The Trial For Berta Caceres’s Murder Will Test Biden’s Central America Policy

On her recent trip to Guatemala and Mexico, Vice President Kamala Harris drove home two points: that potential immigrants to the U.S. should “stay home,” and that the Biden administration will not tolerate corruption, which it sees as a major barrier to development in the region.

Harris made it clear that the two priorities are linked: “Part of giving people hope is having a very specific commitment to rooting out corruption in the region,” she said. But U.S. promises to help root out corruption in the region has generated skepticism in the U.S. and in Central America.

The U.S. government has generally been on the wrong side of history when it comes to combating corruption in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — the three Central American countries that currently account for most migration to the United States.

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The US Stake In Nicaragua And Honduras’s 2021 Elections

The issues that concern the US in Central America are rooted in more than a century of intervention in its politics. The forms of intervention have changed, of course, but always based on the fundamental aim of pursuing US corporate interests. For decades this meant supporting dictators like Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza or Guatemala’s Efraín Ríos Montt, but later it was more convenient to “promote democracy” until, two decades ago, democratic elections in Latin America produced the “wrong” results. This brought a further shift in US intervention, towards what William Robinson (who worked in Nicaragua in the 1980s) called promoting polyarchy, a limited form of democracy with “elite rule by transnational capitalists and agents or allies, in which the participation of the masses is limited to choosing among competing elites in tightly controlled elections” (a system which has applied in Honduras for several decades).

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Are Canadian Police Providing Training To The Colombian police?

On May 1, the British independent media outlet The Canary reported: “Over recent days, the Colombian national police have killed a number of civilians protesting a proposed tax hike on basic goods. Many more civilians have been injured, and Colombia’s riot police reportedly sexually assaulted a woman.”

The article by independent journalist John McEvoy further notes: “Documents obtained by The Canary can reveal that the UK’s College of Policing has been training Colombian police over the past three years.”

Is there a similar relationship between Canada and Colombia?

On October 30, 2017, the Canadian Press reported on a “bilateral police initiative” between Canada and Colombia.

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I Entered My Country’s House Of Justice And Found A Snake Charmer’s Temple

On a Sunday night on 21 March 2021, gunmen stopped Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante (age 41) as he walked from this mother’s home to his own in the village of Nueva Granada near San Antonio de Cortés (Honduras). The gunmen opened fire in front of a catholic church, killing this leader of United Communities in front of his children. Forty bullets were found at the scene.

Jorge Vásquez of the National Platform of Indigenous Peoples said that Juan Carlos Cerros had been threatened for his leadership of the Lenca peoples and their fight to protect their land. Carlos Cerros was killed, Vásquez said, ‘because of the work we do’. None of his killers have been arrested.

Two and a half weeks later, on 6 April, Roberto David Castillo Mejía entered the Supreme Court in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

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Honduras: Solidarity Needed As More Activists Are Killed

Two Indigenous activists were murdered in Honduras during December in less than a week, confirming the country as amongst the deadliest in the world for those opposing land grabs and environmental destruction.

The killing of Tolupan Indigenous leader Adan Mejia took place three days after the murder of Lenca farmer leader Felix Vazquez. They join a death toll of over a hundred Indigenous people murdered in the past decade defending their lands against illegal exploitation through dams, mining, logging and agribusiness.

An ongoing international campaign is also demanding answers from the Honduran authorities about the July 2020 kidnapping in the Caribbean coastal town of Tela, of four members of OFRANEH, the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna Peoples’ organisation of Honduras, by heavily armed gunmen wearing national police uniforms and badges.

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A Private Government In Honduras Moves Forward

“It’s almost like an insult that this is happening to us now, after so much sacrifice to develop the community to the point it’s at today,” Venessa Cardenas explains, in Crawfish Rock, Roatán, as she remembers her grandmother who passed away last May at 90 years old. “She was the one who fought for us to have the road, the school, water, all of the basic projects… the government has never given us anything that we didn’t fight for. She gave everything for this community. She’s the reason me and my family are so firm.”

Venessa’s community is located between two tourism projects—Pristine Bay and Palmetto Bay—on the Honduran island of Roatán, where she serves as vice-president of the patronato, the community governing council.

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If It Were A Narco Lab, It Would Be Working

On the day he was inaugurated, Joe Biden halted the construction of Trump’s Mexican border wall. A few days earlier, 1500 miles to the south, a new ‘caravan’ of at least eight thousand Honduran migrants had set off northwards, partly in the hope that by the time they tried to cross into Texas, Biden’s promised softening of immigration policy might have taken effect.

Obstacles left by Trump still stand in their way. Agreements he made with Honduras and Guatemala led to police attacking and dispersing the refugees. Scattered groups are still heading towards the Mexican frontier at Chiapas – according to one Trump-era official, ‘now our southern border’ – where they will face Mexican troops.

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Migrant Caravan Heads To United States From Honduras

On Tuesday, the outgoing US president, Donald Trump, known for his tough stance on immigration, warned that if his policies are reversed, as Biden has pledged to do, “a tidal wave” of illegal migration will follow.

A migrant caravan of reportedly thousands is heading to the United States from Honduras, asking the incoming Biden administration to “honor its commitments”, apparently referring to the president-elect’s pledges to reverse most of Trump’s immigration policies, according to media reports.

According to a statement issued by the migrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras [“People Without Borders”], and cited by Fox News, the caravan expects the Biden administration to provide them with a warmer welcome than the outgoing administration offered.

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No Holiday For Honduran Anti-Mining Activists

For the families of eight water protectors in Honduras, there will be no holiday season this year. They will continue to fight for the freedom of their loved ones who have each been jailed for up to two years for participating in a struggle to keep iron ore mining out of the headwaters of the rivers they depend on.

“It is the start of a new stage of struggle, a stage of unity and we are not going to stay at home,” said Juana Zúniga, the wife of one of the eight imprisoned water protectors, during a December 21 press conference, “The joy of spending Christmas with family has been taken away from us, but we will nonetheless continue fighting. We will continue struggling for the freedom of our compañeros.”

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As Private Cities Advance In Honduras, Hondurans Renew Their Opposition

Efforts to develop semi-privately governed jurisdictions called Economic Development and Employment Zones (ZEDEs) in Honduras have recently emerged anew. ZEDEs, first legislated as Special Development Regions (REDs) and informally known as “charter cities,” “model cities,” or “startup cities,” are a flexible territorial concession that can be used for city-scale real estate and tourism development, resource extraction, energy production, manufacturing, banking, and the expansion of deregulated digital markets.

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Berta Cáceres In Her Own Words

Much of what has been written about Lenca/Honduran activist Berta Cáceres has focused on her identifications as an Indigenous woman and as an environmentalist. While neither is false, those two facts alone paint an anemic picture of Berta’s militancy, and that of COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras). While she strategically organized alongside her fellow Lencas and other feminists, her struggle was not rooted in identity per se, but in her analysis of the legacies of colonial and capitalist violence. 

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Agroforestry Land Restoration Technique Improves Food Security In Honduras

Since 2012, the Inga Foundation’s revolutionary agroforestry system of Inga alley cropping in Honduras has dramatically transformed the lives of 300 subsistence farming families, planted over 3 million trees, and become a model for true environmental sustainability and ecological resilience.

Damas and his family were following in the footsteps of 40 families that in 2012 planted half their land – less than a hectare in size – in Inga alleys and half using traditional cultivation methods.  Severe drought followed by torrential rains affected Central America that year, and the families feared their crops would die. The Inga Foundation model can be replicated, at scale, across the whole of the wet forest zone of Honduras and the rest of Central America and into South America.We have facilitated Inga alley replication in 15 countries with farmer/NGO/government groups by providing training.

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Honduras During The COVID19 Pandemic

On May 5, a group of Afro-indigenous Garifuna men stood guard at the entrance of La Travesía community in the department of Cortes in northern Honduras. The men were fumigating vehicles, documenting the traffic transiting through their community, and implementing other bio security measures as part of community-led prevention efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In the afternoon, a police vehicle arrived and stopped at the check point. The Garifuna men were told they had to disperse and could not put up a check-point, which according to the police, is illegal. When the local residents insisted on maintaining it, the police threatened to return with a military convoy and to launch tear gas to break it up. The community refused to budge.

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Corona Capitalism In Honduras

Residents of Choloma, an industrial town in northern Honduras, blocked the main highway connecting the city of San Pedro Sula to the Port of Cortes on April 10. Choloma and nearby towns are the center of sweatshop production for U.S. brands in factories called maquilas. They are also the epicenter of COVID-19 in Honduras.

The workers blocking the road that morning burned tires, put up barricades, and demanded the government give them the food they had been promised. A worker demonstrating in Choluteca in southern Honduras told the Honduran media outlet UNE-TV, “They told us they’d be here at seven this morning with food, but no one came. We’re hungry. There are 70 villages waiting for food.”

Since mid-March hundreds of thousands of workers in these towns have been laid off as clothing manufacturers Hanes, Gildan, and Fruit of the Loom and auto parts maker Empire Electronics, among others, announced two- to four-month shutdowns.

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We Talk About One U.S.-Backed Coup. Hondurans Talk About Three.

Despite ample evidence of extreme human rights abuses in the immediate aftermath of Zelaya’s removal, the United States decided to support elections widely considered questionable held in November 2009. In the last three weeks, two groups totaling over 4,000 people attempted to flee Honduras. At the same time, Indigenous groups back in Honduras are engaged in fighting a new law they say will increase their displacement and the violence that is aimed against them.

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