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A Cold War Ghost Reappears in Honduras

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 02:48 PM
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A Cold War Ghost Reappears in Honduras
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 02:51 PM by Judi Lynn
A Cold War Ghost Reappears in Honduras
By GINGER THOMPSON
Published: August 7, 2009



Billy Joya in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Edgard Garrido for The New York Times

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras

THE coup here has brought back a lot of Central Americas cold war ghosts, but few as polarizing as Billy Joya, a former police captain accused of being the former leader of a death squad.

He didnt sneak quietly back into national politics. He made his reappearance on a popular evening talk show just hours after troops had rousted President Manuel Zelaya out of bed and loaded him onto a plane leaving the country.

Mr. Joyas purpose, he said, was to defend the ouster and help calm a public that freed itself from military rule less than three decades ago. Instead, he set off alarms among human rights activists around the world who worried that the worst elements of the Honduran military were taking control.

The name Billy Joya reverberated much more than Micheletti, Mr. Joya protested, perhaps a little too strenuously, referring to the head of the de facto government, Roberto Micheletti, installed by the military. Instantly, my image was everywhere.

Mr. Joyas conflicting images a vilified figure who portrays himself as a victim are as hard to reconcile as his life story. Human rights groups consider him one of the most ruthless former operatives of an American-backed military unit, known as Battalion 316, responsible for kidnapping, torturing and murdering hundreds of people suspected of being leftists during the 1980s.

More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/08/world/americas/08joya...
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