It is always a pleasure to have La Gringa help me out with media sources in Honduras, and I remain grateful to her for responding quickly to some of my questions. (I, of course, then was unavailable for a couple of days... but *she* was quick.) Here's some further information on the Honduras Minibus Attack story:
Local news report (Spanish language) with photographs of the vehicle after the attack. Here's her observations at that time (8.January)
They may have been after one person initially but the attack on the bus wasn't targeted. It looked like at least 100 bullets in the sides, front and back of the bus.I do appreciate that last about how such crime is 'only slightly out of the norm', although there is something about this particular event that may well go beyond that. Fortunately, La Gringa was willing to continue the discussion and gave me permission to publish it here. In her second letter, she added (all links Spanish language):
The police are calling it an ajuste de cuentas (CompHyp reader help: translates lit: adjustment of accounts; "settling scores") between two competing drug factions. The police frequently claim the motive was an ajuste de cuentas and that is usually the end of the story. It is rare that anyone is ever charged with this type of crime.
One of the survivors was interviewed in the hospital. She said she didn't have anything to do with drugs.
Life has no value in Honduras and crime is out of control. I wouldn't expect to hear any more about this except for the occasional article over the next week or two at most saying the police are working on it, then it will fade from view as the next massacre takes the limelight, and the one after that. It's really only slightly out of the norm of what happens here every day.
But I have a couple of corrections from a different news channel last night. The ages of the youngest victims may not be accurate. I think the police were just guessing the ages initially. La Prensa reports today that the youngest victims were 2 years and 8 months old which is what the police spokesman said last night. In the photo, one of the coffins appears to be infant size. La Tribuna has a list of victims and different ages in this article.A very sad picture she paints, I think. I remain at least willing to consider the possibility that the eventual connection in this crime will be that the people targeted were relatives of those who, or actually a part of an effort to, oppose the Narcos. I can't second source that, though, so I may well have to let the 'wrong place; wrong people' narrative hold. That does, however, lead us to this last request from La Gringa in our conversation:
Proceso Digital has had several articles over the past 2 days... The latest article (as I write) has a little more info about the suspected intended targets, but basically the same as the LP article.
I wouldn't want to be one of the survivors. In one article I read that the police have asked the military to guard the survivors at the hospital, but eventually they'll have to leave and I wouldn't put their chances at survival high if the criminals think they can be identified.
It is very common in Honduras to blame the victim. I think that we all want to believe that the victim "must have been involved in something" or "must have made someone mad". In this case, it very likely might be true, but overall it makes me very sad. I can perfectly see that guys who feel very macho with AK-47s would be infuriated that the bus driver didn't stop and blast the hell out of it with no concern for who might be inside.
I think that we have to have that belief so that we feel a little safer, that *we* aren't involved in anything like that so *we* or the people we love won't be killed in some senseless act. But really, all we have to do is to take the wrong bus, go to the wrong restaurant at the wrong time, work at the wrong place, or drive down the street at the wrong time.... We can't live in terror all the time, so we get hardened to what happens here every day.
If I see anything more informative, I will let you know, and I would appreciate it if you would let me know if you have any updates.That goes for me as well. Any update on this story, especially one that puts the targeted individual(s) in the context of place, activity, or relationship with anti-Narco or (sad possibility) Narco actors would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, and thanks to La Gringa again.
Thanks to Fausta for linking to this in her Carvival of the Americas news links today.