Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.
There was a coup d’etat that has happened in Honduras. In short, The Honduras coup occurred on June 28, when soldiers working on behalf of a the small group of business and political elites who now control the country, kidnapped democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile.
There is much more to it than just the kidnapping and there is no way we can cover all of the happenings in this post. I want to highlight some of the items that we should pay close attention to because it plays a part in helping the people of Latin America and of course, the people of Honduras. The abuse and violations of human rights that you will see when you dig deeper are shocking and very upsetting. The more we learn about the systematic oppression in Latin America the more we can help individuals, families and fight against oppression everywhere. The tools used in Honduras are the same mechanisms used in other parts of the world.
The de facto government of Honduras that ousted President Manuel Zelaya hired a well-known public relations firm to bolster its image in Washington, during the coup.
According to Justice Department documents, the Honduran government signed Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates to a four-month contract worth more than $290,000. Filed on Sept. 18 with Justice by the public relations firm, the documents say the company will “advance the level of communication, awareness and media/policy maker attention about the political situation in Honduras.”
US. State Department campaign denies the systemic repression that continues, nine months after coup. There maybe a bigger reason than the marketing firm for the US to make that claim. Documents revealed by Wikileaks show how the United States conspired in the 2009 coup in Honduras. The documents said that Washington used Honduras as a laboratory for staging coups against progressive presidents in the region who do not bow down to the empire.
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We all know that governments can be corrupt so the real question here is how is it affecting the locals, the farmer and the teachers?
According to an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) report, “the IACHR was able to confirm that since the coup d’état in Honduras, serious violations of the human rights of its inhabitants have occurred, including deaths, an arbitrary declaration of a state of emergency, suppression of public demonstrations through disproportionate use of force, criminalization of public protest, arbitrary detentions of thousands of persons, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and grossly inadequate conditions of detention, militarization of Honduran territory, a surge in the incidents of racial discrimination, violations of women’s rights, serious and arbitrary restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, and grave violations of political rights. The IACHR also established that the judicial remedies were ineffective in protecting human rights.”
In addition to the long list of human rights violations,farmers had their land taken away and handed over to corporations and government to produce palm oil. There are currently over 300,000 rural families in need of land. The farmers are trying to get their land back and are paying for it with their lives. Military and security forces were given orders to kill farmers/families who were working corporate occupied land, many have been killed. Reports highlight a 17 year old farmer who was shot 12 times. (Action step: don’t buy palm oil).
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Now, in Honduras, the government is working on trying to privatize the education system and now the teachers are on strike. Reports say the teachers’ strike has become a catalyst for a wider political movement against the government, and to demand the return from exile of ousted former President Manuel Zelaya. At least one teacher has been killed and more than 50 people have been injured in clashes with police, in some of the worst unrest since the months following the June 2009 coup that toppled Zelaya.
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It is important to note that the United States supports the actions from the military government and these corporations. It is more important to learn about the people of Latin America not just because similar oppressions are happening all over, even here in the United States, but because the more we learn about others the better we become at helping put an end to the suffering, the killings. We must hold up the basic human rights for all.
I would highly recommend reading the book, Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America
This book does not highlight the Honduras situation but it helps give you a deeper view on how grassroots social movements played major roles in electing left-leaning governments throughout Latin America, but subsequent relations between the streets and the states remain uneasy and how United States has a hand in keeping the power of the people in Latin America in the hands of corporations and corruption.
If you want to follow the Honduras struggle you can keep an eye on it at The Real News.