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Updated 09/26/2008

Human Rights Abuses in Honduras in the 1980s: Select Case Histories


In the 1980s and early '90s, the Honduran military, namely the secret intelligence unit Battalion 3-16, detained scores of political activists, including teachers, students, church workers, unionists and suspected guerrillas. Most were never seen again. Typically, the detainees were beaten, tortured and then "disappeared"—that is, executed in secret and buried in unmarked graves. In 1993 the Honduran human rights commissioner published a report entitled “Los Hechos Hablan por Si Mismos” (“The Facts Speak for Themselves”), which documented the cases of 184 men, women and children who disappeared in Honduras from 1979 to 1992, the majority in the early 1980s. Many others were detained and tortured and have survived to tell their stories. The following case histories give the accounts of some of those survivors and describe some important disappearance cases.


Tomás Nativí Gálvez

Nelson Mackay Chavarría and Miguel Francisco Carías

Six University Students
Oscar and Gloria Reyes
Hans Albert Madisson López
Nora Miselem
Angel Manfredo Velásquez Rodríguez
Inés Consuelo Murillo Schwaderer
The Rev. James Francis "Guadalupe" Carney

David Arturo Báez Cruz

Juan Humberto Sánchez