Friday, May 18, 2012

Lessons from Iraq in Honduras and the Attack against the Miskitos

By: OFRANEH (Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondureña) 

Translation by Witness for Peace Nicaragua Team

For the original version in Spanish please visit OFRANEH’s blog.

The massacre perpetrated in the Patuca River in the early morning last Friday, May 11th, when a canoe from Barra Patuca was approaching the Miskita community, Ahuas, is an indicator of the violence to which  the Miskita people of Honduras are subjected. The attackers shot their machine guns from helicopters presumed to be from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), resulting in four deaths and four injured Miskito people.

Among the victims are Emerson Martínez, Chalo Brock Wood, Candelaria Tratt Nelson and Juana Banegas; the two women who passed away were pregnant. Furthermore, as a result of the attack, Melanio Eulopio, Hilda Lezama de Eulopio, Wilmer López and Lucio Adán are hospitalized in La Ceiba. 

The National Police Director, Commissioner General Ricardo Ramirez del Cid, in a press conference indicated that “while respecting human rights…there was an exchange of gunfire at the scene.” However, the versions of the hospitalized survivors indicate that they received an indiscriminate shower of fire from machine guns and grenades. 

The Miskito people of Honduras for years have found themselves between the crossfire of narco-traffickers and state “security” agents. Furthermore, from the prevailing feudalism in this region of the country, the Miskito people have been subjected to extreme poverty, at the mercy of the masters of narco-trafficking and the exploitation of the divers; of whom 1700 have been left injured and an enormous quantity dead. 

Lessons from Iraq and the War Against Drugs in Honduras

The New York Times in its May 5th edition published an article that stated in its first paragraph: “The United States military has brought lessons from the past decade of conflict to the drug war being fought in the wilderness of Miskito Indian country, constructing this remote base camp with little public notice but with the support of the Honduran government.”

The Iraqization of Honduras is more evident than ever: the induced failed state has a script fabricated in the U.S. Southern Command, having among other results, a Honduras submerged in violence to the point of occupying the denigrating first place in homicides in the world, in addition the unstoppable arms trafficking, an example of which is the Castaway Operation, promoted by the Department of Justice. 

The low intensity war and the implementation of terror are strategies that the United States has imposed far and wide across the globe, with the purpose of cementing its hegemony and subsequent plunder of resources. 

Noam Chomsky recently delivered a series of commentaries in which he points out that the failed consequences of the fight against drugs are intentional.

To date it has been 40 years of the same recipe, defining its failure more clearly every day.  However, [the recipe] on a military level authorizes the United States to fumigate, jail and even gun down innocents.

Moskitia and the MesoAmerican Corridor of Biofuels

Every day the social and economic conditions of the Miskito people worsen. From the prohibition of diving for lobster in the year 2013, to the accelerated degradation of their soils, to the destruction of their wetlands due to the construction of three dams in the Patuca River. 

As an accomplishment of the “glorious” joint operation of Honduras and the United States, a voluntary curfew in the Moskitia has been decreed: traveling at night is at their own risk for the Miskito people, who always had been accustomed to using their territory without fearing for their lives. 

The result of the high cost of living and the absence of job sources, for many years has been a heavy migration of the Miskitos to other areas of the coast and to the nation’s urban centers. The inexistence of a national border policy has maintained their isolation, even more so due to the high transportation costs in the zone. The violence that is being imposed will probably entail a mass exodus, which will serve to invade Moskitia with African palm.  

From the deposit of oil and natural gas that exist both in the continental shelf and the wetlands, to the expansion of the corridor of biofuels, and the construction of mega-dams in the rivers that run towards the coast, form part of the National Plan the Lobo administration is promoting. 

There even exists a call for a consultancy on the part of the PNUD, titled An Analysis and Appraisal  of the effects of the African palm in Moskitia, and another about the definition of the mechanisms for free and informed prior consent  by the Miskito people.  

The militarization and aggression against the Miskitos will facilitate the imposition of the Mesoamerican corridor of biofuels, which replaced the expired MesoAmerican Biological Corridor. It will limit any claim about the royalties of the hydrocarbons of the territory, which possibly in the future will be the American version of the Niger delta. 

To demand justice for the murders committed by the occupying forces, in a country where seven out of 100 murders are tried, more than a dream, it is a nightmare.

La Ceiba, Atlantida, May 15, 2012, OFRANEH

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