Sunday, December 5, 2010

Only Nightmares After All

It seems that Oscar Alvarez, Honduras's Security Minister, only dreamed he had intelligence that Nicaragua was training campesinos in the Bajo Aguan to be insurgent guerrillas, and that Nicaragua was arming said campesinos with thousands of AK-47s.

At least, that should be the only conclusion possible after Porfirio Lobo Sosa flatly denied that the Government of Nicaragua was participating in a scheme to train and arm Honduran campesinos as insurgents.

Lobo Sosa made his comments to the press after officiating at the graduation of the current class from Zamorano, the Agriculture school near Tegucigalpa, saying
"there is no evidence of any participation by the government of Nicaragua in training rebels to act in land disputes between campesinos and landlords in Honduras."

Oscar Alvarez's fantasy of Nicaraguan trained peasant insurgents began in the cabinet minister's meeting on November 22 when he told Lobo Sosa that he had intelligence that indicated there were armed campesinos in the Bajo Aguan and that Nicaraguans were training them.

Alvarez included a telling detail: there was a large arms cache of 1000 AK-47s, and he knew where it was.

Lobo Sosa went public with Alvarez's accusation on November 22, backing it as something known by police intelligence.

On November 24, Alvarez himself made press statements that repeated all the same elements, but backpedaled on claiming that the government of Nicaragua was behind it:
"The information that we have is that people coming out of Honduras have been moving to Nicaragua, supposedly to train....We've been informed that they've entered from Nicaragua, that they've entered, also, in shipping containers."

Alvarez said.

Unfortunately for the security minister, his claims did not gain wide support from his colleagues in the cabinet.

In fact, one of the security minister's targets actually was another cabinet ministry: the National Agrarian Institute (INA), headed by his colleague in Lobo Sosa's "government of reconciliation", Cesar Ham.

The local INA office was the target of a raid as part of the "security" operation seeking the non-existent arms caches in the Bajo Aguan, as we previously noted, without finding the promised fire arms.

Then an even more important cabinet colleague, Mario Canahauti, Honduras' Foreign Minister, asked for documentation of the claims of Nicaraguan government involvement:
"I need the documentation which permits me to guarantee we have the evidence, so as not to create a serious international problem for Honduras."

Nicaragua, of course, strongly denied training or arming any Hondurans.

Lobo Sosa backpedaled and said he never mentioned Nicaragua. And in fact, his remarks just said it was an adjacent country:
"we have all this located, including the places where they are training outside of Honduras; its a large quantity of arms that they have and we have to chase this down."

Now Lobo Sosa says there's no evidence of participation by the Nicaraguan government.

No weapons, no proof of Nicaragua's participation. But a Security Minister can dream......

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