In November 2008, while ambassador to Nicaragua, death-squad manager nonpareil John Negroponte’s long time torture and terror campaign sidekick, Robert Callahan, remarked to a reporter in Managua, “US foreign policy toward Latin America has not changed in 50 years and is unlikely to do so under President Obama”. Just months later, the June 2009 coup in Honduras against President Manuel Zelaya proved him to be right. In fact, the veteran US war crimes insider’s comment explained unwittingly why US and allied foreign policy lurches from one mass murdering catastrophe to another. Callahan and Negroponte, himself a veteran of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, were the enforcers in Honduras of the US war against Nicaragua in the 1980s.
With the background noise of migration to the United States and the recent victory of Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, Central America and the Caribbean are at a turning point that will play an important role in the years to come in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region comes from processes of civil wars, historical colonization and systematic impoverishment; however, the facts are woven with this historical thread in which democracy and human rights are used in the interest of the hegemonic narrative to intervene and capture geostrategic resources. Three of the multiple processes taking place are described below.
On her recent trip to Guatemala and Mexico, Vice President Kamala Harris drove home two points: that potential immigrants to the U.S. should “stay home,” and that the Biden administration will not tolerate corruption, which it sees as a major barrier to development in the region. Harris made it clear that the two priorities are linked: “Part of giving people hope is having a very specific commitment to rooting out corruption in the region,” she said. But U.S. promises to help root out corruption in the region has generated skepticism in the U.S. and in Central America. The U.S. government has generally been on the wrong side of history when it comes to combating corruption in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — the three Central American countries that currently account for most migration to the United States.
At the moment, Central America is suffering from the acceleration of climate change fueled natural disasters. On the heels of the recent Hurricane Eta and a raging pandemic, Hurricane Iota has hit the region, predominantly impacting Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and black communities. The situation has been made worse by violent and corrupt governments supported by the United States. Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities in Central America have long warned against climate change and environmental destruction caused by foreign-owned and operated extractivist projects.
The new year began with the ongoing exodus of Central Americans as part of caravans of migrants and asylum seekers, which gripped international media in 2018. With continued pressure from the United States, migrants face an increasingly hostile and militarized response from Mexico. The first caravan to leave formed two groups as they set out from San Pedro Sula in Honduras on January 15...
The Trump administration is methodically dismantling the U.S. asylum system to slash immigration to the U.S. One of the most devastating changes the administration has introduced is negotiating agreements with Central American countries to require asylum seekers traveling through a country to first seek protection there. The agreements would effectively make it impossible for migrants to seek safety at the U.S. southern border – and endanger the lives of thousands of people fleeing violence and poverty in the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala) region and other countries.
It’s hard to believe that more than four years have passed since the police shot Amílcar Pérez-López a few blocks from my house in San Francisco’s Mission District. He was an immigrant, 20 years old, and his remittances were the sole support for his mother and siblings in Guatemala. On February 26, 2015, two undercover police officers shot him six times in the back, although they would claim he’d been running toward them with an upraised butcher knife. For two years, members of my little Episcopal church joined other neighbors in a weekly evening vigil outside the Mission police station, demanding that the district attorney bring charges against the men who killed Amílcar. When the medical examiner’s office continued to drag its feet on releasing its report, we helped arrange for a private autopsy, which revealed what witnesses had already reported
August 01, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - At the beginning of the 1980s, during a meeting in New York with then ex-President Jimmy Carter, I accompanied Argentine Nobel Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel as his translator. At that time, wars were ravaging the Central American countries. I remember vividly how at one point Carter asked Pérez Esquivel, “And what do you think, Adolfo, that the U.S. should be doing in Central America?” Such a direct and honest question by a former U.S. president would be unthinkable today.
The United States government has decided to redirect US$41.9 million, meant to financially assist Central American countries, to Venezuela's opposition, according to an internal document obtained Tuesday by Reuters. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) notified Congress that the aid will be used for salaries, travel, communications equipment, technical assistance and training for the management of a government budget and other needs for the Venezuelan opposition. Guatemala and Honduras were expecting the funds...
US Administration officials are sounding the alarm about a humanitarian crisis along the border with Mexico to justify building a border wall. As a medical humanitarian organization treating people in Honduras, El Salvador, and along the migration route through Mexico, we can be absolutely sure of this: a wall will do nothing to address the humanitarian crisis in Central America driving large numbers to flee north in search of safety and security. A humanitarian crisis demands a humanitarian response.
CANDELARIA DE LA FRONTERA, El Salvador (IPS) – As he milks his cow, Salvadoran Gilberto Gomez laments that poor harvests, due to excessive rain or drought, practically forced his three children to leave the country and undertake the risky journey, as undocumented migrants, to the United States. Gómez, 67, lives in La Colmena, in the municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera, in the western Salvadoran department of Santa Ana. The small hamlet is located in the so-called Dry Corridor of Central America, a vast area that crosses much of the isthmus, but whose extreme weather especially affects crops in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The Trump administration announced a new policy that effectively guts the right of asylum for refugees from Central America. From now on, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin expelling non-Mexican refugees as soon as they have made application for asylum after crossing the US-Mexico border. They will be immediately deported to Mexico instead of being allowed to stay in the US pending the adjudication of their asylum claims. The Mexican government, taking its orders from Washington, will not oppose these deportations or bring any legal action against the United States for a policy that is in flagrant violation of international law. Its only concession to the refugees is that Mexico will not confine them in US-style detention camps.
However, Trump’s threats to slash aid to the region if immigration was not contained have persistently raised doubts about how much the United States would stump up. The United States will spend billions of dollars in Central America and Mexico, as part of a plan to officially strengthen economic growth in the region but also aimed at deterring immigrants who want to travel to the United States as they are forced to flee poverty and violence, the U.S. and Mexican governments said on Tuesday. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been seeking to persuade U.S. counterpart Donald Trump to work with Mexico to develop Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as Mexico’s poorer south to stem the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers.
Refused Right To Seek Asylum, Honduran Refugees Demand Reparations For Destructive US Foreign Policy In Central America
"It may seem like a lot of money to you. But it is a small sum compared to everything the United States has stolen from Honduras." A month after arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes of being granted asylum in the U.S, about 100 refugees from Honduras marched to the U.S. Consulate in the border city of Tijuana on Tuesday to tell officials that they will return to home—but only if the country that's refused to observe their right to asylum pays them reparations for the destruction and destabilization its foreign policy has caused in their home country and throughout Central America.
I remember sitting across the table from my friend Pavel in a coffee shop in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa in 2014. The conversation was casual and frank, as it often is, when talking to Hondurans about the imminent possibility of death. ‘The worst thing is that I know I could die in the dumbest way. It’ll happen while I’m leaving the grocery store, walking out of a coffee shop, or driving to band practice.’ Pavel was a well-known musician and activist. His rock band had played an important role in denouncing the 2009 military coup in Honduras and reaching popular audiences about themes of poverty and structural inequality.