Honduras three years after the coup

From the November-December 2012 issue of News & Letters

Honduras three years after the coup

La Voz de los de Abajo (Voices from Below) sponsored a delegation to Honduras in September, three years after the 2009 coup which deposed the elected President Manuel Zelaya.

Under his successor President Lobo, violence escalated. Seventy Aguán campesinos (peasants) were murdered in three years.

Honduras’ homicide rate is the highest in the world. Lawyers, politicians, human rights workers, LGBT people, journalists and campesinos are murdered regularly.

RULE BY OLIGARCHY

On Sept. 9, 500 private guards, police and soldiers trashed peasant shacks in Aguán. After the campesinos surrendered, thugs pelted them with tear gas canisters and threw tear gas into bystanders’ houses. The Chicago group and an official international delegation were fired on when they tried to investigate.

One by one the leaders of MARCA (Authentic Campesino Reclamation Movement of the Aguán) have been picked off. In September Antonio Trejo Cabrera, a civil rights lawyer, got a call while at a wedding. Upon stepping outside, he was riddled with bullets, presumably on the order of oligarch Miguel Faccusé Barjum.

“This is a war against the campesinos and anyone who offers them support—human rights workers, lawyers or international delegations. But the campesinos keep on keeping on,” said Victoria Cervantes of the delegation.

PLANTATION ECONOMICS

Faccusé and his corporation Dinant terrorize campesinos, Afro-Honduran Garifuna and Indigenous in the Aguán Valley. Faccusé’s plantations of African palm are run much like the pre-Civil War South. Faccusé gets Clean Development Mechanism credits for “greening” Honduras, although almost all the crop is sent North to be burned. The jungle, a true source of clean air, and productive farmland were given to oligarchs. 1.6 million hectares of land is devoted to monoculture, while child malnutrition among the campesinos is 60%. Thus continues the “greening” of Honduras.

Campesinos face another threat: charter cities. The government wanted to grant private jurisdictions to its oligarchs, but the Supreme Court has blocked the plan. The idea is a bigger threat to the Garifuna because, although a charter city could only be established on unoccupied land, the Garifuna could be removed from their land. “[T]he government is selling the country piece by piece, and Analisis Afrodescendiente describes this as the second phase of the 2009 coup.” (See http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/10/02/honduras-charter-cities-threaten-garifuna-communities/)

Women hold very few offices and get little respect. For example, journalist Dina Meza received an extremely vulgar, menacing letter from Comando Alvarez Martinez, a graduate of WHINSEC (School of the Americas) which included, “(you will) end up dead like the Aguán people”. (See http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/09/ honduras-now-open-for-political-murder/)

Add horrible prison conditions: the Feb. 16 major fire that killed over 350 inmates at Comayagua was the third in a decade. Comayagua housed twice its official capacity. To prevent escapes guards held the doors closed too long.

FREE JOSE ISABEL MORALES

Jose Isabel Morales, “Chavelo,” a member of one of the campesino movements of the Aguán, has been in prison for three years. He was convicted and sentenced without any evidence that he committed a crime. Sign a petition for his release at hondurasresists.blogspot. com.

A vigorous minority in the U.S. House of Representatives has called for an end to military aid for Honduras. U.S.-made weapons, which Honduras is required to buy with the “aid,” not only are being used by the Lobo government to suppress protest, but the “aid” is a subsidy to the U.S. and Israeli military industries.

—January

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