Honduras: Survivors, Officials Tell Story of Deadly Prison Fire
February 16, 2012 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Inmates who survived a deadly fire at Comayagua prison in Honduras said that they stood helplessly at the doors to their barracks while a guard fled without opening their doors, and were saved only when another prisoner who served as a nurse found discarded keys and let them out. The fire started Tuesday as the inmates slept and killed at least 358 people, according to Honduran officials. Many of the prisoners tried to escape the heat by piling into the bathrooms in search of water, but they could not escape the flames. Comayagua Governor Paola Castro said that an inmate called her minutes before the fire started, screaming that he was going to burn the prison down. Castro says she dispatched firefighters and the Red Cross to the scene immediately, but the rescue workers were reportedly kept away by prison guards firing guns, thinking a riot was underway. Honduran officials continued to investigate the fire through Wednesday night.
Read more from the Washington Post.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican military commander Guillermo Galván acknowledged that the military may have committed “mistakes” since 2006, referencing three major human rights abuse complaints involving the massacre of civilians and military deserters.
- Mexican authorities discovered the bodies of six men on a road leaving to Cuernavaca on Wednesday.
- Cuba said it would attend the Americas Summit in Colombia if invited, though it has no plans to join the OAS.
- Hundreds of Haitians have flocked to the U.S. town of Mount Olive, North Carolina, in search of jobs.
- The Honduran Attorney General’s office said that at least 348 inmates perished in the prison fire that tore through an overcrowded prison in Comayagua, just north of Tegucigalpa.
- Former Salvadoran guerrillas are protesting outside the tomb of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero to demand an increase in their pensions from the government.
- The murder of a fifth Salvadoran soldier this year on Monday has led authorities to suspect that gang members are targeting members of the security forces.
- Hundreds of Venezuelans protested polluted water supplies following an oil spill off the country’s eastern coast, causing the governor of Monagas to declare a state of emergency.
- Peruvian analysts said the capture of “Comrade Artemio”, the last leader of the Shining Path guerrillas, is unlikely to diminish drug trade in the country.
- Ecuadorian judges heard the final appeal of the criminal libel charges against El Universo newspaper for criticizing Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
- During a visit to Uruguay, U.S. actor Sean Penn called the British deployment of Prince William to the Falkland Islands a provocation.
- Drought in Chile is threatening energy production as water levels drop at reservoirs supplying power dams.
- Argentina’s Financial Information Unit published new requirements intended to reign in corruption in Argentine soccer.
Image: Guillermo Cárcamo @ Flickr.