On May 11, 2012 in Ahuas, Honduras, at least one of four US government-titled helicopters killed four local Moskito people. The helicopter carried US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and US security forces deployed on a drug interdiction. The US government denies that this event took place. On May 22nd, a delegation of U.S. and Canadian-based human rights and labor activists interviewed survivors, witnesses, and other local residents, confirming US involvement.
Those interviewed reported that, after the helicopter opened fire, the Americans landed and received cocaine from a nearby boat. Witnesses confirmed that the people who exited the helicopters all appeared to be US military personnel, with little capability of speaking or understanding Spanish. The Moskito witnesses also specified that Americans threatened to kill or handcuff anyone who tried to help the victims that lay suffering. The victims, some of whom suffered severe injuries, received no treatment until the helicopters departed.
According to the delegation of U.S. and Canadian-based human rights and labor activists, The U.S. government categorically denies the possibility that its security forces were involved in the killings, or that the United States shares responsibility.” Since the incident, neither the US nor the Honduran government have conducted further serious investigations, though the delegation expressed concern that “US and Honduran officials have blamed and criminalized the victims.”
The delegation’s report suggests that drug interdictions may serve as a cover for the militarization of a region of Honduras with significant natural resources, including rivers with hydroelectric potential, petroleum, gold, and forests.
The story has received partial coverage in the New York Times, which has reported that people on the ground shot at the helicopters first. The Times story acknowledged the presence of DEA agents, but maintained the DEA’s assertion that none of its agents fired their weapons during the incident.
Source: Irene Rodriguez, John Walkey, Maria Robinson, et al., “Evidence of US Involvement in Killings of Moskito in Honduras” Censored News, May 27, 2012, http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/p/evidence-of-us-involvement-in-killings.html
Student Researcher: Harpreet Uppal, Santa Rosa Junior College
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman, Santa Rosa Junior College