It’s been nearly fifteen years since U.S. priest James (Guadalupe) Carney disappeared in Honduras. The Chicago-born priest was working as a chaplain to an armed revolutionary column when they were captured by the Honduran Army. Father Carney had renounced his US citizenship and dedicated his entire life to the cause of liberation in Honduras. Many people believe that shortly after his capture, the radical priest was thrown to his death from a helicopter. His case is one of tens of thousands of cases of disappeared persons in Central America that are unsolved. What is interesting about the case of Father Carney is that the United States seems particularly intent on withholding much of the information the CIA and the State Department have on his disappearance.
The Honduran government has been investigating the case of Father Carney for years now with little if any cooperation from Washington. Specifically, the Honduran National Commissioner for Human Rights has requested the CIA Inspector General’s report, completed in the summer of 1997, which reviews the CIA’s close collaboration with Battalion 316 — the intelligence unit many believe was primarily responsible for the atrocities in Honduras throughout the 1980s. President Clinton promised that this report and other relevant CIA records would be declassified before the end of 1997. They have yet to be made public.
But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Documents that have been declassified by Washington are overwhelmingly covered with blackouts and white outs. In some cases, the declassified documents consist of entirely black pages.
- Father Joe Mulligan, an American born priest, currently working in Nicaragua, who knew Father Carney. He recently participated in a 45-day hunger strike outside the US embassy in Honduras demanding full declassification of documents relating to Father Carney. Call: Ecumenical Program in Central America (202)332-0292.