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Updated 01/14/2008

Remembering 25 Years Ago—April 1982

April 1
Honduran Chief of Staff Col. Gustavo Álvarez Martínez says in a radio interview that in the face of threats to peace in the region—namely, “armed aggression from the Soviet Union by way of Cuba”—Honduras would be open to U.S. military intervention. He notes that there are now 90 U.S. military advisers in the country, five times as many as there were two months earlier. Álvarez says he is “tremendously worried” about the military buildup in Nicaragua, including the presence of Soviet and Cuban advisers.

Source
“Honduras sees chance of intervention by U.S.” The New York Times; April 2, 1982

April 27
Armed men in civilian clothes enter the shared home of six university students in a residential neighborhood of Tegucigalpa and, without a warrant, arrest the students—Milton and Marlen Irasema Jiménez Puerto, Gilda María and Ana Suyapa Rivera Sierra, and Edwin Dagoberto and Adán Guillermo López Lone—along with Rafael Rivera Torres, an assistant attorney general and the father of Gilda and Suyapa.

The group is taken to a police station; Rivera Torres is released two hours later, but the six students are taken to a clandestine detention center where for four days they are tortured and interrogated about university politics and the identities of student leaders. Four of the six are subsequently released, but Milton Jiménez and Adán Guillermo López are imprisoned and charged with antigovernment activities. A criminal court judge orders them incarcerated but releases them on bail a few days later. Eighteen months later, the case is dismissed.

In mid-1995, the Honduran Special Prosecutor for Human Rights charges 10 senior army officers with attempted murder and unlawful detention in connection with the “temporary disappearance” of the six students—marking the first time that the Honduran government has initiated judicial proceedings against members of the military for human rights violations. However, despite the fact that the victims are all alive and able to testify, to date there has been no successful prosecution.

For more information, read the six students’ full case history.

Sources
“Honduras: The Facts Speak for Themselves.” The Preliminary Report of the National Commissioner for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras. Human Rights Watch; July 1994

“Honduras: Continued Struggle Against Impunity.” Amnesty International; Feb. 26, 1996.