On Imperial Crimes in Honduras, Don’t Believe the State Department
The State Department is almost certainly deceiving the American public regarding U.S. involvement in the murder of several Honduran civilians. As I’ve written, the government kept this information from the American people for almost an entire week (the incident is reported to have occurred on May 11). They acknowledged the incident and admitted to being involved only after Honduran news media and human rights organizations began publicizing it. And, wouldn’t you know it, the stories differ. And the State Department’s initial story has changed since its first articulation.
Dana Frank, whose work I’ve been blogging about and highlighting for at least six months, is a professor of history at the University of California and has been very outspoken about the Obama administration’s terrible policies in Honduras (namely supporting a military coup regime and militarizing the country with U.S. Army and DEA troops under the pretext of the war on drugs). Here’s what she had to say about the conflicting stories on Democracy Now:
As a historian I would start by underscoring that we have to be very careful about believing what the State Department is saying at this point. They have admitted that there were four helicopters and that two of them were State Department helicopters and that there were Guatemalan military on board as well. So it is obviously getting even more complicated.
According to the Mosquito people on the ground, and the local mayor, and the Congress person that the U.S. forces—they descended from the helicopters after they had allegedly been shot upon by alleged drug traffickers in a different boat. According to people on the ground, they mistook that boat for the boat with civilians and started shooting at the civilians, killing at least four people—by some accounts five—including at least one pregnant woman, and by some accounts, children. Another woman was also shot at and lost limbs as a result, and a boy was shot in the arm from behind. U.S. troops were clearly on the helicopters but local people say U.S. troops were doing part of the shooting.
Meanwhile, the Honduran government—I do want to underscore, a week before, the day after it happened, they reported that it was drug traffickers that had been killed, and only after the civilians came forward very bravely and said, wait a minute, we’re not drug traffickers, we are local people—in fact, terrified of drug traffickers. And only thanks to AP do we even have it crossing over into the U.S. press, that there was U.S. DEA agent involvement in helicopters and on the ground.
Aside from this incident, we have to keep in mind that the Obama administration has blood on its hands anyways, given its committed support of the corrupt coup regime.
The police regularly kill people, and they have admitted that themselves, at least 300, have been killed by state security forces since Lobo came into office a little over two years ago. None of these people have been prosecuted. There are at least ten thousand denunciations of human rights abuses by state security forces, and even the government itself admits that—no one has been prosecuted for that. So this incident is happening in the context of U.S. ongoing support and even celebration of that regime, and welcoming Lobo to the White House just two weeks ago. In October—he was certainly speaking to the government in D.C. two weeks ago. So what’s going on is we have this tremendously corrupt government that’s killing its own people, and the U.S. is pouring more and more money into it.
As we speak, the U.S. has just recently tried to double a key piece of funding for the U.S.-Honduran military and police. Biden was recently down there, promising a hundred and seven million dollars more. We’re increasing the funding for the U.S. Air Force base at Soto Cano, and making the barracks there permanent there for the first time.
So the Obama administration is enthusiastically supporting perhaps the most brutal regime in the region with money and weapons, is basing more than 600 U.S. troops and probably many more DEA agents inside Honduras, and doesn’t think it’s any of the American people’s business if innocent men, women, and children are murdered in our name. This is the kind of prerogative that comes with leading the world’s only military hegemon. And I have a feeling the Blue Team won’t let it stop them from reelecting Barack Obama, Envoy of Change and Benevolence.