Sunday, September 4, 2011

Suspicious Occupations For Foreigners

Operation Xatruch II confirms the presence of foreigners in the Bajo Aguan

So screamed the headline in yesterday's La Tribuna.

Our gentle readers will remember the repeated claims (here, and here) of the presence of foreigners training and leading the peasants in an insurgency against the large landowners of the Bajo Aguan, always citing "military intelligence" as the source of this gem. Despite numerous previous attempts to locate these "foreigners" on repeated militarization of the zone, none were ever located.

The headline promises that now they have, but what it delivers is something much more tame.
"We have some Colombian citizens, two Panamanians and one Nicaraguan,"

said an unnamed spokesperson for the Dirección Nacional de Investigación Criminal to a radio program. All were in the country on 90 day tourist visas.

He continued:
"The activities they're engaged in are suspicious because some are wandering around selling coffee and fruit drinks in the zone, and others are buying gold from those that pan for it in the rivers."

La Tribuna tells us these are "screening activities (actividades pantalla)" according to the National Police: "they aren't occupations that generate income" an unnamed police spokesperson told them.

Really? Screening activities? Have the National Police been to a market or city street, say in the heart of Tegucigalpa, the capital, lately? There they will find many many people engaged in making and selling drinks to the general population. They do seem to be able to make some sort of living by doing this. Are they too suspected foreigners in the heart of Honduras? Have the police checked?

Its hard to imagine that buying gold from artisanal miners is not an activity that could generate a profit.

Now the really suspicious thing is that they were in Honduras and working, on a tourist visa, which is illegal, but that didn't seem to bother the police one bit.

Funny how all the sources in this article are anonymous despite calling in to the radio and speaking with reporters in some official capacity. It's almost like it's a PR campaign, to make the operation look good when in fact, its been completely ineffective in stopping the violence, or in locating the putative arms caches alleged to exist in the region.

These suspicious drink vendors and gold buyers remain under investigation.

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