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Updated 01/14/2008

Remembering 25 Years Ago—November 1981

(en Español)

Nov. 14

Eduardo Anibal Blanco Araya, a 23-year-old Costa Rican, disappears after being detained in Comayagüela, reportedly by men in civilian clothes who identify themselves as DNI agents. Before coming to work in Honduras as a mechanic in June 1981, he had studied sociology at the University of Costa Rica and was active in the human rights program of the Methodist Church. On the afternoon of Nov. 14, Blanco drives from his home to run some errands. Three hours later, three men identifying themselves as members of the DNI come to the Blanco home, interrogate his wife, Gabriela Jiménez, and search the home. When Blanco fails to return home, Jiménez contacts the Costa Rican embassy, Honduran security forces and the hospitals, but learns nothing of his whereabouts.  

After receiving anonymous death threats, Jiménez and her four-month-old son return to Costa Rica on Nov. 24. On Dec. 1, a released prisoner reports having spoken with Blanco on Nov. 20 in a Public Security Forces (FUSEP) detention center in Tegucigalpa. The Honduran government informs Amnesty International that Blanco had not been detained by the DNI or FUSEP, but that after Jiménez left for Costa Rica, a search of the home revealed illegal weapons and ammunition; family members deny the allegation. In March 1982 Amnesty International receives reports indicating that Blanco may still be alive and in the custody of Honduran security forces; that same month an investigative body appointed by the Costa Rican Parliament fails to discover any information on Blanco’s fate.  


“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 

“’Disappearances’ in Honduras: A wall of silence and indifference.” Amnesty International; April 30, 1992  

Nov. 16

President Reagan issues the National Security Decision Directive authorizing the CIA to spend $19.6 million to create a paramilitary Contra force to interrupt arms flow from Nicaragua to El Salvador. Within weeks, CIA and Argentine agents are setting up Contra safe houses in Tegucigalpa and training camps around Honduras.  


“Inside Central America: Its People, Politics and History.” Clifford Krauss. Summit Books; 1991. 

Nov. 30

In the first presidential election since the army seized power in a 1972 coup, Hondurans elect Liberal Party candidate Roberto Suazo Córdova. He is the country’s first civilian president in almost 20 years. His government “is expected to retain close ties with the United States and generally support American policy in the rest of Central America by maintaining cool relations with Nicaragua's Sandinist regime and by aiding El Salvador's junta in its struggle against leftist guerrillas,” the New York Times reports. 


“Honduran Victor in Overture to Foes.” New York Times; Dec. 1, 1981