UPDATE: Machetera was provided with a transcript of this interview for translation and had difficulties downloading the audio. A Tlaxcala colleague who was able to listen to the audio provided a missing piece and a correction, indicated in green, below. Regarding the proof, please see this story published last spring in La Jornada (don’t worry, it’s in English, thanks to yours truly) and then ask yourself what the chances are that Andrés Pavón and Dick Emanuelsson are making the whole thing up.
Interview with René Andrés Pavón, President of the Honduran Human Rights Commission (CODEH)
Author: Dick Emanuelsson
There are paramilitary structures that are working in coordination with the armed forces, says the undisputed leader of the human rights struggle in Honduras, Andrés Pavón, in regard to the latest casualty of the dictatorship of the Honduran putschists.
It’s not that strange. The main professors of state terrorism come from the Zionist state in order to teach their methods of death, intelligence and terror, and they know how to sustain a state against a population that is fighting for its constitutional rights or recognition. Or, as in Honduras’s case, for the re-establishment of democracy. The interview with Andrés Pavon follows and can also be heard here.
Tegucigalpa – August 2, 2009 – We’re facing the COPEMH building, which is the professional association for middle education, and we also are speaking with Dr. René Andrés Pavón, who is the President of the Honduran Human Rights Commission (CODEH).
Dick Emanuelsson (DE): Yesterday CODEH put out a news release denouncing a variety of things, among them that Micheletti’s de facto government has contracted with Israeli commandos or people to train the Honduran military/police forces. What we know from the civil war in Colombia is that these commandos have also been advising the Colombian military forces. What are the Israelis doing here?
Andrés Pavón (AP): Until now what we know is that their mission is to prepare the Armed Forces and the police to aggressively and violently dissuade the demonstrations, by committing crimes of a selective nature in order to build fear, staged terror, and achieve a dismantling of the resistance. Other actions they are undertaking involve certain employees of private security firms putting on police uniforms and acting aggressively against the demonstrators. The police have already sort of been trained to dissuade demonstrations and are a bit fearful about attacking the demonstrators so that it’s as if a bit of their human rights training lingers. On the other hand, the security guards are being paid double and their immunity is guaranteed. These are the practices that they are developing, using the experience of the conflict in Palestine and after having put into practice some of these actions in Colombia.
DE: What’s the count up to now, we’re five weeks out from the coup d’etat – how many people have died and how many have been detained, tortured, beaten?
AP: We have a register that since the beginning of the curfew has registered more than 2,200 people arbitrarily detained and deprived of their freedom. And in direct actions undertaken to break up demonstrations we have registered more than 600 people. There are more than 120 people wounded, and three people have been killed in direct actions during demonstrations, with another three whose deaths are characteristic of deaths planned and directed by these groups.
For the first time we’re going to announce the fact that during the curfew more than 37 homicides via firearms took place while the police and the army were in control of the streets. We are going to ask for the names of those victims in order to make the pertinent investigations in light of the fact that the main suspect is the State.
DE: As for the death of the young man, Pedro Magdiel, in El Paraíso on the 24th and 25th of July, now there’s also a photo that came out in the La Tribuna newspaper the same day as the uprising, where a soldier can be seen dragging this boy who showed up dead the following day. How far has the investigation gone in this case?
AP: Yes, we have an investigation going in regard to Magdiel’s case; he was the first to be taken by the police and it has the obvious characteristics of an extra-judicial murder. We know that in Danli, in El Paraiso, there are paramilitary groups who are working in coordination with the armed forces and the police there; we believe that this boy was delivered by the police to these groups who committed this barbaric crime. Today we also noted the death of another teacher who was stabbed in the same way as the killing at El Paraíso.
DE: Has there been another death?
AP: There’s been another death, a teacher that supposedly left here at two in the morning, his name is Martín Flores Ribera Barrientos, he was killed in the Colonia Centroamérica neighborhood, he was going from here to his house and was stabbed in a taxi. This tells us that the state is providing a model of aggressive conduct.
Another strategy is that the Israelis are training a group to instill in people’s minds the idea that those of us who are leaders in this movement have a terrorist past or that we’re tied to the same structure as the police. That’s what somebody told me yesterday who was trying to put up posters, sticking them on walls in order to create distrust in the part of the population that still lacks awareness about the leaders in this country. According to them, they want the people to think that way; it’s a historic strategy in Latin America, and later they try to justify the death of certain leaders as a result of this contradiction.
DE: The reason all these people are here outside the COPEMH headquarters is that yesterday at 1 a.m., the 38 year old Roger Vallejo, a leader of this association, died as a result of a sniper’s attack last Wednesday when the National Front Against the Coup D’Etat took the Tegucigalpa North Highway. What is known of that? Because it’s already the second sniper-caused death. The first was at the airport on July 5 and now we have another death where a sniper supposedly shot this man.
AP: It’s a premeditated killing with certain selective characteristics. They chose a teacher in order to affect one of the associations that presently makes up part of the resistance and has a lot of people tied to the resistance. Everything indicates that it was premeditated. The doctrine of the Rome Statute under which this may come to the International Criminal Court establishes that it’s not necessary that the shooter’s name be known – it is sufficient to know the name of the person who is directing the repressive policies against a large grouping of the civil population, with the intent to provoke a certain natural psychological reaction among the people. In that regard, well, no doubt, there will come a time when the premeditated act will be the object of a formal denunciation against the organizations who, certainly, in this country are tied to the repressive structures of the State. But that will allow us to prove to the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court that there is something happening here and that what’s happening is State policy and that this State policy contributes to the generation of all the repressive acts we’re presently experiencing.
DE: Could the selection of this gentleman [as a target] also have been an expression of the advice given by the Israelis?
AP: Yes, of course! It has much in common with the characteristics of the Colombian conflict where there is a confrontation with correlated forces that are somewhat similar to an armed conflict. Here in Honduras, the correlation of forces is not similar to those in Colombia, here there are civilians who are armed with a courageous conscience, truth, and the only type of self-defense exercised once in awhile is that of a stick or a stone. They also have their methods for intervening in situations like this, similar to what has happened in Gaza and the West Bank.
DE: Speaking of Colombia, when Obama became president, a lot of people had hopes that the warmongering policies of the United States would radically change. But what we’ve seen is that the Fourth Fleet, re-activated in July of last year, continues to sail from Alaska in the north to Patagonia in the south. Five new military bases are to be built in Colombia, among them three on the border with Venezuela and one in Málaga Bay, on the Pacific coast, between Central America and Ecuador. There’s no sign that this war policy is going to end. If Hillary Clinton had wanted to do something with the Micheletti government, why have only the visas of four officials in the Micheletti government been canceled, something cosmetic? Or how should this be interpreted?
AP: What Obama says reflects a reality, and what his closest collaborators at the business level or this group known as the hawks have, is another discourse and practice. We read this as Mr. Obama encountering a conflict similar to that faced by other leaders in Latin America; here one has to bear in mind that there could also have been a coup in Bolivia, in Ecuador, in Nicaragua and El Salvador. It also is worth considering that there could be a coup in the United States sooner or later; these are things that seem impossible to dream of, but they could actually happen.
On the other hand there’s still another reading of the conflict and this reading could be that the advisers closest to Obama are selling the idea that this is an opportunity to change policy and retake influence as Latin America’s policeman. Because when we asked him not simply to withdraw visas we were practically asking for intervention in Honduras, so that we’d have a military intervention similar to what went down in Haiti and it’s possible that in this way, Obama’s government would try to gain prestige for itself in a situation like this.
I’m sure that if the Marines were to intervene in Honduras, they’d be applauded by a whole bunch of people that aren’t here, without dreaming that we are opening the door to future interventions in Latin America and bringing back the Latin American police.
These are all possible details. Of course if that’s what Obama’s thinking, he’s not going to do it right away, it would be a couple of months from now so that elections in Honduras could take place, completely tying up any possibility that President Zelaya might succumb to the social pressure which is demanding the creation of a national constituent assembly.
Dick Emanuelsson’s blog can be found at: Latinamerika I Dag/LatinoAmérica de Hoy.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.