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Murder in Honduras
November 20, 2015
by Jay Taber
March, 2015: “…the International Airport Toncontin, located in the country´s capital is going to close, and that a new international airport is going to be built inside the United States military base of Palmerola. Palmerola is the United States biggest military base in Central America, and permanently has 600 US troops. It is the main headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command. The base was used during the Cold War to plan and execute attacks against Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama and many countries in the Caribbean. When former President Zelaya, ousted in a 2010 military coup, proposed taking control of the military base in 2008 and removing the the United States soldiers, he was strongly attacked by the national and international media. In contrast, Juan Orlando Hernandez has presented the same plan, but with the participation of the United State’s Army South Command, and the initiative is presented as a tool for development.” [Source]
Murder of indigenous activists in Honduras has prompted the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz*, to issue a warning about state-sponsored ethnic cleansing there, where, since 2010, 44 indigenous activists have been killed to facilitate free market development.
Unfortunately, Corpuz fails to mention the US role in this atrocity. Having supported the 2009 coup, President Obama made sure the new Honduran government had the ways and means to terrorize activists and journalists.
REMILITARIZING CENTRAL AMERICA
Honduran commandos conduct unit leapfrogging exercises during training with U.S. soldiers and Colombian national policemen in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 8, 2014. | Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Honduran commandos demonstrate a river crossing before their graduation ceremony in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 19, 2014. U.S. 7th Special Forces soldiers and Colombian national policemen trained the commandos to be the force of choice for the Honduran Government. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Steven K. Young
War on the Poor in Honduras by Dawn Paley exposes the U.S. role in remilitarizing Central America. Taking a page from his idol Ronald Reagan, President Obama — who supported the 2009 military coup in Honduras — has established his credentials as a servant of the American Empire. While not yet a full-fledged fascist like his predecessor in the Oval Office, Obama is well on his way to institutionalizing a fascist, neoliberal agenda.
As Paley reports, the war on the poor by armed gangs — often working in collusion with the police, private security and soldiers in politically-motivated attacks on leftist party activists and journalists — has left residents of Honduras terrorized into silence by the Honduran elite. This elite of mafia-like families that control factories, banking and media, also control the government.
All of which has the U.S. military and the Obama White House to thank for ongoing support under the guise of the War on Drugs.
It turns out there was a logic to the U.S. coup in Honduras: maquiladoras in the form of city-states. What better way to advance the U.S. neoliberal agenda in Latin America than militarized sweatshop states exempt from national and international law? Barack and Hillary must be proud of their junior achievers.
When the US abandoned any pretense at pursuing democratic values, opting instead for an economy based solely on exporting violence and fraud, the window of opportunity for democratic reform in Latin America rapidly closed. As Upside Down World reports, the 2009 US-backed coup in Honduras has set in motion a replay of President Reagan’s murderous meddling in Central America, while Plan Colombia and the reintroduction of U.S. military bases in Chile and Argentina preclude even neoliberal independence in South America. As President Obama seeks to emulate and maybe even surpass the ruthlessness of his mentor President Reagan, democracies and democratic movements in the Western hemisphere are no more immune to U.S. military aggression and economic subversion than are Central Asia or the Middle East.
NO ONE LISTENING
The American aristocracy has always lived well off the theft of land and labor, but in the 21st Century, the game has changed. Dissatisfied with merely profiting handsomely from investing their inherited wealth in productive enterprise, the aristocracy today uses their publicly-funded privileges to gut American enterprise. Through hostile takeovers using private equity trading firms, they buy profitable corporations, sell off the assets, pocket the cash, and close them down. When that doesn’t work, they get bailouts from the U.S. Treasury.
The growing numbers of unemployed, hungry and homeless in the United States is testimony to the success of the largely unregulated private equity trading in securing the aristocracy’s power and influence into the future. As owners of the media, as well as the financiers of most federal political candidates, the aristocracy pretty much rules unopposed.
As for civil society NGOs and academic institutions, they have mostly succumbed to the aristocratic paternalism of philanthropic foundations, now functioning for the large part as public relations agents for privatization. Some might want to lay all this at the feet of a genuine American aristocrat by the name of George W. Bush, but it was Barack Obama who announced to us eight years ago that his ideological idol was Ronald Reagan, the epitome of American fascism. Was no one listening?
*Victoria Tauli Corpus is the Executive Director of Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy and Research Education). Corpus is also is a board-member of Conservation International. Both Corpus and the NGO she oversees, that of Tebtebba, work closely with the United Nations (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues) and have been instrumental in pushing the false solution of REDD forward. From Feb 2002 to present Corpus has been a Member of National Selection Committee of the Ford Foundation who has invested heavily in advancing the REDD agenda. As well, Corpus has served as board member of the pre-COP15 corporate creation TckTckTck. TckTckTck was initiated by the United Nations working with one of the largest marketing agencies in the world (Havas), while partnering with many of the most powerful corporations on the planet, in a united effort to “to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” [courtesy Wrong Kind of Green]
[Jay Thomas Taber (O’Neal) derives from the most prominent tribe in Irish history, nEoghan Ua Niall, the chief family in Northern Ireland between the 4th and the 17th centuries. Jay’s ancestors were some of the last great leaders of Gaelic Ireland. His grandmother’s grandfather’s grandfather emigrated from Belfast to South Carolina in 1768. Jay is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]