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The Daily Tar HeelMonday, March 20, 19893
f increasoiHig vnolemice do Hoodyras
By HELLE NIELSEN
) To most Americans Honduras has
served largely as the backdrop for the
civil wars in its neighboring countries,
but increasing political violence in
Honduras may be a warning to pay
attention to Honduras' own social
and political problems.
! Deep political and economic prob
lems threaten to move Honduras
toward revolutionary war, Central
American scholars say.
I "Time is running out," said William
LeoGrande, a political scientist at the
American University in Washington.
"If basic social and economic
problems continue to be ignored . . .
those with a violent program will get
support," he said.
Honduran governments were rel
atively open to social reform in the
past, but this decade governments
have been consumed by the Contra
war, LeoGrande said.
'- Honduras is one of the poorest
countries in Latin America. The
country's gross domestic product has
decreased in the 1980s, unemploy
ment and underemployment have
risen to double digits and inflation
has made basic commodities less
nominated in Paraguay
From Associated Press reports
ASUNCION, Paraguay The
Christian Democrat and Revolu
tionary Febrerista parties nomi
nated presidential candidates
Sunday, refusing to join other
opposition parties in a coalition
for the May I elections.
Their actions also ended spec
ulation they might boycott the
elections because the provisional
government of Gen. Andres
Rodriquez rejected proposals to
postpone the elections and make
major changes in the electoral
At separate weekend conven-
- tions the Christian Democrats
nominated Secundino Nunez, a
.former Roman Catholic priest,
Tand the Febreristas named retired
economist Fernando Nunez to run
for the presidency.
The elections were called by the
- government of provisional Presi-
, dent Rodnguez who led the Feb.
, 3 military coup that ousted Pres
ident Alfredo Stroessner, an army
, general who ruled Paraguay for
nearly 35 years.
Rodriguez, 65, is the candidate
of the governing Colorado Party
, and is virtually certain of winning
. , the election against the splintered
The Christian Democrats,
Febreristas and Authentic Radical
Liberal Party formed the National
Accord alliance to oppose the
Let us relay t
I 1 II
n S. fA U
"The economy is unable to get the
basic foods to the people who need
it most," said Jeff Boyer, a UNC
graduate and professor at Appalach
ian State University. "That causes
people to react."
A rapid increase in political vio
lence during the last few months is
evidence of increasing unrest, Boyer
said. But he said crackdowns on
political opposition is also on the rise,
citing disappearances and detentions
"In political terms, there has been
a great erosion of democracy," Boyer
said. "Because the government has
embraced a kind of security-state
philosophy, it has become much more
repressive against its own people."
Boyer has visited Honduras regu
larly since the 1960s. His last visit was
Honduran and U.S. officials
denied Honduras is in a political
The four political parties running
in upcoming elections testify to a
sound political system, said Victoria
Goldstein, information officer at the
Honduran Embassy in Washington.
The Authentic Radical Liberal
Party is to hold its convention
March 25-26, and if it decides to
participate in the balloting it is
expected to nominate former exile
and longtime opposition leader
Domingo Laino for president.
Laino addressed party .rallies
over the weekend and spoke of
irregularities in voter registration.
He also said there was the threat
of a "great fraud" by the
The National Accord had asked
the provisional government to
postpone the elections for at least
two months, to extend voter
registration, to allow coalitions
and not just individual parties to
back a single candidate, and to
revoke the law that gives two
thirds of the legislative seats to the
party that wins the most votes.
rejected the appeals to postpone
elections or extend the voter
registration period and ignored the
It did remove restrictions that
barred the Christian Democrats
and Authentic Radicals from
participating and gave all legal ;
parties access to the state-run
Sedundino Nunez, 68, told his
Christian Democrats, "God has
given us the circumstances, and the
people are urging us to act. We
have to take advantage of the
political opening right now."
"We are definitely a democracy,"
Goldstein said. "There is nothing
endangering the democracy. There
has never been an opposition to the
But elections ensure only formal
democracy, said Michael Fonte,
director of the Central America
"Power veto power may be
with the military," Fonte said. "There
is a lot of concern in Honduras that
that's what's happening."
Honduras' role in U.S. policy
toward Nicaragua and El Salvador
has imperiled a fledgling democracy
by strengthening the Honduran
military, the scholars said.
"If you . strengthen the military
institution, it has a way of eroding
political institutions," Boyer said.
The United States stepped up its
flow of military resources to Hondu
ras at the same time the Honduran
military was turning formal power
over to a civilian in government in
"(They) were beginning on that
gradual shift," LeoGrande said. "It
was into that situation the United
States began to provide huge . re
3 joymalosts killed
From Associated Press reports
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador
Two Salvadoran photographers
and a Dutch television cameraman
were shot and killed by security forces
in violence surrounding Sunday's
election for a new president.
The slayings brought to 15 the
number of foreign and Salvadoran
journalists killed while covering the
9-year-old civil war between leftist
.guerrillas and the U.S.-backed
Cornel Lagrouw, 30, of the Dutch
television network IKON, a church
broadcasting network, was killed in
a gunfight Sunday between army
troops and guerrillas in San Fran
cisco Javier, a town in Usulatan
province about 70 miles east of San
The two dead Salvadorans were
identified as Roberto Navas, 30, a
photographer who worked for the
British news agency Reuters, and
Mauricio Pineda, 26, of Channel 12
Luis Galdamez, another Reuters
photographer who was accompany
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sources to the military. That made
the military the dominant actor."
Although economic aid was also
increased, the benefit was offset by
the country's militarization, Boyer
said. "The economy has been put over
on a wartime footing. That scares
away capital; there has been a steady
flight of capital out of the country."
Honduras became involved in
U.S.-Central American policy largely
by providing shelter for the Nicara
guan Contra army. The presence of
several thousand Nicaraguan Contras
in southern Honduras has been a
major destabilizing factor, Leo
"The Hondurans are extraordinar
ily nervous that they are going to be
. stuck with the Contras," LeoGrande
said. "They feel the Contras are the
responsibility of the United States.
We armed, trained, organized and set
them up in Honduras. Now that the
war is over, we have the responsibility
to disband them."
The well-financed Contras have
contributed to a black market econ
omy and to an increase in crime in
Honduras, Goldstein said. "They
have taken a toll on the Honduran
ing Navas on a motorcycle, was
wounded. The two were fired on by
soldiers at a checkpoint Saturday
night on the outskirts of San
Lagrouw was standing next to
guerrillas when he was struck in the
chest by a bullet fired from an army
position as troops moved in to retake
the town, said journalists who were
"He was pale but still alive," said
photographer Bill Gentile of News
week who, with Arturo Robles of JB
Photos and free-lance newsman Scott
Wallace, pulled Lagrouw out of the
area and into a car to 'rush him to
"I was cradling him. He was dying
in my arms," Gentile said by phone
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Honduras has asked that the
Contra bases be moved out of the
country, she said.
A U.S. State Department official
said the Contras should not return
to Nicaragua until "we can bring a
situation where democracy is
achieved in Nicaragua."
The United States is working with
Honduras and other Central Amer
ican countries to deal with "the threat
that exists from Nicaragua," the
But Hondurans have been voicing
more frustration and resentment over
U.S. influence in Honduran affairs,
The U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa
was set on fire last year during several
days of demonstrations. The protests
erupted when a drug trafficker was
extradited to the United States in an
apparent circumvention of Honduran
"That led the Hondurans to
wonder who was running their coun
try," Fonte said.
The demonstrations drew partici
pation from across the political
spectrum, Fonte said. "That's where
the sovereignty issue plays. Hondu
in Salvadoran fray
Defense Minister Gen. Eugenio
Vides Casanova said Navas and
Galdamez did not heed orders to stop
at army checkpoints and added that
soldiers at the checkpoints "were
tense." He offered "condolences and
most sincere apologies" to their
Pineda was with a mobile TV unit
traveling from Morazan province to
the coastal city of La Union, 1 15 miles
from the capital, when a soldier from
the Arce battalion shot at the van,
according to station spokesman
The van was identified as a tele
vision vehicle and carried a white flag,
Figueroa said, but was traveling in
the pre-dawn darkness Sunday
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rans were asking: 'Are we a real
country or not?' That was the focal
point of the anger."
Goldstein dismissed the demon
strators as students paid by drug
dealers to protest. But she indicated
Honduras would like more breathing
space in itsTelations with the United
"Under the Reagan administration
with Elliott Abrams (the Central
American) countries were being told
what to do," she said.
Honduras wants the Bush admin
istration to continue Reagan's policy
as a friendly ally but an ally "left alone
to make their own democratic deci
sions and their own policy," Gold
The United States would benefit
from shifting its policy from a
military policy to a policy attending
to basic human needs, Boyer said.
"In Latin America, it has been the
United States that has been the brute
on their soil not the Soviets," he.
said. "There is a lot to be gained by
working to foment policies of basic
human needs. It is fostering better
economic relations and better eco
respected by both army and guerril
las, reporters and photographers in
El Salvador travel in vehicles marked
"Press" or "TV" with white flags
affixed to car doors.
Four Dutch TV journalists were
killed on March 17, 1982, in the
northern province of Chalatenango.
The government said the four were
slain during a firefight between rebels
and army, troops, but the Dutch
government said it had evidence
security forces were responsible.
In addition to the 15 killed, 13
journalists have been wounded dur
ing the war.
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