Kidnapping of an American Hospital Administrator, Ronald McBroon, at Hospital Adventista Valle de Angéles in June 1980 by the MPL-Cinchoneros. [HND1605]

No information on activities of the Cinchonero movement prior to March 1981 is presently available to the IRBDC. A database search for information on Mr. McBroon was unsuccessful. The Movimiento Popular de Liberación "Cinchoneros" (MPL) was formed by students at the National Autonomous University in 1978, and named after an "early 20th century peasant leader Serapio Romero, called `el Cinchonero.'" [ "Killings Marks Return of Cinchoneros", Latin American Weekly Report, 9 February 1989, p. 2.] The movement initially maintained political links with the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Honduras (PCH), [ Henry Degenhardt, ed, Revolutionary and Dissident Movements, (Essex: Longman, 1988), p. 147.] but later became the armed wing of the People's Revolutionary Union (URP) when the URP split from the PCH in 1980. [ Ciar n O Maol in, ed., Latin American Political Movements, (Essex: Longman, 1985), pp. 167, 163.]

For your information, a chronology of some of the activities of the Cinchonero movement from 1981 to the present follows.

The Cinchoneros are accredited with the March 1981 hijacking of a Sahsa airlines flight, which resulted in the release of 15 people (including a Salvadorean FDR leader) in a hostage exchange. [ "Killing Marks Return of Cinchoneros".] In September 1982, the Cinchoneros attempted to negotiate the release of 70 more "detained and disappeared" persons in a hostage taking incident in the San Pedro Sula chamber of industry and commerce. [ Ibid. ] In April 1983, the Cinchoneros joined five other groups to form the United National Directorate (Directoria Nacional Unido, DNU). [ Henry Degenhardt, Revolutionary and Dissident Movements, (Essex: Longman, 1988), p. 147.] The government responded to a bombing campaign by the Cinchoneros in La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula and La Lima in August 1983 with a major counterinsurgency operation by the "secret Battalion 3-16 created by General Alvarez, and by the end of the year the Cinchoneros were officially pronounced defunct." ["Killing Marks Return of Cinchoneros".] However, the Cinchoneros conducted a short bombing spree in Tegucigalpa (the Capital) in late 1984, [ "Honduras: Cinchoneros resurface", Latin American Regional Reports : Mexico and Central America, 23 March 1989, postscript.] and in 1986, reports of a Cinchonero resurgence in the interior led to a renewed counter-insurgency campaign by the government. [ Amnesty International, Honduras: Civilian Authority - Military Power, (London: Amnesty International, 1988), p. 11.] At the beginning of 1988, Sergeant Vilorio, an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation, and named as a member of Battalion 3-16, was found assassinated with a Cinchonero banner attached to his body. [ Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras, Human Rights in Honduras; A Special Report on the Situation of Civil and Political Rights January-June, 1988, September 1988, p. 7. It is not known for certain if the Cinchoneros did, in fact, commit the murder, because Vilorio was a witness in a case in which he could give damaging evidence to superior officers in Battalion 3-16.]

The Cinchoneros resurfaced in 1989, claiming responsibility for the 25 January 1989 assassination of General Gustavo Alvarez, [ "Rebels Claim Responsibility" and "Communique on Alvarez' Death", Daily Report: Latin America, 26 January 1989, p. 24.] the ex-Minister of Defense deposed in March 1984. [Americas Watch, Human Rights in Honduras after General Alvarez, (New York: Americas Watch Committee, 1986), p. 3.] On 7 March, three small bombs containing Cinchonero leaflets exploded in San Pedro Sula. [ "MPL Rebels Explode Bombs in San Pedro Sula," Daily Report: Latin America, 10 March 1989, p. 38.] The leaflets "urged the government to respect human rights, expel the U.S. troops, end social injustice, and solve the foreign debt and the country's foreign deficit." [ Ibid.] Another report contained in the Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report: Latin America, alleges that the Cinchoneros are "receiving military training on the Apaji Cattle Farm...3 km west of Ocotal" in Nicaragua. [ "Honduran Guerrillas Reportedly Train on Farm, Daily Report: Latin America, 3 April 1989, p. 30.]