CEPR: Hillary Paved Way for Rampant Impunity in Honduras

hillary honduras.jpg

Hillary Clinton needs to explain her role in the Honduran coup, CEPR spokesperson Dan Beeton told teleSUR. | Photo: EFE

Source:  TeleSUR
March 11 2016

Horrific tales of impunity include an activist who was raped by police: “Now bitch … you’re gonna see what happens to you,” they told her.

A member of the United States Congress, Betty McCollum, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry condemning the country’s continued financial support of the Honduran government in spite of a catalogue of horrifying human rights abuses committed by officials.

RELATED: Hillary Clinton Forgot That She Supported a Coup in Honduras

And as the spotlight turns to the U.S. involvement with the Central American country, the human rights group Centre for Economic Policy Research told teleSUR that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to explain her position regarding her role in the 2009 coup in Honduras, which paved the way for rampant impunity.

“It appears she’d rather people not know this history,” CEPR’s international communications director, Dan Beeton, told teleSUR.

McCollum’s letter mentioned the current outrage in Honduras at the assassination of renowned activist Berta Caceres, whose family claims responsibility lies with the state. Caceres had been outspoken about the U.S. and Clinton’s role in the military coup.

The recent murder of the internationally renowned Indigenous Honduran activist Berta Caceres

Berta Caceres 2015 Goldman Environmental Award Recipient

“The recent murder of the internationally renowned Indigenous activist Berta Caceres only highlights the fact that violence, lawlessness, corruption, and human abuses by members of the military and police make Honduras the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere,” the Democrat representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district wrote.

US funds to the Honduran government

McCollum “respectfully” asked Kerry to answer questions regarding U.S. funds from the Department of State and the Department of Defense to the Honduran government, including with people linked to human rights abuses.

“I respectfully request that the Department respond to me with regard to the enclosed correspondence and provide me with your assessment of the current status of U.S. assistance and full implementation of the Leahy Law,” she wrote, referring to the human rights law banning the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Defense from giving military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.

A thorough investigation into U.S. assistance to the government of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez

McCollum called for a thorough investigation into U.S. assistance to the government of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

“Part of this review must be a guarantee that the Leahy Law is being fully enforced and no U.S. funds are being used to support or train any security forces or individuals linked to human rights abuses,” she added.

Horrific Abuses

Attached to the letter was a list of “credible evidence regarding individuals and units that have committed human rights abuses in Honduras, which fall under the scope of the Leahy Law,” provided by prominent U.S. human rights nongovernmental organizations, including the Honduras Accompaniment Project, Witness for Peace and CEPR.

The disturbing document includes abuses by the Honduran military, military police, and regular police, which have never been prosecuted.

ANALYSIS: Hillary Clinton’s Dubious Views on Latin America

The document cites the case of current General Commissioner of the National Police, Hector Ivan Mejia and members of the Choloma and San Pedro Sula police. In August 2009, the testimony says, four members of the police kidnapped and gang-raped Melissa Irma Villanueva, while she was taking part in a protest.

“Now bitch, now you’re gonna see what happens to you for being where you shouldn’t be,” the police told her.

Mejia was the director of the San Pedro police at the time. None of the police officers were ever prosecuted, and after trying to report the event, Villanueva was kidnapped again, alongside her sister, and both were gang-raped in front of their husbands. Mejia was later prosecuted, and acquitted.

Other examples include torture, extrajudicial killings and brutally oppressing peaceful protesters.

Hillary Clinton Needs to Explain Herself

CEPR’s Beeton told teleSUR that the time had come for Clinton to acknowledge her role in the misery and impunity in Honduras.

manuel zelaya3.jpg

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya

“Hillary Clinton should explain why she worked to – as she put in her book, ‘Hard Choices’ – make the issue of the return of Honduras’ democratically-elected president to ‎office ‘moot,’” he said in an email to teleSUR.

By preventing Zelaya’s return to the presidency, he explained, through blocking an OAS resolution among other means, Clinton’s State Department effectively allowed the coup to succeed – doing great harm to US-Latin American relations in the process.

“Instead, it appears she’d rather people not know this history, as key passages about it have been removed from the paperback edition of the book,” he added.

2 thoughts on “CEPR: Hillary Paved Way for Rampant Impunity in Honduras

  1. Pingback: Murdered Honduran environmentalist criticized Clinton’s support of coup | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Secretary Clinton like so many other neo-liberals and neocons likes to talk about the noble principles that people should be held accountable for their actions and that they should act responsibly.

    There is no doubt that the the former US Secretary of State is right about her belief that individuals should be held accountable for their actions and be held responsible for them at all times.

    However, it is now the former Secretary of State’s turn to be accountable and responsible for her role in the military coup that forcibly remove the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and his government in 2009.

    The Secretary’s action in her official capacity in ensuring that a mildly reformist government was blocked from returning to the presidency must be fully explained to the American people who she hopes to represent as president of the US should she win her party’s nomination and the general election in November.

    There are important reasons why Ms. Clinton, the former Secretary of State should give a full explanation to the American electorate about her role in the overthrow of President Zelaya’s government.

    First and foremost and particularly since the Secretary and indeed the whole US government apparatus is so keen on the “national security” of the American people, it must be said that the Zelaya government and Zelaya himself posed no national security threat to the US government. As such the coup against the Zelaya government cannot be justified on any national security grounds by Secretary Clinton or any other officials of the Obama administration including President Obama himself.

    Secondly, the Zelaya government was a mildly reformist government that was not in any way hostile to the US government, US interests including US and other imperial corporate investments in Honduras. Furthermore, the Zelaya government did not threaten the interests and power of the local oligarchy and the ruling class in Honduras in anyway.

    The latter is factual since the mild reforms of President Zelaya’s government such as his support of the minimum wage, his respect for human rights, stability, law and order and other mild reforms to benefit the poor in his country could have been easily accommodated by dependent capitalism in Honduras without power being lost by the ruling oligarchy.

    Indeed, Zelaya’s reforms had they been given a chance to succeed by Secretary Clinton and the oligarchy in Honduras would probably have created more stability and less protests and conflicts from the poor and dispossessed classes for whom most of the reforms were intended.

    President Zelaya acted within his country’s constitution as a sovereign leader and did not abuse his powers or violated the rights of the Honduran people during his tenure. However, despite his adherence to the constitution and despite his reforms to improve the lot of the poorest Hondurans Secretary Clinton clearly despised him.

    In her book “Hard Choices” she described him as “……….. a throwback to the caricature of a Central American strongman, with his white cowboy hat, a dark black mustache, a fondness for Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.” In the first place, the question should be posed as to who created such caricatures of “Central American” strongmen and what were and are their political objectives of creating those images of these leaders?

    However to be blunt, Secretary Clinton was being silly. Every president anywhere has the right to his or her own taste of clothing and style whether that’s a ” white cowboy hat” and a “black mustache” or $10,000 Armani suites and bald head. Those choices or preferences and a leader’s ” fondness” for other leaders don’t make a leader a “strongman” which is the US’ code word for a dictator.

    Indeed, the US government and Secretary Clinton don’t have the right to determine the personal tastes and “fondness” of sovereign leaders for other sovereign leaders particularly those like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro who are embraced as icons of liberation by tens of millions of people in Latin America and globally for standing up to imperialist bullies like the US and its representatives like Secretary Clinton.

    The late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez and former president of Cuba, Fidel Castro were never dictators. On the contrary, they brought peoples’ democracy to their respective countries unlike the merciless dictators like Pinochet in Chile, Somoza in Nicaragua, Suharto in Indonesia, Mobutu in Zaire and many more blood thirsty bastards who have killed hundreds of thousands of their own people that the US government and the Clintons supported.

    Have you ever noticed that all the truly independent leaders who oppose the US’ dictates are always described as ” strongmen ” or ” dictators”? Coincidentally, all the subservient leaders in the world particularly those in the developing countries who embrace imperialist policies that are detrimental to their peoples’ development including those who are the real dictators that the US supported to overthrow democratic governments like Pinochet in Chile, Somoza in Nicaragua, Suharto in Indonesia and Mobutu in Zaire are usually called “moderates” or even “democrats.”
    Isn’t the latter really instructive for one to know their friends from their foes? Typically , whenever the US government says nice things about a government or a leader of a country, it is probably the case that the government or leader is not a friend of its own people and vice versa.

    Thirdly, we were told multiple times by the US media and government that Honduras was a sovereign and independent country in 2009 and before that year and as such the Honduran people exercised their sovereign and independent political and constitutional right to democratically elect Señor Zelaya as their President.

    Consequently, any action or decision whether within Honduras or outside of Honduras against Zelaya’s government was and is patently anti-constitutional, anti-democratic, anti-sovereign and above all else contemptuous of the will of the Honduran people.

    Fourthly, since the coup in 2009 against the Zelaya government and the political will of the majority of the Honduran people, the ruling oligarchy, the military, the police and the supporters of the coup that have replaced Zelaya’s government in Honduras have turned the country in a hell hole for dissidents, activists, ordinary folks and anyone who dares to stand up to the status quo in their own country.

    Indeed, many women, activists and labor leaders have been raped, tortured, arbitrarily jailed, beaten and abused by the police, military and paramilitary forces.

    Several people including women have been murdered and raped by security forces in Honduras. In fact, it was reported that in 2014 alone 513 women were killed violently in Honduras while in 2015, it was reported that every 16 hours a woman was violently murdered.

    Sadly, many political commentators, human rights, labor and environmental and gay activists have experienced similar fates to those of women at the hands of the government and security forces.

    The culmination of the rule of impunity since the coup that Secretary Clinton helped to engineer was the brutal murder in her home of Berta Carceres, the internationally renown human rights, indigenous and environmental activist and recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize last week Wednesday, March 2nd.

    It is noteworthy that Berta Caceres was a frequent critic of the role of Secretary Clinton in the coup in her country and the political impunity that led to her multiple harassment, her multiple death and rape threats which sadly led to her political assassination last week while she was asleep.

    Will Secretary Clinton provide an explanation to Berta Caceres’ family and the thousands of other families who mourn their loved ones in Honduras as a direct result of the violence and impunity that the coup she supported created?

    How can Secretary Clinton who is running around the US assuring women that she is a champion of their rights be allowed to get away with the multiple violations of rape, torture, deaths and other abuses that potentially millions of women and men too suffer daily because of her support for “regime change” not only in Honduras but also in Haiti, Iraq and Libya?

    The credibility and dignity of the more inquiring journalists and reporters in the US media whether mainstream or progressive require that they press Secretary Clinton to explain her roles in the cited countries in which there are serious human rights violations, abuses of dissidents, assassinations of activists, widespread gang rapes and abuses against women and anti-democratic and anti-constitutional practices against the democratic rights of the people.

    Secretary Clinton needs to be held accountable for all the crimes, tortures, human rights violations and murders particularly of women that have resulted from her involvement in Honduras (2009), Haiti (2011), Iraq (2003 and beyond) and Libya (2012).

    Frankly, it wouldn’t hurt if progressive politicians including Senator Sanders and others actually following the lead of US Congresswoman, Betty McCollum who has requested Secretary Kerry to explain the funneling of tax dollars through the Departments of Pentagon and State to support the government of Honduras that violates human rights and is therefore in violation of the Leahy Law. Likewise, this request should be broadened to include Haiti, Libya and Iraq.

    Congresswoman McCollum should also summon Secretary Clinton to the Congress to explain her roles in creating the crisis in each of the cited countries and in particular her role in making Honduras what the Congresswoman called
    “the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere.”

    The Secretary loves to talk about personal responsibility and accountability especially when she talks about poor and working people and so it would be nice to have her taste a little of her own medicine.

    Frankly, though it is interesting it is by no means surprising that the US media including Telemundo have not yet questioned Secretary Clinton about her role in creating the coup against President Zelaya. The latter after about eight (8) televised presidential debates between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders.

    However, what is perhaps interesting though not surprising either, in the last televised presidential debate between Sanders and Clinton held in Miami and hosted by Telemundo, Jorge Ramos, a star host at Telemundo and his colleagues questioned the candidates about Cuba, the embargo, the US’ “normalization of relations ” with Cuba etc. However, they decided not to ask the Secretary about her role in the Honduran coup.

    Paradoxically enough, Jorge Ramos who is very reactionary and anti-communist and his colleagues took Senator Sanders to task about an interview he did in the 1980s in which he denounced the US government’s policy of “regime change” against the Castro regime in Cuba.

    Telemundo’s political and ideological biases were made even more transparent in what must have been the decision of its hosts not to hold Secretary Clinton’s feet to the fire for not only her role in the coup in Honduras but the US government’s policy approach not only to Cuba but more generally Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Telemundo should be ashamed of its decision not to hold Secretary Clinton (also known as the “Queen of Chaos” in foreign policy) to account for her role in the current crisis in Honduras , Haiti, Libya and Iraq. Off course, the big assumption is that Telemundo which is a part of mainstream media in the US has any shame!

    In closing, two points must be underscored. First, Secretary Clinton must be questioned in future presidential debates about her role in the coup in Honduras and the still evolving human rights, political, economic and immigration crisis that her action has created in that Central American country. Second, it is imperative that all American women particularly Native Americans, African-American and Hispanics know about the Secretary’s role in making the lives of women in Honduras a living hell so that they may be harmed with such pertinent information to determine whether they want her in the White House as President to make the lives of sovereign governments and peoples hell.

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