U.S. government backs Honduran oligarchy
Published Mar 14, 2010 7:33 PM
The Obama administration continues to support the ruthless Honduran oligarchy
in its war against a nonviolent political and social movement led by the Frente
Nacional de Resistencia Popular. The movement has united peasants, workers,
trade unionists and students; the Garifuna, Afro-Honduran and Indigenous
communities; and lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer activists, women’s groups,
intellectuals and Christians guided by liberation theology.
The FNRP was formed after the Honduran military kidnapped President Jose Manuel
Zelaya. On June 28 Zelaya was taken from his residence to the Soto Cano Air
Base — a U.S. military installation in Honduras — and flown to San
Jose, Costa Rica.
The Obama administration claimed it knew nothing of the coup until after the
fact. But aircraft cannot fly in or out of the base without clearance from the
612th Air Base Squadron, which is in charge of base operations, air traffic
control and checking flight manifests. Vehicles cannot enter or leave the base
without clearance from the Joint Security Force, which is responsible for base
security and includes Army, Marine and Air Force personnel.
The Honduran military has umbilical-cord ties to the Pentagon. Two of the
military leaders of the coup — Gen. Romeo Vasquez and Gen. Luis Javier
Prince Suazo — are graduates of the School of the Americas located on the
U.S. Army base at Fort Benning, Ga. The Honduran Air Force Academy is located
on the Soto Cano Air Base. It is inconceivable that the Honduran military could
make the necessary coup preparations, including troop movements and telephone
calls, without Pentagon, CIA and U.S. embassy knowledge.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters during a recent trip to
South America that “The Honduras crisis has been managed to a successful
conclusion. It was done without a civil war, it was done without violence, and
I think that our policy in the vast majority of countries in Latin America is
either given high marks or great respect.” (Reuters, March 1) This is a
This writer travelled to Honduras in October as part of a fact-finding and
solidarity delegation initiated by the International Action Center and observed
first-hand a civil war — from the barrios to downtown — in the
streets of the capital city Tegucigalpa. One side — the Armed Forces of
Honduras and the National Police — had automatic weapons and crowd
suppression devices, while the other side — the FNRP — was
Since day one of the coup the oligarchy has used violence in an attempt to
destroy the FNRP. Peaceful demonstrators have been beaten up, gassed and shot
to death. Death squads and nightriders in pickup trucks with tinted windows
have followed and seized FNRP members. In February Vanessa Yamileth Zepeda, a
leader of the Workers Union for the Honduran Social Security Institute; Julio
Funez Benitez, a member of the SANAA national utility union; and Claudia Larisa
Brizuela Rodriguez, the daughter of a prominent FNRP leader, were all murdered
by death squads.
The Feminist Collective of University Women is a radical women’s
organization that opposes the coup and supports LGBTQ rights. In an interview
posted on the Web site hondurashumanrights.wordpress.com on March 7, members
Blanca Dole, Celeste Mejia and Gabriela Flores all described receiving
threatening phone calls and being followed by cars with tinted windows and no
Solidarity is key
Most Latin American countries do not recognize the coup-installed government,
whether led by Roberto Micheletti or Porfirio Lobo. Yet on March 4 Clinton
directed the release of $30 million to the current coup leaders.
At this time international solidarity, especially from North America, is most
important to the FNRP. The rotation of short-term delegations and the work of
activists based in Honduras give space to the FNRP and ensure that the Honduran
people are not isolated and that the actions of the oligarchy and the Honduran
military are documented for future consideration in international courts of
North American solidarity with the Honduran people has its own heroic history.
James Carney, a Jesuit priest from Missouri known as Padre Guadalupe, was the
spiritual advisor to a Honduran guerrilla unit of the Revolutionary Party of
Central American Workers-Honduras. In July 1983 Padre Guadalupe was captured by
the infamous Honduran army Battalion 3-16 and executed with CIA agents
One of the leaders of the unit who was killed in the same action was the
Nicaraguan-American David Arturo Baez Cruz. Baez Cruz was a former member of
the U. S. Army Special Forces who was radicalized while stationed in Panama.
The events are described in the book “Inside Delta Force” by Eric
Haney, a U.S. military advisor to Battalion 3-16 in July 1983.
Thousands will gather in Washington, D.C., on March 20 to protest the U.S. wars
in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is important that the U.S. war against the people
of Honduras also be on the agenda that day.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE