Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:56 PM
Judi Lynn (111,093 posts)
Honduran campesinos in the crosshairs
Honduran campesinos in the crosshairs
The US government and multilateral institutions must demand an end to the human rights abuses surrounding land disputes.
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2012 16:43
Springfield, MA - Honduras now claims the dubious distinction of being the murder capital of the world as drug trafficking and gangs play an undeniable role in the violence plaguing the small central American country.
However, there is near complete impunity for the forces that have killed more than 300 people since the 2009 coup, including labour, political and land reform activists, journalists and lawyers. Members of the campesino land rights organisations in the Bajo Aguan have been the targets of systemic repression. Last Thursday, four more campesinos were murdered in Trujillo, bringing the total number of people killed in that region since January 2010 to 64.
The land disputes date back to efforts in the 1960s to entice landless farmers to the fertile region of the Bajo Aguan. The initial agrarian reform laws contained protections intended to ensure that the land remained in the hands of small landowners by limiting the amount of hectares individuals could accumulate. In 1992, the Law for Modernisation of Land gutted many of the protections written into the original agrarian reform efforts, creating pressure on peasant land cooperatives to sell their land to large landowners.
In the two years following passage of the 1992 law, three large landowners used a combination of fraud, coercion and violence to consolidate ownership of 73.4 per cent of the land transferred under the prior Agrarian Reform. Palm oil magnate Miguel Facusse, well known to the US government for alleged ties to drug trafficking, owns a significant swath of land in the lower Aguan valley and is implicated in much of the ongoing repression.
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Honduran campesinos in the crosshairs (Original post)
|Judi Lynn||Apr 2012||OP|
|Peace Patriot||Apr 2012||#1|
Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)
Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:19 PM
Peace Patriot (24,010 posts)
1. "...well known to the US government for alleged ties to drug trafficking..."
"In the two years following passage of the 1992 law, three large landowners used a combination of fraud, coercion and violence to consolidate ownership of 73.4 per cent of the land transferred under the prior Agrarian Reform. Palm oil magnate Miguel Facusse, well known to the US government for alleged ties to drug trafficking, owns a significant swath of land in the lower Aguan valley and is implicated in much of the ongoing repression." --from the OP (my emphasis)
In my opinion, the thrust of U.S. policy, for the last two decades--and most particularly during the Bush Junta--has been to empower and protect the favored drug lords.
We've seen this policy at work in Colombia--where FIVE MILLION peasant farmers have been brutally displaced from their lands, with state "terrorism" paid for by you and me, with $7 BILLION in military aid for the corrupt, murderous, failed U.S. "war on drugs."
The fate of particular drug lords (such as Miguel Facusse) depends on their being a "player"--for instance, "laundering" their billions in drug money through U.S. banksters, or payoffs to the Bush Cartel, or supporting U.S.-based transglobal corporations and war profiteers in various ways (for instance, providing rightwing death squads to solve corporate "labor problems" or supporting local fascist politicians who invite the U.S. military in, to build bases for its "Southern Command."). The tiny coca leaf growers--the small peasant farmers who grow food crops and a few coca plants to supplement poverty incomes--are violently cleared off the land. The big cocaine operations move in, and the U.S. "war on drugs" crushes their rivals for them--the independent, non-cooperating drug lords.
Honduras is turning into Colombia--or, I should say, is being turned into Colombia, by the U.S., quite deliberately. I'm not sure how culpable the Obama administration is on this "reverse" U.S. "war on drugs" (the U.S. "war" FOR "drugs"). I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm quite sure that they didn't design the rightwing/military coup in Honduras. It occurred only six months into the Obama administration and had MANY signs that it was designed before they got into office and was carried out by Bushwhack operatives before the Obama administration could get their footing in Latin America. Obama/Clinton's reaction to it was confused and ultimately abominable (a coverup) but I really don't think they would have done it, had they had a choice. Their policy in Colombia also points to their having different methods in mind (less violent) to promote U.S. corporate interests.
However, it does not surprise me at all that someone "...well known to the US government for alleged ties to drug trafficking..." gobbled up land in Honduras and is now engaging in violent repression with impunity. This is typical--not atypical--of U.S. client states no matter which party seems to be in charge and it is going to continue until somebody gets at the vast underlying corruption including CIA/Bush Cartel drug trafficking. Such an expose is more likely to emerge in Latin America than here. Fascinating calls, recently, by LatAm leaders, for drug legalization (--although, since it's rightwing leaders taking that position, my suspicion is that Big Pharma is prepping for legalization, to take over the market for herbal, recreational and addictive drugs)**.
**(Edited to add: ...legalization would also be the ultimate "laundering" for the big, favored drug lords.)