With Juan Chinchilla

“My life is still in danger and I’m holding the State and palm producers responsible”


The investigation conducted by the International Human Rights Mission to Bajo Aguán revealed that the peasant families in the area are living in a total state of defenselessness, with their rights systematically violated amidst growing impunity. Juan Chinchilla’s story is a clear example of this tragic situation.


Juan Chinchilla, a member of the Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán (United Peasants Movement of Aguán, MUCA) and of the provisional Executive Committee of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), was kidnapped last Jan. 8 by a group of paramilitaries and public security agents.


Beaten and tortured, he was finally able to get away from his captors. Two months later, Chinchilla is still afraid to move about in the open and does not reveal his whereabouts.


He agreed to talk with Sirel to denounce to the world the state of defenselessness in which he is living, and his firm resolution not to give in and to continue struggling.


-Two months have gone by since your kidnapping. Do you feel that your life is still in danger?

-The threats are constants. My friends get messages on their cell phones telling them to prepare body bags because they’re going to have to pick me up in pieces. My parents’ house and the settlement where I live with my family are being watched.


A few days ago, strangers fired at the vehicle I was riding in. It’s obvious that I’m being watched and that they know all my moves. I feel that my life is still in danger.


-How do you manage to go on with your life when you’re being persecuted like this?

-I know that we’re waging a struggle here, and I or any of my fellow activists can get killed at any time. I’m being careful and taking measures so that I won’t be an easy target.


-Why do you think you’re being persecuted like this?

-I’m a member of MUCA and the Resistance, and the goals of both organizations are to change this country and built it up on new foundations, so that everyone can enjoy decent living conditions. These goals clash with the interests of the businesses that operate in Valle del Aguán, which are working together with the repressive forces of the state.

A few days ago, strangers fired at the vehicle I was riding in. It’s obvious that I’m being watched and that they know all my moves. I feel that my life is still in danger.


We’ve even seen United States helicopters flying over the region, and there is no doubt that there are foreign paramilitary forces advising the government in its repressive actions.


Also, the FNRP does not recognize the Porfirio Lobo regime and it rejects the anti-popular measures this government is taking. What’s more, we’re not accepting the elections programmed for 2013.


The government continues to repress and murder its people, and it seeks to discredit and criminalize our struggle by claiming we’re armed. The only weapons in Bajo Aguán are in the hands of the security guards working for the palm producers, or are held by foreign agents.


-The International Mission found that human rights are being systematically violated in the area and that impunity is the norm. Do you think it’s worth risking your life for this struggle?

-I’m fully aware of what I’m doing and -I’ve said it already- if I have to give my life for it, I’ll do it. I know that there are a lot of landless families in Valle del Aguán and that more than 75 percent of the people of Honduras are living in extreme poverty.


The region has been militarized and people are being repressed and murdered. We’re fighting to change this situation. Risking my life for this goal is an honor for me.


-How important for this struggle is international solidarity and the presence of the Mission?

-Very important, and I thank their efforts, because they are letting the world know what is happening here. This Mission gives us strength to carry on fighting, because it supports us and our people.


I am also calling out to the international community to stop funding this regime and the companies involved in repressive actions.


From somewhere in Honduras, Giorgio Trucchi


March 4, 2011






Photo: Giorgio Trucchi


Mas Información


Volver a Portada


  UITA - Secretaría Regional Latinoamericana - Montevideo - Uruguay

Wilson Ferreira Aldunate 1229 / 201 - Tel. (598 2) 900 7473 -  902 1048 -  Fax 903 0905