Thursday, January 14, 2010


At 1 am Tuesday morning, January 12, an explosive device went off in the window of the bedroom of the priest’s residence in San Marcos, Santa Barbara. Father Neftaly Portillo, who was asleep in the room at the time, escaped unharmed.

The device – not a bomb but more like a very powerful firecracker – broke the jalousie window.

The bishop and some priests went to visit Father Neftaly and the attempt on the life of Father Neftaly was denounced on Radio Progreso, the radio in Yoro owned by the Jesuits.

There are reports that there are two suspects. The reasons for the attack are not yet clear but it seems to have been a deliberate attempt to harm Father Neftaly. I’ll update this blog entry if I get more information .

Whatever the reason, this attack reveals the insecurity that many experience here in Honduras.

It is at times worse for those who have taken positions critical of the coup regime. There are reports of serious human rights violations in other parts of Honduras but even in Santa Rosa there are some cases.

Every Saturday morning one of the Santa Rosa diocesan radio stations has a program that discusses the political situation. The topics are often controversial and people call in to discuss.

Last Saturday afternoon two of the commentators on the morning program received death threats in text messages to their personal cell phones. Someone who opposes their critique of the coup regime obviously had access to their phone numbers.

This week I am in San Pedro Sula, taking part in a week long workshop run by Visi´øn Mundial (World Vision) on their program on HIV and AIDS.

What has been good is not only the information and the style of popular education used but also the opportunity to meet people working in other parts of western Honduras. Some work with Visión Mundial or their projects but most are Catholics and some work with Caritas in another diocese and many work with their parishes in a variety of projects.

And so we continue the work of the Kingdom of God in Honduras - in the face of insecurity, but confident of God's grace and love.

But this confidence doesn't blind us to the suffering in the world. Please pray for Haiti, the poorest country in Latin America devastated by an earthquake that has killed 100,000 and left 3 million people homeless. The Spanish word used for the victims of disasters who are alive is "damnificados" - those who have been damned. The poor of Haiti were already living int he hell of poverty and corruption - but this has now been multiplied exponentially by the earthquake. May God have mercy on them and may all people who can come to their assistance in a way that leads to life and justice for the poor.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Hi John - Thanks for keeping us posted on the situation in Honduras. You and the people you serve and serve with continue to be in my prayers. - Mary