...and denies the cause of Ilse Velasquez's death—being shot in the face by a teargas canister, Made in the U.S.A., by Lobo's forces, bought with money supplied to the Honduran military from the U.S. I'm not easily shocked by the State Department anymore, but this is truly jaw-dropping. "Most Hondurans believe..." Really. As a friend said about the email: "I wonder if the guy can pinpoint when he lost his soul or if it was a gradual process in which it slipped away without him realizing it."
From: Spector, Jeremy D
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 2:03 PM
Cc: Maggio, Gregory F (DRL)
Subject: Miriam Miranda Has Been Released
My apologies. I’ve been working on this and other cases all morning.
The US Embassy engaged with the Honduran Government as soon as we became aware of Miriam Miranda’s detention. Last night at approximately 6pm local time, we received confirmation from both Secretary of State of Justice and Human Rights, Ana Pineda, and Minister of Cultural Affairs, Bernard Martinez, that Miriam has been released. Additionally, Secretary Pineda said that an analysis of Miriam’s injuries will be turned over to the Special Prosecutor for Ethnicities as part of the prosecutor’s investigation into Miriam’s detention.
I apologize for the delay.
The US Embassy will continue to follow up on all reports of human rights abuses and calls for full investigations of these reports. Nevertheless, we cannot condone the violence currently being used by demonstrators as well. While we have consistently urged the police to use restraint, some demonstrators have engaged in a level of violence not seen in many years. Many have armed themselves with bottles, rocks, slingshots, clubs with nails affixed to their ends and Molotov cocktails. Others have attacked fast food restaurants and even restaurant playgrounds with rocks. There are credible reports of demonstrators throwing rocks at cars, from bridges, and at buildings. The death of striking teacher and demonstrator Ivania Velásquez, who was run over by a press vehicle, was a tragedy. Other reports of demonstrator injuries are a cause of great concern for the Embassy. That said, so far it appears that the majority of reported injuries are on the side of the security officials. Four soldiers are currently in the hospital with second- and third-degree burns after being hit by Molotov cocktails thrown by demonstrators on March 24. There have been many more injuries from rocks and clubs.
The demonstrators have taken the tactic of blocking major thoroughfares in the city and then resorting to violence against the police who try to dislodge them. As in the US or Europe, the police have the right to clear major thoroughfares when blocked by demonstrators. In the past, demonstrators have moved peacefully. This week they have chosen instead to react violently.
While the protests are nominally by teachers unions, an increasing number of participants are thugs whose objective appears to be inciting violence and chaos. Most Hondurans believe the teachers should return to their classrooms -- Honduran students have been out of their classes for a significant period of time over the past three years -- and negotiate with the government. Most Hondurans believe their complaints against greater local government control of schools are unfounded in our belief, and should be discussed in negotiations, not addressed with violence.
The demonstrations of the past week are truly frightening and a cause for concern. We ask that those in contact with teachers groups encourage them to stop the violence and to return to negotiations, and to their classrooms. The Embassy takes all reports of human rights violation very seriously. We will continue to urge restraint on all sides and to insist on full investigations of all alleged human rights abuses. Let us know if there are any specific reports/cases of human rights violations and the Embassy will insist on a full investigation.
Please stay in touch. Again, I’m sorry for the delay.
Human Rights and Labor Attaché/Oficial de Asuntos Laborales y Derechos Humanos
U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa/Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Tegucigalpa
Tel: (504) 2237-9699
(504) 2236-9320 X4733
This email is UNCLASSIFIED.