The past just does not seem to matter anymore.
Over the years, [Zenaida] Velasquez has gotten the CIA, an official Honduran ombudsman and an international human rights court to acknowledge that the Honduran army was responsible for her brother Manfredo’s kidnapping and presumed killing. But Negroponte has repeatedly insisted that military-backed death squads did not operate in Honduras while he was ambassador.
A review of hundreds of declassified State Department and CIA documents suggests that Negroponte was preoccupied with “managing perceptions” about a country that had become a key U.S. ally in a decade-long campaign to stop the spread of communism in Central America. The documents show that he sought to depict Honduras in a generally positive light in annual human rights reports to Congress, and played down allegations of government abuse.
Opinions differ sharply over whether Negroponte, who served most recently as U.S. envoy to Iraq and the United Nations, ever suppressed pertinent intelligence information for fear of undermining support for U.S. policies.
For Velasquez, who founded a relatives’ committee to investigate the spate of kidnappings and disappearances in Honduras in the early 1980s and is now a U.S. citizen living in California, the controversy is more personal. She wants Negroponte to do something he has so far declined to do: acknowledge the existence of death squads in Honduras, and their ties with the U.S.-backed Honduran security forces.
“It’s like a slap in the face,” she said of Negroponte’s selection to the intelligence post. “He knew what was going on, but he still refuses to speak the truth.”