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Honduras

October 23, 2018, Author: Paige Penland

This idea that the USA—in particular the Trump Administration—has been minding its own business with regards to Honduras and we should be shocked and surprised by the “Migrant Caravan” is total bullsh**. Trump has been directly involved in subverting Honduran democracy, murdering unarmed protesters, and repressing freedoms in Honduras since he was elected.

In 2015, Honduran courts more or less repealed a law saying President Juan Hernandez (JOH for short) could only serve one term. The law is still encoded in the Constitution, and the change earned mild rebukes from the Obama Administration, OAS and UN. But no one really cared much, because it’s Honduras, and the elections weren’t for two more years: https://www.theguardian.com/…/honduran-judges-throw-out-sin…

When the issue came back up again in 2017, the USA’s position had reversed. The Trump Administration, in particular Haley, Rubio, and Pence (Pence is all tied into the radical right-wing Evangelical movement backing undemocratic conservative candidates throughout Latin America, such as Bolsonaro in Brazil) backed JOH’s unconstitutional second run without reservations: https://www.efe.com/…/hernandez…/50000262-3125310

This is with the full knowledge that JOH was facing “allegations of election fraud, tyranny, drug trafficking.” https://www.theguardian.com/…/honduras-president-hernandez-…

And also with the full knowledge that JOH was planning to fix the elections, widely reported in the Anglophone media: https://www.economist.com/…/is-hondurass-ruling-party-plann…

And sure enough, after the ballots were cast, Nasralla (JOH’s opponent) was in the lead, as polls predicted. Then, the machines went down, and when they came back online 24hrs later, JOH sailed to victory. Both the OAS (the center-right, pro-US Organization of American States) and UN called out election irregularities, and the OAS joined the vast majority of Hondurans in calls for fresh elections: https://www.theguardian.com/…/honduras-election-president-j…

Instead, JOH fired into crowds of protesters, killing 40+ and wounding hundreds more, and has since cracked down on free speech and the free press: https://www.npr.org/…/still-no-clear-winner-in-honduras-ele…

That’s when Trump stepped in again. His team said there would not be fresh elections, or even a proper recount with observers. Then he sent Haley down to Honduras (unprecedented) to throw some muscle behind the newly minted dictator and murderer: https://www.pbs.org/…/u-s-recognizes-disputed-honduras-elec… https://www.democracynow.org/…/honduras_nikki_haley_praises…

Oh, and JOH is being investigated for corruption by the UN- and OAS-backed organization MACCIH: https://www.american.edu/…/20180720_Anti-Corruption-Effort-…

Its older sister organization in Guatemala, the incredibly popular and effective CICIG, has been repeatedly been attacked by the Trump Administration. It is trying to investigate the blatantly corrupt, pro-US Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who came to power in his own dodgy elections. Our own Senator Rubio accused CICIG of being both Russian and communist, allegations he made up out of thin air: https://www.nytimes.com/…/guatemala-corruption-marco-rubio.…

His “investigation” failed, of course, but that didn’t stop him from cutting funds to CICIG, deliberately weakening it, and by proxy, undermining MACCIH’s investigation into JOH’s corruption: http://www.publicnow.com/…/451A4CFC163266047CF05B5C52A535B8…

All this is happening against the usual Honduran backdrop of poverty, violence, and ongoing US support for the military coup against democratically elected President Zelaya in 2009, which destabilized the country: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/the-us-role-in-the-hondura…)

And of course, NRA policies (read: Rubio again) that allow gun manufacturers to arm the Central American narcotrafficking gangs legally: https://www.newyorker.com/…/the-link-between-americas-lax-g…

Rumors that the Immigrant Caravan was started and/or funded by the Trump Administration and/or the right-wing Evangelical cabal supporting Bolsonaro, Pence, et al, seems farfetched to me. But, so many ostensibly popular movements in recent years have been traced to social media manipulation that I have to at least give those conspiracy theories a fair shake. After all, the timing is perfect. The GOP would much rather have “build the wall” as the centerpiece of the midterms, than Khashoggi or Mueller.

But the Migrant Caravan would not be happening if Hondurans (and Guatemalans) weren’t sick of the USA trying to destroy their democracies, blocking them from making democratic changes to their societies, and funding and arming narcotraffickers that terrorize their people. This is in a very real sense civil disobedience. What’s the point of protesting JOH? For one, he’ll shoot them. Secondly, he’s not in charge. Trump, Haley, and Rubio created his dictatorship, he answers to them. So it is incumbent upon Honduran activists to bring the protest to their doorstep.

Our doorstep.

Hondurans are citizens of the empire, albeit third-class citizens. They host military bases and training camps for the USA, US companies get special treatment and tax breaks (and they control minimum wage laws) in Honduras, and so forth. But Hondurans don’t get to vote for the emperor. Under Trump, they don’t even get to vote for their own President.

We, the citizens of the USA, first-class citizens of the empire, do. So they are bringing the complaint to us, their fellow imperial residents who still have the democratic rights and leverage to guarantee THEIR rights, their democracy, their freedom of speech. Trump took those rights away from them but, on November 6, we can make a move to get them back. And allow them to build a better country so that they won’t need to come all the way up here just to get a shitty job.

We can do that. By voting blue. Looking at you, Greens and Communists and Libertarians—and Republicans who believe in freedom and democracy rather than lies and oppression. Just vote blue this once. Well, maybe again in 2020. It’s not left vs. right this time around. It’s freedom vs. authoritarianism, and the Hondurans are marching because they are the canary in the coal mine.

Trump has already destroyed the last fragments of Honduras’ struggling democracy, and turned their country into a repressive narcodictatorship. He sent Pence down to tell them to control immigration without improving their economies or democracies. (http://www.latimes.com/…/la-fg-guatemala-migrants-pence-201…) He would build a wall around them, create a captive workforce that can’t escape matter how badly they are treated. Make no mistake—he wants the same for us. When he praises dictators like Putin, bin Salman and Kim Jong Un for “having control over their people,” and criticizes democratic leaders for not having control over theirs, it should be clear what his vision for the USA is. The repression and authoritarianism being put into place around the edges of the empire is by design working its way to the core. Toward us. Listen to the Hondurans. Vote for democracy, truth, and freedom. Vote blue.