A Honduran Congressman of the far-left Freedom and Refundación Party (FREE) supportive of former President Manuel Zelaya was arrested yesterday after shooting and killing a taxi driver with whom he had a dispute. The Congressman, Luis Galdámez, claims he fired in self-defense.
According to Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, Galdámez came into contact with the driver, Marvin Sánchez García, while driving and claimed that Sánchez was driving in the wrong direction. Though little details have emerged of the dispute, it is believed that the disagreement became a violent fight, and Galdámez fired at Sánchez fatally. Sánchez died in the hospital, while Galdámez was detained on manslaughter changes. Another Congressman of the same party, Edgardo Castro, was also in attendance.
Honduras’ La Prensa quotes a witness who says that Galdámez’s car committed a violation in clear sight of the police, though the police did not cite him for that violation. Galdámez and Castro were part of a larger government convoy. Other drivers allegedly protested to such unfair treatment, causing a dispute. The collective disagreement, according to another witness, was triggered by Castro who stepped out of his car and physically attacked motorists in front of the police. Galdámez, meanwhile, shot Sánchez in the stomach.
The Congressman, in a press conference today, asserted that he had reacted in self-defense and not with the intent of killing. The press conference, extensive and sometimes meandering, began with Galdámez asserting, “I lament the incident, but the truth shall set you free.” Galdámez’s version of events is somewhat convoluted, and involved a riotous crowd trying to choke him to death, which does not coincide with witness accounts:
“I shot into the air and shot the damn bullet toward the wall,” he explained, “the shot hit him because it was a crowd that was attacking me. You go and see how they had me by the neck, they had me by the neck and I feared the were going to kill me– the guy who came at me with a machete, then– and then I was defending myself.”
“I’m here showing my face,” he continued,” so if you want to kill me, kill me, what am I going to do?”
Even in the nation with the highest murder rate in the world, the situation has become a scandal, as the two socialist politicians defend their actions. While murder rates in Honduras have declined, they remain exorbitant according to Western nation standards. Most blame the leadership of former President Zelaya, to whom Galdávez is a loyalist, who imposed socialist policies and attempted to violate the nation’s Constitution and ensconce himself in power. The attempt to remain in power failed, as the Honduran military ousted him for his illegal activity.