On June 28, 2009, a coordinated
State Department-Pentagon project allied with Honduran military commanders
and top opposition figures ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
Industrialists, financial interests, large landowners, and transnational
corporations supported the coup.
A Porfirio Lobo fascist dictatorship replaced him. Washington backs,
arms and funds it.
All Honduran officers from captains on up train at the Western Hemisphere
Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).
Formerly it was called the School of the Americas (SOA). It's popularly
known as the "School of Assassins."
It teaches how to torture, repress, exterminate poor and indigenous
people, overthrow democratically elected governments, assassinate targeted
leaders, and suppress popular resistance when it erupts.
Its graduates specialize in state terror. They brutalize, disappear,
and massacre elements perceived as threats to their authority. No one
lives safe under these conditions.
Honduras' reputation as the world's murder capital is well deserved.
Political and human rights activists, unionists and independent journalists
are especially at risk. Conditions are exacerbated by Washington's complicity.
On May 11, a US helicopter attack killed four Hondurans, including two
pregnant women. Another four were wounded during an anti-drug raid.
American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) militants were involved. They
then stormed homes while occupants slept.
Witnesses said masked men spoke English. Hilaria Zavala said six men
kicked in her door at 3AM, threw her husband to the floor, and threatened
him at gunpoint.
Earlier, the DEA acknowledged its involvement in Honduras. Nonetheless,
spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said agency personnel weren't in the village
on May 11.
Honduran security ministry spokesman Hector Ivan Mejia said he knew
nothing about the raid. Police claimed cocaine was aboard the targeted
vessel. They said those onboard fired first. They shot back in "self-defense."
Conflicting Honduran military reports said agents fired on civilians
by mistake. Another claimed those killed were drugs traffickers.
Villagers are enraged. Nearby Ahuas Mayor Lucio Vaquedano said they
have nothing to do with drugs. Victims were fishing. Helicopter fire
machine-gunned them to death. It was cold-blooded murder.
Indigenous Miskito group leaders said:
"For centuries we have been a peaceful people who live in harmony with
nature, but today we declared these Americans to be persona non grata
in our territory."
Candelaria Trapp, one of the slain victims, left behind six motherless
In response, residents burned government buildings. They demand US agents
leave. On May 5, The New York Times headlined "Lessons of Iraq Help
US Fight a Drug War in Honduras," saying:
Washington established "three new (Honduran) forward bases." The country
"is the latest focal point in America's drug war." Allegedly US forces
only fire in "self-defense." May 11 proved otherwise.
Moreover, an alleged "drug war" is a red herring. America's CIA trafficked
them for decades. Wall Street and other major banks launder billions
in illicit profits.
Written or acknowledged rules of engagement authorize free fire zone
directives. In Iraq and Afghanistan they ordered killing every military-aged
man in sight. Honduras perhaps is no different.
US wars on terror, drugs, or for other reasons get carte blanche authority
to operate freely. Limitations don't apply. Honduran and US Special
Forces work with DEA agents. It's more about repression than stopping
Rights Action reports often on conditions in the country. On May 17,
it headlined "Honduras: A Violence, Repression and Impunity Capital
of the world,Ē saying:
"There is no end in sight to violence and repression in Honduras. There
is also no end in sight to American and Canadian governments and business
maintaining political, economic and military relations with the military-backed
Besides being Latin America's murder capital, it's also the region's
"journalist killing capital....an LGBT killing capital, a prisoner killing
capital, a lawyer killing capital, etc."
Unrestrained violence continues. America's support and involvement facilitates
it. Human rights abuses rage out of control. State terror is policy.
Ordinary Hondurans haven't a chance.
Resistance is their only option. Another coup may follow electoral change
if achieved. Odds against it are long.
Zelaya's wife Xiomara heads a LIBRE political party. It represents the
Nacional de Resistencia Popular (FNRP) popular resistance.
Its Declaration of Principles calls revolution "inevitable." An "unsustainable
economic, political and social system" rules Honduras.
Crisis conditions followed the June 2009 coup. It unleashed reign of
terror violence. Repressive, anti-democratic, neoliberal forces rule.
Predatory capitalism exploits and kills. Hondurans demand change. Perhaps
one day they'll get it. For now, it's nowhere in sight.
On January 26, a New York Times Dana Frank op-ed headlined "In Honduras,
a Mess Made in the US," saying:
"ITíS time to acknowledge the foreign policy disaster that American
support for the Porfirio Lobo administration in Honduras has become."
"Ever since the June 28, 2009 coup that deposed Hondurasís democratically
elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, the country has been descending
deeper into a human rights and security abyss."
"That abyss is in good part the State Departmentís making."
Headlines reflect daily horror stories. A UN report calls Honduras the
world murder capital. State-sponsored terror is mostly to blame.
Lobo replicates the worst of other world despots. Elections lack credibility.
Democracy isn't tolerated.
Last October, Obama praised Lobo for "restor(ing) democratic practices."
Last May, 87 congressional members pushed back a little, not enough.
In a letter to Hillary Clinton, they urged suspending military and related
aid. House Foreign Affairs ranking Democrat, Howard Berman (D. CA) asked
whether Washington was arming a dangerous regime.
In December, Senator Patrick Leahy (D. VT) and others won small concessions
on what's supplied, but not enough to matter.
"Why has the State Department (backed) the Lobo administration," Frank
asked? In part, it caved to right-wing ideologue Representative Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, (R. FL), House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman.
Extremists like her infest Congress like crabgrass besets lawns. As
a result, repression proliferates. Deaths follow. Hondurans face "a
tragic abyss." It's time to stop "feeding the beast." Alternative approaches
are long overdue.
Hondurans, not America's State Department "have the right to lead their
Frank is a University of California, Santa Cruz, Professor of History.
The Times provided rare op-ed space for honest opinion.
On January 24, a Miami Herald editorial headlined "Central America's
free-fire zone," saying:
US Peace Corps volunteers left. It's "one more sign (Honduras) deteriorated
to crisis levels not seen since the" 1980s Contra wars. "The country
is quickly turning into a disaster zone."
US-backed Honduran officials "are complicit in the violence and criminality."
The country is a virtual "free-fire zone." Its murder rate exceeds 82
per 100,000. In Miami, it's 5.5 per 100,000.
In a nation of eight million, nearly 7,000 2011 homicides were reported.
It increased 250% in the last six years. It reflects the world's highest
per capita rate.
Security forces are directly involved. State-sponsored violence is policy.
Police and military elements are "enforcers and bodyguards for drug
Journalists, whistleblowers, and prosecutors courageous enough to point
fingers are murdered. Top law enforcement officials are involved. National
Police director Jose Ricardo Ramirez del Cid is complicit.
Internal police reports named him and others. Violations go unaddressed.
Lobo looks the other way. He's directly complicit. So are lawmakers,
government bureaucrats, and top Washington officials.
The stench of corruption and other crimes in Honduran high places is
too clear to ignore. By providing arms, funding and training, Washington's
"(W)here's the accountability," asked the editorial? "Congress should
withdraw assistance if the Honduran government blocks reforms. This
crisis requires more than tough talk."
So far, meaningful change remains elusive. Washington's to blame for
the region's worst state terror. It backs other notorious despots globally.
It's official state policy. Bipartisan support backs it. Change depends
on Americans no longer putting up with what no one should tolerate.
Perhaps one day they will. They better. Human survival's at stake.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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