As Lockdown is Extended Roatanians Witness National Police Abuses
While police punished individuals violating the unconstitutional lockdown laws with arrests, vehicle confiscation and fines, they decided that the law doesn’t apply to themselves or their families. This comes on the tail on an incident where Jaime Barahona, Bay Islands police chief, and 11 other police, came unannounced to Roatan from COVID-19 area and didn’t announce their arrival, or tested for the virus.
That type of behavior is more typical than most people like to believe and the Roatan police, now under leadership of Sub Commissioner Serrano Nieto are following the footsteps of their ex-national chief Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, 60, known as “El Tigre.” Last week US prosecutors accused Bonilla Valladares of overseeing cocaine trafficking on behalf of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and his brother, a former congressman. “El Tigre” has a rank of a General in National Police and is also implicated in being part of death squads responsible for executing criminals and political opponents.
On Monday May 4, back at work, National Police fired tear gas at Rotanians protesting the inability of the national government to allow their loved ones to come back to the island from the mainland. “There are around 300 people stuck in La Ceiba waiting to get back to the island,” says Julio Galindo, Roatan’s ex-Mayor and owner of Anthony’s Key Resort. “Utila managed to bring 19 people back.” The Coxen Hole protests came as central government extended the lockdown until May 16 and tightened stay-at-home laws limiting food trips from once-per-week to once-every-two-weeks.
After staying isolated for 14 days and proving that there is no COVID-19 infections on the islands Roatanians were made to participate in a cruel spectacle of wearing masks, gloves, self-imprisonment in their homes while growing paranoid in wait for the arrival of invisible enemy. This was 40 days ago.
While time-and-time again Honduran government has proven itself unable to run the country’s power generation system and its land telephone system, much of the public is somehow convinced that the Honduran government is competent to make life or death decisions about COVID-19 or economic impact of the shutdown. That could be only described as a mass case of a Stockholm syndrome where a hostage begins to associate with the interest of his kidnapper.
Roatanians remain confused or in denial about who is actually running their lives.
Honduras, with a population of 9 million, has an average daily death toll of 400 people, including around 10 murders. The media has been ignoring this reality; it has been broadcasting death-porn of 93 COVID-19 drama of the country wide lockdown.
While Roatanians remain confused or in denial about who is actually running their lives. With courts closed, and constitution suspended, it is the Central Government and their National Police decides what goes and what doesn’t. Local government can just ask, and plead, but has no power. “The government is now allowed to issue orders in direct violation of the constitution. Such as restrict your freedom to circulate and your freedom to congregate,” said Keena Haylock, Roatan based attorney.
The National Police are complicit in enforcing and overreaching a national law that has no legal standing in forbidding church service, imposing house arrest of millions of healthy and closing down most business.