America’s ‘Drug War’ Crimes in Honduras
In the name of the war on drugs, the U.S. has murdered a number of civilians, including two pregnant women and two children in Honduras. Dan Kovalik at Huffington Post:
According to the Honduran newspaper, Tiempo, as well as the Honduran human rights group, COFADEH, the agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), dressed in military uniforms, killed at least four and possibly six civilians in a raid which took place on Friday, May 11. The victims included two pregnant women and two children. The newspaper Tiempo did not pull any punches, writing that those killed “were humble and honest citizens.” Apparently, the DEA agents fired from helicopter gunships upon a boat carrying civilians on the Patuca back to their community of Ahuas which itself is located in the Mosquito coast of Honduras. According to Tiempo, the DEA mistakenly fired upon the civilian boat because it was well-lit while the intended target — a boat carrying drug traffickers — was floating down the river without its lights on.
Last week I wrote about how over 600 U.S. soldiers are stationed in Honduras in a bid to “promote stability,” which in Washington-speak means wreak havoc. The Obama administration chose to support the illegal military coup in Honduras in 2009, which ousted democratically elected Jose Manuel Zelaya. The coup leaders continued to receive U.S. aid as American military and DEA presence in the country began to expand. This began a descent into what Dana Frank, professor of history at the University of California, called “a human rights and security abyss.” Hundreds of people, including the political opponents of the state and dozens of journalists, have been killed by U.S.-supported and trained security forces and overall drug war efforts there have led the country to attain the prestigious title of the highest homicide rate in the world, rivaling the war zone in Afghanistan.
COFADEH, the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared of Honduras, had this to say about U.S. policy in Honduras and Latin America generally:
… a foreign army [i.e., the U.S. army] protected under the new hegemonic concept of the “war on drugs,” legalized with reforms to the 1953 Military Treaty, violates our territorial sovereignty and kills civilians as if it was in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Syria.
Two pregnant women, two children and two adult males were killed by shots fired from helicopter gunships piloted by U.S. soldiers on a boat on River Patuca returning to their community. They were workers in the local lobster and shellfish diving industry.
… [T]he “failed state” of Honduras gave way to the foreign military occupation under the script of the “war against the drug cartels,” similar to what has happened in the past eight years in Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala.
In Mexico, just to recap, the U.S. has supported efforts by the Calderon government to militarize the approach to the drug war, leading to heightened violence and almost 50,000 mostly civilian deaths in a matter of years. In Colombia, the U.S. has supported paramilitaries who regularly commit massacres, leading to untold numbers of dead since the start of ‘Plan Colombia,’ and a corrupt government that has rolled back the rights of its citizens. In Guatemala, U.S. support and training for the Guatemalan military Kaibiles continues despite the militia’s ties to atrocities and drug cartels, and the history of U.S. intervention in Guatemala during the Reagan years is far worse than anything going on now.