Welcome to Honduras, don’t mind the masked men

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July 13, 2009

Andrés Izarra: “TeleSUR Has Not Given up its Work in Honduras”

Translation: Machetera

Andrés Izarra, TeleSUR’s president, said today that the television network would continue to report on what is actually happening in Honduras since the coup d’etat which took place on June 28, despite the aggression by the de facto government which forced the departure of its team of correspondents, cameramen and technicians from that Central American country at the end of last week.

“TeleSUR has not given up its work in Honduras,” he insisted, at a press conference in Nicaragua, the country that opened its doors to the TeleSUR workers who left Honduras by land.

He said that under a new security plan that “would allow us to continue our reporting responsibilities,” the network would continue working.

Izarra said that the TeleSUR team in Honduras continued its journalistic work until “our new teams were held on Saturday night, along with those from VTV…by members of the [Honduran] police.”

He said that they “arrived heavily armed, wearing ski-masks and strongly threatened the lives” of the entire television team.

He denounced it as a kidnapping because the police took them away without any kind of legal support for undertaking the action.

He thanked the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan embassies in Honduras, and the Interamerican Human Rights Commission (IHRC) for their intervention.  They also accompanied the team as it crossed the border to Nicaragua.

“The team was freed, but continues to be under surveillance, in particular, by a group called ‘Cobra in Honduras'” he said.

“TeleSUR decided to leave Honduras over the land border with Nicaragua in order to protect the personal security of our team.  Our team arrived last night in Nicaragua,” he said.

According to Izarra, he seeks to bring the world’s attention to the violations of human rights and press freedoms taking place in Honduras.

For her part, Adriana Sívori, one of the journalists who covered the events in Honduras, said that ever since she began working in Honduras after the coup, her “rights and those of all the TeleSUR journalists were violated.”

“While we were reporting, they began to go after us,” she said.  “They followed us to the hotels, they listened in on our phone calls, they cut off the calls,” she continued.

She said that she felt affected for “having reported the truth to the world” and that the de facto Honduran authorities “want to cover up” what is happening with the journalists, all over a “nonexistent” conflict with President Hugo Chávez.

She said that during their arrest they were repeatedly threatened.  Among other things, they were told that if they (the putschists) were able to take out a president as they did, imagine what else they might do.”

One of the other correspondents, Madelein García, also said that “large weapons, masks and harassment are being used to create fear” in Honduras.

García recalled that the police for the de facto government justified their kidnapping by alleging that “a foreign group was threatening national security,” and therefore she asked “what can a microphone and a camera do?”  She said that their only purpose was to report to the world what was happening in Honduras.

Therefore, she emphasized, it is necessary to investigate who is behind the coup d’etat.  She added that the Interamerican Press Society (IPS) ought to come out and say what its line is on all of this.

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