Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Leading Honduran Human Rights Group Rallies Against U.S. Bases

The following is a release from the Comite de Familias de Detenidos y Desaparecidos de Honduras. All credit for translation attributed to the Friendship Office of the Americas.

The first executive order issued by Porfirio Lobo in January 2010 after assuming the presidency following the coup d’état was the authorization of another Gringo military base in Caratasca and an extension in the small island of Guanaja.

The bases – sea, land, and air – join with Palmerola, in the heart of the Comayagua valley, which dates back to the 1980s.

In addition to these US military enclaves on the Atlantic coast and in Comayagua there are also U.S. Rangers in the department of Colón, and more than 300 DEA agents across the country, who participate in political and military operations.

In the public discourse, these US military personnel are here to cooperate with Honduras in the fight against narcotrafficking.

In the private discourse, they are here to exercise control over the natural resources of the country, and to contain the advance of new social and political forces that challenge their power.
It is obvious that the re-militarization of Honduras has geopolitical objectives, because as soon as Daniel Ortega crushed the right in the Nicaraguan elections, the chief of staff of the Honduran armed forces, René Osorio Canales, announced the arrival of more US troops before the end of the year.

In its geo-strategic reading, the empire evil, of war and death, considers that the consolidation of Ortega in the Sandinista Nicaragua will be an inspiration for the National Resistance Front, which has chosen to compete politically against the Honduran-golpista right in 2013.

We come to the close of the year in Honduras as it began in Costa Rica: with marine occupation, amphibious flotillas and warplanes, cordoning off the border to Nicaragua.

This, and nothing else, is the colossal objective of the hawks of death that had already released the nationalist golpistas in June 2009 in order to oust President Zelaya from power and to repress the massive resistance which they have not been able to overcome.

The strategy of the United States is to avoid further political defeats in Latin America, whose territories they have neglected over the last 15 years in order to pursue wars in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, resulting in multimillion-dollar businesses that benefit from their natural reserves of gas, oil, water, and other minerals.

Through instinct, information, and knowledge, the indigenous people of Honduras – represented by COPINH and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH, among others – foresaw the militarization of Honduran society in the aftermath of the coup and forewarned us all.

They accurately interpreted that the concession of 48 rivers in watersheds with the richest biodiversity in the country, and the grabbing of land and territories by transnational corporations and drug-traffickers, is part of the hegemonic military strategy.

In response, the indigenous people and black communities have held three national conferences against militarization in less than one year: the first in La Esperanza; the second in La Ceiba; and the third in Tocoa, Colón.

Yesterday, as an outcome of these conferences, the International Observatory of Human Rights was inaugurated in the city of Tocoa.

While the Pentagon, CIA, DEA and the State Department use an old military agreement from 1954, and a more recent version approved by Carlos Flores Facussé in 2001, to justify the permanent military occupation, the indigenous people use Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, the legal awards made by former European kings, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their defense.

We join the indigenous people in rejecting the presence of foreign troops – be they Colombian, Israeli, or from the United States – just as we reject the presence of 85 private security companies with 70,000 armed men.

Equally, we reject the presence of the golpista Honduran Army in the country’s’ streets and those in the agricultural areas operating under the name Xatruch forces and Operation Lightning.
There is no better time than now, before the toxically commercial Christmas shopping takes over the markets, to warn that the military presence is synonymous with violence, disrespect, and death, and that we do not want the military among us.

Get out, get out, foreign military troops, and nationalist mercenaries, we want you out too!

-COFADEH –Comite de Familias de Detenidos y Desaparecidos de Honduras

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent piece by COFADEH and an important reminder to those in the United States about how their government's military policy has real effects on a daily basis in other countries.

    A recent comment by Republican candidate Michelle Bachmann illustrates the importance that Central America plays in U.S. foreign policy. By the end of the planned troop withdrawal from Iraq, about 160 soldiers will be left there, while in Honduras alone, there are over 550, with no withdrawal in sight.

    The choice is clear: defending human rights and putting a stop to violations and impunity in Honduras requires a stop to U.S. funding of the Honduran military. All biodiverse areas occupied by the U.S. army within Honduras should be handed back to the Honduran people.

    The U.S. military has been defending U.S. corporate interests and violating national sovereignty in Central America since the Monroe Doctrine. Enough is enough.