Organized by Alliance for Global Justice and Rights Action
The region is so remote, the only way to travel there is by plane or boat on the rivers seen below.
The Honduran military was waiting for us as we stepped off the plane in Puerto Lempira. They insisted on seeing our passports, which isn’t required during domestic travel, write down our information and question the reason for our visit.
Despite the pleas of members of Congress and human rights activists, the United States still provides massive aid to the oppressive Honduran government and military. As shown, most of the Honduran military gear was clearly labeled as issued by the United States.
After our plane ride from La Ceiba to Puerto Lempira, we had to take an hour and a half long motor boat ride to the dock closest to Ahuas.
Ahuas is surrounded by dense jungles.
Due to the large amount of standing water in the region, mosquitoes are abundant. They carry Malaria and Dengue fever.
From the dock, we had to drive for about an hour avoiding potholes on a rutted, bone-jarring dirt road.
The tropical environment of Ahuas is filled with jungles, marshes, farmlands and fields.
Ahuas houses are very basic. They have no running water, and very few have electricity. The few who are lucky enough to have electricity rely on costly generators, ensuring they use it very sparingly.
The residents of Ahuas live a very modest agricultural lifestyle; however, recent events and statements from the United States government clearly show that this innocent community will indefinitely be treated as accomplices of narco traffickers.
The Honduran military , which arrived after the massacre, and three days before our delegation, now patrols the rutted streets. When they saw our cameras, they covered their faces.
Many of the military members remain masked to protect themselves, but this leaves the civilians unable to identify any misconduct.
This Honduran Navy Officer is in charge of the current occupation of Ahuas. He claims that the soldiers will be there indefinitely.
Here, the Officer can be seen with his troops in the background.
Boating is the way of travel for the community of Ahuas. With very few jobs in the area, the people sometimes commute eight hours to work doing deep diving for shellfish. They often travel by night to avoid the scorching heat of the day.
At the landing where the massacre occurred, the Honduran Military has set up a check point to search civilians as they arrive by boat.
The Honduran government has dozens of soldiers stationed within eyesight of the boat landing where the incident occurred. This landing is also the most popular point of travel for residents of Ahuas.
Just as we were interviewing the Officer, a large Honduran military truck came to unload more soldiers to the base at the landing.
During the drug interdiction on May 11th, 2012, the first helicopter landed here. After the shooting, many of the agents involved “secured” the area by holding guns to civilians heads, threatening their lives, and preventing the wounded from receiving any medical attention for hours.
This boat was carrying the passengers as they were shot by State Department Helicopters on May 11th, 2012.
Though it is widely reported that investigations of this event are occurring, we witnessed no evidence of this as the boat was docked unattended and was not secured in any way. Apparently, this is not considered evidence of the massacre, though it is scattered with bullet holes. We were able to walk to the boat and get inside with no questions asked.
As shown, the right side of the boat has nineteen bullet holes and the left has five.
The bullets were reported to be M60’s, which the US government admits is the weaponry found on the State department helicopters.
A victim points from the landing where the first helicopter landed in the direction that he was forced at gunpoint to take the DEA agents and Honduran military to the boat full of cocaine.
The blue and white boat featured is said to be the same model of boat the cocaine was found in.
Reeds of this type grow throughout the waterways. The DEA claimed the boat containing cocaine was stopped by them and a victim of the shooting held onto them for hours while waiting for help.
The agents broke into a near by home to steal gasoline to power a boat. The broke the far right post upon their entrance.
During the agents unwelcome entrance into a nearby home, they kicked in the door with the purpose of retrieving gasoline. This door has been repaired, the lock has been reattached, but you can still see the faint impact mark from an agent’s boot.
Clara Wood Rivas was on the boat. Her son died of gunshot wounds caused by a State Department helicopter that shot at their boat the night of the incident. She was held at gunpoint while the agents “secured the scene,” and was told she needed to leave the scene before she was able to find her son.
Hilder Olopio went to the scene in an attempt to rescue his dead and injured family members, but was met by the military forcing him at gunpoint to aid in their retrieval of the cocaine, while his mother was left in the water bleeding for several hours.
Melaño Olopio was injured on the civilian boat he was driving that was shot by a State Department issued helicopter while four others died in front of his eyes.
Hilda Rosa Lezama Kenreth waits in her hospital bed, recovering from being shot and left in the water for approximately three hours. The agents involved not only had no interest in helping her, but obstructed her family who came to rescue her.
This young man was shot through the arm and awaits surgery. His family fears that he will be unable to use his arm again.
While the DEA agent in charge of the ill-fated mission on May 11 claims there has never been any confirmation of injury or death that evening, the proof is undeniable.
The Mayor of Ahuas claims that all the victims on the passenger boat were innocent, yet he still supports the War on Drugs and believes the terror it brings is worth it.
At least three homes were burnt after the massacre. We were told that some Ahuas citizens believed the owners were linked to narcotrafficking and blamed them for the massacre.