Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:48 AM
Judi Lynn (111,040 posts)
January 09, 2013
2013: A Good Year for Mining Companies (and Human Rights Abuses) in Honduras
by NICK ALEXANDROV
This year promises to be a good one for mining companies in Honduras, if everything goes according to plan. A new mining bill up for approval in the coming months would allow as many as 40 companies—4 or 5 were in the country last year—to begin operations. The increased business could triple the sector’s profits, and would successfully erase from the books a 2006 Supreme Court ruling, which found the country’s 1998 mining law unconstitutional. The earlier law, decreed in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, permitted open-pit mining, and was a gift to extractive industry. It went unchallenged until “an extreme leftist group…poisoned the national dialogue,” Ambassador Charles Ford fumed on September 29, 2006, using their “vitriolic anti-mining rhetoric” in an attempt “to conquer and decapitate mining in Honduras,” actions that could only “worsen an already shaky investment climate.”
Ford’s rant is available via WikiLeaks, thanks in part to the efforts of Julian Assange, that “high-tech terrorist” (Joe Biden) who should be “hunted down” (Sarah Palin)—much like the Occupy Wall Street activists, considered “terrorists” by the FBI since their protests began in September 2011. Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily belong in the same category, as the Council on Foreign Relations’ Ed Husain explained last summer, writing that the Syrian opposition—Washington’s ally—“needs al-Qaeda” to boost morale, and to deliver the “deadly results” required to topple Assad. These examples reveal much about what liberal intellectual Joseph Lelyveld, writing in the New York Review of Books, called one of Obama’s “big foreign policy achievements”: “compressing his predecessor’s expansive, grandiose-sounding ‘Global War on Terror’ into a narrowly-focused, unremitting campaign against the remnants of the al-Qaeda network.” Lelyveld’s observation conforms to reality about as much as, say, Sarah Palin’s analysis of foreign affairs, but his baseless assertion had little effect on his status as a prominent commentator—a revealing indication of what it takes to qualify for “serious intellectual” status in the U.S.
Returning to Honduras, we can note that Ambassador Ford’s diatribe was directed at attorney Clarissa Vega and her clients. In March 2006, two months after President Manuel Zelaya was inaugurated, Vega brought the case against the 1998 mining law to the Supreme Court on behalf of a number of environmental groups; the Court decided in her favor that autumn, ruling unconstitutional the “tax breaks for mining companies” and eliminating “the forced expropriation of lands for mining use,” Carolina Rivera reported at Latinamerica Press. Additional victories followed: in May 2009, Jennifer Moore explained at CIP Americas, a new mining bill—which would have further increased taxes, banned open-pit mining, “and required prior community approval before mining concessions could be granted”—was drafted. Congress planned to debate it starting in mid-August 2009. But then Zelaya was overthrown on June 28, and the plan was shelved.
The fact that Zelaya’s ouster was a coup seemed beyond debate, though readers of the U.S. press were encouraged to think otherwise. Writing in the Washington Post a couple of days after it happened, for example, Mary Beth Sheridan explained that Obama thought Zelaya’s removal illegal, while Hillary Clinton believed it was too early to decide whether or not the event was really a coup. A few days later, Marc Lacey wrote in the New York Times that “American officials are…studying whether Mr. Zelaya’s ouster fits the legal definition of a coup,” noting in a separate article that the Honduran military did not think it met the necessary criteria. Never mentioned in these stories was the fact that, when Sheridan, Lacey and other journalists participated in a conference call with two senior State Department officials on the day of the overthrow, the first official stated unambiguously, “I would certainly characterize a situation where a president is forcibly detained by the armed forces and expelled from a country an attempt at a coup. We…still see as the constitutional president of Honduras. So it was an attempt at a coup.”
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Looting Honduras (Original post)
|Judi Lynn||Jan 2013||OP|
|Peace Patriot||Jan 2013||#1|
Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)
Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:38 AM
Peace Patriot (24,010 posts)
1. The plane forcibly carrying Zelaya out of his country stopped at the U.S. airbase in Honduras...
...for refueling, for godssakes! It was a U.S.-sponsored coup--and we now know one more of the interests behind it--mining corporations! But whether the coup was of Obama administration design I don't know. I tend to doubt it because of the timing--only six months into the Obama administration, and shortly after he announced a policy of "peace, respect and cooperation" in Latin America. I think it was designed by the Bush Junta, implemented by Bushwhack moles within the government and military and abetted by assholes like first term Senator Jim DeMint (SC-Diebold), with Hillary Clinton in collusion with them (to what extent I'm not sure; perhaps agreed to the coup but not to Zelaya being killed, and then became a full-on colluder when she arranged a U.S. State Dept. election in Honduras under martial law--a total farce). One of its purposes was to derail Obama's stated policy and he couldn't do anything about it (if he was sincere about his policy in the first place--unclear, hard to know). I don't think Obama had much power at that point. Leon Panetta had been commissioned by Bush Sr. to end the war between the Pentagon and the CIA that Cheney and Rumsfeld had started, and keep Jr. out of jail. And both Obama and Panetta were also running Bush's two wars, and Obama was a bit preoccupied with that and with the Bush Junta-induced worldwide Depression.
I don't think Obama has much power now, but more than he did then. in any case, the Honduran coup occurred on his watch, with many colluding U.S. parties--also John MCain, who has telecommunications interests in Honduras and probably Chiquita and other such exploitative and death squad-using U.S. corporations, as well as the Miami Mafia and associated interests, and "war on drugs" profiteers (DEA, FBI, AFT, etc., and the Pentagon's so-called "Southern Command" which is building more bases in Honduras). "Banana Republics" are a gravy-train for many U.S. interests, and are also a launching pad for making trouble in neighboring countries like Nicaragua (leftist government) and little El Salvador (leftist government). Honduras has a long, ugly history of being the footstool of U.S. paid killers. Indeed, one of the coup generals stated that, by their coup, they were "preventing communism from Venezuela reaching the United States (--in a report on the coup by the Zelaya government-in-exile). By "communism," of course, he meant universal free health care, universal free education, workers' rights, good wages, benefits and working conditions, strong corporate regulation, good government services and honest elections--in other words, government "of, by and for" the people.
So now they've got their bastion against 'communism' reaching these shores and they can exploit it to the hilt, for every evil purpose.
There was some further odd going's on around all this, and my suspicion is that Bush Jr. and/or other Bush Junta principles may have been indictable in Colombia, for U.S. military and other U.S. crimes in Colombia, that Bush operative Alvaro Uribe (who murdered his way into the presidency of Colombia) and the U.S. military and other agencies were involved in consolidating the trillion+ dollar cocaine trade into fewer hands and better directing its huge profits to U.S. banksters and other beneficiaries. I think they needed Honduras as a transit route. An honest government would not have permitted it. As we have seen in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, their record of busting big drug lords has greatly improved since they threw the U.S. "war on drugs" out. U.S. spying and subversion have also been reduced. (Agencies like the DEA were being used for such purposes). They had to get rid of Zelaya, for this and other reasons. He was an obstacle to the drug lords and to their succubi, the U.S. (allegedly) anti-drug agencies.
So Honduras, in addition to being raped by U.S. transglobal corporations and their political lackeys, by the Pentagon, by the U.S.-trained and funded Honduran military, by the "ten families" who run the country on behalf of these interests and to fatten their own pockets, and by the imported and local rightwing death squads--many murders of leftists, journalists and others--is being trampled over by drug lords, and the more U.S. "war on drugs" agents pour into the country, the more the drugs do flow. It is a hogtied relationship--the "war on drugs" and the flow of drugs.