Horror in Tegucigalpaby Nehal Adil
FOUR hundred prisoners, most of them political detainees, were recently burnt to death in Honduras, in one of the worst prison fires in history. Special units of Honduran security services reportedly prevented rescue workers. It was said to be a premeditated crime by an illegitimate regime imposed by an illegal military coup. Will the summit of Americas in Cartegana pick up the issue?
Tegucigalpa is a beautiful city on the hilltop. It is the capital of Honduras, the crisis-plagued Central American republic of seven million people. Tegucigalpa is now a city in turmoil with daily violence and extrajudicial killings. All that started with the military coup of June 28, 2009 when the democratic government of Zelaya was overthrown.
The coup was allegedly organised from the US Air Force base in Palmerola Soto Cano in Honduras at the order of the then US defence secretary Robert Gates, a specialist in coup making. The aim was apparently to stop advancement of left democratic governments in Latin America as it was done in the 1960s. But the entire Latin America in unison opposed it.
As such, a fake election was staged. Lobo, a conservative business magnate of humble origin, was elected president when most of the political forces boycotted the election and there were no foreign observers, except for the American democracy promoters known for their close connections with the American institutions including the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency.
According to John Lindsay Poland, a strategic analyst, US military spending in Central America has increased to half a billion dollar. Two bases are being developed in the Atlantic coast and the Caribbean coast as well as deepwater fighting capacity in the Bahamas. Obviously, it is very little compared to billions it is spending in West Asia but strategic dimension cannot be ignored.
The unrest continued. President Chavez of Venezuela and President Santos of Colombia came out with a compromise plan under which former President Zelaya returned to the country. But it appears that the Americans have succeeded to sabotage the agreement.
Professor Diana Frank of the University of California Santa Cruz campus gave a grim picture of the land in a signed article in the International Herald Tribune, not known for any revolutionary view. Honduras is plagued by political, violence, drug trade and extrajudicial killings.
Is a government elected by an extra-constitutional regime legitimate? That is the fundamental question about Honduras. Without a genuine popular mandate Lobo has failed to calm the situation. According to the agreement that was worked out by Santos and Chavez, a fresh election has to be held, all acts of violence has to be stopped and persons responsible for the coup has to be excluded. But that has not happened. Democracy remains an illusion.
Obviously, as Diana Frank pointed out, the post-world war American policy has been dominance of American global power which translates military power to financial power and that to political power. With the Arab counterrevolution we can put it into parallel axis. Obviously, the counterrevolution in Honduras took place before the Arab counterrevolution in Tunisia. The Arabs failed to take a unified front as Lula and Chavez did. Mubarak and Gaddafi’s failure to take prompt action brought their fall and even the bloody end. The Arabs came forward to play into the enemy’s hand, killing their own kinds. But the Latin Americans had learned their lessons from half a century’s bullying.
According to UN data presented by Dana Frank, there have been three hundred killings, 34 disappearances of politicians and eighteen killings of journalists. In ratio to population this is far worse than in our country though, according to Hunan Rights Watch, Bangladesh is among the worst in human rights violation.
The American journalists love to mention drug violence and crimes in Honduras. San Pedro Sula of Honduras is called the world’s most violent city, surpassing Ciudad Juarez of Mexico. Julian Castellano, head of the University of Honduras, lost her son. Eighty-seven congressmen have written to the State Department and Pentagon to stop all military and financial aid to Honduras. They have asked for prosecution of Honduran coup-makers who might be in the United States. These crimes could not be committed without the connivance of the Western powers. Howard L Barn of the Congress from California demanded thorough probes of the crimes committed by the sponsors of terror from US soil.
But they are supported by a powerful Republican lobby. A timid president Obama never dared to challenge them. His inaction has helped the crimes against humanity increase world over including Honduras, many political observers feel.
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