Hell in Honduras—American-Made

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The Trump/Pence regime is threatening violence against the caravan of Honduran refugees, claiming it represents an “assault” on “the right of countries to secure their borders.” What right do the U.S. imperialists have to talk about “the right to secure their borders”? The U.S. empire has never given a damn about any other country’s right to secure its borders if it interferred with U.S. interests. Let’s talk about the security of Honduras’ borders against the century-long assault and domination by U.S. imperialism.

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemesphere. One out of every five Hondurans lives below the poverty line and on less than $1.90 per day. Its economy is dominated by multinational corporations producing bananas and coffee for export, and maquiladoras—sweatshop factories where tens of thousands of Hondurans are overworked and underpaid, while their foreign owners reap huge profits. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which went into effect in 2006, reduced or eliminated trade tariffs between the U.S. and the countries of Central America, devastating the economies of Honduras and the other signatories.

Honduras, along with El Salvador and Guatemala, is among the most dangerous places on Earth, with murder rates at or near the highest in the world. The current Honduran government—product of a 2009 military coup backed and made legitimate by Hillary Clinton, then Obama’s secretary of state—rules with state-sponsored political assassinations and political repression. Gangs and gang violence are epidemic, filling the chasm—where a thriving economy, and a future for the youth, should be—with extortion, robbery, intimidation and murder.

How did Honduras get this way?

U.S.-based companies began developing banana plantations in Honduras in the late 1890s. They soon took over the country, building railroads, establishing their own banking systems, and bribing government officials—turning Honduras into a foreign-controlled enclave with a one-crop economy whose wealth was siphoned back to the U.S. This is the origin of the term “Banana Republic.”

By the 1920s, it was U.S. banana interests, not local peasants, who owned all of Honduras’ best land. U.S. capital dominated the country’s banking and mining sectors, relying on repeated U.S. military invasions to protect those interests—seven times between 1903 and 1925—in what has become known as the “Banana Wars.” A top-ranking U.S. Marine officer and veteran of these wars famously wrote: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service, and during that period ... I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.”

Under Reagan and since then, the U.S. has used Honduras as the regional command headquarters and staging area for counterinsurgency in Central America. (See the American Crimes #75 and #79 for more on this history.) In the 1980s, thousands of U.S. troops were stationed in Honduras. Here they trained and maintained the U.S.-created “Contra” terrorist forces to overthrow the new Nicaraguan government. Meanwhile the U.S.-backed regimes in neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala, confronted by resistance and civil war, responded with death squads and military slaughter of genocidal proportions.

In the chaotic years following these wars, unemployed former fighters became a part of organized criminal gangs, especially in El Salvador. During this same period, the U.S. added the key element when it deported massive numbers of undocumented immigrants, including members of the MS-13 and M-18 gangs, which had initially formed in Los Angeles among the young people who’d fled there during the 1980s. These gangs quickly took root and expanded into powerful criminal operations, with influence in the military forces and the government.

Now the U.S. has the gall to deny refugees asylum from the very horrors it and the system it presides over has created.

Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders



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