Honduras

sovereign state in Central America

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea. Its capital and largest city is Tegucigalpa.

Flag of Honduras
For 12 years the people resisted, and those 12 years were not in vain. God takes time but doesn't forget. Today the people have made justice. ~ Xiomara Castro

QuotesEdit

  • Ten years ago, John Negroponte, undersecretary of state, and President George W. Bush warned me and threatened me, when I was president of Honduras, saying that if had relations with Hugo Chávez, then I would have problems with the United States. Six months after that warning, I was removed from power and removed from this country. But if you think about the elite in the U.S. government... they want to go back to the 1980s, which was marked by the Cold War, stigmatizing the opposition. They’ve created shock forces, psychological war, dirty war. Well, if they think that they’re going to be able to stop migration in this way, well, it’s only going to worsen. The gangs are a link in the drug trafficking business, and they come about because there’s no jobs.
    There’s an excess of poverty... Youth find no solution... the drug trafficking organizations come on the scene, and instead of creating more jobs, the government brings more repression...
    ...Drug trafficking is managed by the DEA. The DEA knows of each shipment that comes out of Venezuela and Colombia. The DEA knows about it. And some pass through without any problem, and others are stopped. So, there is not a fight against drug trafficking. There is a fight against cartels.
  • The United States doesn’t talk about Honduras, because it’s shameful. They are ashamed to talk about what they’re supporting in Honduras. And the only thing to do about it is to denounce it, because there are murders. There are death squads. They’ve exported what’s called Plan Colombia to Honduras, the false positives, where many opposition leaders, such as Berta Cáceres, to mention one, or Murillo at the time of the coup, or another person who was asphyxiated—a 24-year-old who was asphyxiated by the gases—all of these, there’s no way to describe these crimes over the last 10 years other than by calling them crimes against humanity. And this country should be brought before the International Criminal Court, because what U.S. policy is doing is supporting genocide in Honduras and in Central America....
    In focusing on migration, they’re going to look for some solution to the system that is provoking the migrants, because everyone talks about migration, but the causes of migration are the U.S. policies, the IMF policies, the policies of the Southern Command for this region, are provoking more and more migrants with each passing day. So, militarizing Central America, militarizing Honduras means that that escape valve that the Honduran people have had, which is to be able to get work in the United States... Migration is a human process, seeking to find solutions. When they militarize the border, what they are going to provoke here will be greater convulsions, greater explosions.
  • We don’t need the help of the United States. The United States gives very little assistance. What the United States wants is to exercise economic control over the structures of the macroeconomy worldwide. For example, the World Bank gives Honduras some $150 million a year, $150 million. The Inter-American Development Bank, a similar sum. So, all told, we might get about $240 million. And that is controlled by the United States... The IMF authorizes a letter that is signed every year so that Honduras can go into debt at very high interest rates, because it is a government that is allied with the United States. What that provokes in our region is clear, I think. I think it’s evident, what it causes in our region. I believe that that relationship, where they say they’re going to cut the assistance, has almost no effect.... Let me put it in clearer terms. Honduran migrants send to Honduras about $4 billion a year. Let me repeat this, Amy: $4 billion a year. And the United States, together with the World Bank and the IDB, sends $200 million... It’s all based on U.S. policy and on the interference and meddling of the United States in Honduras.... we should not be a vassal of the United States. We are a small country, but with the same dignity as the Europeans and the U.S. have.
 
We Talk About One U.S.-Backed Coup. Hondurans Talk About Three, ~ Meghan Karusch (2020)
 
If you look at how the Honduran military and police work, the entire system is built on a high degree of corruption, of complicity and of abuse of human rights. ~Laura Carlsen (2021)

Quotes aboutEdit

(Sorted alphabetically by author/source)

 
I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras...If I could sum it up for what it’s been for so many years, that’s protecting all the criminals in power, basically for US commercial interests. ~ Lawrence Wilkerson (2016)
 
(After the 2009 Coup)Death squads returned to the country... The victims include Berta Cáceres, the famed activist murdered in her home in 2016 after her name ended up on a military hit list and who blamed Clinton before her death for enabling a “counterinsurgency” on behalf of “international capital.”
  • In Honduras’ presidential election on Nov. 28, Xiomara Castro and her allies among the country’s political opposition ousted the ruling National Party, which has spent the past decade using corruption, violence and vote-buying to entrench itself in power. For Castro’s coalition, just making it to election day meant facing down targeted assassinations, engineering a fragile consensus among opposition factions to back her candidacy and convincing disillusioned voters that turning out was worth it, even if the elections might be rigged. But in retrospect, winning the election might have been the easy part for Castro and the opposition—at least compared to what comes next.
    Castro has promised to rebuild democracy and the rule of law and to fight corruption, but after 12 years of National Party rule, she inherits a thoroughly gutted state.
    Outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in power since 2014, repurposed the courts and electoral council to tilt the playing field against opponents. The feared Military Police harassed government critics and killed dozens of opposition protesters. And according to testimony from the drug-trafficking trial of Hernandez’s brother—now serving a life sentence in U.S. federal prison — cartels penetrated all levels of public office. As Castro’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 27 approaches, the new president faces a daunting question: How do you rebuild democratic institutions in a mafia state?
  • We end today’s show in Honduras to look at some of the root causes of the migration crisis and how it links to U.S. foreign policy. Honduras recently marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup that ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. The coup was orchestrated by the Honduran military, business and political elite, with the support of the Obama administration. Since then, extreme poverty and violence has skyrocketed in Honduras. Tens of thousands of Hondurans have been murdered, including more than 300 LGBTQ people, about 60 journalists, hundreds of peasant rights and environmental activists. Tens of thousands of refugees have also fled Honduras, most with the hope of receiving political asylum in the United States. Meanwhile, mass protests are continuing to take place in Honduras against the right-wing government of Juan Orlando Hernández and his plans to privatize healthcare, pensions and education. Protesters have been met with violent repression from the Honduran military and police... You have the current president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, investigated by the U.S. government for drug trafficking, and his brother, Tony Hernández, actually arrested for cocaine trafficking. He was arrested in Miami. He’s currently awaiting trial in this country. How does—what does this mean for the people of Honduras? I mean, this is under the Trump administration, that supports the current president, Hernández.
  • In the last three weeks, two groups totaling over 4,000 people attempted to flee Honduras. At the same time, Indigenous groups back in Honduras are engaged in fighting a new law they say will increase their displacement and the violence that is aimed against them. It is clear the crisis in Honduras that has pushed caravan after caravan to seek refuge in the United States is nowhere near an end. Despite ample evidence of extreme human rights abuses in the immediate aftermath of Zelaya’s removal, the United States decided to support elections widely considered questionable held in November 2009. These events are driven by the same thing: A 2009 coup in Honduras aided and abetted by the United States. The “second coup” came in 2012...The “third coup” happened in November 2017... Each of these events has been followed by tacit or overt approval from the U.S. government, along with continued military aid.
  • The basic idea behind the Biden plan is going to the root causes, and yet there’s no mention whatsoever of the numerous forms of intervention that have caused the deterioration in the rule of law, that have actually heightened corruption in the midst of what he calls his anti-corruption campaign, and that have made living conditions in so many of these countries, but especially in Honduras, so terrible that people are fleeing. The point of going back to a lot of that history, and particularly looking at the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras (we’re about to see the 12th anniversary of that) is not necessarily to assign blame, although it’s important to understand that, but to really take into account how these forms of intervention have directly led to the conditions that migrants are fleeing in Central American countries and, again, particularly in Honduras...
    There have been investigations, and there have been scandalous cases; particularly in the Ahuas case, where the DEA was in a helicopter on a supposed anti-drug mission and shot native people in Honduras. There have been abuses all the time, and it’s not just abuses that happen within the system: If you look at how the Honduran military and police work, the entire system is built on a high degree of corruption, of complicity and of abuse of human rights.
  • As Xiomara Castro’s win in Honduras should remind us, it’s not a hard-and-fast rule that the world’s many wrongs are destined to never be righted. This past week, the socialist Xiomara Castro won the Honduran presidency in a landslide, ending twelve years of right-wing rule in the country and becoming its first female president in the process. That Castro won on a platform to tax wealth, create a new welfare payment for the poor and elderly, and overhaul the country’s “failed neoliberal model” is significant enough. But Castro’s win is also a symbolic reversal of the US-backed right-wing coup that threw her husband, Manuel Zelaya, from power twelve years ago.
  • The Lobo government, filled with military officials who had presided over the coup, moved immediately to roll back Zelaya’s achievements... and announced privatization plans for the education and health care sectors. Declaring his government bankrupt early on, Lobo took out an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan and imposed the neoliberal policies demanded in return, with more borrowing to come later.... Hardly a Scandinavian paradise before the coup... Economic growth, unemployment, and poverty all worsened... Organized crime has enjoyed a boom period, as has drug trafficking... Hondurans’ resistance to this neoliberal agenda faced more of the violent repression started by the coup government. Striking teachers, and the parents and students who lent them solidarity, were met with tear gas, beatings, and even murder. Eight journalists were killed in the new government’s first six months alone, along with ten opposition activists... Death squads returned to the country, picking off environmentalists, indigenous land activists, and any other “terrorists” standing in the way of the rapacious business interests unleashed by the government...the country has consistently ranked at the top of the list of most dangerous countries to be an environmental activist. The victims include Berta Cáceres, the famed activist murdered in her home in 2016 after her name ended up on a military hit list and who blamed Clinton before her death for enabling a “counterinsurgency” on behalf of “international capital.” This state violence was directly facilitated by Washington... the hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid that’s been funneled to military and police under post-coup governments
  • In Honduras’ presidential election on November 28,(2021) Xiomara Castro de Zelaya could make history in an already historic year: Her victory would make her the first woman to lead the nation since it declared independence from Spain 200 years ago.
    Castro has proposed some big changes for the crisis-stricken country, including a referendum to propose rewriting the constitution, switching diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China, and the creation of a UN-backed anti-corruption commission similar to Guatemala’s once successful CICIG. For many, however, the self-described “revolutionary” Castro would be far from a fresh start. Before he was removed in a 2009 coup d’état, her husband had brought Honduras closer to Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, and much of the business establishment still fears that the Zelayas want to pick up where they left off. In her campaign, Castro is trying to strike a more moderate tone in meetings with private sector leaders. As for what she wants to repeat from her husband’s presidency, she points to the reductions in poverty during those years. “Most of her policies,” said economist Roberto Lagos, “are related to reducing poverty and inequality. This message is connecting with voters.”
  • I heard repeatedly that people hope the Castro administration will provide an opportunity for the United States to alter its relationship with the country, which many Hondurans say remains asymmetrical and exploitative. “The US continually dictates whatever goes on in this country,” said... a business owner from Tegucigalpa. “Nothing gets done without the embassy’s approval.”...
    For anyone who opposed the National Party—and it wasn’t just the left; the last 12 years of misrule created enemies across the political spectrum — the election of Castro was an emotional event. On a roundabout in front of a gas station the night of November 29, more than a hundred residents parked their cars, danced, waved red Libre flags, and sprayed each other with champagne bottles. It was a scene that repeated itself on the streets hundreds of times across Tegucigalpa over the past week....
    Jalvin..., a teacher from Tegucigalpa, smoked a cigarette on the hill above the party, overwhelmed by the National Party’s defeat: “All of this right now grows out of the suffering we’ve lived through since the coup d’état. They humiliated the people, they mistreated them. This vote [for Castro] was for all of the deaths since then.” he said through tears. “I finally feel free.”
  • We just heard from the Minister of Honduras. Let us recall that United Fruit Company essentially ran his country for a long time. United Fruit’s attorney was US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and his brother Allen Dulles was the head of the CIA. On behalf of United Fruit Company, the two Dulles Brothers conspired to overthrow President Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala, next door to Honduras, in order to stop the land reforms that Árbenz was trying to implement. So, yes, we have a global food system, but we need a different system.
  • In 2012, as Honduras descended into social and political chaos in the wake of a US-sanctioned military coup, the civilian aid arm of Hillary Clinton’s State Department spent over $26 million on a propaganda program aimed at encouraging anti-violence “alliances” between Honduran community groups and local police and security forces. The program, called “Honduras Convive,” was designed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to reduce violent crimes in a country that had simultaneously become the murder capital of the world and a staging ground for one of the largest deployments of US Special Operations forces outside of the Middle East.... It was part of a larger US program to support the conservative government of Pepe Lobo, who came to power in 2009 after the Honduran military ousted the elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, in a coup that was widely condemned in Central America. In reality, critics say, the program was an attempt by the State Department to scrub the image of a country where security forces have a record of domestic repression that continues to the present day. “This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence,” says Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University who spent the 2013-14 school year teaching at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. “It’s related to the complete absence of participatory democracy in Honduras, in which the United States is deeply complicit.”
  • Today, hundreds of US Special Forces and Navy SEALs are training Honduran units for civilian law enforcement. The plan is “driven by the hope that beefing up police operations will stabilize a small country closer to home,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The training is set to expand in the $1 billion “Alliance for Prosperity” program for the region that was unveiled in late January of 2015 by Vice President Joe Biden....
    On March 16, 730 scholars organized by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs signed a letter urging the State Department to demand human rights accountability in its dealings with Honduras. “We are deeply concerned that the U.S. government condones and supports the current Honduran government by sending financial and technical support to strengthen the Honduran military and police, institutions that have been responsible for human rights violations since the coup d’état of 2009,” the letter stated. That same week, 23 members of Congress and the AFL-CIO called on Secretary of State John Kerry to address the violence in Honduras directed against trade unionists and human rights defenders. And on March 14, activists with SOA Watch, which opposes the School of the Americas, where many Honduran and Central American military leaders have been trained, raised a banner in front of USAID’s headquarters in Washington reading “Stop Funding Murder in Honduras!”
  • Hernández, flying over the country’s verdant countryside in the presidential helicopter, rattled off the connections between the two countries evident in the landscape below. He pointed out a U.S. military base, the only one in Central America. A new Nike factory. Puerto Cortés, from which tankers loaded with Honduran products sail for the United States. In the distance lay San Pedro Sula, where at that moment a caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants was hours away from leaving for the U.S. border.
    ...Every year, thousands of pounds of cocaine transit through Honduras on the way to the United States. According to the Justice Department, some of that cargo is trafficked by Honduran officials — an allegation the Trump administration mostly ignored while officials praised Hernández’s counternarcotics and anti-migration efforts.
  • In 2009, when the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted by a military coup, the coverage was characteristically scant. Maddow framed the coup as more of a curiosity than a crisis. While some of her coverage focused on the Republicans who planned trips to Honduras in order to support the coup government, other of her segments poked fun at Zelaya’s attempts to re-enter the country. The fact that the Honduran military opened fire on supporters of Zelaya awaiting his return at the airport, killing a teenage boy, was not part of Maddow’s look at the lighter side of overthrowing an elected government.
  • Chilean author and human rights advocate Ariel Dorfman recently memorialized Orlando Letelier, President Allende’s foreign minister. Agents of dictator Augusto Pinochet murdered Letelier in Washington in 1976. Dorfman noted that Chile and the United States were “on excellent, indeed obscenely excellent, terms (like they are today, shamefully, between the United States and the corrupt regime in Honduras).”...The alliance is toxic, however, what with the continued hold of capitalism on an already unjust, dysfunctional society. Hondurans will choose a new president on November 28.... Honduras, a dependent nation, is subject to U.S. expectations. These center on free rein for businesses and multi-national corporations, large foreign investment, low-cost export goods, low wages, foreigners’ access to land holdings and sub-soil resources, and a weakened popular resistance.... Meanwhile, the U.S. government casts a blind eye on Hernández’s many failings. These include: fraud and violence marking his second-term electoral victory in 2017, an illegal second term but for an improvised constitutional amendment, testimony in a U.S. court naming him as “a key player in Honduras’ drug-trafficking industry” and, lastly, his designation by U.S. prosecutors as a “co-conspirator” in the trial convicting his brother Tony on drug-trafficking charges.... Some 200 U. S. companies operate in Honduras. The United States accounted for 53% of Honduras’s $7.8 billion export total in 2019. U.S goods, led by petroleum products, made up 42.2 % of Honduran imports.
  • Violence at the hands of criminal gangs, narcotraffickers, and the police is pervasive and usually goes unpunished. Victims are rival gang members, political activists, journalists, members of the LGBT community, and miscellaneous young people. According to insightcrime.org, Honduras was Latin America’s third most violent country in 2019 and a year later it registered the region’s third highest murder rate. Says Reuters: “Honduras has become a sophisticated state-sponsored narco-empire servicing Colombian cartels.” ...
    Associated with indiscriminate violence, corruption, and narco-trafficking, Honduras’s police are dangerous. President Hernández eight years ago created “The Military Police for Public Order” (PMOP), the Interinstitutional National Security Force, and the “Tigres” (Tigers). These are police units staffed either by former soldiers or by “soldiers … specializing in police duties.” Police in Honduras numbered 13,752 in 2016 and 20,193 in 2020....
    The U.S. government has provided training, supplies, and funding for Honduras’s police and military. Soto Cano, a large U.S. air base in eastern Honduras, periodically receives from 500 to 1500 troops who undertake short-term missions throughout the region, supposedly for humanitarian or drug-war purposes.
    Not only does serious oppression exist, but... severe drought over five years has decimated staple crops [and] … Nearly half a million Hondurans, many of them small farmers, are struggling to put food on the table.” The UN humanitarian affairs agency OCHA reports that as of February 2021, “The severity of acute food insecurity in Honduras has reached unprecedented levels.”
  • A single senator’s ability to effect such holds is lunacy gone amuck in any regard; but Jim DeMint gives that state of affairs new meaning altogether. He is holding up a refurbishment of U.S. foreign policy in our own hemisphere–and in the name, he says, of a of a coup d’etat in Honduras, a coup that he apparently supports... that, according to him and not the people of Honduras, brought a better leader to the helm of Honduras. In defense of his position, Senator DeMint writes in the Wall Street Journal that “America’s Founding Fathers–like the framers of Honduras’s own constitution–believed strong institutions were necessary to defend freedom and democracy from the ambitions of would-be tyrants and dictators.” I do not believe that the likes of George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin would have included coup d’etats in their listing of “strong institutions.” And, of course, nothing is said in DeMint’s article about the real reason for his (Senator Jim DeMint) and other politicians’– including some Democrats–reasoning with regard to (supporting the coup which ousted Zelaya in) Honduras. In their reasoning, AT&T and other U.S. business interests play heavily, perhaps even more heavily than democracy? Likewise for long-standing and nefarious U.S. ties to the Honduran military establishment.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

At Wikiversity, you can learn about:
  •   Encyclopedic article on Honduras at Wikipedia
  •   Honduras travel guide from Wikivoyage