministry claims the murders are all for personal reasons, but most of the victims were opponents of the 2009 coup. (AFP, Sept. 9, via El Tiempo, San Pedro Sula)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 11.

See our last post on Honduras.