Arrow left
Arrow right

2011-03-22

Freedom of the press threatened in Honduras

Friends and family members say their final farewells to Henry Suazo, a correspondent for Tegucigalpa-based Radio HRN, who was killed on Dec. 28, 2010. (Stringer/Reuters)

Friends and family members say their final farewells to Henry Suazo, a correspondent for Tegucigalpa-based Radio HRN, who was killed on Dec. 28, 2010. (Stringer/Reuters)

By Jackie B. Diaz for Infosurhoy.com—22/03/11

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. – Fear.

It’s what Honduran journalist Luis Galdámez and his family live with every day.

“The threats are constant, the persecution is constant,” Galdámez said with panic in his voice as he walked the streets in Tegucigalpa to cover a story for his show “Seeking the Truth” (Tras la Verdad).

The radio and television program is known for being critical of the government and for its reporting on human rights abuse and corruption.

The six bullets fired at him and his son as they stood near the front door of their home in the nation’s capital on Sept. 14, 2010 remain fresh in his memory.

“We are all armed at my house now. We are trying to protect ourselves the best we can, but we’re living in a state of anxiety,” he said.

Nobody has been arrested in connection with the attack.

Galdámez, 43, said authorities told him they have leads, but little else.

“I asked them to give me more details of the attackers but they refuse to comment,” Galdámez said. “I don’t believe they have much on the case.”

On Feb. 20, officials from the Ministry of Security, the institution in charge of maintaining public order, met with Galdámez, offering him protection at his home and at the TV station.

“I explained to them that that’s not enough,” he said. “All day I’m out and about doing my job as a journalist, but they told me they couldn’t offer any more protection than what was originally offered.”

Another Victim

Galdámez is not only fearing for his life, but also mourning the death of a colleague and friend.

Henry Suazo, a correspondent for Tegucigalpa-based Radio HRN and news anchor for Cablevisión del Atlántico, was shot twice in the head on Dec. 28, 2010.

According to police reports, Suazo, 32, was taking his usual route to work on his motorcycle around 8 a.m. As he slowed down to avoid hitting pot holes, a man on a bicycle shot him at point-blank range.

“Henry was a friend; he was a man who went after the truth,” Galdámez said. “He constantly brought to light businessmen or politicians who were doing wrong.”

Neighbors immediately took Suazo to a nearby medical clinic in the Mario Ayala residential development in San Juan Pueblo in the northern department of Atlántida.

But he didn’t arrive alive.

He’s survived by his wife and four children.

Suazo had announced several times on his news program that he was receiving death threat calls and text messages that read “This is your last day, dog” and “We are going to kill you,” according to Honduran daily La Tribuna.

Senior Americas Program Coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists Carlos Lauría said. “Those who report on these topics suffer the consequences and the state fails to bring justice, leaving the press vulnerable.”

The Honduran government ruled out any possibility of the killings’ having a political connection.

But officials are concerned.

Honduras is considered the third-most dangerous country for journalists, according to the International Press Institute (IPI). IPI is a global organization of editors, media executives and journalists dedicated to protecting members of the media and upholding freedom of the press.

IPI’s “Death Watch,” a list of journalists and members of the media who were targeted because of their profession, documented 92 murders worldwide in 2010. Pakistan, with 15, led the list, followed by Mexico (12) and Honduras (10). No other country had more than six.

In Honduras, two suspects have been arrested in connection with at least one of the 10 homicides, but just one suspect is still undergoing the judicial process. The other suspect was freed due to a lack of evidence.

Two other suspects, however, have been identified as persons of interest by authorities.

In Suazo’s case, an arrest warrant has been issued for a person of interest after several witnesses testified, Director of Public Prosecutions Danelia Ferrera Turcios told Infosurhoy.com via email.

“Presently we are working with the secretary of security in investigating the murder of journalists Nicolás Jesús Asfura and Nahum Palacios,” Ferrera said. “We have been working these cases in an efficient manner and believe we will obtain positive results in a short period of time.”

Gang connection

President Porfirio Lobo told officials to conduct thorough investigations into the killings of journalists, María Guillén, the minister of the interior, said during an interview with the Honduran daily El Heraldo.

“This is a topic of great concern and the president has been in contact [with police] about these situations,” Guillén said. “In the majority of the cases investigated, there is no political linkage, but the important thing is what the President said, that [cases] are investigated to the end because the government will not allow impunity.”

In 2005, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated Honduras is home to 36,000 gang members.

Honduras’ two largest gangs are the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Mara 18.

Many national and international human rights organizations have condemned the attacks and are reaching out to the Honduran government, pleading for it to stop the killings.

“We are living in an environment full of terror and fear in Honduras, but what can we do? Where will I go?” Galdámez said. “I don’t have any alternatives.”

Comments and ratings are closed for this article.

39 Comments

  • Manuel | 2011-07-21

    In the name of GOD ALMIGHTY. THE CHURCH SHOULD CONTRIBUTE A LOT TO HELP WITH PROTECTION, THEY SHOULD REALIZE THAT IF THEY MURDER ONE JOURNALIST THE WHOLE ENTIRE POPULATION WILL GET FURIOUS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE FEELING DESPERATION ON A DAILY BASIS FROM HEARING SMELLY NEWS FROM THE ONLY ONES WHO BRING THE NEWS ARE THOSE MEN THE JOURNALISTS. LET US TAKE CARE OF THEM.

  • Miguel Angel Villanueva | 2011-07-16

    No one wants to be told the truth, Jesus Christ died for the truth, let us hold our tongues a bit and let us try to tell the truth to those who commit injustices with lots of tactfulness careful not to hurt people's feelings. Let us remember that there are deaths because of the tongue.

  • emily | 2011-07-13

    The prisoners of the rodeo dos turned themselves in during the morning this Wednesday, July 13, 2011. The prisoners turned themselves in but some of the leaders of the pranes escaped and they say they are around by the Rio Chico in Barlovento. The police are already looking for the other one who is called Yofre who is one of the leaders of rodeo dos of the pranes. They already have him in custody and they are going to transfer him to another jail.

  • Orlando Paramo C. | 2011-07-11

    Honduran scientist seeks contact with CNN Honduras _ wants to know the address or email of a correspondent. Please reply.

  • Ernesto Rodriguez | 2011-07-10

    " In Honduras we are so tired of so many political dinosaurs who have taken the country for their little gold mine to get rich. This is why I urge the young people to think more before giving their vote to any thief in a tie. We now have the option to give the vote to an honest person who in his own words said he will found a new party which will be made up of people with a more truly NATIVE mentality...for this reason I urge you to consider when you go to elect our next president Engineer Salvador Nasralla; since as can be seen he is the only option for change we will have for years...let's not miss this opportunity"

  • Oscar EDdgardo Gonzalez Guillen | 2011-07-09

    It is sad how crime grows in Honduras more and more every day, and the authorities in charge of watching over security, peace and harmony do little or nothing about this situation, I am an Attorney and I dedicate myself to my profession it's impossible to live in Honduras anymore, many of my colleagues have lost their lives just for defending the rights of people they consider to have been hurt. It is urgent that the Government fulfill its duty as stipulated by law and the Right of Law

  • karen gisssell | 2011-07-08

    I like to read the Honduran press.. !!

  • magy | 2011-07-03

    Could it be possible that among all the professional journalists we won't have this security its a hugh threat in our society these days

  • Elías | 2011-07-03

    Always seek justice! but watch out for the left, they are wolves in sheep's clothing.

  • jr ezequiel | 2011-06-30

    Well they need to put in a bit more security in regard to the gangs so they don't continue to assassinate and can be a healthier people.

  • javier | 2011-06-29

    Who are the storytellers in Honduras

  • noel | 2011-06-28

    Only God has the power to change things. He holds the hope in his hands that justice will prevail in Honduras and they stop committing offenses against the most vulnerable. The Honduran people know where so much death is coming from... GOD SAVE HONDURAS...

  • Rómulo Antonio López | 2011-06-28

    It is ironic that yesterday it was the Day of the Journalist in Venezuela and today I learn about this unhappy news. We need to stop the violence because it is spreading all over the continent like a social metastasis.

  • ALEXANDRA R. | 2011-06-27

    THIS ARTICLE DOESN'T TALK ABOUT CELEBRITIES THAT IS WHY NO ONE IS INTERESTED IT IS ALSO EXTRA SUPER EXTRA BORING

  • eduardo | 2011-06-26

    But here doctors, preachers, bricklayers, housewives and all of us Hondurans are exposed to the hands of criminals, but some groups that are only looking to destabilize this government are giving it a political spin.

  • Ana jaqueline Aguilar | 2011-06-24

    This country is infected with corruption and here justice is for us, the poor, and the white collar workers laugh at what they do, with no kind of remorse, it's good here in Honduras they are never going to pay for their misdeeds but never forget that God exists and that those who steal will be punished

  • ofelia varela | 2011-06-22

    Here in Honduras the country manager Pepe Lobo has the duty to guarantee life to all persons as it is said in the Constitution of the Republic but the police spokespersons say that the deaths are made by those who are antisocial ahhhh they know who they are why don't they put them in jail when something is stated they already know who it is or could it be that the police is boss of those scoundrels

  • Carlos Midence | 2011-06-21

    There will be no peace without justice. Therefore, neither forgetting nor forgiveness. WE DEMAND JUSTICE......

  • SEGNI JACKELINE | 2011-06-18

    it is too bad that those who keep us abreast of what is going on have to die in this way, we don't thank them for the work that they do for us

  • salvador | 2011-06-18

    When for years, paramilitary groups went around with the most absolute impunity, it is that we are in the presence of individuals protected by the powers...of money and some corrupt politicians, who want to keep themselves in power, acting with dirty hands, murdering those who get in the way of the protection of their petty interests. Nevertheless, I honor those who have fallen defending the rights of those who are eternally put aside...the people. Keep fighting...anyway.

  • yina | 2011-06-17

    It's that politics in Honduras are very bad and all there are crude people who will never move Honduras forward rather they make it go backward why can't they fix education rather we ruined it and the children will lose education they are bad

  • araceli contreras vera | 2011-06-17

    I AM LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ABOUT A YOUNG MAN WHO DISAPPEARED IN HONDURAS HIS NAME IS CELSO DEL CASTILLO GUERRERO HE DISAPPEARED IN 1975 AND UNTIL NOW WE KNOW NOTHING. HE IS MEXICAN AND HE WORKED FOR A DUTCH COMPANY, IF YOU COULD HELP ME TO KNOW WHERE HE IS, ANYTHING EVEN INFORMATION FROM A NEWSPAPER OR SOMETHING. I WILL BE VERY GRATEFUL TO YOU MY WHOLE LIFE, THANK YOU SO MUCH AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

  • Rogelio Modesto Gonzalez Herrera | 2011-06-12

    THANK YOU ENGINEER SALVADOR NASRALLA FOR WANTING TO SAVE OUR BEAUTIFUL HOMELAND FROM THE HANDS OF ALL THOSE CORRUPT PEOPLE YOU HAVE ALL OUR SUPPORT.

  • jose alberto avalos perez | 2011-06-12

    Excellent publication...

  • Rigoberto Morales | 2011-06-09

    In Honduras they don't just murder journalists, they murder lawyers, professors, farmworkers, young people, and above all, women. But what's in vogue is murdering people from the gay community. The prevention police are stained by corruption and infiltrated by organized crime it is very dangerous for the honest and humble Honduran. The public ministry is worth absolutely nothing. Honduran all that is left is for you to stand next to the GOD of love father of my lord Jesus Christ may it not be nighttime when you encounter the frightful police and have all your human rights violated.

  • VARINIA | 2011-06-08

    In order for our country to change, we all have to support being united and always listening to our Honduran brothers but all we know to do is criticize everyone to begin with I am already criticizing the reason why our security is not complete we blame them for so many deaths but it is not so they do what they can and if it is possible we have to understand that they don't have all the equipment they need I don't know how far we will go with so much crime I am very worried about my country.

  • Lorena Maldonado | 2011-06-06

    The truth is I don't believe the deaths of the journalists are due to the gangs, here in Honduras we know who is who and the attacks against journalists have gotten worse since the coup d'état because certain businessmen don't like their crimes and messes revealed to the poor Hondurans who they exploit and they get rich on the wealth of this country...

  • adolfo lopez quintero | 2011-06-04

    Killing journalists won't hide the truth from the world, only by reading the whole of our national reality will we be armed to know what the governments do and don't do, don't keep killing people, in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua this happened and it happens in many countries, and the truth wins and the peoples also Honduras will be free and free is not to BE Communists or Democrats, or Liberals or Revolutionaries but rather to be free to think, to do, to undo, but within the framework of the law. With respect, respectfully, with tolerance and based on something. Remember that killing is not a solution. It doesn't give the answer to the problem. The answer is for all of us to speak and be heard, to listen, not with weapons at our heads not even the Nazis did that, all that remain are the powerful countries that practice that, because they don't want the truth to be known. Journalists are people, they have children, they are brothers, they are fathers, they are Honduran we are Central Americans.

  • Teódulo Jacinto Bautista Frías | 2011-06-03

    I think the freedom of the press has been threatened because of the interests of the United States throughout the world. I remember Francisco Camaño, 1965 war Dominican Republic. I think what is missing is unity; not a collective protest. Ex. the press protest. I don't think this is a group issue but an issue for the people of Honduras who should protest the people should go to the streets. and defend their sovereignty.

  • Hector Enrique Pavon | 2011-06-02

    Honest journalists die first, the rest of the honorable journalists live their lives in constant anxiety, those who are crafty and base live happily because they are protected by the criminals. For the first, they will be and are in our hearts and for the last my contempt.

  • ROCHA PEREIRA | 2011-05-27

    SOLDIERS DEFY THE LAW

  • angel | 2011-05-26

    Only by supporting class struggle, in other words by supporting education we can slowly change things we are dying due to ignorance, many innocent are ready.

  • carlos rodriguez | 2011-05-23

    The role the security corps played is condemnable and independently because of whatever reasons they died they must investigate.

  • leticia garcia | 2011-05-20

    Many journalists don't do their job from their hearts and they make the just pay for the sinners 30593

  • KARLA | 2011-05-14

    MOST OF THE DEATHS OF JOURNALISTS IN OUR COUNTRY HAVE GONE UNPUNISHED THE TRUTH IS THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN THINGS AS SERIOUSLY AS THEY SHOULD. AND EVERY TIME OUR PEOPLE TAKE TO THE STREETS TO PROTEST SO MUCH VIOLENCE THEY OPPRESS US AS IF WERE WERE ANIMALS... IT IS TIME FOR THIS TO COME TO AN END.... I ONLY ASK GOD THAT I NOT BE INDIFFERENT TO PAIN IT IS A LARGE MONSTER AND IT STEPS HARD ON THE POOR INNOCENCE OF THE PEOPLE. LONG LIVE THE FRENTE NACIONAL DE RESISTENCIA POPULAR (NATIONAL FRONT FOR POPULAR RESISTANCE). URGENTLY MEL WE NEED YOU IN HONDURAS YOUR PEOPLE PEOPLE ARE WITH YOU.......

  • carlos pineda | 2011-05-04

    What matters is to know why and who were responsible for the deaths, but there should really be an investigation and it shouldn't be like the government is doing trying to respond to the international organizations while it intends to put forth illicit proof such is the case with Mr. David Meza that they have accused the only protected witness who has now been contradicted the media themselves have to find out what the MP's position is because of the false testimony.

  • ALLAN EDGARDO | 2011-04-29

    ALL THE COMMUNICATORS WHO, WITHOUT ANY FIRE POWER, THE CAMERAMEN AND OTHER PEOPLE WHO 24 HOURS A DAY KEEP WATCH SO THAT REASON REALITY AND TRUTH CAN BE PRESENT TO GIVE KNOWLEDGE TO THE PEOPLE DESERVE TO BE RECOGNIZED. THEY ARE THE NEW HEROES OF OUR HOMELAND, NOT THOSE DOGS WHO JUST GO AROUND BARKING TO GUARD THE GOODS OF THEIR MASTER, THE HOMELAND WILL CONDEMN THEM TO LIVE WITH THE ERRORS THEY COMMIT TO THE DETRIMENT OF THEIR FAMILIES AND TO BE SCORNED BY THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN HURT IN ANY WAY BY THEIR BARKING THAT IS ALL THEY ACHIEVE. "THE DOG ONLY BITES WHEN HE CLOSES HIS MOUTH"

  • Alex Cabrera | 2011-04-17

    You should be more united as a guild and watch over each other for your safety

  • YAMILETH VELASQUEZ | 2011-04-13

    human rights