Foreign Policy

DEA-Backed Honduran Commandos Put Gun to Honduran Boy's Head, Tell Him, "If you don't talk we'll kill you."

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Apparently, the United States' Central American law enforcement partners didn't get the memo about Obama ending the "war on drugs," because after killing two pregnant women from a helicopter in which DEA agents were riding shotgun, the Honduran military (and, allegedly, several American contractors) then raided a small village:

Villagers say the drug bust that left four passengers of a riverboat dead after helicopters mistakenly fired on civilians continued into the predawn hours when commandos, including some they think were Americans, raided their town.

One chopper landed in front of Hilaria Zavala's home at about 3 a.m. and the six men who got out kicked down her door. She said a "gringo" threw her husband on the ground and put a gun to his head demanding to know about a trafficker named "El Renco."

"They kept him that way for two hours," said Zavala, who owns a market near the main pier in Ahuas. "They asked if he was El Renco, if he worked for El Renco, if the stuff belonged to El Renco. My husband said he had nothing to do with it."

Celin Eriksson 17, whose cousin Haskel Tom Brooks Wood, 14, died in the boat, was waiting on the dock for his family before the shooting when he saw a white truck and about 50 men coming from Ahuas. He hid because he knew they were traffickers, but saw them load bundles into a boat. When the helicopters appeared, the men ran. He said he heard no gunshots coming from the ground. The boat with bundles went drifting by itself down the river.

The commandos who came off the helicopter handcuffed him, Celin said, and put a gun to his head. Some spoke to him in English, which he also speaks.

"If you don't talk we'll kill you," the boy said he was told. "Where is El Renco? Where is the merchandise?"

The response from the Feds to these two incidents—the killing of two men and two pregnant on the river, and the night raid on the village nearby—has been inconsistent: The DEA has said that its agents were involved in the river mission, but didn't fire, and weren't present in the village; the Pentagon has said none of its personnel were involved in the village raid, but has said nothing about the river kill. The U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa, meanwhile, said the helicopters used were piloted by contractors, but would not reveal the contractors' nationality. Which brings us back to what villagers told the Associated Press: The men who interrogated their family members were gringos, had some pretty hi-tech gear, and spoke English.

Whether American agents or contractors pulled the trigger that killed two pregnant Honduran women who were headed to a mother's day celebration, whether they put the gun to the head of a Honduran teenager and then left him bound in the jungle, are disputable facts. Why the Honduran government is waging a war against it people is not: The American government has instructed it to, and is training and equipping its military and law enforcement agencies