Inició a las 9:00 de la mañana y aún en horas de la noche declaraban testigos propuestos por el Ministerio Público. Al cierre de edición, el juez no había decretado una resolución
El Juzgado de Letras Penal con Jurisdicción Nacional deliberada la noche del sábado si dictaba auto de formal procesamiento a Arnaldo Urbina Soto, alcalde del municipio de Yoro, del departamento del mismo nombre.
La prolongada audiencia inicial se celebró en las instalaciones del Tercer Batallón de Infantería, con sede en Naco, Cortés.
En este proceso también se acusó a sus hermanos Mario Roberto y Miguel Ángel Urbina Soto; al tío de estos, José Ángel Urbina, y a los trabajadores del alcalde: Pablo Noel Urbina Orellana, Héctor Rolando Burgos Puentes, Fátima Xiomara Ramírez Puentes, Josué Emil Burgos Vargas y César Antonio Díaz Rodas.
Durante la audiencia, el Ministerio Público presentó sus evidencias para acreditar la comisión de ambos delitos y la participación de los imputados en los mismos.
Urbina fue capturado el pasado domingo y en audiencia de declaración de imputado el Juzgado le impuso la detención judicial, por lo que fue remitido al recinto militar. Igual resolución se aplicó a los demás imputados.
La Fiscalía presento ante el juez los medios de prueba recabados durante el proceso investigativo.
Entre ellas los análisis financieros realizados y los bienes adquiridos en los últimos años en los cuales se pretendió acreditar que no se justifican ya que no concuerdan con sus ingresos mensuales.
También se presentaron las armas de fuego decomisadas durante los allanamientos, entre ellas: fusiles AK-47, M-16, miras telescópicas, armas tipo revólver y pistolas automáticas, así como municiones.
Asimismo, el ente acusador aportó declaraciones de testigos, entre ellos detectives de la Dirección de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico.
Luego de valorar las pruebas y los argumentos de la defensa de los acusados, el juez emitió su resolución.
Desde las 7:00 AM de ayer unas 1,000 personas se hicieron presentes en la base militar donde se desarrolló la audiencia inicial y exigieron que dejaran libre a Urbina Soto.
Los simpatizantes de Urbina Soto llegaron en 20 buses y en autos particulares desde varios municipios del departamento de Yoro, entre ellos de Yoro, Victoria, Arenal, El Progreso, Morazán, Sulaco, entre otros.
Debido a la numerosa presencia de manifestantes, se incrementó la seguridad en la base militar, especialmente en la entrada y posibles puntos de acceso, adonde se ubicó a varios soldados y a elementos de la Policía Militar, quienes velaron porque nadie tratara de ingresar y que además se mantuviera el orden.
Urbina Soto contó también con el respaldo de algunos alcaldes de municipios del departamento de Yoro que también se hicieron presentes en la base militar.
Lo que podrá resolver el juez son dos opciones: El auto de formal procesamiento. De ser así, con la medida cautelar de prisión preventiva. La otra opción es que les decreten el sobreseimiento, sea provisional o definitivo.
10:00PM – Redacción: email@example.comExigen que cualquier discrepancia entre ambos partidos se resuelva con el diálogo.
Pronunciamiento público suscrito por los alcaldes de Comayagua.
Los alcaldes y diputados del Partido Liberal y del Partido Libre, en el departamento de Comayagua, propiciaron lo que podría ser la reunificación del liberalismo como única forma de volver al poder de la nación.
En un pronunciamiento público se hicieron cuatro consideraciones o reconocimientos de la realidad política del país. El último inciso enumera, a su vez, siete exigencias de la dirigencia del departamento de Comayagua y sus bases, para las autoridades centrales de ambos partidos. El pronunciamiento aparece firmado por varios alcaldes y diputados de ambos partidos.
Como punto de partida, la dirigencia manifiesta su posición al Consejo Central Ejecutivo del Partido Liberal, al coordinador general del Partido Libre, a todos los partidos políticos, a la ciudadanía y a los medios de comunicación.
En ese pronunciamiento expresan que todos reconocen la ruptura que se dio en el Partido Liberal a raíz de los acontecimientos de junio de 2009. Curiosamente, en el manifiesto no se hace referencia al término “golpe de Estado”.
“Dichos hechos han permitido el aprovechamiento para que el Partido Nacional se perpetúe en el poder”.
En el inciso c dicen que son conscientes que el actual es un mal Gobierno, que hace más pobres a los pobres y más ricos a los ricos.
En el inciso d, los líderes de ambos partidos les exigen a las autoridades centrales que “procedan de inmediato” a deliberar para proceder a una alianza y así “tomar el poder de la nación”.
Exigen que cualquier discrepancia entre ambos partidos se resuelva por medio del diálogo y el consenso, tomando en cuenta los más altos intereses de la patria y no los de grupo o personales.
06:55PM – Redacción: firstname.lastname@example.orgColombia y EUA buscan reforzar las actividades policiales y militares de estos países.
Colombia y EUA buscan reforzar las actividades policiales y militares de estos países.
Colombia y Estados Unidos renovaron ayer un plan conjunto de formación en seguridad para Centroamérica y el Caribe durante la visita a Bogotá del secretario adjunto del Departamento de Estado estadounidense para la lucha antidrogas, William Brownfield.
Según un comunicado de la Policía Nacional, el desarrollo de este plan para 2015 “incluye cerca de 205 actividades que desarrollarán las Fuerzas Militares y la Policía Nacional de Colombia en Panamá, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador y República Dominicana”.
Las actividades estarán enfocadas “en capacitación en aspectos como lucha contra el narcotráfico, control portuario y aeroportuario, guías caninos, seguridad ciudadana, antisecuestro, antiextorsión, policía judicial y vigilancia comunitaria”.
Brownfield, que se reunió con el director de la Policía Nacional, Rodolfo Palomino, y con el ministro de Defensa, Juan Carlos Pinzón, recordó también que en “los últimos 25 años” Colombia ha tenido a su lado a Estados Unidos como un aliado clave en medio del conflicto armado que azota al país sudamericano desde hace más de medio siglo.
“Esta visita se dedica a los dos temas: uno, a la colaboración que continúa entre Estados Unidos y Colombia para resistir, combatir y eventualmente eliminar el tráfico de drogas (…), pero también hablamos de más coordinación trilateral en la que Colombia y Estados Unidos podamos apoyar conjuntamente proyectos y actividades en otros países”, destacó el funcionario estadounidense. Ante ello, Pinzón aseguró: “La cooperación que tenemos siempre (con Estados Unidos) ha permitido fortalecer nuestra inteligencia, nuestra capacidad aérea, nuestra capacidad de entrenamiento” y esa es la experiencia que se comparte con otros militares y policías de la región. En el marco del plan conjunto de seguridad de Colombia y Estados Unidos ya han sido capacitados en los últimos dos años más de 800 policías, sobre todo centroamericanos, según las autoridades.
Brownfield es un gran conocedor de la región y especialmente de Colombia, pues entre 2007 y 2010 se desempeñó como embajador de Estados Unidos en Bogotá.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — The pastor came one afternoon to survey his church, or what was left of it: remnants of a “welcome” sign and a strip of Christmas garland still tacked to the wall.
The gang took the chairs. They took the light fixtures. They took the doors. They had given his family 24 hours to get out and so they did, abandoning their home and the small evangelical church he led.
“There was no other way,” Pastor Jorge Rivas said the other day, on the porch of a house in another part of this violent city, where the family has taken refuge. “We would die there.”
When he moved there 20 years ago, Mr. Rivas commanded respect, even among the gang members. The neighborhood, Chamelecón, was not yet the most dangerous in one of the most dangerous cities in the hemisphere.
He would fish the calm, cooling waters of the Río Chamelecón, long before bullet-pocked bodies turned up along the shore and the sugar cane fields abutting it.
His six children would kick soccer balls along Chamelecón’s dusty streets and dash to the neighborhood bodega for ice cream, long before stray bullets shot down a neighbor in front of the store across the street.
He watched Chamelecón decay, mirroring the deterioration of Honduras as a whole over the past two decades. Buffeted by a succession of natural and man-made disasters, it has become one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere and now a flash point for the child migrant crisis as many of its young people flee to the United States, sometimes alone, often in the company of family members or neighbors.
A devastating hurricane in 1998 swelled the river and flooded many houses. Economic free fall followed. People could not find work and delinquents, always present in the working-class neighborhood, hardened and grew powerful, driving away even the police.
The clothing factories nearby that sustained so many families shifted many jobs to neighboring Nicaragua. The government collapsed in a coup in 2009, and though order was eventually restored, the better days promised still seem a distant dream.
The gangs moved from house to house demanding “rent” or a “war tax,” or the property itself. Night after night, families fled in terror to other parts of Honduras, to Mexico, to the United States, many of them part of the wave of child and family migrants overwhelming American detention centers in the Southwest.
Left behind are rows of hollowed-out houses, stripped of furniture, windows, even bathroom fixtures.
Still, the pastor hung on, because he believed in God and hope. Then gang members pointed a pistol at his 15-year-old son.
“Lift up your shirt,” they demanded, inspecting his body for rival tattoos.
“I could not speak,” the boy recalled of the terror.
And, finally, the gang came to the house. They wanted it. And the church.
The pastor gave up on hope and the neighborhood.
“But not God,” he said. “He will find a way.”
It has been nearly two years since he left.
A Rise Amid Dysfunction
The Chamelecón district is a warren of modest cement-block houses painted in now chipped and fading pastels.
Two of Honduras’s most powerful gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, and their myriad factions battle for turf, with the borderlines of their territory the most lethal. The most spectacular crime occurred a decade ago, when 28 people on a bus passing through the neighborhood were killed by gang members upset at plans to restore the death penalty.
But it is the everyday grind of murder and mayhem that gnaws most of all at people here.
Oscar Ramón, 20, who helps his father farm a patch of land along the river, said at least 20 bodies had been dumped in the river and cane fields in the past year. He lost count.
“I think here is not for me,” he said in the broken English he learned at an orphanage school his father sent him to in the capital, to be safe.
Many young people agree and have left, but many more have stayed, living locked in their homes and harboring dreams of escape.
Although Honduras was spared the civil wars of its neighbors in the 1980s and 1990s, the regional instability set the stage for a surge of migration that rapidly accelerated after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998. The storm killed thousands of people in Honduras, left one million homeless and destroyed what was left of a declining Banana industry, once the country’s lifeblood, as well as other vital crops.
By 2000, the number of Honduran immigrants in the United States, mostly without proper visas, had doubled from a decade earlier, to 283,000, and it now stands around 500,000, according to a Migration Policy Institute report.
They have come to prop up the economy back home, with the $3.2 billion sent back last year accounting for 20 percent of the economy, the highest proportion in Latin America.
After the Cold War, Honduras strongly embraced capitalism, investing heavily in the manufacturing for export industry — commonly known as maquiladoras — and San Pedro Sula’s industrial base boomed, stitching underwear, T-shirts, jeans and other low-cost products for consumption in the United States and other countries.
It emerged as a city of stark inequality, with large malls seemingly teleported from Miami and gated communities climbing the hills for the doctors, lawyers and engineers catering to the moneyed class.
But the 2009 coup, coupled with the worldwide recession, took a toll, and the economic shock wave was keenly felt in Chamelecón, residents said.
Family after family told of layoffs and shorter work hours. More and more, it seemed, one needed to know somebody to get and keep a job.
In June, a job fair for 5,000 openings drew 23,000 people, forcing the police to respond to keep order.
The economic distress and migration laid the ground for the emergence of powerful street gangs, and government dysfunction gave them staying power.
They have roots in Los Angeles, among Salvadoran refugees who fled there during the civil war. After the war, gang members were deported and, taking advantage of weak institutions, re-emerged on their home turf with little to keep them in check.
Honduras has long had close social ties with El Salvador, and, at least in the early wave of migration, many Hondurans established themselves in Salvadoran communities.
Crime analysts say this is why the Honduran gangs bear such a close resemblance to the Salvadoran gangs, but in Honduras, with the political instability, deeper poverty and a history of willfully weak judicial and security forces, the gangs have exploded in power and readily acquire military-grade weaponry.
To make matters even more volatile, drug trafficking organizations in recent years, facing increasing obstacles in the Caribbean, began moving more cocaine through Central America and forging alliances with the gangs as foot soldiers. Honduras became a major transshipment point for cocaine flown from South America, and the cartels, along with corrupt police officers, may be supplying the gangs with weapons and cheap cocaine as payment.
The police remain so unable to take on the gangs and cartels that sometimes they do not even have gas in their aging vehicles to go on patrol.
“It’s like sending kindergartners up against an N.B.A. basketball team,” said Steven S. Dudley, a director of InsightCrime.com, a website tracking and analyzing Latin American crime trends.
Still, Col. Germán Alfaro, who leads a combined military-police force in the San Pedro Sula region, said Honduras had to turn to the military because it was the country’s most trusted authority. Soldiers regularly patrol alongside police officers in a show of force that Chamelecón residents said had brought mixed results. Several said a letup in the gang war, not the military, had calmed some streets for now.
But Colonel Alfaro said that there had not been a gang-related shootout in more than a month and that slowly, the patrols were gaining the confidence of residents who wished to move back.
“This was not a problem created overnight,” he said, “and it won’t be resolved overnight.”
‘Everybody Is Nervous’
On her bookshelf, she keeps three pebbles, painted ME-XI-CO with nail polish: a wry souvenir of the journey she took with her 13-year-old son, hopscotching on buses through Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico until they were finally caught there and sent home in June. She had hoped to reach a sister’s home in Houston. She did not make it, despite paying $6,000 to a smuggler, who has disappeared.
“There was a fever here; everybody thought they were going to get documents,” said the woman, Marta Triminio Guerrero, 44. “Now, we are all coming back, but to what?”
Her son, Roberto, pondered the question. He was nervous during the journey and frustrated when they were caught, but he understood his mother’s motivation.
Work is sporadic; she sells trinkets and tamales from the house when she can. Roberto is back in school, one run by a church-affiliated nonprofit called Caminando por la Paz — Walking for Peace — that is trying to keep young people like him from falling prey to gangs.
To Roberto, his section of Chamelecón has not been entirely pacified; gang members lurk, and he does his best to steer clear of them. A wall near his house is full of large bullet holes from high-powered rifles. He rarely goes outside, except to walk to and from school, so, like other children, he spends a lot of time inside watching soccer on television.
It is a monotonous life but, for now, a safer one than venturing too far out and getting killed as a suspected “halcon,” or lookout for a rival gang.
“I would do it again, yes, because I could study up there, up north, and then work,” he said, referring to his attempt to reach the United States. “It’s pretty ugly here in the afternoon. You hear the shots and the fighting sometimes. Everybody is nervous until the daytime.”
Hector Leiva, the coordinator of the school, lamented so many promising young people who were looking to leave the country, or who already have. Everybody is struggling, he said, to the point that his plan to extend the school day by two hours in the afternoon was rejected by parents demanding their children come home to work.
“How do you argue against that?” he asked.
Fearing a Return Home
Late one afternoon, Pastor Rivas came to his small, abandoned church to inspect the damage. Almost all the furnishings were gone.
The reality is, his family can no longer afford the rent on the house in another part of the city that a church friend helped them with, so they may be forced back. But it is just as well, he said: “Our home is in that neighborhood,” though he worries that he has little means to make repairs.
Things in the neighborhood seemed to have settled down. Another neighbor that afternoon, too, was cleaning up her house with the idea to move back soon. But with a 12-year-old daughter, she fretted over taking the chance.
“I am going to see how things look in the next couple of weeks,” said the woman, Ana, who was too afraid to give her full name. “If the soldiers have control, if the gang does not come around for rent, it may be time to come back.”
Pastor Rivas said he would leave for the United States if there were a legal way to do it. But the long wait and cost for a visa makes that idea impractical, he said. And he does not have the $6,000 or more to pay a smuggler.
His son Jorge dreams about life in the United States or even another part of Honduras. He is torn about the idea of moving back to the neighborhood; he misses friends but is not even sure how many are still there. He knows roughly 10 have made it to the United States or Mexico.
But he fears a repeat of the worst in the neighborhood.
“We always had to throw ourselves to the floor and pray one of the bullets doesn’t get you,” he said. “We were always locked in there. It wasn’t a lot of fun.”
He paused, searching for a way to make a stranger understand.
“You go to birthday parties, right?” he said. “There used to be birthday parties and house parties. Now, there aren’t any because with so many people there, it gets the gang’s attention, and sometimes they would kill people.”
The afternoon dragged on. He watched the end of a soccer game and then walked out to another room, catching sight of his 7-year-old niece drawing in a notebook.
She drew a house, a Halloween orange one. Droplets of bright colors encircled it. A long walkway cut through sproutings of a green lawn. A bespectacled, smiling sun gleamed in a corner of the sky.
It was not the house she knew.
“It’s the one,” the girl, Astrid, said, “I wished we lived in.”
Captura de Mario Zelaya se torna difícil porque lo están ayudando personas que se favorecieron con los fondos del IHSS.
latribuna.hn/ 2 agosto, 2014 – 10:26 Am. Al exdirector del Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social, Mario Zelaya, lo están ayudando personas que fueron beneficiadas con los fondos de la institución, razón por la cual su captura es más difícil.
A pesar que importantes recursos económicos, humanos y materiales se están utilizando para su detención, el exfuncionario se moviliza a largas distancias en el territorio nacional.
La información la dio a conocer, este sábado, el jefe de la Fuerza de Seguridad Interinstitucional Nacional (Fusina) de la zona norte, Germán Alfaro.
“El rastreo de estos individuos es intenso, es una constante que se emplea hasta recursos técnico, humanos, materiales valiosos en la ubicación, pero tiene tanta gente que han favorecido que ofrecen protección”, dijo el oficial, a una radio local.
Según investigaciones del Ministerio Público, en el enorme defalco económico están involucradas unas 320 personas, quienes extrajeron enormes cantidades de dinero.
“El rastro que tenemos de este individuo es un movimiento de largas distancias dentro del territorio, no es fácil seguirle la pista a un individuo de estos que sabe lo que está haciendo”.
Indicó que se está tras su ubicación por medio de gente especializada que trabaja arduamente.
Las autoridades de la Policía Internacional (Interpol) comparten la información de Fusina, ya que aseguran que el ahora prófugo de la justicia está en Honduras.
En ese sentido, Alfaro manifestó que apresarlo “es cuestión de tiempo en el corto plazo, hay una gran responsabilidad para demostrarle a la nación que se están haciendo las cosas correctas de la mejor manera”.
Vacío de poder evita efectividad de los operativos
A su ver, existe un vacío de poder para que los operativos sean más efectivos, porque las leyes no permiten la ejecución de allanamientos a largas horas de la noche.
Explicó que esperar doce horas para presentar una orden de cateo permite a los facinerosos buscar mecanismos para evadir la justicia.
Aseveró que para dar con el paradero del exdirector del IHSS se está “trabajando de día y de noche”.
Entre un sinnúmero de acusaciones se le sindica despilfarrar fondos en la contratación de prepagos chilenas.
El sonado caso ha indignado a la población, quienes exigen respuestas inmediatas para abastecer de medicamentos e insumos el sanatorio público – privado
Ronald Reagan, Oliver North (Credit: AP/Barry Thumma/Lana Harris)
There seems to be a general consensus that we should be addressing not only the symptoms, but also the “root causes” of rising emigration from Central America. But what are they? On the right, the influx of children from the region is said to be the predictable result of our allegedly lenient immigration policy; mass deportation, therefore, is supposedly the obvious solution. “[I]mmediately deport these families, these children,” demands Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, in “plane loads,” specifies Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Closer to the center, the causes of immigration from the region are typically said to be rising gang violence, the drug trade and the drug war and – to a lesser extent – poverty.
With the exception of our immigration policy, it’s obvious these factors are playing a major role in encouraging emigration from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. But if we are to speak of true “root causes,” we have to look deeper still: first, to the gross inequality from which these social maladies arise, and second, to the political forces that have maintained and enforced this economic status quo, decade after decade. The implications of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital” for the developed world have been much discussed, but the meaning of inequality for poor countries is no less: The crisis of Central American immigration, I would argue, is a crisis of inequality, tragically manifested.
Clearly, inequality in Central America has been, to some degree, the brutal legacy of colonialism. Yet even today, the countries of Central America are among the most unequal not only in the hemisphere, but also on the globe: Honduras is the eighth most unequal country worldwide, and Guatemala isn’t far behind. Income distribution aside, Central American nations are also the most impoverished in Latin America. Using a multidimensional index, the U.N. estimates that 79.9% of children in Guatemala, 78.9% in El Salvador and 63.1% in Honduras live in poverty (compared to 31.8% in Venezuela and 15.7% in Chile). In Honduras, rates of malnutrition reach 48.5% in rural areas, while almost half of Guatemalan children are moderately or severely stunted in growth. Superimposed on this poverty has been a devastating wave of gang violence. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have some of the highest homicide rates in the world.
But why is the region so underdeveloped, why is poverty so entrenched, and why has the colonial legacy of inequality proven so resistant to social and political change? Though the situation is admittedly complex, the dismal state of affairs in Central America is in no small part the result of the failure of social democratic and left-of-center governments to maintain power and enact socioeconomic change; this failure, in turn, is sadly (in part) the consequence of the ironic “success” of U.S. foreign policy.
Consider the case of Guatemala. As it did elsewhere, the legacy of the colonial and postcolonial era meant massive inequalities in land ownership in Guatemala, with large numbers of dispossessed peasants condemned to lives of severe poverty. This status quo was maintained in the 1930s and ’40s by the U.S.-supported dictator Jorge Ubico, but it was challenged following his overthrow in 1944, particularly after the election of Jacobo Árbenz in 1951. “All the riches of Guatemala,” Árbenz announced at his inauguration, “are not as important as the life, the freedom, the dignity, the health and the happiness of the most humble of its people.” And he delivered: In seeking to take Guatemala out of feudalism, Árbenz redistributed lands of the United Fruit Company (with full compensation) to landless peasants.
Perhaps unsurprisingly – in the context of the reductionist zero-sum politics of the Cold War – Árbenz was soon deemed a communist threat; however strong his democratic credentials and however nonexistent Soviet involvement might be, his days were numbered.
In Operation PBSUCCESS, the CIA achieved the overthrow of Árbenz by destabilizing the Guatemalan economy, engaging in various innovative forms of psychological warfare and ultimately orchestrating an invasion of the country from Honduras in 1954. Following his overthrow, a military dictatorship was installed, and variably supported, for decades. But this status quo could only be maintained with violence and authoritarianism; insurgency would follow, while inequality and social deprivation would remain largely untouched. The logic of support for “anticommunist” dictatorship in Guatemala reached a bloody apex during the Reagan administration, when the U.S.-supported military regime went on an unprecedented killing spree. During the reign of General Rios Montt (called by Reagan “a man of great personal integrity,” though recently tried in Guatemala on charges of genocide), the military embarked on a “scorched earth” counterinsurgency operation. Some 100,000 Mayan peasants were murdered by the army between 1981 and 1983 alone, through unspeakable acts of brutality, torture and sexual violence. An international Truth Commission would later appropriately call this genocide.
The dynamics in El Salvador during this period were to some extent similar: a feudal distribution of land, grinding poverty, the inevitable guerilla resistance, an unspeakably brutal military regime, consistent U.S. support under the mantra of anti-communism, and a blind eye turned toward death squads. The infamous murder of hundreds of men, women and children by the American-trained Atlacatl Battalion in the village of El Mozote was but one massacre in a larger massacre. The tragedy was that none of this was inevitable. “The Reagan administration,” as the historian Walter LaFeber put it in his classic history of Central America decades ago, “had the alternative of negotiated settlements, international supervisions, and multilaterally shared responsibilities. It chose the unilateral escalation of the CIA-military effort to win supposed final victories.” Yet what did we win? If anything, we only “made much of Central America even more dependent on the United States,” as LaFeber presciently put it.
Honduras, meanwhile, served dutifully during these years as the archetypal “Banana Republic,” a regional U.S. battle station labeled by one expert “the USS Honduras” for its supporting role in such covert and overt military adventures. Yet lest the above events seem like ancient history, the case of Honduras suggests that much has stayed the same. In 2009, the left-wing-elected government of President “Mel” Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup – accompanied by the usual repression and human rights abuses – that was again countenanced by the United States. “Obama,” wrote Tim Padgett at Time magazine, “seems to have ceded Latin America strategy to right-wing Cold Warriors,” namely in Honduras.
One’s opinion of Zelaya, or his administration, is largely beside the point; the 2009 coup has been a disaster for Honduras. According to a report from the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, since the coup the economy has plunged, poverty has increased, social spending on health care and education has been slashed, economic inequality has worsened, and 100% of all real income gains have accrued to the wealthiest 10 percent of Hondurans. When I was in Honduras as a medical student in 2008, poverty was severe and crime was much discussed, but it is clear that things have worsened enormously: Honduras is now the murder capital of the world. Ironically, when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., recently called the influx of Central American immigrants “a crisis of the President’s own making,” he was perhaps unintentionally half correct.
But as the case of Honduras demonstrates, it’s not only about counterinsurgencies and coups – it’s about the economic policies that follow. The orthodox “neoliberal” economic policies of the so-called “Washington Consensus” – centered around privatization, trade and financial liberalization, and diminished social spending – exacerbated inequality throughout Latin America for decades. Things, however, actually began to improve in many parts of Latin America a decade or so ago: “The region moved left politically circa 2000,” Paul Krugman noted a few years back, “partially turning its back on the Washington Consensus — and there has been a dramatic reversal in inequality trends.” However, though inequality began to fall in much of South America – predominantly in nations with social-democratic or left governments – progress in Central America was “minimal” for much of the decade, according to a 2012 paper by the economist Giovanni Andrea Cornia. In Honduras and Guatemala, according to Cornia’s figures, the bottom 50% actually experienced a decrease in its income share during this period. Though the political situation varied from country to country – for instance, the left has won elections in both Nicaragua (which has much less of a problem with crime and emigration) and, more recently, El Salvador – the 2000s were overall a lost decade for much of Central America.
Admittedly, of course, it would be reductionist to explain the entire upsurge in Central American violence – or of child migration – on our foreign policy and neoliberal economic orthodoxy and its sociopolitical consequences. As others have emphasized, the impact of the drug war is no doubt critical, and gang violence can clearly take on a deranged logic of its own. But to divorce Central America – and this current crisis – from economics and history would be absurd. Countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have needed a New Deal since they escaped colonialism; instead, they were kept under the jackboot of murderous regimes, far too often with U.S. support, for much of the twentieth century. Retrograde neoliberal economic policies subsequently propagated the legacy of inequality into the twenty-first century.
The border children, for reasons of human decency, should be treated as refugees. But we should know that they are also – in no small way – escaping our own failed foreign policy and economic ideology: They are the refugees of inequality.