Tag Archives: Honduras

Coming to Terms With the US Role in Central America, by César Chelala

The US doesn’t have clean hands in Central America, and its interventions there have something to do with the flow of people trying to cross the southern border.  From César Chelala at antiwar.com:

On March 11, 1999, President Bill Clinton took an unprecedented step. During a four-nation visit to Central America, he expressed regret for the role the United States had played in a brutal counter-terrorism campaign that had caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Guatemala’s civil war.

President Clinton’s apology followed the publication of the findings of an Independent Historical Clarification commission, which concluded that U.S. government support to the Guatemalan military was responsible for most of the human rights abuses committed during the 36-year war in which 200,000 people died.

The human rights abuses were also detailed in The Guatemala Truth Commission report which was coordinated by Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was brutally murdered. According to the report, children were killed, abducted, forcibly recruited as soldiers and sexually abused. Fetuses were cut from their mothers’ wombs and young children were thrown alive into pits.

Continue reading

The Grayzone’s Anya Parampil on Fox: US regime change policy fuels migration crisis

Regime changes have consequences! Who knew?

Honduras Is a Hellhole: Who’s Responsible? by Justin Raimondo

People leave hellholes, and in the case of Honduras, a lot of them come to the US. There is some justice in that, because the US played a significant part in making Honduras a hellhole. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Hillary Clinton, US imperialism, and criminal cronyism

As tens of thousands gather at our southern border, roiling US politics, the question arises: why are so many of the asylum-seekers and migrants crossing the border illegally from three Central American countries in particular: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala?

To begin with, it’s no coincidence that these are the three “most invaded” countries south of the Rio Grande – that is, invaded by the United States and its proxies.

The Reagan years saw the apex of US intervention in the region, with fear of Communist “infiltration” motivating massive US aid to local despots and right-wing death squads throughout Central and South America: the fear of Cuban and Soviet influence drove US policy. In El Salvador, a raging civil war between rightist landowners and a leftist insurgency cost tens of thousands of lives and billions in lost income. In Guatemala, with a long history of US support to a callous and violent elite, a 36-year civil war between conservative landowners and Communist-led guerrillas devastated the country. Honduras is the scene of a recent US-backed coup, and also of a short story by O. Henry wherein the phrase “banana republic” was coined. A more appropriate phrase describing this Central American country could hardly be imagined, what with bananas looming large as the national product and source of wealth, and lots of political intrigue – periodic coups, assassinations, incredible corruption, all of it presided over by the warlords of Washington and their corporate favorites.

So what are these “refugees” fleeing? Is it so bad that parents are justified in paying smugglers to guide their underage children – traveling alone! – across the US-Mexican border?

Unlike the rest of the media, which has routinely ignored most of what goes on in Latin America since the end of the cold war, I’ve been covering the region regularly. On Honduras alone, see here, here, here, and here (since 2006). As I wrote last year:

Honduras has always been an American plaything, to be toyed with for the benefit of United Fruit (rebranded Chiquita) and the native landowning aristocracy, and disciplined when necessary: Washington sent in the Marines a total of seven timesbetween 1903 and 1925. The Honduran peasants didn’t like their lands being confiscated by the government and turned over to foreign-owned producers, who were granted monopolistic franchises by corrupt public officials. Periodic rural revolts started spreading to the cities, despite harsh repression, and the country – ruled directly by the military since 1955 – returned to a civilian regime in 1981.”

To continue reading: Honduras Is a Hellhole: Who’s Responsible?

How US policy in Honduras set the stage for today’s mass migration, by Joseph Nevins

When the US mucks around in the Middle East, it creates refugee blowback for Europe. When the US mucks around in Central America, it creates refugee blowback for the US. From Joseph Nevins at theconversation.com:

U.S. Marines in Honduras in July 2016. Wikimedia

Central American migrants – particularly unaccompanied minors – are again crossing the U.S.-Mexico boundary in large numbers.

Central American migrants – particularly unaccompanied minors – are again crossing the U.S.-Mexico boundary in large numbers.

In 2014, more than 68,000 unaccompanied Central American children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico boundary. This year so far there have been close to 60,000.

The mainstream narrative often reduces the causes of migration to factors unfolding in migrants’ home countries. In reality, migration is often a manifestation of a profoundly unequal and exploitative relationship between migrant-sending countries and countries of destination. Understanding this is vital to making immigration policy more effective and ethical.

Through my research on immigration and border policing, I have learned a lot about these dynamics. One example involves relations between Honduras and the United States.

U.S. roots of Honduran emigration

I first visited Honduras in 1987 to do research. As I walked around the city of Comayagua, many thought that I, a white male with short hair in his early 20’s, was a U.S. soldier. This was because hundreds of U.S. soldiers were stationed at the nearby Palmerola Air Base at the time. Until shortly before my arrival, many of them would frequent Comayagua, particularly its “red zone” of female sex workers.

U.S. military presence in Honduras and the roots of Honduran migration to the United States are closely linked. It began in the late 1890s, when U.S.-based banana companies first became active there. As historian Walter LaFeber writes in “Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America,” American companies “built railroads, established their own banking systems, and bribed government officials at a dizzying pace.” As a result, the Caribbean coast “became a foreign-controlled enclave that systematically swung the whole of Honduras into a one-crop economy whose wealth was carried off to New Orleans, New York, and later Boston.”

By 1914, U.S. banana interests owned almost 1 million acres of Honduras’ best land. These holdings grew through the 1920s to such an extent that, as LaFeber asserts, Honduran peasants “had no hope of access to their nation’s good soil.” Over a few decades, U.S. capital also came to dominate the country’s banking and mining sectors, a process facilitated by the weak state of Honduras’ domestic business sector. This was coupled with direct U.S. political and military interventions to protect U.S. interests in 1907 and 1911.

To continue reading: How US policy in Honduras set the stage for today’s mass migration