21.08.2020 - 14:08 [ Baltimore Sun ]

When a wave of torture and murder staggered a small U.S. ally, truth was a casualty.

(Jun 11, 1995)

* The CIA was instrumental in training and equipping Battalion 316. Members were flown to a secret location in the United States for training in surveillance and interrogation, and later were given CIA training at Honduran bases.

* Starting in 1981, the United States secretly provided funds for Argentine counterinsurgency experts to train anti-Communist forces in Honduras. By that time, Argentina was notorious for its own „Dirty War,“ which had left at least 10,000 dead or „disappeared“ in the 1970s. Argentine and CIA instructors worked side by side training Battalion 316 members at a camp in Lepaterique, a town about 16 miles west of Tegucigalpa.

* Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, who as chief of the Honduran armed forces personally directed Battalion 316, received strong U.S. support – even after he told a U.S. ambassador that he intended to use the Argentine method of eliminating subversives.

* By 1983, when Alvarez’s oppressive methods were well known to the U.S. Embassy, the Reagan administration awarded him the Legion of Merit for „encouraging the success of democratic processes in Honduras.“ His friendship with Donald Winters, the CIA station chief in Honduras, was so close that when Winters adopted a child, he asked Alvarez to be the girl’s godfather.