Remember Berta Caceres: Call on Congress to cut U.S. military/security aid to Honduras

From SOA Watch

MONDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2016 19:22
Before Congress adjourns for 2016, we have one last opportunity to build support for suspending US military and security aid to Honduras, where repression of human rights defenders and social movements continues unabated.  With the US State Department certifying that the Honduran government is taking effective steps on human rights, despite continued assassinations and impunity, it is important that Congress pushes back. To date, 49 Representatives have co-sponsored the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, which would suspend US military and security aid to Honduras.  Can you take a moment today to call your Representative if he or she has not yet signed on and ask him/her to sponsor HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act?

See if your representative has already co-sponsored the bill here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5474/cosponsors   (Need the name of your Representative?  Click here)
If not, call the Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask to be transfered to your Representative and ask your him/her to sponsor the bill: 

“Hello, I am calling to ask Rep. _____ to sponsor HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, before the end of the year. Internationally recognized Indigenous leader Berta Caceres and other leaders have been brutally assassinated in Honduras this year.  The death threats and attacks on environmental activists, human rights leaders, journalists, and others continue today.  Please sponsor HR 5474 before this year is out to call for an end to US military aid in Honduras.”If your Representative has signed on to support the bill, call his or her office to thank them (202-224-3121):

“Hello, I am calling to thank Rep. _____ for sponsoring HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, in 2016.  The repression and death threats and attacks on environmental activists, human rights leaders, journalists, and others continue unabated in Honduras.  I hope that your office will continue to speak out for the suspension of US security aid to Honduras at every opportunity.”

Let us know how your call went here.

Thank you for all your efforts to call on Congress to cut destructive US security aid to Honduras in 2016.  We look forward to continuing to work together in 2017.

 

http://www.soaw.org

Honduras, June 28, 6th anniversary of US-led coup; Honduras resistance is alive and jumping

By David Swanson
June 23, 2015
Washington’s Blog

June 28 will mark 6 years since the U.S.-backed military coup in Honduras took the people’s government away from them. Thousands of people are still in the streets every week demanding that the wrongful president step down.

“Whoever’s not jumping supports the coup!” is the shout as a sea of people leaps repeatedly into the air. The makers of an amazing new film called Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley, will be allowing anyone to view it online for free for two weeks. I recommend you do so.

Honduras has not simply turned into the worst home of violent crime. And the people have not simply fled to the U.S. border (much compassion they’d receive there!) — No, thousands and thousands of people in this little nation have taken back their land, occupied it, created communities, and built a future, with or without the coup.

President Manuel Zelaya had said he would help. Oligarchs had seized land, or bought land and then devalued the currency. Miguel Facussé took over palm oil plantations, evicted people from their land, got richer than rich, and allowed cocaine flights from Colombia to land on his plantations with U.S. knowledge.

The U.S. for years had been funding, training, and arming soldiers for the oligarchs of Honduras. The leaders of the 2009 coup that overthrew Zelaya had all trained at the School of the Americas in the United States. The U.S. assisted in the coup and in recognition of the coup government. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were part of and are part of this ongoing crime, and U.S. military supply shipments to Honduras are at record levels now as the military has merged with the police and turned its weaponry against the people.

The coup was followed by phony elections. The people knew to look elsewhere for answers. They looked to themselves. In the Aguan Valley in the north, thousands of families took over thousands of hectares by squatting, building, and farming. And they created communities of such camaraderie that they found themselves saying thanks for the coup.

They faced, and still face, regular attacks by killers on motorcycles, but they have nowhere else to go, and they have made the most of it, creating self-sustaining centers of life in the countryside, replacing palm oil monoculture with farming that cares for the land. The dead in the film are of such a different type from the dead in Hollywood movies, that I wonder if people can really see these dead. I hope so. There is never any police investigation, never any charges brought. The people have lost a lawyer and a journalist as well as numerous of their own; the oligarchs have lost a few guards.

The people have also organized local and national assemblies. The men have learned to include women in positions of power. This popular resistance movement always backed the return of Zelaya, who finally negotiated his return to Honduras in 2011. He returned to a people demanding more democratic participation. He joined their movement and encouraged them to participate in the 2013 elections that they had determined to boycott.

During the meeting in the city at which the decision to participate in the election was made, the police in Aguan burned and bulldozed 90 houses, plus churches, and schools. The tears and the eloquence of the people affected must be watched; I cannot tell them to you.

You should watch the scenes of the people meeting with their ousted president, Zelaya, the rightful president of Honduras, and then watch the scene of President Obama meeting with his usurper in the White House. As Facussé threatens to evict everyone from their land, we see a U.S. State Department official meet with some of the campesinos. They tell him that they are offered land at 14% interest, while the World Bank offers it to the big corporations for 1%. He replies that his only area of work is human rights. So they tell him they have been gassed, imprisoned, tortured, and shot. He replies that he just wants to talk about peace. Or maybe he said “piece” of the action, I don’t know.

The people see the United States as working on behalf of Dole, formerly the Standard Fruit Company, the same people for whom the U.S. military has been overthrowing governments since that of Hawaii in 1893. Is there any good reason anyone should ever buy Dole products?

The struggle, and the movie, goes on — filmed over a period of years. Leaders are forced into exile after murder attempts. The burned and bulldozed buildings are rebuilt. And the November 2013 elections arrive, and are blatantly stolen. Zelaya’s wife runs on the people’s platform against the “law and order” candidate of the military. Observers from the EU and the OAS declare the election legitimate, but individual members of those commissions denounce that conclusion as corrupt and fraudulent. Students lead the protests, and the protests continue to grow.

And the people in the country go right on taking back more of their land and reclaiming it as a source of life rather than death. These people need no aid. They need simply to be allowed to live. All immigrants should be welcomed everywhere by everyone, with no hesitation. Obama should immediately cease deporting children back to a nation he’s helped to ruin. But I think most people would be shocked by how little immigration there would be in the world if the corporations and the killers stopped migrating, and people were allowed to live peacefully and equally in the place they love: their land.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/06/resistance-in-honduras-alive-and-jumping.html

Washington’s “Two Track policy” to Latin America: Marines to Central America and diplomats to Cuba

By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, May 20, 2015

Everyone, from political pundits in Washington to the Pope in Rome, including most journalists in the mass media and in the alternative press, have focused on the US moves toward ending the economic blockade of Cuba and gradually opening diplomatic relations.  Talk is rife of a ‘major shift’ in US policy toward Latin America with the emphasis on diplomacy and reconciliation.  Even most progressive writers and journals have ceased writing about US imperialism.

However, there is mounting evidence that Washington’s negotiations with Cuba are merely one part of a two-track policy.  There is clearly a major US build-up in Latin America, with increasing reliance on ‘military platforms’, designed to launch direct military interventions in strategic countries.  

Moreover, US policymakers are actively involved in promoting ‘client’ opposition parties, movements and personalities to destabilize independent governments and are intent on re-imposing US domination.

In this essay we will start our discussion with the origins and unfolding of this ‘two track’ policy, its current manifestations, and projections into the future.  We will conclude by evaluating the possibilities of re-establishing US imperial domination in the region.

Origins of the Two Track Policy

Washington’s pursuit of a ‘two-track policy’, based on combining ‘reformist policies’ toward some political formations, while working to overthrow other regimes and movements by force and military intervention, was practiced by the early Kennedy Administration following the Cuban revolution.  Kennedy announced a vast new economic program of aid, loans and investments – dubbed the ‘Alliance for Progress’ – to promote development and social reform in Latin American countries willing to align with the US.  At the same time the Kennedy regime escalated US military aid and joint exercises in the region. Kennedy sponsored a large contingent of Special Forces – ‘Green Berets’ – to engage in counter-insurgency warfare.  The ‘Alliance for Progress’ was designed to counter the mass appeal of the social-revolutionary changes underway in Cuba with its own program of ‘social reform’.  While Kennedy promoted watered-down reforms in Latin America, he launched the ‘secret’ CIA (‘Bay of Pigs’) invasion of Cuba in 1961and naval blockade in 1962 (the so-called ‘missile crises’).  The two-track policy ended up sacrificing social reforms and strengthening military repression.  By the mid-1970’s the ‘two-tracks’ became one – force.  The US invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965. It backed a series of military coups throughout the region, effectively isolating Cuba.  As a result, Latin America’s labor force experienced nearly a quarter century of declining living standards.

By the 1980’s US client-dictators had lost their usefulness and Washington once again took up a dual strategy: On one track, the White House wholeheartedly backed their military-client rulers’ neo-liberal agenda and sponsored them as junior partners in Washington’s regional hegemony.  On the other track, they promoted a shift to highly controlled electoral politics, which they described as a ‘democratic transition’, in order to ‘decompress’ mass social pressures against its military clients.  Washington secured the introduction of elections and promoted client politicians willing to continue the neo-liberal socio-economic framework established by the military regimes.

By the turn of the new century, the cumulative grievances of thirty years of repressive rule, regressive neo-liberal socio-economic policies and the denationalization and privatization of the national patrimony had caused an explosion of mass social discontent.  This led to the overthrow and electoral defeat of Washington’s neo-liberal client regimes.

Throughout most of Latin America, mass movements were demanding a break with US-centered ‘integration’ programs.  Overt anti-imperialism grew and intensified.  The period saw the emergence of numerous center-left governments in Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Beyond the regime changes , world economic forces had altered: growing Asian markets, their demand for Latin American raw materials and the global rise of commodity prices helped to stimulate the development of Latin American-centered regional organizations – outside of Washington’s control.

Washington was still embedded in  its 25 year ‘single-track’ policy of backing civil-military authoritarian and imposing neo-liberal policies and was unable to respond and present a reform alternative to the anti-imperialist, center-left challenge to its dominance.  Instead, Washington worked to reverse the new party- power configuration.  Its overseas agencies, the Agency for International Development (AID), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and embassies worked to destabilize the new governments in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay and Honduras.  The US ‘single-track’ of intervention and destabilization failed throughout the first decade of the new century (with the exception of Honduras and Paraguay.

In the end Washington remained politically isolated.  Its integration schemes were rejected.  Its market shares in Latin America declined. Washington not only lost its automatic majority in the Organization of American States (OAS), but it became a distinct minority.

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