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Updated 01/14/2008

Remembering 25 Years Ago—July 1981

(en Español)

July 6

Ángel Rolando Padilla and José Edelmiro López, who own a cattle business together in the rural town of San Esteban, are taken from their homes and illegally detained by members of Battalion 3-16, according to family members. Padilla is later seen in a military helicopter, with visible signs of torture, including a missing eye, and witnesses see López, his wrists tied, being thrown into a pick-up truck. The men’s bodies are found on the banks of the Rio Grande de San Esteban on July 9, 1981. Both bodies show signs of torture: fingernails torn out, heads smashed and bullet holes in their backs. According to the Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), the men had been executed and thrown from a helicopter.  


COFADEH press release, July 6, 2006 

“Sepultan a dos comerciantes víctimas de la ‘guerra fría’.” La Tribuna, July 9, 2006 

July 8 

Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Enders instructs Ambassador Binns to stop using official channels to report human rights violations by the Honduran military because it could prejudice attitudes toward the administration’s policy in Central America. Binns refuses to honor this request. 


“The United States in Honduras, 1980-1981: An Ambassador’s Memoir.” Jack R. Binns. McFarland & Co. Inc.; 2000