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Updated 01/22/2009

Remembering 25 Years Ago—January 1984

Jan. 10

Law student Raúl Omar Vásquez Amaya, member of a leading right-wing organization at the national university, is killed in police custody after being detained for unspecified reasons. Maj. Juan Blas Salazar Meza, chief of the National Investigations Directorate, admits that his officers arrested Vásquez and claims that the man "took ill" and died of pneumonia while they were taking him to the hospital. The official coroner's report, however, describes cause of death as homicide by blows to the head. Armed Forces chief Gen. Gustavo Álvarez Martínez swiftly orders the transfer of Salazar Meza to another post within the security forces and the arrest of three officers implicated in the crime. An American diplomat asserts, ''The very fast action in the case of Major Blas Salazar will serve as a powerful warning to his successor that abuse of prisoners will not be tolerated," while Ramon Custodio, head of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras says, ''They are just changing the facade for a while. If I saw an investigation of every case, then I would think there was going to be a change.'' It is unclear whether a full investigation or any prosecution ultimately results.


"Human rights is also an issue in Honduras." Stephen Kinzer. The New York Times; Jan. 22, 1984.

To read past editions, go to the Remembering 25 Years Ago archive.