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Updated 06/25/2005

Honduras News in Review—June 24, 2005

1. Honduran Court Convicts Former Battalion 3-16 Member for Murder of Activist

2. Maya Chortí Protesters Block Entrance to Copán

3. U.S. Company Recruits Among Former Honduran Military for Iraq Security Positions

4. G8 Finance Ministers Cancel Some External Debt of Honduras and Other Poor Countries

1. Honduran Court Convicts Former Battalion 3-16 Member for Murder of Activist

In a rare legal victory for those fighting impunity for human rights abusers in Honduras, an appellate court convicted a former military officer and member of the notorious intelligence Battalion 3-16 for the murder of a leftist activist in the 1980s. The Appellate Court of San Pedro Sula overturned a March 2004 acquittal and sentenced retired Capt. Marco Tulio Regalado to 12 years in prison for the murder of Herminio Deras. In 1983 Deras was shot in the head after being detained by soldiers. Regalado is the brother of the former head of the Honduran Armed Forces, Humberto Regalado Hernandez. [La Tribuna (Honduras), 6/16/05] For background information, read MISF's “The Quest for Justice: Efforts to Prosecute Honduran Human Rights Abusers.”

2. Maya Chortí Protesters Block Entrance to Copán

Indigenous Maya Chortí protesters associated with the National Congress of Indigenous Maya-Chortí of Honduras (CONIMCHH) blocked the entrance to the Copán ruins for the third time in recent years. (The other two protests were in 1998 and 2000). They are demanding the implementation of a 1997 agreement in which the government promised to distribute nearly 15,000 hectares of arable land among ethnic Chortís. Government officials claim they are in the process of purchasing the land. [Radio Mundo Real, 6/7/05] 

3. U.S. Company Recruits Among Former Honduran Military for Iraq Security Positions

A Chicago-based company called Your Solutions is evaluating Hondurans for security positions in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East. They’re looking for people with experience in the military, police or private security sectors and they’re promising high salaries (relative to Honduran salaries, which average $135 a month). Thus far, 600 Hondurans have been evaluated. [Associated Press, 6/13/05] 

4. G8 Finance Ministers Cancel Some External Debt of Honduras and Other Poor Countries

On June 11, finance ministers from the G8 countries—the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan—agreed to write off the external debt owed by 18 poor countries to international lending agencies such as the IMF. The 18 countries, which include Honduras, have completed the IMF-World Bank HIPC (heavily indebted poor countries) Initiative, in which countries must prove they are pursuing economic stability and market-friendly policies. The G8 finance ministers said these conditions would remain in place. Debt relief activists applauded the decision, but cautioned that more must be done in order to relieve poverty in Global South countries. [OneWorld, 6/13/05]