This week, whistleblower and former US state department investigator, Aurelia Fedenisn, made some significant allegations about the culture of cover ups in the department, when she turned over documents to a Republican senator.
Among the revelations from the leak of state department memos is that an investigation into the killing of four people in Honduras, including a young boy and two women, was quashed.
They were shot from state department helicopters while travelling on a boat carrying 16 people near the Honduran village of Ahuas last May.
For Inside Story Americas, Al Jazeera’s Kaelyn Forde travelled to Ahuas and spoke with survivors of the May 11, 2012 shooting. Clara Wood, the mother of one of the victims, was in the boat that night.
“We left the town of Barra Patuca in the evening, the motor was running, working hard against the current for hours. We were about to arrive at the landing when we saw two helicopters circling,” Wood told Al Jazeera.
“I was asleep when the shots began from above. I jumped up and shouted out to God, ‘Where is my son?’ but he wasn’t in the front of the boat, no one was. I was crying and yelling. I threw myself in the water and swam to the shore. I ran up through the woods hoping that there weren’t venomous snakes. When I got to the landing, the police were there, masked.
“I was going crazy looking for my son. And the police asked me, ‘what are you doing out here at this time of night?’ and I said to them, ‘you already killed my son and the others.’ When I said that, they grabbed me and searched me. Of course, I didn’t have anything.
“The four people who were killed were all sitting in the front of the boat. My son had bullets in his leg, his head and his stomach.
“When they finally found him in the river, my son’s body was already rotting. They put him on the floor here in my house and he was full of water. I couldn’t see my baby’s face anymore. And that’s how we had to bury him, in a bag, because couldn’t even bathe him, he was so swollen and soft. They killed him like he was a dog.
“This is my furniture that I was bringing back with me in the boat that night, full of bullet holes. Drug traffickers don’t take their furniture, their tables, their children with them. Anyone can see that we are poor people, that we aren’t trafficking drugs.
“My poor son only 14 years old, what did he know about narcos? He didn’t know anything about that badness. He’s with God now. My cousin was in the boat with her two little babies, what did they have to do with drug trafficking?
“My son, he loved to play with me and come over to me, and now no one comes for me. It’s been months and months since he hugged me, kissed me. And he never will again,” Wood said.