While in the
northern Honduran city of Esperanza over a thousand delegates of the National
Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) closed the Second National Meeting for the New
Honduras, denouncing the repression unleashed by the "democratorship" against
the people's efforts to organize and create a social and political alternative
for the country, in the city of Tocoa, two unidentified men gunned down
journalist Nahum Palacios, director of Channel 5, killing him and seriously
injuring his companions.
At 10 p.m. on the night of March
14, as he was returning home, Nahum Palacios
was cut off near his house
and shot 26 times with an AK-47 automatic weapon.
A few days
earlier, on March 11,
a reporter with Radio El Patio de La Ceiba and a correspondent for Radio América
and the news program "Abriendo Brecha,"
had been killed in very similar circumstances.
According to Bertha Oliva, the national coordinator of the Commission
of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), "The
murder of journalist Nahum Palacios represents an affront against the
system of international human rights on the part of the government, because the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) had issued
precautionary measures on his behalf. By failing to implement the measures
immediately, the government led directly to his death."
Since the June 28, 2009 coup d'état, Palacios had been repeatedly
harassed by the state's repressive forces for his ongoing coverage of the
Resistance's activities. On the very same day of the coup, soldiers from the
Puerto Castilla Naval Base arrived at the offices of Channel 5, threatening
Palacios, confiscating the broadcasting equipment, and arresting five
According to the COFADEH report, the next day the army raided the
journalist's house and took him in for allegedly disturbing the peace and using
his programs to call for an uprising.
It was these acts
that led the IACHR to request that the state of Honduras take the necessary
measures to protect the life and personal integrity of the journalist. These
measures, however, were never implemented.
In recent weeks, his commitment to furthering the cause of the Honduran people
to cover the agrarian conflict that erupted in December 2009 in the region of
Lower Aguán, where thousands of peasants gathered in the United Peasants
Movement of Aguán (MUCA) were fighting to recover tens of thousands of
hectares of land
unjustly seized by powerful landowners and African oil palm producers Miguel
Facussé Barjum, René Morales and Reynaldo Canales.
Paradoxically, Honduras' outrageous situation of widespread human rights
abuses contrasts with the attempts by the Porfirio Lobo administration
and part of the international community to present a facade of normalcy and
The recent trip to Latin America by U.S. Secretary of State
with the aim of urging the continent's countries to resume ties with Honduras,
was followed by the
decision to allow the Honduran government to participate in the negotiations for
the EU-Central America Association Agreement.
These instances are an insult to the memory of
one of the dozens of victims who have been murdered and whose rights have been
violated since June 28, 2009.
For Bertha Oliva, right now there are "very delicate situations in the
country, which can have fatal consequences for more journalists. Among these are
the popular struggle for a new Honduras, the land conflict involving
powerful landowners, and the launching of a media campaign denouncing the
alleged existence of armed social groups calling for radical changes in the
country, in an attempt to discredit our peaceful struggle."