US slams Honduran radioman’s anti-Semitic remarks

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras—The U.S. Ambassador in Honduras has condemned anti-Semitic remarks by a local radio news director who has been an outspoken opponent of the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Ambassador Hugo Llorens sent a letter to Radio Globo owner Alejandro Villatoro expressing “astonishment and incomprehension” over the Sept. 25 remarks by station director David Romero.

Commenting on the rumors alleging Israeli involvement in the crisis, Romero referred to the “famous Holocaust” and added that “I believe it should have been fair and valid to let Hitler finish his historic vision.”

“Hitler’s concentration camps and Holocaust constitute one of the most shameful acts of human history. How can it be that your station employs as its news director a man who does not understand this?” Llorens said in the letter sent Monday. “Mr. Romero’s commentary makes a mockery of any pretense he may have of solidarity with people who struggle against injustice.”

Romero later apologized for the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press, saying that they were “stupid” statements made in the heat of the moment and that don’t reflect his real views. He said his grandfather was a Jewish immigrant from Czechoslovakia who came to Honduras to escape persecution in Europe.

Radio Globo was shut down and its equipment confiscated by security forces last week after interim President Roberto Micheletti issued an emergency decree banning large-scale demonstrations and limiting civil liberties.

Although Micheletti has lifted the decree, he said the Radio Globo and a television station that was also closed would have to go the courts to “recover their right to be on the air.”

“I cannot help but the note the irony that you and Romero came to visit me last week to seek support after your station was closed by the de facto authorities,” Llorens said in his letter. “Radio Globo deserves to be on the air. The right of free speech must not be abridged, but with it goes the responsibility to speak truthfully and soberly.”

Villatoro said Tuesday he had received the letter but had no plans to take action against Romero.

“I give no importance to this,” Villatoro told AP. “I am not going to take any action or any measure against Romero because there is no law that punishes these situations.”