Friday, March 10, 2017

Honduran political protestors to be labeled as "terrorists"

There were a couple of alarming news stories from Honduras in recent days. A past blog post of mine, “The Hillary Clinton/WikiLeaks Email Scandal That Was Neglected by the Media: The Honduras Coup,” provides a lot of background about the political situation in that country and our nation’s role in its chaos. 

Long story short, Honduras has become a “narcocracy” after a military coup in 2009, which was supported by the U.S. State Department under Hillary Clinton. Honduras is now run by a brutal right-wing regime that has unofficial police death squads. Some would suggest that such drastic measures are necessary in a country such as Honduras, which has one of the highest rates of gang violence in the world. However, corruption is rampant and these death squads are often acting as enforcers for rival drug trafficking organizations. Furthermore, numerous high-level Honduran government officials have clear links with drug trafficking.

That leads us to a recent story by the Associated Press. A Honduran drug lord, Devis Rivera Maradiaga, testified on Monday that the former President of Honduras, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, accepted bribe money in exchange for protection and government contracts for money laundering. Devis Rivera Maradiaga was a leader of one of Honduras’ most powerful drug trafficking organizations, the Cachiros, which has acted as transshipment service for various Mexican cartels, including the Sinaloa cartel. 

Devis Rivera Maradiaga made these accusations during his testimony in a pre-sentencing hearing for Fabio Lobo (the son of Pepe Lobo), who pled guilty to arranging a multi-ton shipment of cocaine to U.S. last year. Naturally, the former President, Pepe Lobo denied this claim. However, it is undeniable that there are numerous links between the Cachiros and the Honduran economic and social elite, including the former and current President. This report by InSight Crime goes into extensive detail. Remarkably, this group was a listed by the U.S. government as a known crime organization at a time when they didn’t face any charges in their home country. 

Bear in mind, the Obama administration was a strong supporter of the Lobo even though our government was fully aware of his administration’s corruption and human rights abuses. In fact, our government went to great lengths to avoid using the word “coup” to keep sending foreign aid to their country. 

Why would our government fund such atrocities? The answer is simple. Honduras is a military ally. (You can read about this in more detail, “The Hillary Clinton/WikiLeaks Email Scandal That Was Neglected by the Media: The Honduras Coup.”) In short, the U.S. government provides military aid for “counternarcotics” to various Latin American countries. In many cases, this aid is counterproductive with its anti-drug mission, but the real purpose is to expand our military forces abroad without declaring war. In other words, the drug war serves as a pretense for various geopolitical/military purposes. (You can read about this type of scenario in Mexico and Colombia.)

It’s important to know the origin of the 2009 Honduran coup. The official justification was that the former Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya, was trying to amend the constitution to allow himself to run for re-election. The economic elite feared that Zelaya would then abuse his power to stay in office indefinitely. However, that same group of oligarchs helped the current President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, amend the constitution to allow him to run for re-election.

Hernandez is certain to face waves of protests when the next election occurs. Then again, the Honduran government passed a controversial law last week that will suppress their free speech rights. This law was posed as a way of combating the country’s gang activity by barring any “illegal association” in public. By law, any form of vandalism that takes place during a political protest can lead to the demonstrators and organizers being charged with “terrorism” and facing 30 years in prison. 

(Protest of 2009 Honduran military coup-Photo-Wikimedia Commons)

It turns out that the Honduran government has used the pretense of the drug war for subversive purposes in a similar way to the U.S. government.