Wednesday, March 28, 2012


A bogeyman is sometimes defined as an imaginary monster used to frighten children. That definition seems particularly apt for the kind of analytic thinking that takes place in Honduras's government and Armed Forces.

On March 26, at 5:45 pm, some quantity of armed men attacked and shot up a military truck traveling the rural roads near Sonaguera, Colon, wounding five soldiers of the 15th and 16th Battalions. These soldiers were deployed as part of Operation Xatruch II.

The assignation of blame for this attack is like a Rorschach test of everyone's favorite bogeyman.

Juan Carlos Fúnez, Deputy Defense Minister, told Lobo's Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday that the truck was driving back from investigating if campesinos were stealing palm fruit from a plantation near there when approximately 30 armed individuals attacked them. According to Fúnez, these same armed individuals are creating disturbances and scaring the residents of Sonaguera.

According to El Tiempo's earliest coverage of the story, the military spokesperson for Operation Xatruch II attributed the attack to "campesino groups" fighting over land rights. This land rights battle explanation was then picked up by the foreign press. Blame General Rene Osorio for this one. He told the press that he suspected the campesinos were being armed and trained by instructors brought in from Nicaragua and Venezuela. No word on how he knows this, but he's repeated this explanation for violence in the region many times.

InSight Crime, in its reporting, noted that this part of Honduras is part of key drug trafficking routes in Honduras and believes it possible that drug traffickers who run drugs overland from Colon and Olancho to Guatemala were responsible. They cite both domestic and foreign drug runners as possibilities.

In the end, Porfiro Lobo Sosa had the last word, however. At the Cabinet meeting, Lobo corrected Fúnez's characterization of the attackers as "campesino groups" saying:
Those aren't campesinos; this has nothing to do with agricultural conflict; these are the same as the others, this same band is the one that was in San Franciso de La Paz, and they move between Olancho and Colon
Lobo says the crime was committed by drug traffickers.

No word yet on how Lobo Sosa knows that.

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