Opposition Protestors Are Hunted Down After the Honduras Election
In November, incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández was supposedly re-elected as President of Honduras. Most Hondurans disagreed with the election results and accused the government of rigging the election. Not long after, government raids on those protesting the results began.
Exit polls showed that Hernández only had 44% of the vote. After reports of election fraud spread throughout the country and in the wake of the election transmission system being shut down for hours, miraculously Hernández was declared the winner.
The Organization of American States had sent observers to the election but refused to endorse the results. Those observers released a slate of irregularities they had observed in the voting process after the fact. They said no one could be certain who really won the election.
With that as a backdrop, right after the election, those who had backed opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla began protesting. With a series of rallies and marches, they took to podiums and took over the streets, saying the election fraud had delivered the election to the wrong man. They did so despite curfews set to block the rallies. Those rallies continued for two full months after the election, all the way through January 27, when Hernández was sworn in for his second term of office.
When the protestors took to the streets, the Honduran government reacted with a violent nationwide attack on everyone protesting. Federal forces shot into the audiences to disperse them. An estimated 35 protestors were killed and hundreds more injured. More than 1,000 people were detained, and a minimum of 22 of them are still in jail.
Those conducting the raids include the regular federal forces, criminal investigation officers and a vicious U.s.-trained special forces/death squad organization known as TIGRES. That last agency was set up by law in 2013 and consisted of Honduran special forces trained both by United States Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and by members of the Comandos Jungla, an elite force of the Colombian police that, in turn, came from Honduran police and the military.
The personnel for TIGRES began training in 2014, after Hernández was made president the first time. There was a follow-up 12-week Commando basic course held by the same training agents the following year. According to the United States, a total of 322 agents completed that course, now the basic training required for all TIGRES.