Saturday, September 26, 2009

Depressing Human Rights News from Colombia and Honduras

Yesterday, Colombian prosecutors made a grisly discovery:

The chief prosecutor's office said Friday it has unearthed the remains of 17 peasants tortured and killed at a ranch that belonged to the since-slain, far-right militia leader Carlos Castano in Colombia's northwest. [...]

The peasants were believed slain 10 to 12 years ago by men under the command of Jesus Ignacio Roldan, alias "Monoleche," a Castano lieutenant who later participated in the 2004 murder of the right-wing militia leader, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Castano was apparently killed because he was upset that other militia warlords had turned his anti-guerrilla movement into regional drug-trafficking criminal mafias and they were afraid he would betray them to U.S. drug agents.

All the bodies found at the "La 35" ranch in the Uraba banana-growing region "were dismembered and showed signs of torture," the statement said.
Of course, since Castano is dead, prosecutions are out of the question. Still, one can't help but suspect that this was and perhaps still is a common tactic among paramilitary groups and leaders, who can act safely, knowing that Uribe won't do anything about it.

Meanwhile (and h/t Randy), on Wednesday, Honduran police shot and killed an 18-year-old. His crime? He shouted out "golpistas!" (coup supporters) at the military. So, for shouting one word at the military that accurately described what they did (an illegal coup), the police killed the young man exercising freedom of speech in a non-violent way. And I expect that prosecutions against the police who committed this act are about as likely as prosecutions against the dead Castano, which is to say, not likely at all.