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General News    H4'ed 3/7/10

Honduras After the Coup: Fear and Defiance

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Message Peter Lackowski

Honduras After the Coup: Fear and Defiance

"Nos tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo."

"They are afraid of us because we are not afraid of them." This slogan was chanted by the thousands of demonstrators who defied the illegitimate de facto government imposed by the Honduran military inthe protests that erupted throughout the country immediately after the after the coup of June 28, 2009. I recently visited Honduras along with a delegation led by Rights Action, a human rights group based in Toronto and Washington, D. C. I was introduced to the role that fear plays in the political life of the country, and to the importance of the fact that so many people are ready to defy that fear.

First, some background

Honduras has long been an important platform for the United States to dominate the region. The military forces that overthrew thedemocratic government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954 were organized and trained there. The CIA used Honduras toorganize the terroristic attacks of the "contras" against the Nicaraguans in the eighties. The Palmerola air base is used by the UnitedStates as a training base and to wage its "war on drugs."

The leadership of the Honduran army is dominated by officers who have been trained at the School of the Americas (now renamed WHINSEC) in Georgia, where they, along with the elite of many other Latin American armies, have learned methods of torture and repression to be used against their own people. The Honduran oligarchy have been subservient to US interests since the days when banana growing corporations came to dominate this original "banana republic." International mining interests and corporations running sweatshops have a free hand in exploiting the country's resources and people. Whenever their rule has been effectively challenged, death squads, acting with impunity, have eliminated labor leaders, peasant organizers, or anyone else who got in the way of the political, military, or corporate masters.

Political life has been dominated by two parties, Nationalists and Liberals. The Nationalists have traditionally had close ties to the military. The Liberals once had a tradition of struggle for progressive reforms; because of this many of them were murdered during the forties and again in the sixties. But in recent years they have taken their place as a party that can be trusted to loyally serve the powers that be. Thus it was expected that Liberal Party President Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya Rosales, son of a wealthy, conservative rancher, would carry on in the service of the rich and powerful.

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My political activism started in the 60's with anti-war teach-ins at UCLA. I have lived in Vermont since 1970, where I have been involved in union organizing, electoral politics, cooperatives, international support, and various other progressive (more...)
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Honduras After the Coup: Fear and Defiance

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