Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for April 24th, 2011

Honduran dictatorship, day 473

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2011

Another very hurried update. The main news is that there are fissures within the Resistance Front because Hugo Chavez met separately with Lobo and with Zelaya; Zelaya did not consult with the Resistance. Adrienne translated a communique that lays out the grievances here. Ricardo Salgado gives a counterpoint here. It’s one that everyone involved in dissent needs to hear. Suspicion and infighting is as or more destructive than anything plutocracy can do. If the Frente is really a people’s organization, then it can be confident that whatever Zelaya and Chavez talk about means nothing without their consent. But they have a right to lecture Zelaya about not consulting with them (he, in turn, may say that he was speaking not as the head of the Resistance, since it has no head, but as one person).

There’s a really good show with Felix Molina that the Cubans did (proving, once again, that one needs to listen to a wide variety of media to get the full story). I just listened to the first few minutes, but he gave an exceptional account of what he is trying to accomplish as a journalist: to let you hear the sounds of the street, including women and young people who are not heard elsewhere. This is real unfiltered journalism: not just turning on the cameras, but actively seeking out the various points of view. It takes a love of telling the story to set oneself aside and be there as a recorder.

Added: Felix Molina explained that he started the radio program as a means to break the media blockade. He recounted the occupation of Radio Progreso and Globo. Radio Progreso had been silenced during the 1970s and 1980s by the dictatorship. This time, the people surrounded Progreso and forced the military to leave. Globo was occupied in the pre-dawn. The military grabbed the equipment and took it away, then had the courts cancel the permit for the frequency. It stayed on the air only because other radio stations outside of Honduras re-broadcast it. Globo had to buy new equipment.

Now there is violence against journalists. Ten murders with no prosecution. Although there is organized crime and narcotrafficking, this is above and beyond that. Organized crime is closely tied to the government. When journalists are afraid, it silences the population as a whole. Indigenous radio has been suppressed: burned, occupied. If they get one day behind in paying for electricity, the authorities cut off the power.

Prior to the coup, the press portrayed Zelaya as a threat, ignoring everything positive he accomplished. The media set the stage for the constitutional break. They all are controlled by monopolistic oligarchic business empires, which live off the state. Three families control them: Ferrari, Facusse, Canahuati. They “invisibilize” the resistance. Involvement of police and soldiers in bank heists, organized crime. The air force involved in narcotrafficking, even letting planes refuel at their bases. He recounts the obvious needs to recover from the coup: Zelaya has to be allowed to return, there has to be a cleanup of the judiciary, and so on. The mainstream media are influential, but no longer decisive. [end Molina interview]

The point about the government becoming indistinguishable from organized crime is an important one. One of the charges against Zelaya–a routine charge against official enemies like Aristide, Castro, and Chavez, very similar to the way that communist regimes used to describe dissidents as “bandits”– was that he was somehow responsible for the explosion of drug trafficking. Well, he’s long gone, and here are some quotes from Tim Johnson of McClatchy in the Kansas Star:

The extent of the infiltration is breathtaking. Drug cartels now control large parts of the countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America. They’ve bought off politicians and police, moved cocaine processing laboratories up from the Andes, and are obtaining rockets and other heavy armament that make them more than a match for Central America’s weak militaries.

“We have evidence that about 42 percent of all cocaine flights that leave South America for the rest of the world go through Honduras. That’s a pretty staggering number,” U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens said.

Alfredo Landaverde, a one-time adviser to Honduras’ security ministry and former member of the state Council Against Drug Trafficking, leaned back in his seat and reflected on the levels of corruption in the Honduran Congress.

“There are 16 current deputies who are drug traffickers,” he calculated. “That’s more than one-tenth of congress.”

The thought that this is the result of the US undermining grassroots government in favor of elites and oligarchs, and that the more we prop up those elites, the worse the problem gets, has yet to occur to anyone in the US government.

Over at Honduras Culture and Politics, RNS describes one small example of how the country’s finances end up in such a mess. Roughly $20 million of funds and property has been confiscated from organized crime. The law prescribes that this be distributed to three ministries and two funds immediately on confiscation. But if the court requires that the confiscated money/property be restored, or if there are costs of upkeep to the property, there’s no provision for it. Instead, it gets pulled out of current budgets.

RNS also reports one good piece of news: DINANT, which may be involved in illegal displacements and murders in Bajo Aguan in the phony “green” biofuels industry and the equally phony carbon credit trading scheme that is being used to substitute for real action on global warming, may be denied loans by European banks.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 2 Comments »

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