June 28, 2022
June 28th passed this year (2022) as the 13th anniversary of a 2009 coup d’état that drastically changed Honduras into a country run by and for organised crime with the approval and active support of the US and Canadian governments. The Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) – www.hondurassolidarity.org/ – outlines some of the background below. We are grateful to Karen Spring of the HSN for her work gathering and providing information about happenings and developments in the country.
The US supported and benefitted from the years of aggressive and violent neoliberalism that would increase the extractive economy based on mining and hydroelectric projects, further land grabbing by agribusiness companies and oligarchs, and ensure subservience to US foreign policy and wars. This led to the near-collapse of the privatized and plundered public education and public health systems, murders by death-squad groups and security forces of activists across the country, and a terrible increase in poverty, crime and general violence. The eight years (2014-2022) of the narco-dictator Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) were also marked by the forced displacement of millions of Hondurans internally and hundreds of thousands forced to leave Honduras altogether.
The election in November 2021 and inauguration in January 2022 of President Xiomara Castro of the Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) Party in coalition with smaller opposition parties is the victory of 13 years of resistance by the Honduran people.
During the first five months of the new government, many important promises have been kept and progress made, but the obstacles to reforms – let alone deeper changes – are enormous. The narco-dictatorship’s economic and political structures are deeply entrenched, including having representation in Congress and among the government civil service employees. The judges at all levels of the court system are still those appointed by Juan Orlando Hernández. Xiomara Castro inherited a country that is nearly bankrupt and in debt, facing forces that oppose change.
The United States and Canadian governments and international financial institutions are among the forces against ‘too much’ change. The US seems to have realised that the JOH narco-dictatorship had become too exposed and untenable and that the opposition to JOH in Honduras had grown too broad to directly challenge. It recognised that Xiomara Castro won the election and sent Vice President Kamala Harris to the inauguration. From day one, it has also pressured the new government to limit its independence from US international interests and even to limit its plan to dismantle the neoliberal and extractive economic model.
The Honduran social movements: the organisations of the Indigenous and Black peoples, small farmers, workers, women, and students, are supporting their new government while continuing to fight for their proposals and the promise of refoundation in Honduras. As international solidarity and human rights organisations in the US and Canada, we continue to stand with the social movements. We continue to tell our governments and corporations to stop interfering, to stop using money and a military presence to control and limit Honduras’ progress in undoing the damage of the past 13 years.
The HSN is working on a campaign to support debt relief for Honduras that is urgently needed for the project of rebuilding and refounding the country after 13 years of disaster. It also supports the ‘Justice for Berta’ campaign led by COPINH, which is fighting to ensure that all those involved in her assassination are brought to justice. To sign up for the HSN’s informational list serve, email: firstname.lastname@example.org