Nicaragua Seems To Escape Problems Suffered By Its Neighbors…NPR w/ Corrections

NPR did post a bit of a correction in the online transcript (posted below) concerning the fact that the police had arrested 11 people accused of the attack on July 19 that killed 5. But they were presented in court and charged–no one has been disappeared.  I would recommend reading comments from people who seem much more knowledgeable about Nicaragua than the NPR reporter.  See comments at this link… The posting below comes from an email bulletin from the Nicaragua Network.

On a personal note, I lived in Nicaragua during the height of the contra war in the mid-1980s. People suffered terribly from the US-sponsored violence. Every family I knew had someone serving in volunteer militias or police or other self-defense forces and I knew many families who lost people to the contra violence–imposed by illegal US arms-trafficking, much of it funded by drug trafficking.

I visited in 2013 and while joblessness and poverty are an issue, there is not the kind of criminal violence and police and military oppression that exist in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The Nicaraguan people made real changes to their government and security forces during the revolution (it took more than 20 years and a lot of people died). And in the years since, Nicaragua has had several substantive regime changes brought about by democratic elections. I recommend reading the comments posted to NPR.  Others with more recent experience provide some excellent corrections to the NPR story. -molly

August 14, 2014

“This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part. Please credit the Nicaragua Network.

National Public Radio ran an interview this morning, Aug. 14, 2014, entitled “Nicaragua Seems To Escape Problems Suffered By Its Neighbors,” with reporter Carrie Kahn which contains a few good factoids such as “Nicaragua is unique in Central America for its low crime rate,” has an economic growth rate unrivaled in the region, and its police have not adopted strong arm tactics.

However, it also contained many untruths and mistaken analyses…”

You can read the rest of the Nicaragua Network article here or on the Frontera List.

Honduran President Wants a ‘Plan Colombia’ for Central America…Panamerican Post

By all means, let’s INCREASE military and security payouts to corrupt military and police in Central American countries.  Remember that the murder rate in Ciudad Juarez exploded to nearly 300 homicides per 100,000 people AFTER the Plan Merida inspired military surge into the state of Chihuahua…  Honduras already has a murder rate of 100… And the city of San Pedro Sula’s murder rate approaches 200.  More guns, helicopters and training for police who already are experts at torture thanks to US military advisers and they may surpass Mexico in murderousness. The victims?  Poor people. The result? An ever greater EXODUS of refugees showing up at the border. -molly

Honduran President Wants a ‘Plan Colombia’ for Central America (Pan-American Post)

Elite Honduran Unit Works To Stop Flow Of Child Emigrants To U.S…Bortac In Honduras

Excellent report from Cindy Carcamo in Honduras for the LATimes below. She also gave an interview on THE WORLD:

Elite Honduran unit works to stop flow of child emigrants to U.S. (LA Times)

This special security unit went from targeting drug smugglers to spotting unaccompanied kids (The World)

For those who have read Todd Miller’s book, Border Patrol Nation, this story about US trained and funded border police in Honduras will not be a surprise.  I assume that the Obama funding request considers this kind of program in Central America a valuable contribution. There seems to be no awareness in US policy circles about the extreme levels of corruption in the military and police units we supply and train in Mexico and Central America.  Expect more violence–robbery, rape, beatings, extortion–toward the desperate people trying to flee conditions in their countries. But do not expect to see much coverage of it in the US press. -molly

Immigration Rumors May Be Driving More Women, Children To Cross Border…Fronteras Desk

In this report, at least one Guatemalan immigrant reports that there is information/misinformation in that country and along the migrant trail that women and children will not be detained (at least not for long) if they are able to reach the U.S. Each case is different. In the case reported here, the mother is undocumented and she entered (or probably re-entered) the US illegally. This will probably make her deportable and she will have a difficult time avoiding that. The fact that she has US citizen children may help her case, but it does not insure that she will not be deported.

I have no doubt that immigrants or potential immigrants talk about experiences they have had or have heard of where women and children will be processed and then released and this makes them willing to take their chances at getting across the US border… Considering the conditions they face in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the choices they make are quite logical. -molly

Veracruz journalists–living in terror–Marcela Turati in PROCESO

A long article in Proceso on the situation of journalists, esp. in the
state of Veracruz, Mexico. A major point of the article is that while
Mexico has a lot of laws, state institutions and non-governmental groups
that say they exist to protect freedom of the press, they don’t do anything
to stop the killing and terrorizing of journalists. A google translation is
posted below. molly


In Veracruz is not strange that a journalist is threatened. Not be picked
up, tortured and murdered. Or, if it saves life, which means that hired him
to fire you … Being a journalist in the state is like bringing a target
painted on the back. Y-governmental bodies responsible for civil-union
protection to simply wallow in inaction. It is so serious and scandalous
state of Veracruz press is already known internationally and is the subject
of forums. In one reporter summed Veracruz: “We are living in terror.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS (Process). – Minutes before the end of the forum dedicated to
discuss the challenges of journalism in Latin America, a Mexican reporter
spoke: “In Veracruz we are living in fear. The journalists not only kill
us, torture us and we also cut up. There you stand, you’re stuck, you do
what they want. ”

It was Miguel Ángel López Solana, who on June 20 last year survived the
murder of his father, the deputy director of Notiver, Miguel Angel López
Velasco-investigator of drug-trafficking and political corruption, his
mother and brother, photographer of the same daily. This fact opened the
spate of killings since then cripples the lives of journalists in the state.

“I just ran away, ran away, ran to where I could, to the darkness of the
night I reached, I was there,” he told journalists and officials of
organizations present at the forum. And, apparently, has not stopped
running for his life.

His testimony revealed that journalists in Veracruz that are known risk no
justification. Notiver accused, the local newspaper for which labored, to
have fired him. The House of Journalists Rights, created with public funds
to shelter journalists in difficult situations, gave less than a week’s
stay. The organizations he claims to have attended, the said house of the
journalist, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters
Without Borders, could not agree to help.

The many government institutions created to protect journalists, including
the National Commission on Human Rights, sinned away.

The reporter spent six months in the Federal District waiting for someone
to help him leave the country. Desperate, to be known without help, he
returned to Veracruz and then traveled to the border of Tamaulipas and the
United States where for a month asked for a visa. Since April is in this
country with his wife, seeking asylum. His only support, he said, has been
the newspaper La Jornada, which was a correspondent.

Some of his remarks were “a war zone Veracruz no worse than (…) There is
an immense impunity nurtures violence. From the time they killed my family
should have changed things and we would not be mourning the death of
others. No one did anything. Neither the newspaper did a follow-up note. ”

Bore witness to the corruption of local government, in addition to not
protect reporters ‘leaked’ to the press the list of journalists
executables, which was fulfilling-the collusion between officials and drug
traffickers, the indifference of the media owners to local reporters
threatened or killed, the removal of government institutions and NGOs
should protect and institutionalized impunity that encourages new crimes.

He was saved but not the same fate his three colleagues Guillermo Luna,
Gabriel Rodriguez and Esteban Huge, although after the first killings left
journalism (or ran their means to distance himself from them), in some
cases fled the state or tried unsuccessfully to obtain a visa. In May were
killed. Their bodies were dismembered.

Less than a week earlier, on April 28, had been killed the correspondent of
process in that state, Regina Martinez, known for his work against the
powerful, in what appeared a hunt against journalists.

This period was called by the UN the “tragic week in the Mexican press.”

On Friday 1, Notiver-which has four journalists killed Lopez Solana replied
that the company itself has required
justice for the murder of his father, denies that the reporter was hired by
the newspaper, accusing him of “walking down the wrong path” and asks him
to tell the U.S. authorities “everything he knows” (“we are sure that if
anyone knowswho murdered his family and why you, “he said).

The Forum organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
were several things clear: No one understands what happens in Mexico, a
country with strong institutions and monetary resources and allows murder
and gagging their journalists. And that Veracruz is the state where
violence has been merciless with the guild.

Diluted Resources

Research Studies Center and Freedom of Expression (CELE) of Argentina said
the nonsense: In Mexico there is a proliferation of organizations dedicated
specifically to the protection of journalists and investigation of crimes,
and that is not reflected in results.

They include the Program Attacks against Journalists and Human Rights
Defenders of the National Commission of Human Rights, the Special
Prosecutor for the Investigation of Crimes against Freedom of Expression of
the PGR, the Special Committee to Monitor Attacks on Journalists and Media
in the House of Representatives and the Unit for Promotion of Human Rights
Department of the Interior.

Among the burdens that drag on the whole, the CELE detected operating with
a limited legal framework, depend on political decisions, their powers are
limited by jurisdiction, have a tight budget, small staff professionalized,
have serious difficulty in coordination, are hostages of jostling among the
parties and the government, which pays just-concluded-there is more to

In Mexico, despite all the bureaucracy assigned to the case, only 3.7% of
crimes are solved and in 59% of cases, the PGR has been declared
incompetent to investigate.

“Unlike other countries in the region, Mexico has strong institutions and
there is clear evidence that when the Mexican government wants to take an
action on an issue, gives institutions the power to act. But as for
protection of journalists and investigation of crimes there is a
proliferation of overlapping institutions and not conducive to good
operation, “said Natalia Torres, lead researcher of the CELE.

Document institutional designs for the effectiveness of protection policies
and investigating crimes against journalists states that one of the most
emblematic of this inefficiency is that institutions have not even been
able to agree on how many assaults are committed each year against
communicators. Each institution has its own, and incomplete account.

“The study did not assess the mechanism of protection (recently approved),
perhaps the mechanism can turn it around and create a coordinated, open to
civil society participation and generate statistics, but until 2011 in this
way has been running,” said researcher in an interview with Proceso.

Meanwhile the annual report of Article 19 states that in 2011 were assigned
to the Interior Ministry 25 million pesos for measures to protect
journalists, which is unknown to what was used 24 million. We only know
that 22 thousand dollars were assigned to protect a journalist from Sinaloa.

Silence The report forced the state complicit in violence against the
press, the international organization said that the NHRC has poor
accountability and offers dubious figures that do not meet the emergency. If
true the little we have, then each trade that sent that cost 226 000 pesos

In the prosecution of the PGR agency calls it “no skills and no
achievements”, and notes that despite the seriousness of the situation has
presented a budget under-spending. A legislative committee is described as
“ornamental” because its members have dedicated themselves to go to forums
instead of adopting the necessary reforms.

Meanwhile, the rapporteurs of the UN and the OAS for Freedom of Expression,
Frank La Rue and Catalina Botero, respectively, present at the forum and in
2010 traveled to the country to know the reality, which issued
recommendations to the State Mexico, called for the end of impunity in the
investigation of crimes.

Process Botero says: “We worked with the UN rapporteur to try to understand
the situation in Mexico, which is complex, is one of the countries with the
highest rate of violence against journalists in the region and made a
series of recommendations believe urgent. The situation in Veracruz is
extremely serious. ”

Botero also made an urgent appeal to the federal government to adopt all
the mechanisms of protection, it implements the newly adopted law on
protection and prevention and that independent and qualified authorities
investigate crimes committed in Veracruz.

“It is urgent that federal investigations take, take all the mechanisms at
its disposal to advance research and convicting those responsible for
crimes against journalists that all they were doing was fulfilling its duty
to inform. Each murder sends a message that can not speak of what happens
in Veracruz and Mexico are entitled to know the results of the
investigations that they, and especially Regina, being developed, “he says.

La Rue for his part said that the increase in violence against journalists
in the Americas, the most serious cases are Mexico and Honduras, and noted
that Veracruz lives at critical moments.

“The common phenomenon of these acts is that of impunity. The State’s
obligation to investigate each fact itself, where it comes from, who
executed it, investigate and establish a criminal trial. Every one that
remains unresolved but does not generate a lot of violence. Is a multiplier
effect because the message is that anyone can get away with it, “says

Guy Berger, head of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media
Development UNESCO Process says that while Mexico appears to have
institutions that could curb impunity, require coordination to be effective.

“It’s great to have these mechanisms, now need to begin to work,” he says.

He also notes that if the media do not protect their own members or come to
their defense, journalists can not expect society to do.

At the forum, Heriberto Cantu, editor of El Manana newspaper in Nuevo
Laredo in May was attacked with explosives, reiterated the editorial
decision to cancel the coverage of drug violence.

“Four hours from now imagine a newspaper that has to work behind
bulletproof glass barricades or as a result of the bloody disputes,” the
newspaper editor beaten that he has lived a decade of attacks since the
murder of Roberto Mora, director editorial, strafing, verbal and written
threats, intimidating messages and attacks with explosives.

Entering Honduras

At the forum held from 20 to 22 May last in this city attended by more than
70 journalists and officials of organizations defending freedom of
expression representing Latin America and the Caribbean, who were given the
task of making a diagnosis of the challenges facing you and press to take
practical measures to reverse the crisis situation.

Knight Center director, Rosental Alves of Brazil, began the meeting called
Security and Protection for Journalists, Bloggers and citizen journalists
with the claim that “the serious problem of safety and security of
journalists has acquired unprecedented catastrophic proportions” and is fed
by the serious illness of impunity. If you do not care for journalists,
said, cut the chance of having informed societies and endangered democracy.

The cases of Mexico and Honduras were the most alarming about the growing
violence against its journalists. According to statistics from the
organization Artículo19, 47 journalists have been killed during the
presidency of Felipe Calderón and 14 were missing and at least 565 offenses
were committed against the press in 10 years.

Daniela Pastrana, executive director of Journalists Network of Foot, of
Mexico, told a story about the situation facing journalists Veracruz: the
week following the four murders came to that entity to provide a
professional training workshop and found colleagues desolate, without
support from organizations, government or business.

“I asked them what they need and one of them replied: ‘A gun, but not
because I want to do anything to anyone, is to not catch me alive.’ That is
the level of fear that have (…) They understand that there is persecution
and that they will pursue as journalists and wherever. Of the desolation
that level, “he said.

The forms of attacks on the press released or recrudecidas this
administration, the reporter mentioned the bombings, disappearances, exile,
self-censorship and infiltration in the newsroom, attacks against users of
social networks and torture after the murder .

He noted that vulnerability is accentuated by reporters in the provincial
media where, generally, these are little known in its day, earn an average
of 3 thousand 500 pesos per month charge for less than 100 pesos note, they
drawup to 10 per day and their means are in line with local governments.
“The journalist threatened, run. Threat is synonymous with unemployment,
“he said.

The forum which brought together the highest authorities in the protection
of journalists at the international level, the Mexican case was widely
discussed.Although in May, following the murder of Regina Martinez, were
approved mechanisms to protect journalists and a new law requiring the
federal government to attract and investigate crimes against journalists,
Benoit Hervieu, the head office the Americas to Reporters Without Borders,
expressed doubts about the extent of such modifications.

“The federalization of crimes to investigate the attacks are very late and
incomplete because it is accompanied by a substantial reform of the justice
system and the police investigation. The situation with Mexico is
desperate, and in other countries achieve results but in countries like
Mexico and Honduras all worse, “he complained.

In an interview with Proceso also referred to the murder of Regina Martinez
who said: “It’s hard not to imagine a relationship between what is revealed
Regina and her murder, one of his publications was an article about the
arrest of nine policemen allegedly linked to drug trafficking . He had also
been summoned to appear in court as a witness in Veracruz. ”



Honduras-the highest murder rate in the world-BBC News

I heard this piece several nights ago on the BBC…  I think it is worth the time.  On my first listen, I was only half awake and I heard bits and pieces only…I thought, “Where is this? It sounds like Juarez…”  I heard it again in full.


“Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. The People’s Funeral Service deals daily with the fall-out from these extreme levels of violence in the capital city, Tegucigalpa. Set up by the Mayor of the city, it distributes coffins, maintains two funeral homes, and even offers a mobile service where employees take everything necessary for a wake – including bread and coffee – to someone’s house or local church. All of these services are totally free for poor people in the city.”

Click here to read more Click to listen now

Then read today’s NYTimes story about US advisers to Honduran military and police in “fight against cartels…”
Neither story makes me very optimistic that any of these tactics that the  US proposes and/or advises or assists with reduces the violence.  All evidence seems to point to the contrary.  And in my most cynical depressed moments (like now) I believe that the US does not care as long as the people dying are poor Mexicans and Hondurans.  Seems it is all part of the
plan.  Who will be next?  molly


Wow. Thanks to Dawn Paley for her excellent and rational critique of this
NYTimes article on the “new” US war in Honduras…I admit that when I read
it, I felt a kind of dread that interfered with clear thinking…the
article seemed to DREDGE up so much of that slime that accumulates at the
dirty bottoms of things. Dawn’s commentary is essential to clear away the
muck in order to get a good look at what this is really about.
I will note that this line from the end of the article:
“There are ‘insidious’ parallels between regional criminal organizations
and terror networks.”  … this really got my attention also.  In Central
America all though the 1980s (and beginning even earlier) all it took was
to call it COMMUNIST and then it could be attacked, disappeared, killed…
And IT could be a student, an indigenous person, a human rights worker, a
religious worker, a labor organizer or anyone else who might be seen as a
leftist or progressive or some other challenge to entrenched oligarchic
power allied with the US in those years. Now, the codeword is terrorist or
drug criminal. Or narco or zeta… This is the “new” National Security
Doctrine. And no, it isn’t new. But the result is the same: DEATH. I highly
recommend Dawn Paley’s post… molly