The most violent country on the planet isn’t halfway across the globe; it is a 2.5 hour flight from Houston. Most U.S. citizens are at best dimly aware of the bloodshed that is the defining feature of present-day Honduras. Last summer, 2014, Honduran children surfaced on the southern U.S. border by the tens of thousands, prompting a Texas congressman to decry this “invasion of our nation.” Likewise, protesters in California met the young immigrants with angry slogans like “return to sender!” But did protesters have any understanding of the situation these youth were escaping? The violence they’d be thrown back into if they were indeed “returned to sender”?
La Voz Del Pueblo is an 18-minute documentary that explores the difficult and violent Honduran reality through the perspective of journalists at the Jesuit-run radio station, Radio Progreso.
Meet the Radio Progreso Staff
Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J. (Padre Melo)
“I’m on this mission because I have a profound faith. A profound faith that all the promises of God—of a shared world, of a world of peace, of solidarity, of love, of tenderness—are going to prevail, and will spring forth from within us.”
Rev. Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J., popularly known as Padre Melo, is a Jesuit priest and human rights activist in his native Honduras. He directs Radio Progreso (radio station) and E.R.I.C, The Team for Reflection, Research and Communication, whose work encompasses: grassroots radio programming; training on human rights, community organizing, and empowerment; the formation of leadership committed to social change; and aiding migrant families. In April 2014, one of the Radio Progreso team members, Carlos Mejia, was brutally murdered. In a press conference following the tragic event, Melo stated at a press conference that 16 ERIC/Radio Progeso employees, including Mejia, have received significant death threats since the 2009 Honduran coup. Fr. Moreno has also previously testified before the U.S. Congress at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission regarding the human rights situation in Honduras and the fear he and his staff and others in the journalism sector experience.
“But of course I won’t quit because I think I give an example to my daughter that there are things one should fight for: justice and finding ways to change this reality.”
Jennifer Avila is a journalist and producer at Radio Progreso. She is a native of Progreso, Honduras, and studied journalism out of her desire to be close to the suffering of her fellow Hondurans and to telling their stories. Jennifer is also the web-master of Radio Progreso’s online platforms and a video/multimedia producer. In her journalist work, she has confronted police and public servants, often at great cost to her own safety, Jennifer is the proud mother of a one-year-old daughter.
“It was the 28th of June, 2009…A group of soldiers came through the gate. Here is the staircase, leading to the [Radio Progreso] control room, and the soldiers came and pointed their guns into my back. Here is the switch that would complete the mission of the soldiers: to silence Radio Progreso.”
Gustavo Cardoza is a long-time journalist, a part-time art student, and a social investigator in the investigative unit of Radio Progreso’s social research arm, ERIC.Fearless as a reporter, Gustavo provided on-the-scene coverage of Honduras’ 2009 coup and has reported numerous other risky stories about drug cartels, politicians, and social justice issues. He is a graduate of the Jesuit high school in Progreso and Ignatian spirituality and mission continues to suffuse his journalistic work.
“Honduras and Latin America are not the ‘backyard’ of the United states.”
Víctor Andrés Hernández is the co-host and producer of the daily morning show on Radio Progreso, where he combines his signature humor with music and passionate social commentary. He is also a part-time undergraduate student at the University of San Pedro Sula.
Download the La Voz del Pueblo toolkit to learn more about the human rights issues discussed in the documentary. The Central American Resources page offers recent news, U.S. policy toward Central America policy analysis, and advocacy opportunities.
Order Your Free Advocacy Postcards
Ignatian Solidarity Network and the U.S. Jesuit Conference have made advocacy postcards available to advocate for more humane U.S. policy toward Central America. To date, we have sent over 4,000 postcards!
The following are stills from La Voz Del Pueblo. You may use them in any efforts to publicize or educate the public related to the documentary. Please click on the images to view the full captions.