How Many Deaths Does Obama Need in Honduras? – Español
By Atilio A. Boron
Last Friday the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH) issued a report blaming the de facto president of that country and putschist leader, Roberto Micheletti, for the more than 101 extrajudicial murders and summary executions perpetrated from June 28th to the current date. The CODEH was created on May 11, 1981, by a group of Honduran citizens concerned by the serious human rights violations that were taking place in that country when Ronald Reagan decided to make it a platform from which the White House could launch its offensive against the Sandinista revolution which had just triumphed in Nicaragua, and the Frente Farabundo Martí (FMLN) in El Salvador, which was gradually winning the struggle against the Salvadoran army and its U.S. “advisors.” As will be recalled, Reagan put John Negroponte at the head of that operation, a man devoid of moral scruples who did not hesitate to organize death squads and involve himself in the arms and drugs trafficking of the Iran-Contra operation directed by Colonel Oliver North. CODEH’s firm struggle and its uncompromising defense of human rights did not please the Honduran government which only granted this organization official legal status thirteen years after its creation, in November of 1994.
This institution, which includes plenty of men and women who paid with their lives for their devotion to the cause of human rights, is accusing the Honduran coup leaders of producing a new holocaust. This silent slaughter, of which the media are reporting only a very few cases, due to practically complete press censorship and the systematic blocking of all information relative to these facts, took place under the successive “curfews” decreed by the usurpers. According to CODEH, its victims include women and children, and these murders took place mainly during the hours in which the police and armed forces exercised absolute control of the Honduran streets and plazas.
Beyond any arguments about the exact number of persons who died in this sad period, what’s certain is that violence and death have dominated the country placed under the regime of Micheletti and his accomplices and mentors. And it’s also true that this brutal escalation continues with Barack Obama’s full complicity. His verbal defense of human rights, legality, democracy, freedom and other values enshrined in the struggles of the people has proven to be, as we foresaw, rhetoric designed to fool the gullible and nothing more. A few days ago at the U.N. General Assembly, President Hugo Chávez asked which was the real Obama: is it the Obama who says lovely things or the one who validates the coup d’etat in Honduras (the one he stubbornly refuses to call by its name), maintains the blockade against Cuba and the unjust and illegal imprisonment of the Cuban 5, while continuing to open military bases throughout Latin America in the name of liberty? Unfortunately, the answer is obvious and needs no further argument.
Mark Weisbrot, the distinguished U.S. academic and president of Just Foreign Policy reached the same conclusion when he asked how much repression Hillary Clinton was willing to support in Honduras. In his article, originally published in the Guardian, Weisbrot says that “On 11 August, 16 members of the US Congress sent a letter to Obama urging him to ‘publicly denounce the use of violence and repression of peaceful protesters, the murder of peaceful political organisers and all forms of censorship and intimidation directed at media outlets.’ They are still waiting for an answer.”
The Honduran thugs have not overlooked any possible human rights violation: murders, tortures, kidnappings, repression of peaceful and defenseless demonstrators, contempt for national and international law, attacks on the Brazilian embassy, press censorship, in short, the list is endless. One question remains: How many deaths will the White House need in order to abandon its unspeakable complicity with a regime that is driving our region back to the worst periods of the past century? How many will Obama need in order to realize that each one of them further damages his already diminished credibility? The United States is the only country with significant weight in the international arena which still maintains its ambassador in Tegucigalpa: What does it take to remove him? Or is it that Honduras is the terrible foreshadowing for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Obama nothing more than a smiling and friendly public relations face who therefore is just another piece in the deadly machinery of “Pentagonism” as Dominican intellectual and political leader Juan Bosch refers to it?
To conclude: it is not that anti-imperialists are now asking Washington to intervene in Honduras, as in the sophist’s argument he put forward some days ago. It’s already intervening, and a lot. And it is doing so to perpetuate a regime that violates human rights, not one that promotes them. Obama’s silence in the face of so many crimes has nothing to do with disregard or non-interventionism; silence is also a sly, often devious and cowardly, way of intervening. What is being asked is that once and for all, the United States stop doing so and abstain from supporting the putschists. The rest can be left to the Honduran people, who have proven their capacity and courage to shake off a Micheletti without any help whatsoever from the White House.
Atilo Boron is an Argentinean sociologist. He was recently awarded the UNESCO International José Martí prize in recognition of his activity of outstanding merit in accordance with the ideals and spirit of José Martí.
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