Honduras: A Violence, Repression And Impunity Capital
Honduras: A Violence, Repression And Impunity
Capital Of The World
by Grahame Russell, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no end in sight to violence and repression in Honduras. There is no end in sight to the impunity with which the powerful sectors and Honduran regime act. There is no end in sight to American and Canadian governments and businesses maintaining political, economic and military relations with the Honduran regime.
'Violence Capital' Of
Since the military coup of June 2009, that ousted the democratically elected government of Honduras and ushered in the illegitimate, military backed regime in power today, hundreds of pro-democracy activists have been killed by the State or State-sponsored and tolerated death squads. Honduras has become known as:
* the murder capital of the world
* a journalist killing capital of the world
* an LGBT killing capital of the world
* an inmate killing capital of the world
* a lawyer killing capital of the world
[On request, we can provide links to articles and reports about all these issues.]
In January 2012, the Miami Herald published an editorial "Central America's free-fire zone. Our opinion: dramatic crisis in Honduras demands action" (http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/24/2606175/central-americas-free-fire-zone.html). They write:
"The country is quickly turning into a disaster zone. ... To make matters worse in Honduras, there are indications that elements of the U.S.-backed government are complicit in the violence and criminality. .. A report in Sunday's Miami Herald ("Graft, greed, mayhem turn Honduras into murder capital of world") offers an eye-opening look at the rampant mayhem. Honduras has become a free-fire zone ... . The murder rate of 82.1 per 100,000 residents (compared to 5.5 per 100,000 in Florida), gives Honduras the highest homicide rate in the world."
In January 2012, the New York Times published an op-ed piece "In Honduras, a mess made in the U.S" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/opinion/in-honduras-a-mess-helped-by-the-us.html). Dana Frank writes:
"It's 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 Honduras's 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 Department's making. ... According to the United Nations, it now has the world's highest murder rate, and San Pedro Sula, its second city, is more dangerous than Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, a center for drug cartel violence. Much of the press in the United States has attributed this violence solely to drug trafficking and gangs. But the coup was what threw open the doors to a huge increase in drug trafficking and violence, and it unleashed a continuing wave of state-sponsored repression."
Dark Tunnel Of Violence And
In the short term, there is no light at the end of Honduras' tunnel of violence and repression. A fundamental, underlying problem is that American and Canadian governments and business are maintaining profitable economic and military relations with the military-backed Honduran regime, turning a blind eye to, and actually benefiting from the violence, repression and impunity. These North American relations 'legitimize' and empower the regime.
Short Term Challenges
In the short term, North Americans must keep on writing and pressuring their elected politicians and other government officials, with copies to the media. Public shaming of and pressure on North American governments and businesses is vital if we are to weaken the 'legitimizing' and empowerment of the Honduran regime.
It is also crucial to continue supporting (with funds, human rights accompaniment, solidarity delegations, etc.) civil society groups in Honduras - many of which are members of the National Resistance Front - that are courageously struggling to denounce the abuses and human rights violations of the regime, all the while struggling and working to restore their democratic order and to re-found the State and society.
Despite the repression, violence and impunity, there is a chance for positive change in 2013. The wife of the militarily ousted President Zelaya has been chosen as leader of a new political party - LIBRE. Whereas many Hondurans, now in the National Resistance Front, were not Zelaya supporters before the coup, they have been moved by the dignified position that both Mel Zelaya and his wife Xiomara took, since the day of the coup.
Even as repression and violence will assuredly continue through 2012 and into 2013, with complete impunity, the 2013 presidential elections will pit the corrupted pro-coup, pro-oligarchy traditional parties versus this new LIBRE party that has grown out of civil society's courageous opposition to the military coup and on-going State repression and to the overwhelming desire of the Honduran people to re-found their State and society and restore a truly democratic order. LIBRE would easily win truly democratic elections, given the chance. However, these elections will be very complicated, at best, and will likely see corruption and systematic threats and repression against people aligned with the LIBRE party.