Freedom House bravely speaks out against those who threaten the free speech of Canahuati & JOH, & other absurdities

CCR has its new Human Rights Report for last November and December on its Honduras Coup page. Meanwhile, in the news from Thelma Mejia at IPS, the good news that Cold War Policies Revived by Honduran Intelligence Law. Hillary Clinton, in her final statements as Secretary of State, spoke of how Plan Colombia was the ideal model to implement in Honduras, getting a jab in at Congress for all the "bureaucracy" it imposes (read meager human rights conditionalities) on "security" assistance. AP reports that Honduras Sends Soldiers to Fight Crime in 2 Cities, while El Heraldo shows us video stills and the actual video of a murder of two young students in Comayagüela last November. I can't bring myself to click, just seeing the "play" arrow makes me feel nauseous. (How did El Heraldo get access to this surveillance video? Who benefits from its broadcast?) The most tragically fascinating thing for me about the article, which, like the video, I can barely bring myself to read, is the comments section. It contains a lengthy debate about the causes of violence, with a predictable heavy focus on lack of moral compass and insufficient religiosity. But there is a lot of disagreement, even there.

Says "paparote":

sigan perdiendo tiempo con la virgencita de madera....ignorantes debeian salir a la calle y protestar en lugar de estar dandole pisto a los curas con dioses invisibles y babosadas de milagros.

paparote is promptly chastised for his lack of tolerance for people with different beliefs. alucard00 has paparote's back, mocking those commenters arguing that atheists are the cause of Honduras's downfall and other such things:

ese señor jesus tuyo es un dios impotente, segui rezando que con esos vas a parar las balas

...and back and forth, and back and forth. The commentary by Mario Ricardo Zuar

gracias a Dios ya estamos en Nicaragua un pais de verdad

...inspired an impressive amount of patriotic vitriol. It is interesting how strongly people identify with the nation-state, even while arguing (often in the same breath) that the same nation-state is a hopeless, god-forsaken hole.

A crazy scene in Frente a Frente last week: Julieta Castellanos along with Aurora Pineda, the mother of the young man killed along with Castellanos' son, and sociologist Hilda Caldera, widow of Alfredo Landaverde, against Rommel Martínez, who was in a position of responsibility when police assassinated the family members of all the other guests. Martínez, who is today still in a high post (comisario de la Policía Nacional) within the national police, has been protected from the requirement of taking a polygraph test and from being held responsible in any way for the murders that happened under his watch. In the course of the discussion, Martínez let loose that El Tigre Bonilla, with whom Castellanos has an alliance because of the whole police restructuring plan, had played a central role in protecting him. El Tigre called in, having to admit and defend his actions, and strong words flew in all directions.

Meanwhile, Freedom House suddenly cares about freedom of the press and protection for Honduran journalists. Why? Two reasons. First, because TV Globo's César Silva and Samuel Aguilera got beat up by some mini-bus drivers who side with the corrupt Ministry of Transportation with the presidential guard looking on. Atrocious indeed, but makes it look like protestors are likely perpetrators of violence against journalists, when in fact, most protestors avoid harming journalists like like plague. This is apparently a rare case of pro-government protestors. It's the same sort of discursive dishonesty that was used by El Heraldo in the claim that rocks hurled at the Televicentro building by protestors during the national work-stoppage of September 7, 2010 were life-threatening terrorism against the media. I was there. People were throwing rocks at the buildings whose owners had funded the murderous coup and cheer-led the targeted assassinations of resistance members, yes. But golpista journalists were walking among the rock-throwers, taking pictures without fear. No journalists were put at risk by resistance protestors in the latter case, whereas in the former case, non-resistance protestors nearly killed resistance journalists with the complicity of the presidential guard, and Freedom House neglected to clarify that.

And second reason? Because hackers published fake articles in La Prensa and El Heraldo claiming Juan Orlando Hernández was dead. Because, according to Freedom House, that's an attack on free speech of the same severity as the "intimidation, harassment and killings, which [have] resulted in high levels of self-censorship [among journalists]." It's such an amazing twist of logic that it seems silly to have to explain (do I?) why hacking a paper whose owner directly financed and continues to propagandize the usurpation of democracy in Honduras, in order to mock a politician who just carried out a coup against the country's judiciary in order to retain power gained through fraudulent elections and to auction off sovereign Garifuna territories as colonies for gringo libertarians—why doing that is NOT equivalent to state-sponsored harassment and murder of investigative journalists reporting on people like Canahuati and Juan Orlando Hernández. To the contrary, it is a brilliant form of free-expression in a monopolistic, golpista media context.