Monday, November 19, 2012

Interaction with Evil Incarnate at Polling Site: a personal account

My observer team went to 3 polling places in a working class neighborhood, and there was a carnival-like atmosphere throughout the day, with much good will expressed by everyone we met, regardless of party affiliation. We encountered support and gratitude for our presence throughout the day, as we have the entire trip. Early on we started talking to a man in front of one the National Party rooms. He was expensively dressed, and when i asked his occupation, he identified himself as Luis Antonio Lopez, the chief of security for Juan Orlando, one of the 2 main National Party candidates for president (out of 7,) who is currently leading in the latest vote count. Lopez went on to say that he had been a member of the 316 Brigade, the notorious death squad during the contra war period in the 1980's, when civil wars were raging in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and that the CIA actively collaborated with 316. I asked him if he supported death squads, and he said they were necessary, but there weren't any now. I asked him about the candidates being killed, and he said only "gangs in marginal neighborhoods" were being killed, as if that were fine.

Then he proudly stated that he owns an original Nazi swastika worth a lot of money. I asked him what he thought of the Nazis, and he said he "admired their discipline, but didn't agree with all of their programs." He also said he has many friends who are professionals who support the Nazis. I decided to see how far i could push him to talk, so i asked him what he thought about torture. He said it was necessary to use it, especially against leftists to make them talk. I asked what kind of torture was best, and he said "medieval methods worked best" indicating the pulling of arms, but it was important to "hurt where it doesn't show." He said psychological torture was best to use with young people, by keeping them isolated from their families.

Then he asked us if we wanted any cocaine, and offered to buy us some (not sure of amount) for 100 lempiras, about $5. Then he said he had friends in the gangs. My group partner and I were somewhat in shock, and had no idea what to think. As soon as he left, a woman from LIBRE ran up to us and said, "Do you know who you were talking to?" Then she proceeded to tell us she was a neighbor, that he is a killer and he "mistreated" his wife so badly she had to go to the hospital and then left the country to the US. Once she heard gunshots in the house. We had two more conversations with him outside the polling place, and the last time he offered to help us get 2 kilos of cocaine to take back to the US from the Bajo Aguan area (where more than 70 peasant farmers have been killed.)

Everything he told us coincides with the commonly held belief that it is indeed the military and police in this country that are driving the drug trade. He had a matter of fact coldness about him that made my skin crawl, and he was such a braggart that I'm not sure I would have believed him had it not been for the woman from LIBRE adding credence to everything he said.

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