Remembering 25 Years Agoâ€”November 1983
The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa submits a draft report to the State Department on human rights in Honduras for the year 1983. The report acknowledges that as of October there have been as many as 10 killings of a "possibly political nature" and an equal number of disappearances, but appears to play down the circumstances. It denies any government role in political killings, instead attributing them to "some combination of personal and political rivalry in the rural areas." The report includes a statement diminishing claims of forced disappearance: "Government officials often note that many of these 'disappeared' persons may either be involved in guerrilla training in Nicaragua or Cuba or have vanished for personal reasons." Yet, somewhat contradictorily, it also notes, "During the year there were several cases in which disappeared persons turned up in the hands of the security forces, either to be released or arraigned, after repeated official denials that the person was detained."
The practice of torture is also acknowledged but somewhat downplayed: "Prisoners often claim to have been tortured, and while frequently their allegations cannot be proven and may stem from a desire to overturn a previously given confession, a few persons have come forward with physical evidence. Rough treatment of detained personsâ€”short of what could be characterized as 'torture'â€”including some physical abuse and denial of food for short periods, does appear to occur fairly often."Â Â
"1983 Human Rights Report." Confidential Telegram #12188 from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa to the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, DC. Nov. 5, 1983.
Gen. Gustavo Alvarez MartÃnez, chief of the Honduran Armed Forces, sends a secret letter to Intelligence Director Lt. Col. Juan LÃ³pez Grijalba instructing him, among other things, to order two special unitsâ€”the Special Forces Squadron and the Regional Military Training Center (CREM)â€”to move their prisoners to a new custodial center. CREM, a U.S.-funded and -staffed training camp, was established in June 1983 to provide counterinsurgency instruction to Salvadoran and Honduran soldiers; however, evidence indicates it also operates as a clandestine detention center. A year later, according to a Honduran military report dated Nov. 30, 1984, 20 prisoners remain at the camp.
OFICIO JFFAA-No6479-83. Jefatura de las Fuerzas Armadas de la RepÃºblica de Honduras, Secreto. Nov. 26, 1983.
"Informe Especial." Fuerzas Armada de Honduras, Centro Regional de Entrenamiento Militar (CREM). Nov. 30, 1984.
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