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US suspends aid to Honduras over human rights concerns

Alleged ties between the Honduran police chief and death squads of a decade ago have led the US to withhold some funds. 

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We call upon you to cut off your support (logistical, financial, and training) to the forces of disorder that are also the most violent institutions in our society, and to put an end to your occupation of our territory for military purposes without consulting the people of Honduras. Any subsequent reestablishment of your aid should depend on the verification of progress made by the recently established National Commission for the cleaning up [of the police], and the re-establishment of US bases should have the support of the citizenry, determined through the ballot box. But US appeasement and support of the violent agents of a rogue state have destroyed our fledgling democracy, brought us greater insecurity and a human rights catastrophe. Investment in the depressed economy will do much more for our mutual goals than these counterproductive expenditures. We call upon you to allow us as Hondurans to seek our own solutions to our problems in order to progress toward building a peaceful coexistence. Only with sovereignty can we work toward the refounding of Honduras as democratic nation that respects rights. And US policy should not continue to be an obstacle to that goal. History will see the emperor without his clothes on.

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Remind you, this is after blaming the US for just about everything that has gone wrong in Honduras since the 2009 coup. The letter talks about US responsibility "in part" but that's not really the tone of the letter. The US is directly and indirectly to blame for just about everything that is wrong in Honduras today. The US is asked to suspend all aid. It is asked to stop occupying Honduras (Occupying? Seriously?). And then, the US should only be allowed to re-establish bases once Hondurans allow them to do so "through the ballot box" which I take to mean not through their elected representatives (I know, today's leaders weren't really elected in free and fair elections nor do they really represent the people of Honduras) but through a separate referendum.
 Here's the other quote from the letter that I found interesting.

Combating drug trafficking is not a legitimate justification for the US to fund and train security forces that usurp democratic governments and violently repress our people. Everyone here in Honduras, including the staffers of your DEA offices in Tegucigalpa, know exactly who the drug traffickers are and where to find them.

I've seen the first sentence quoted in a few places but it's the second one that interests me. I'm sure that everyone thinks that they know who the drug traffickers are and where to find them. However, that's not the same as knows. And even if the US knows who the traffickers are (even that's not very convincing to me), they are going to need some evidence on which to act. And even if they do have evidence on which to act, it's not really clear that the US has many reliable partners in Honduras with whom it can act.
--- Mike Allison is an associate professor in the Political Science Department and a member of the Latin American and Women's Studies Department at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.  You can follow his Central American Politics blog here.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.


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