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Honduras, the CIA, the 3-16, and Abner

The United States government’s involvement in the political atmosphere of Central America during the 70’s,80’s, & early 90’s left its mark on many. Hundreds of mothers were left without children, or husbands after guerilla attacks sponsored by the U.S., hundreds of innocent victims were left with missing limbs after the explosion of land mines year later, governments were turned, country boundaries were redrawn, and the ever feared communist regimes were dismantled. No cost was too great.

Some of the victims we don’t ever hear about are the agents that choreographed and carried out the U.S. attacks in Central America. One of the most famous U.S. government branches in Central America was and still is the C.I.A, in Spanish simply know as the Cia, pronounced, Sia.

Honduras played host to the C.I.A. for almost the entirety of the U.S. covert operations in Central America. From neutral Honduras the U.S. was able to quickly moved men to and from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. The Honduras government, although brutal and seemingly free standing, was at many times the puppet to the United States Government.

The 3-16 as it is known by the Hondurans was one of the C.I.A.’s non-existing, U.S. sponsored, offices carrying out intelligence operations inside Honduras. The 3-16 did not exist, it was not officially recognized by the Honduran government, but to the Honduran citizens recruited to serve for the government office it was all too real.

Agents were ordered to purchase and sell drugs, purchase and sell arms, befriend and betray, all to aid the U.S. government in their fact finding efforts in Central America. The 3-16 agents were good at their jobs, well trained smart young men that enjoyed the adrenaline rush that their job provided. The 3-16 was funded by the C.I.A. and at the central office American C.I.A. agents worked along side their Honduran counterparts.

All too often the Honduran agent would see too much, would learn to much, would hear to much and he had to be dealt with. The secret 3-16 could not be exposed and the secrets could not be released. For some, when they could not take it any more, assistance was provided for them to receive a visa to the U.S. to begin a new life in exchange for their silence, but for too many others, the only way out was by death. These less fortunate individuals are often times referred to as the “disappeared one” since they would vanish, never to be seen again.

Many visitors to Choluteca have had the opportunity to meet and work along side Mission Lazarus employee, Abner Maradiaga. Abner, the brother in law of preacher Juan Flores, is my right hand man. Without Abner it is very likely that all of our projects would fall apart. Abner’s selfless, servant heart is apparent every where he goes.Abner was hired to be the driver of the Mission Lazarus Clinic, although many have feared for their life riding with Abner, he is a superb, well trained driver. What else could you expect from and ex 3-16 agent, trained by the U.S. C.I.A.

Abner and I have spent countless hours together criss-crossing the Honduran country side, on highways and donkey-ways. I have heard of many of his experiences working for the 3-16, many of which leave me in awe. Abner, only about 5 years my elder, was carrying out covert operations while I was in high-school.

Undoubtedly Abner’s experiences have haunted him for many years. At a gospel meeting two years ago, where the guest speaker was emphasizing that there was no sin that God could not forgive, their was no deed to great for God to forget, I noticed Abner sitting off by himself, seemingly lost in the 800 person crowd. As I focused on him, I noticed his face was burriend in his hands and tears were rolling. Was he asking himself?, was he asking God?, “The things I’ve done can’t be forgiven?” I made my way to Abner and put my arm on his shoulder, it was not the time for words, what would my words mean to a man who had seen so much? I just did not want him to be there alone.

From that point on I began to realize that Abner was changing. He was leaving his old ways behind, he was looking for God. His intelligence came through every week at the Bible class in the village of Las Pitas where he always new the answers to the questions. I was surprised the first time I heard the sound of his angelic voice singing songs at church.

Over time Abner and I spent many hours together driving, I was able to talk to him about salvation. I was able to hear his concerns. Our friendship grew stronger and stronger until finally I flat out asked, “When are you going to do it?” “When are you going to get baptized?” His answer, “Soon”. Time after time I asked and time after time he responded, “Soon”. In the summer of 2004 Abner’s wife, Kenia, did take that step and was baptized into Christ. Something she and Abner had talked about doing together, but Abner still was not ready. Was Abner still working through many memories in his mind?

On December 18 Abner and I made the five hour one way trip from my house to the Central Honduran town of Danli to drop off Christmas Magi presents for the children at the congregations in that area. On the ride home, once again, I entered into the discussion of salvation. We talked about a number

of questions on behalf of both of us, I finally asked the question, “When Abner, when?” To my surprise he did not respond soon, rather, he responded, “Before the end of the year”.

Sunday, December 26 was a cool morning at my house sitting at about 3500 feet above sea level. I was anxious, it was to be the day. Would Abner go through with it? I kept asking myself that, I even thought, “Jarrod you’re going to feel stupid for being so excited if he does not show.” But he did, having not told a soul, not even his wife until that morning, Abner pulled up to the house and when I saw him get out of the Land Cruiser I knew he was ready, he was in his swim trunks!

Ally and I went out and greeting Abner and Kenia and talked for a little while. I then asked the big question, “Is today they day?” He looked up with a big smile and responded with a simple but sure, Yes. We walked over to the river and waded into the bitter cold mountain water. I said a few words and took Abners confession of faith, and then recieved the best Christmas present ever, I got the opportunity to baptize my dear friend and comrade, Abner Maradiaga.

All of those feelings of guilt, feelings of doubt, and feelings of confusion are now washed away, washed away by the blood of Christ. That’s the promise he has for all of us.

How are you feeling today?


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