On Friday, August 3rd, Honduran Police abruptly entered the offices of Radio Progreso in Honduras, according to Director Karen Rivas of the station, demanding to know the whereabouts of certain farmers who had just been speaking at a forum broadcast that day.
In her press statement released that day, Rivas asserted that the police asked in a threatening manner, “Where are the farmers? Where do you have them?”
The officers were referring to men who had spoken at a forum organized by the Reflection and Communication Team of the Jesuits, who had brought the local men to a portable transmitter to speak about the assaults they witnessed that was part of a conflict in the Aguan region of Honduras.
Radio Progresso staff also explained to the police that the farmers had been recorded on a portable transmitter and were not on the premises.
The officers, identified as being named Gonzalez and Guzman, then allegedly harassed some of the broadcast staff according to Rivas.
Rivas stated that the station’s lawyer confronted the officers, saying that they were under the protection of both the Office of American States (OAS) and it’s Inter-American Human Rights Commission.
The officers then replied that it was just a “routine check” and then left the station.
According to Rivas and others, Honduran authorities become annoyed when any opposition to the current land deals are broadcasted.
Small farmers and other country people have been fighting to stay on their lands in the Aguan region. According to press sources, 78 people have been killed in the conflicts between big landowners and the local people since 2009.
On August 2, President Porfirio Lobo issued a decree banning the carrying of weapons in the region; specifically prohibiting civilians from carrying weapons in public places or transporting them in vehicles, regardless of whether they had permits to do so.