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Militarización, sicarios, negocios y Alianza por la Prosperidad en Honduras

A raíz de la resistencia contra el proyecto de Agua Zarca por los habitantes de Rio Blanco, la región ha sido militarizada para imponer la construcción del proyecto hidroeléctrico. No es sorpresa, por tanto, que altos miembros de DESA posean influencia en la actuación de las fuerzas estatales de seguridad hondureñas.

El presidente de la junta directiva, David Castillo Mejía fue ministro de gobernación durante el mandato de Ricardo Maduro, mientras el secretario de DESA, Roberto Pacheco Reyes, es un oficial de inteligencia militar. Pacheco también posee conexiones en el sector de energía pues actuó en 2008 como coordinador de desarrollo para la Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (ENEE), institución propiedad del gobierno hondureño, la única restante controlada por el aparato estatal en la región centroamericana.

La respuesta militarizada va de la mano con la trayectoria del proyecto neoliberal promovido en 1992 tras la aprobación de la Ley de Modernización Agrícola. Dictada por el Banco Mundial (junto a un paquete de políticas de ajustes estructurales) redujo los apoyos a los productores agrícolas locales y a su vez incrementó el respaldo al sector de exportaciones, pero sobre todo permitió vender tierras colectivas a inversores privados, lo cual ha aumentado las luchas territoriales con muestras extremas de represión por parte de empresas aliadas al estado hondureño como en la masacre de campesinos en el valle del Bajo Aguán por parte de Dinant.

Existe una estrategia de parte de empresas y organismos multinacionales para fomentar el saqueo de recursos y la propagación de proyectos de “desarrollo” que son un atentado en contra de la biodiversidad que resguardan las comunidades originarias.

El conflicto por la tierra se remonta hacia inicios de los cincuentas del siglo pasado. El presidente guatemalteco Jacobo Arbenz promovió una reforma que otorgaba parcelas sin usar de compañías fruteras hacia campesinos sin tierra, afectando los intereses de la estadounidense United Fruit Company, lo cual provocó el respaldo de Washington al golpe de estado de 1954. Al tiempo que la marina de los EU patrullaban la costas centroamericanas en preparación del ataque militar a Guatemala, estalló una huelga de trabajadores de la United en Honduras; como respuesta la compañía decidió mecanizar la producción y despedir a 15 mil trabajadores. Con el apoyo del gobierno hondureño, muchos de los obreros comenzaron a trabajar las tierras abandonadas por la empresa en tierras nacionales (propiedad del gobierno) o ejidales (títulos colectivos, algunos con origen en tiempos coloniales), las cuales hasta antes de 1990 fueron protegidas contra la titulación a privados. Con la Ley de Municipalidades de inicios de los noventas y la reforma agrícola de 1992 se aceleró la invasión de tierras indígenas.

Y en 2009 el proyecto de saqueo tomó un salto exponencial con el golpe de estado planeado por las trece familias oligarcas hondureñas con la ayuda del departamento de estado de los Estados Unidos, en ese tiempo con Hillary Clinton a la cabeza; el plan incluyó utilizar el avión privado de Miguel Facussé, presidente de Dinant para trasladar a Manuel Zelaya a la base militar de los EU conocida como Palmerola y de ahí expulsarlo hacia Panamá. Con ello la riqueza de Honduras se trasladó a la elite local y sus aliados estadounidenses engrosando sus cuentas en bancos offshore mientras los niveles de pobreza incrementaban. De acuerdo al Centro de Investigación en Economía y Política, desde el golpe prácticamente 100% de los ingresos se han concentrado en el 10% del sector más rico del país.

Las elecciones de 2013, compradas por Juan Orlando Hernández, vinieron a sellar la consumación del golpe financiero militar, el cual se mantiene a fuego bajo el corrupto sistema judicial hondureño (financiado por USAID), aparato direccionado a brindar protección a la élite empresarial que criminaliza a más de 4 mil campesinos (mil de ellos sólo en 2014) y es cómplice de los asesinatos de terratenientes como Facussé, quienes utilizan a su antojo los cuerpos de seguridad estatales.

El gobierno de Hernández, bajo el mandato neoliberal norteamericano, ha demostrado la necesidad de utilizar la violencia y militarización para mantener los privilegios y aumentar las ganancias de corporaciones globales, al establecer alianzas con fuerzas israelíes y colombianas –además de estadounidenses– para entrenar al ejército y policía hondureña en su tarea de reprimir a comunidades indígenas, campesinas, negras y populares bajo estrategias de guerra de baja intensidad donde actúan los fondos de apoyo de la USAID y la Fundación Nacional para la Democracia, todo para consolidar lo que las reformas de 1992 agudizaron: los tratados de libre comercio de América del norte y de Centroamérica, precedentes clave en el asalto corporativo en el cual los acuerdos transpacífico y transatlántico representan su fase global actual.

Tomás Gómez coordinador COPINH<img class=” wp-image-18996″ src=”http://criterio.hn/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Tomás-Gómez-COPINH-2-300×225.jpg” alt=”Tomás Gómez coordinador COPINH” width=”488″ height=”366″ srcset=”http://criterio.hn/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Tomás-Gómez-COPINH-2-300×225.jpg 300w, http://criterio.hn/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Tomás-Gómez-COPINH-2.jpg 640w” sizes=”(max-width: 488px) 100vw, 488px” />

Tomás Gómez coordinador COPINH

«La empresa ha exigido al Estado que dote de equipo técnico y logístico a la policía y el ejército porque ahí se ve donde tienen toda la logística, tienen suficientes carros para poderse movilizar y cuidar el proyecto hidroeléctrico Agua Zarca. Cada uno de los militares y policías les dan 1,000 lempiras por cada día,  y aparte de darles la comida. La policía nacional, policía militar y ejército se convierten en empleados de la empresa. Por eso ellos no actúan contra los sicarios que ha contratado la empresa. Nosotros decimos con argumentos que en diciembre de 2015 la policía agarró a uno de los sicarios, que se llama Olvin y lo vino a sacar Jorge Ávila, el jefe de seguridad de la empresa DESA. Le levantaron un expediente, lo agarraron con fuertes armas, de grueso calibre, le preguntaron para que las andaba, él dijo que para matar a los copines. Ahí está la evidencia y nosotros vemos que al ministerio público, le dieron 100 mil lempiras para que desistiera, a la jueza también le dieron 100 mil lempiras y este Olvin ya tiene tres personas que ha matado, uno de ellos está ahí en la comunidad de Valle de Ángeles pero la empresa le dio 40 mil lempiras a la familia para bonificarle o supuestamente indemnizarla para que no pusieran la denuncia contra él y lo dejaran preso. Se ve como la policía y los sicarios, impunemente pueden actuar frente a ellos y no hay decisión de quitarle nada. Vemos que en este país, los poderes los tienen el poder económico y político, o sea la empresa privada y los políticos que son títeres» continua relatando Tomás Gómez a Subversiones durante la entrevista realizada en el contexto del Encuentro Internacional Berta Cáceres Vive.

 

http://criterio.hn/militarizacion-sicarios-negocios-alianza-la-prosperidad-honduras/

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USAID HONDURAS, COLUDIDA CON LOS PRESUNTOS ASESINOS DE BERTA CÁCERES

Origen: http://radioprogresohn.net/index.php/comunicaciones/opinion/item/2916-usaid-honduras-coludida-con-los-presuntos-asesinos-de-berta-cáceres

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SERCAA y USAID dos instituciones que sabían de las acciones de la Hidroeléctrica DESA contra Bertha Cáceres

Origen: http://www.pasosdeanimalgrande.com/index.php/en/component/k2/item/1361-sercaa-y-usaid-dos-instituciones-que-sabian-de-las-acciones-de-la-hidroelectrica-desa-contra-bertha-caceres

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How Hillary Clinton Militarized US Policy in Honduras

She used a State Department office closely involved with counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq to aid the coup regime in Honduras.

 

n 2012, as Honduras descended into social and political chaos in the wake of a US-sanctioned military coup, the civilian aid arm of Hillary Clinton’s State Department spent over $26 million on a propaganda program aimed at encouraging anti-violence “alliances” between Honduran community groups and local police and security forces.

The program, called “Honduras Convive,” was designed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to reduce violent crimes in a country that had simultaneously become the murder capital of the world and a staging ground for one of the largest deployments of US Special Operations forces outside of the Middle East.

It was part of a larger US program to support the conservative government of Pepe Lobo, who came to power in 2009 after the Honduran military ousted the elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, in a coup that was widely condemned in Central America. In reality, critics say, the program was an attempt by the State Department to scrub the image of a country where security forces have a record of domestic repression that continues to the present day.

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence.” —Adrienne Pine, American University

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence,” says Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University who spent the 2013-14 school year teaching at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. “It’s related to the complete absence of participatory democracy in Honduras, in which the United States is deeply complicit.”

“With the coup, Clinton had a real opportunity to do the right thing and shift US policy to respect democratic processes,” added Alex Main, an expert on US policy in Central America at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, after being told of the program. “But she completely messed it up, and we’re seeing the consequences of it now.”

Honduras Convive (“Honduras Coexists”) was the brainchild of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), a controversial unit of USAID that operates overseas much like the CIA did during the Cold War.

Sanctioned by Congress in 1994, OTI intervenes under the direction of the State Department, the Pentagon, and other security agencies in places like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Colombia to boost support for local governments backed by the United States. Sometimes, as it has in Cuba and Venezuela, its programs are directed at stirring opposition to leftist regimes. Clinton gave the office a major boost after she became Secretary of State; its programs are overseen by an under secretary of state as well as the top administrator of USAID.
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She used a State Department office closely involved with counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq to aid the coup regime in Honduras.

n 2012, as Honduras descended into social and political chaos in the wake of a US-sanctioned military coup, the civilian aid arm of Hillary Clinton’s State Department spent over $26 million on a propaganda program aimed at encouraging anti-violence “alliances” between Honduran community groups and local police and security forces.

The program, called “Honduras Convive,” was designed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to reduce violent crimes in a country that had simultaneously become the murder capital of the world and a staging ground for one of the largest deployments of US Special Operations forces outside of the Middle East.

It was part of a larger US program to support the conservative government of Pepe Lobo, who came to power in 2009 after the Honduran military ousted the elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, in a coup that was widely condemned in Central America. In reality, critics say, the program was an attempt by the State Department to scrub the image of a country where security forces have a record of domestic repression that continues to the present day.

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence.” —Adrienne Pine, American University

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence,” says Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University who spent the 2013-14 school year teaching at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. “It’s related to the complete absence of participatory democracy in Honduras, in which the United States is deeply complicit.”

“With the coup, Clinton had a real opportunity to do the right thing and shift US policy to respect democratic processes,” added Alex Main, an expert on US policy in Central America at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, after being told of the program. “But she completely messed it up, and we’re seeing the consequences of it now.”

Honduras Convive (“Honduras Coexists”) was the brainchild of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), a controversial unit of USAID that operates overseas much like the CIA did during the Cold War.

Sanctioned by Congress in 1994, OTI intervenes under the direction of the State Department, the Pentagon, and other security agencies in places like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Colombia to boost support for local governments backed by the United States. Sometimes, as it has in Cuba and Venezuela, its programs are directed at stirring opposition to leftist regimes. Clinton gave the office a major boost after she became Secretary of State; its programs are overseen by an under secretary of state as well as the top administrator of USAID.
Most Popular
1

She used a State Department office closely involved with counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq to aid the coup regime in Honduras.

n 2012, as Honduras descended into social and political chaos in the wake of a US-sanctioned military coup, the civilian aid arm of Hillary Clinton’s State Department spent over $26 million on a propaganda program aimed at encouraging anti-violence “alliances” between Honduran community groups and local police and security forces.

The program, called “Honduras Convive,” was designed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to reduce violent crimes in a country that had simultaneously become the murder capital of the world and a staging ground for one of the largest deployments of US Special Operations forces outside of the Middle East.

It was part of a larger US program to support the conservative government of Pepe Lobo, who came to power in 2009 after the Honduran military ousted the elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, in a coup that was widely condemned in Central America. In reality, critics say, the program was an attempt by the State Department to scrub the image of a country where security forces have a record of domestic repression that continues to the present day.

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence.” —Adrienne Pine, American University

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence,” says Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University who spent the 2013-14 school year teaching at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. “It’s related to the complete absence of participatory democracy in Honduras, in which the United States is deeply complicit.”

“With the coup, Clinton had a real opportunity to do the right thing and shift US policy to respect democratic processes,” added Alex Main, an expert on US policy in Central America at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, after being told of the program. “But she completely messed it up, and we’re seeing the consequences of it now.”

Honduras Convive (“Honduras Coexists”) was the brainchild of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), a controversial unit of USAID that operates overseas much like the CIA did during the Cold War.

Sanctioned by Congress in 1994, OTI intervenes under the direction of the State Department, the Pentagon, and other security agencies in places like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Colombia to boost support for local governments backed by the United States. Sometimes, as it has in Cuba and Venezuela, its programs are directed at stirring opposition to leftist regimes. Clinton gave the office a major boost after she became Secretary of State; its programs are overseen by an under secretary of state as well as the top administrator of USAID.

OTI’s activities, the Congressional Research Service noted in a 2009 report, “are overtly political” and based on the idea that “timely and creative” US assistance can “tip the balance” toward outcomes “that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.”

In Honduras, OTI seems to have followed the model it set in Iraq, where it sent some of the first US aid personnel after the 2003 invasion. At the time, CRS said, OTI’s strategy in Iraq was to convey “the tangible benefits of the regime change.”

The objective of Honduras Convive is spelled out on USAID’s website: “To disrupt the systems, perceptions and behaviors that support violence by building alliances between the communities and the state (especially the police and security forces).” A USAID official confirmed that the program is still ongoing, but played down US ties with Honduran security forces. Convive, he said, is “working in communities to build the capacity of civil society and government institutions, while strengthening community cohesion.” It was initiated “at the request of USAID and the broader U.S. Government due to high levels of violence in Honduras,” he added. “The beneficiaries of the Convive program are the Honduran people.” Much of the country’s violence is blamed on gangs and drug cartels and has led thousands of Hondurans to send their children north to flee the region.

But contractor documents obtained about the program show that it was based in part on communications strategies to win “hearts and minds” developed during the counterinsurgency phase of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several OTI officials and contractors overseeing the project came to Honduras from Afghanistan, where they managed the civilian, nation-building side of the war. They included Miguel Reabold, OTI’s country representative in Honduras, who previously represented OTI in Afghanistan.

Part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by counterinsurgency adviser David Kilcullen.

In addition, a key part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by David Kilcullen, who was the senior counterinsurgency adviser to Army General David Petraeus in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Kilcullen’s research methodology, according to a contract proposal I obtained, was “built around a streamlined set of metrics” that provide a “manageable method for assessing counterinsurgency campaigns that can be replicated and customized in other insecure environments.” The contract was submitted to Reabold on October 16, 2012.

The USAID official confirmed that Kilcullen’s company, Caerus Associates, “received two grants totaling approximately $77,000 to assist USAID/OTI to assess licit and illicit networks in San Pedro Sula,” Honduras’s largest and most violent city. But, he added, “the Honduras Convive program is not a counterinsurgency program.”

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In a lengthy e-mail, the official added that Convive “has drawn its lessons from best practices in violence prevention, community policing, and community cohesion from urban environments all over the world.” Since the program began, he insisted, violence has declined. He provided figures showing “marked reductions in homicides between 2013 and 2014 in some of the city’s most dangerous communities,” with declines of between 18 and 46 percent in several municipalities.

“USAID believes that homicides are decreasing due to a combination of factors, included among them a more cohesive community, represented by empowered leaders, working closely with Honduran government partners (including the police); international donors; and complementary USAID programs,” the official wrote in his e-mail.

But nowhere in the USAID documents does the word “coup” appear. The agency’s claims and statistics stand in stark contrast to the situation in Honduras, where civil society has been reeling from a wave of political violence and assassinations perpetuated by what many believe are state-sponsored death squads.

Even as Convive was being formulated in 2012, repression and violence had become a pressing issue for Hondurans. That January, UC-Santa Cruz historian Dana Frank described the carnage in The New York Times, reporting that “more than 300 people have been killed by state security forces since the coup, according to the leading human rights organization Cofadeh.” It appears to be just as bad in 2016.

A month ago, on March 3, the renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home by unknown gunmen. Two weeks later, Nelson Garcia, a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), co-founded by Cáceres, was shot to death. Since then, thousand of Hondurans have protested what Democracy Now! has described as a “culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests.”
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The killings have brought the US government’s programs in Honduras under increased scrutiny and drawn sharp criticism of Clinton’s covert support for the 2009 coup while she was Secretary of State.

In particular, opponents of Clinton have seized on her own admissions in her autobiography, Hard Choices, that she used her power as Secretary of State to deflect criticism of the coup and shift US backing to the new government. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot,” Clinton wrote.

In 2014, two years before her murder, Cáceres herself condemned Clinton’s statements about the coup, saying “this demonstrates the meddling of North Americans in our country.” Clinton, she added, “recognized that they didn’t permit Mel Zelaya’s return to the presidency…even though we warned this was going to be very dangerous and that it would permit a barbarity.”

The Clinton campaign did not respond to e-mails seeking comment on her department’s role in Honduras Convive or in shaping US policy toward Honduras. But in March, after Cáceres’s statements on Clinton were reported in The Nation, a campaign official told Latino USA that charges that the former Secretary of State supported the 2009 coup were “simply nonsense.” “Hillary Clinton engaged in active diplomacy that resolved a constitutional crisis and paved the way for legitimate democratic elections,” she said.

* * *

The players in Honduras Convive provide a glimpse into the privatized world of covert operations managed by USAID and OTI, and how they dovetail with broader US foreign-policy goals of supporting governments friendly to US economic and strategic interests. They also show how Hillary Clinton might manage US foreign policy as president.

Under Clinton’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, OTI’s programs were expanded and strengthened, and the State Department pledged to “work much more closely” with the office. “We will build upon OTI’s business model of executing programming tailored to facilitate transition and promote stability in select crisis countries,” the review said. The overall plan for OTI was overseen by a Clinton deputy and the administrator of USAID. Most of its projects are contracted to a group of private aid companies in Washington.

Honduras Convive, for example, was outsourced to Creative Associates International (CAI), a company that has worked closely with USAID’s OTI on projects in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya. In 2010, CAI teamed up with OTI to run a clandestine operation in Cuba dubbed “Cuban Twitter,” as revealed in 2014 by the Associated Press. It was designed to use social media to spark anti-government unrest in that country.

A key piece of CAI’s project in Honduras, determining the social networks responsible for violence in the country’s largest city, was subcontracted to Caerus, Kilcullen’s company. It was founded in 2010 while Kilcullen was working as a top counterinsurgency adviser to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In addition to advising Petraeus, Kilcullen served during the Bush administration as a senior adviser on counterinsurgency to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

One of Kilcullen’s first contracts in Afghanistan, according to the Caerus documents I obtained, was to design and manage a $15 million USAID program measuring stability in Afghanistan—a key task of the counterinsurgency effort. Kilcullen also developed close ties to the Office of Transition Initiatives. OTI is “the closest thing we have now to an organizational structure specifically designed to deal with the environments of the last ten to twenty years,” Kilcullen said in a talk to the New America Foundation in 2013.

Like Kilcullen himself, the Caerus contractors who led the Honduras project had extensive experience with the wars in Afghanistan. Stacia George, Caerus’s “Team Leader” on the Honduras project, was employed at Caerus from 2012 to 2014, where one of her tasks was training “Department of Defense professionals on using development as a counterinsurgency tool in Afghanistan” (she is now deputy director of OTI). Another Caerus associate involved in the Honduras program, William Upshur, taught counterinsurgency tactics in Afghanistan for the Army’s 10th Mountain and 82nd Airborne divisions from 2010 to 2013 (he’s now an associate with intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton).

The Caerus proposal to OTI, which I obtained, emphasizes the company’s extensive experience with counterinsurgency, surveillance, and data collection in Afghanistan as well as its ties to OTI. Many Caerus staffers “have worked directly for [OTI] developing policy, implementing field programs, and managing program evaluations based on stabilization goals and objectives,” it says.

CAI, the prime contractor for Honduras Convive, deferred all questions about the project to USAID. But a CAI spokesperson said that “Creative doesn’t do counterinsurgency work and doesn’t have anybody on staff involved in counterinsurgency.”

* * *

“U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region.” —Alex Main, NACLA Report

The AID/OTI program was part of a grand US plan to improve security in Central America by building closer ties with local military forces and using US troops to train their police. Honduras has become a litmus test for the plan.

Today, hundreds of US Special Forces and Navy SEALs are training Honduran units for civilian law enforcement. The plan is “driven by the hope that beefing up police operations will stabilize a small country closer to home,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The training is set to expand in the $1 billion “Alliance for Prosperity” program for the region that was unveiled in late January of 2015 by Vice President Joe Biden.

Main, the CEPR analyst, says Central Americans should greet the Biden plan with skepticism. “From the U.S.-backed dirty wars of the 1980s to the broken promises of economic development under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the historical record shows that U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region,” he wrote last year in NACLA Report on the Americas.

In Honduras, Main told me, the overriding US interest has been “keeping this government in power.” The “window dressing” of Honduras Convive, he added, has “been going on pretty much since the coup.” Many observers, including lawmakers, agree.

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras.” —Lawrence Wilkerson, former adviser to Colin Powell

On March 16, 730 scholars organized by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs signed a letter urging the State Department to demand human rights accountability in its dealings with Honduras. “We are deeply concerned that the U.S. government condones and supports the current Honduran government by sending financial and technical support to strengthen the Honduran military and police, institutions that have been responsible for human rights violations since the coup d’état of 2009,” the letter stated.

That same week, 23 members of Congress and the AFL-CIO called on Secretary of State John Kerry to address the violence in Honduras directed against trade unionists and human rights defenders. And on March 14, activists with SOA Watch, which opposes the School of the Americas, where many Honduran and Central American military leaders have been trained, raised a banner in front of USAID’s headquarters in Washington reading “Stop Funding Murder in Honduras!”

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras,” Lawrence Wilkerson, the former deputy to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told me when I brought OTI’s Honduras program to his attention in an interview last year. “If I could sum it up for what it’s been for so many years, that’s protecting all the criminals in power, basically for US commercial interests.”

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OTI’s activities, the Congressional Research Service noted in a 2009 report, “are overtly political” and based on the idea that “timely and creative” US assistance can “tip the balance” toward outcomes “that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.”

In Honduras, OTI seems to have followed the model it set in Iraq, where it sent some of the first US aid personnel after the 2003 invasion. At the time, CRS said, OTI’s strategy in Iraq was to convey “the tangible benefits of the regime change.”

The objective of Honduras Convive is spelled out on USAID’s website: “To disrupt the systems, perceptions and behaviors that support violence by building alliances between the communities and the state (especially the police and security forces).” A USAID official confirmed that the program is still ongoing, but played down US ties with Honduran security forces. Convive, he said, is “working in communities to build the capacity of civil society and government institutions, while strengthening community cohesion.” It was initiated “at the request of USAID and the broader U.S. Government due to high levels of violence in Honduras,” he added. “The beneficiaries of the Convive program are the Honduran people.” Much of the country’s violence is blamed on gangs and drug cartels and has led thousands of Hondurans to send their children north to flee the region.

But contractor documents obtained about the program show that it was based in part on communications strategies to win “hearts and minds” developed during the counterinsurgency phase of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several OTI officials and contractors overseeing the project came to Honduras from Afghanistan, where they managed the civilian, nation-building side of the war. They included Miguel Reabold, OTI’s country representative in Honduras, who previously represented OTI in Afghanistan.

Part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by counterinsurgency adviser David Kilcullen.

In addition, a key part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by David Kilcullen, who was the senior counterinsurgency adviser to Army General David Petraeus in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Kilcullen’s research methodology, according to a contract proposal I obtained, was “built around a streamlined set of metrics” that provide a “manageable method for assessing counterinsurgency campaigns that can be replicated and customized in other insecure environments.” The contract was submitted to Reabold on October 16, 2012.

The USAID official confirmed that Kilcullen’s company, Caerus Associates, “received two grants totaling approximately $77,000 to assist USAID/OTI to assess licit and illicit networks in San Pedro Sula,” Honduras’s largest and most violent city. But, he added, “the Honduras Convive program is not a counterinsurgency program.”

LIKE THIS? GET MORE OF OUR BEST REPORTING AND ANALYSIS

In a lengthy e-mail, the official added that Convive “has drawn its lessons from best practices in violence prevention, community policing, and community cohesion from urban environments all over the world.” Since the program began, he insisted, violence has declined. He provided figures showing “marked reductions in homicides between 2013 and 2014 in some of the city’s most dangerous communities,” with declines of between 18 and 46 percent in several municipalities.

“USAID believes that homicides are decreasing due to a combination of factors, included among them a more cohesive community, represented by empowered leaders, working closely with Honduran government partners (including the police); international donors; and complementary USAID programs,” the official wrote in his e-mail.

But nowhere in the USAID documents does the word “coup” appear. The agency’s claims and statistics stand in stark contrast to the situation in Honduras, where civil society has been reeling from a wave of political violence and assassinations perpetuated by what many believe are state-sponsored death squads.

Even as Convive was being formulated in 2012, repression and violence had become a pressing issue for Hondurans. That January, UC-Santa Cruz historian Dana Frank described the carnage in The New York Times, reporting that “more than 300 people have been killed by state security forces since the coup, according to the leading human rights organization Cofadeh.” It appears to be just as bad in 2016.

A month ago, on March 3, the renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home by unknown gunmen. Two weeks later, Nelson Garcia, a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), co-founded by Cáceres, was shot to death. Since then, thousand of Hondurans have protested what Democracy Now! has described as a “culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests.”
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The killings have brought the US government’s programs in Honduras under increased scrutiny and drawn sharp criticism of Clinton’s covert support for the 2009 coup while she was Secretary of State.

In particular, opponents of Clinton have seized on her own admissions in her autobiography, Hard Choices, that she used her power as Secretary of State to deflect criticism of the coup and shift US backing to the new government. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot,” Clinton wrote.

In 2014, two years before her murder, Cáceres herself condemned Clinton’s statements about the coup, saying “this demonstrates the meddling of North Americans in our country.” Clinton, she added, “recognized that they didn’t permit Mel Zelaya’s return to the presidency…even though we warned this was going to be very dangerous and that it would permit a barbarity.”

The Clinton campaign did not respond to e-mails seeking comment on her department’s role in Honduras Convive or in shaping US policy toward Honduras. But in March, after Cáceres’s statements on Clinton were reported in The Nation, a campaign official told Latino USA that charges that the former Secretary of State supported the 2009 coup were “simply nonsense.” “Hillary Clinton engaged in active diplomacy that resolved a constitutional crisis and paved the way for legitimate democratic elections,” she said.

* * *

The players in Honduras Convive provide a glimpse into the privatized world of covert operations managed by USAID and OTI, and how they dovetail with broader US foreign-policy goals of supporting governments friendly to US economic and strategic interests. They also show how Hillary Clinton might manage US foreign policy as president.

Under Clinton’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, OTI’s programs were expanded and strengthened, and the State Department pledged to “work much more closely” with the office. “We will build upon OTI’s business model of executing programming tailored to facilitate transition and promote stability in select crisis countries,” the review said. The overall plan for OTI was overseen by a Clinton deputy and the administrator of USAID. Most of its projects are contracted to a group of private aid companies in Washington.

Honduras Convive, for example, was outsourced to Creative Associates International (CAI), a company that has worked closely with USAID’s OTI on projects in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya. In 2010, CAI teamed up with OTI to run a clandestine operation in Cuba dubbed “Cuban Twitter,” as revealed in 2014 by the Associated Press. It was designed to use social media to spark anti-government unrest in that country.

A key piece of CAI’s project in Honduras, determining the social networks responsible for violence in the country’s largest city, was subcontracted to Caerus, Kilcullen’s company. It was founded in 2010 while Kilcullen was working as a top counterinsurgency adviser to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In addition to advising Petraeus, Kilcullen served during the Bush administration as a senior adviser on counterinsurgency to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

One of Kilcullen’s first contracts in Afghanistan, according to the Caerus documents I obtained, was to design and manage a $15 million USAID program measuring stability in Afghanistan—a key task of the counterinsurgency effort. Kilcullen also developed close ties to the Office of Transition Initiatives. OTI is “the closest thing we have now to an organizational structure specifically designed to deal with the environments of the last ten to twenty years,” Kilcullen said in a talk to the New America Foundation in 2013.

Like Kilcullen himself, the Caerus contractors who led the Honduras project had extensive experience with the wars in Afghanistan. Stacia George, Caerus’s “Team Leader” on the Honduras project, was employed at Caerus from 2012 to 2014, where one of her tasks was training “Department of Defense professionals on using development as a counterinsurgency tool in Afghanistan” (she is now deputy director of OTI). Another Caerus associate involved in the Honduras program, William Upshur, taught counterinsurgency tactics in Afghanistan for the Army’s 10th Mountain and 82nd Airborne divisions from 2010 to 2013 (he’s now an associate with intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton).

The Caerus proposal to OTI, which I obtained, emphasizes the company’s extensive experience with counterinsurgency, surveillance, and data collection in Afghanistan as well as its ties to OTI. Many Caerus staffers “have worked directly for [OTI] developing policy, implementing field programs, and managing program evaluations based on stabilization goals and objectives,” it says.

CAI, the prime contractor for Honduras Convive, deferred all questions about the project to USAID. But a CAI spokesperson said that “Creative doesn’t do counterinsurgency work and doesn’t have anybody on staff involved in counterinsurgency.”

* * *

“U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region.” —Alex Main, NACLA Report

The AID/OTI program was part of a grand US plan to improve security in Central America by building closer ties with local military forces and using US troops to train their police. Honduras has become a litmus test for the plan.

Today, hundreds of US Special Forces and Navy SEALs are training Honduran units for civilian law enforcement. The plan is “driven by the hope that beefing up police operations will stabilize a small country closer to home,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The training is set to expand in the $1 billion “Alliance for Prosperity” program for the region that was unveiled in late January of 2015 by Vice President Joe Biden.

Main, the CEPR analyst, says Central Americans should greet the Biden plan with skepticism. “From the U.S.-backed dirty wars of the 1980s to the broken promises of economic development under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the historical record shows that U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region,” he wrote last year in NACLA Report on the Americas.

In Honduras, Main told me, the overriding US interest has been “keeping this government in power.” The “window dressing” of Honduras Convive, he added, has “been going on pretty much since the coup.” Many observers, including lawmakers, agree.

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras.” —Lawrence Wilkerson, former adviser to Colin Powell

On March 16, 730 scholars organized by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs signed a letter urging the State Department to demand human rights accountability in its dealings with Honduras. “We are deeply concerned that the U.S. government condones and supports the current Honduran government by sending financial and technical support to strengthen the Honduran military and police, institutions that have been responsible for human rights violations since the coup d’état of 2009,” the letter stated.

That same week, 23 members of Congress and the AFL-CIO called on Secretary of State John Kerry to address the violence in Honduras directed against trade unionists and human rights defenders. And on March 14, activists with SOA Watch, which opposes the School of the Americas, where many Honduran and Central American military leaders have been trained, raised a banner in front of USAID’s headquarters in Washington reading “Stop Funding Murder in Honduras!”

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras,” Lawrence Wilkerson, the former deputy to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told me when I brought OTI’s Honduras program to his attention in an interview last year. “If I could sum it up for what it’s been for so many years, that’s protecting all the criminals in power, basically for US commercial interests.”

Origen: How Hillary Clinton Militarized US Policy in Honduras

She used a State Department office closely involved with counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq to aid the coup regime in Honduras.

n 2012, as Honduras descended into social and political chaos in the wake of a US-sanctioned military coup, the civilian aid arm of Hillary Clinton’s State Department spent over $26 million on a propaganda program aimed at encouraging anti-violence “alliances” between Honduran community groups and local police and security forces.

The program, called “Honduras Convive,” was designed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to reduce violent crimes in a country that had simultaneously become the murder capital of the world and a staging ground for one of the largest deployments of US Special Operations forces outside of the Middle East.

It was part of a larger US program to support the conservative government of Pepe Lobo, who came to power in 2009 after the Honduran military ousted the elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, in a coup that was widely condemned in Central America. In reality, critics say, the program was an attempt by the State Department to scrub the image of a country where security forces have a record of domestic repression that continues to the present day.

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence.” —Adrienne Pine, American University

“This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence,” says Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University who spent the 2013-14 school year teaching at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. “It’s related to the complete absence of participatory democracy in Honduras, in which the United States is deeply complicit.”

“With the coup, Clinton had a real opportunity to do the right thing and shift US policy to respect democratic processes,” added Alex Main, an expert on US policy in Central America at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, after being told of the program. “But she completely messed it up, and we’re seeing the consequences of it now.”

Honduras Convive (“Honduras Coexists”) was the brainchild of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), a controversial unit of USAID that operates overseas much like the CIA did during the Cold War.

Sanctioned by Congress in 1994, OTI intervenes under the direction of the State Department, the Pentagon, and other security agencies in places like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Colombia to boost support for local governments backed by the United States. Sometimes, as it has in Cuba and Venezuela, its programs are directed at stirring opposition to leftist regimes. Clinton gave the office a major boost after she became Secretary of State; its programs are overseen by an under secretary of state as well as the top administrator of USAID.
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OTI’s activities, the Congressional Research Service noted in a 2009 report, “are overtly political” and based on the idea that “timely and creative” US assistance can “tip the balance” toward outcomes “that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.”

In Honduras, OTI seems to have followed the model it set in Iraq, where it sent some of the first US aid personnel after the 2003 invasion. At the time, CRS said, OTI’s strategy in Iraq was to convey “the tangible benefits of the regime change.”

The objective of Honduras Convive is spelled out on USAID’s website: “To disrupt the systems, perceptions and behaviors that support violence by building alliances between the communities and the state (especially the police and security forces).” A USAID official confirmed that the program is still ongoing, but played down US ties with Honduran security forces. Convive, he said, is “working in communities to build the capacity of civil society and government institutions, while strengthening community cohesion.” It was initiated “at the request of USAID and the broader U.S. Government due to high levels of violence in Honduras,” he added. “The beneficiaries of the Convive program are the Honduran people.” Much of the country’s violence is blamed on gangs and drug cartels and has led thousands of Hondurans to send their children north to flee the region.

But contractor documents obtained about the program show that it was based in part on communications strategies to win “hearts and minds” developed during the counterinsurgency phase of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several OTI officials and contractors overseeing the project came to Honduras from Afghanistan, where they managed the civilian, nation-building side of the war. They included Miguel Reabold, OTI’s country representative in Honduras, who previously represented OTI in Afghanistan.

Part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by counterinsurgency adviser David Kilcullen.

In addition, a key part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by David Kilcullen, who was the senior counterinsurgency adviser to Army General David Petraeus in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Kilcullen’s research methodology, according to a contract proposal I obtained, was “built around a streamlined set of metrics” that provide a “manageable method for assessing counterinsurgency campaigns that can be replicated and customized in other insecure environments.” The contract was submitted to Reabold on October 16, 2012.

The USAID official confirmed that Kilcullen’s company, Caerus Associates, “received two grants totaling approximately $77,000 to assist USAID/OTI to assess licit and illicit networks in San Pedro Sula,” Honduras’s largest and most violent city. But, he added, “the Honduras Convive program is not a counterinsurgency program.”

LIKE THIS? GET MORE OF OUR BEST REPORTING AND ANALYSIS

In a lengthy e-mail, the official added that Convive “has drawn its lessons from best practices in violence prevention, community policing, and community cohesion from urban environments all over the world.” Since the program began, he insisted, violence has declined. He provided figures showing “marked reductions in homicides between 2013 and 2014 in some of the city’s most dangerous communities,” with declines of between 18 and 46 percent in several municipalities.

“USAID believes that homicides are decreasing due to a combination of factors, included among them a more cohesive community, represented by empowered leaders, working closely with Honduran government partners (including the police); international donors; and complementary USAID programs,” the official wrote in his e-mail.

But nowhere in the USAID documents does the word “coup” appear. The agency’s claims and statistics stand in stark contrast to the situation in Honduras, where civil society has been reeling from a wave of political violence and assassinations perpetuated by what many believe are state-sponsored death squads.

Even as Convive was being formulated in 2012, repression and violence had become a pressing issue for Hondurans. That January, UC-Santa Cruz historian Dana Frank described the carnage in The New York Times, reporting that “more than 300 people have been killed by state security forces since the coup, according to the leading human rights organization Cofadeh.” It appears to be just as bad in 2016.

A month ago, on March 3, the renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home by unknown gunmen. Two weeks later, Nelson Garcia, a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), co-founded by Cáceres, was shot to death. Since then, thousand of Hondurans have protested what Democracy Now! has described as a “culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests.”
GET A DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION FOR JUST $9.50!
Subscribe

The killings have brought the US government’s programs in Honduras under increased scrutiny and drawn sharp criticism of Clinton’s covert support for the 2009 coup while she was Secretary of State.

In particular, opponents of Clinton have seized on her own admissions in her autobiography, Hard Choices, that she used her power as Secretary of State to deflect criticism of the coup and shift US backing to the new government. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot,” Clinton wrote.

In 2014, two years before her murder, Cáceres herself condemned Clinton’s statements about the coup, saying “this demonstrates the meddling of North Americans in our country.” Clinton, she added, “recognized that they didn’t permit Mel Zelaya’s return to the presidency…even though we warned this was going to be very dangerous and that it would permit a barbarity.”

The Clinton campaign did not respond to e-mails seeking comment on her department’s role in Honduras Convive or in shaping US policy toward Honduras. But in March, after Cáceres’s statements on Clinton were reported in The Nation, a campaign official told Latino USA that charges that the former Secretary of State supported the 2009 coup were “simply nonsense.” “Hillary Clinton engaged in active diplomacy that resolved a constitutional crisis and paved the way for legitimate democratic elections,” she said.

* * *

The players in Honduras Convive provide a glimpse into the privatized world of covert operations managed by USAID and OTI, and how they dovetail with broader US foreign-policy goals of supporting governments friendly to US economic and strategic interests. They also show how Hillary Clinton might manage US foreign policy as president.

Under Clinton’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, OTI’s programs were expanded and strengthened, and the State Department pledged to “work much more closely” with the office. “We will build upon OTI’s business model of executing programming tailored to facilitate transition and promote stability in select crisis countries,” the review said. The overall plan for OTI was overseen by a Clinton deputy and the administrator of USAID. Most of its projects are contracted to a group of private aid companies in Washington.

Honduras Convive, for example, was outsourced to Creative Associates International (CAI), a company that has worked closely with USAID’s OTI on projects in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya. In 2010, CAI teamed up with OTI to run a clandestine operation in Cuba dubbed “Cuban Twitter,” as revealed in 2014 by the Associated Press. It was designed to use social media to spark anti-government unrest in that country.

A key piece of CAI’s project in Honduras, determining the social networks responsible for violence in the country’s largest city, was subcontracted to Caerus, Kilcullen’s company. It was founded in 2010 while Kilcullen was working as a top counterinsurgency adviser to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In addition to advising Petraeus, Kilcullen served during the Bush administration as a senior adviser on counterinsurgency to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

One of Kilcullen’s first contracts in Afghanistan, according to the Caerus documents I obtained, was to design and manage a $15 million USAID program measuring stability in Afghanistan—a key task of the counterinsurgency effort. Kilcullen also developed close ties to the Office of Transition Initiatives. OTI is “the closest thing we have now to an organizational structure specifically designed to deal with the environments of the last ten to twenty years,” Kilcullen said in a talk to the New America Foundation in 2013.

Like Kilcullen himself, the Caerus contractors who led the Honduras project had extensive experience with the wars in Afghanistan. Stacia George, Caerus’s “Team Leader” on the Honduras project, was employed at Caerus from 2012 to 2014, where one of her tasks was training “Department of Defense professionals on using development as a counterinsurgency tool in Afghanistan” (she is now deputy director of OTI). Another Caerus associate involved in the Honduras program, William Upshur, taught counterinsurgency tactics in Afghanistan for the Army’s 10th Mountain and 82nd Airborne divisions from 2010 to 2013 (he’s now an associate with intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton).

The Caerus proposal to OTI, which I obtained, emphasizes the company’s extensive experience with counterinsurgency, surveillance, and data collection in Afghanistan as well as its ties to OTI. Many Caerus staffers “have worked directly for [OTI] developing policy, implementing field programs, and managing program evaluations based on stabilization goals and objectives,” it says.

CAI, the prime contractor for Honduras Convive, deferred all questions about the project to USAID. But a CAI spokesperson said that “Creative doesn’t do counterinsurgency work and doesn’t have anybody on staff involved in counterinsurgency.”

* * *

“U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region.” —Alex Main, NACLA Report

The AID/OTI program was part of a grand US plan to improve security in Central America by building closer ties with local military forces and using US troops to train their police. Honduras has become a litmus test for the plan.

Today, hundreds of US Special Forces and Navy SEALs are training Honduran units for civilian law enforcement. The plan is “driven by the hope that beefing up police operations will stabilize a small country closer to home,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The training is set to expand in the $1 billion “Alliance for Prosperity” program for the region that was unveiled in late January of 2015 by Vice President Joe Biden.

Main, the CEPR analyst, says Central Americans should greet the Biden plan with skepticism. “From the U.S.-backed dirty wars of the 1980s to the broken promises of economic development under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the historical record shows that U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region,” he wrote last year in NACLA Report on the Americas.

In Honduras, Main told me, the overriding US interest has been “keeping this government in power.” The “window dressing” of Honduras Convive, he added, has “been going on pretty much since the coup.” Many observers, including lawmakers, agree.

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras.” —Lawrence Wilkerson, former adviser to Colin Powell

On March 16, 730 scholars organized by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs signed a letter urging the State Department to demand human rights accountability in its dealings with Honduras. “We are deeply concerned that the U.S. government condones and supports the current Honduran government by sending financial and technical support to strengthen the Honduran military and police, institutions that have been responsible for human rights violations since the coup d’état of 2009,” the letter stated.

That same week, 23 members of Congress and the AFL-CIO called on Secretary of State John Kerry to address the violence in Honduras directed against trade unionists and human rights defenders. And on March 14, activists with SOA Watch, which opposes the School of the Americas, where many Honduran and Central American military leaders have been trained, raised a banner in front of USAID’s headquarters in Washington reading “Stop Funding Murder in Honduras!”

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras,” Lawrence Wilkerson, the former deputy to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told me when I brought OTI’s Honduras program to his attention in an interview last year. “If I could sum it up for what it’s been for so many years, that’s protecting all the criminals in power, basically for US commercial interests.”

Origen: How Hillary Clinton Militarized US Policy in Honduras

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OTI’s activities, the Congressional Research Service noted in a 2009 report, “are overtly political” and based on the idea that “timely and creative” US assistance can “tip the balance” toward outcomes “that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.”

In Honduras, OTI seems to have followed the model it set in Iraq, where it sent some of the first US aid personnel after the 2003 invasion. At the time, CRS said, OTI’s strategy in Iraq was to convey “the tangible benefits of the regime change.”

The objective of Honduras Convive is spelled out on USAID’s website: “To disrupt the systems, perceptions and behaviors that support violence by building alliances between the communities and the state (especially the police and security forces).” A USAID official confirmed that the program is still ongoing, but played down US ties with Honduran security forces. Convive, he said, is “working in communities to build the capacity of civil society and government institutions, while strengthening community cohesion.” It was initiated “at the request of USAID and the broader U.S. Government due to high levels of violence in Honduras,” he added. “The beneficiaries of the Convive program are the Honduran people.” Much of the country’s violence is blamed on gangs and drug cartels and has led thousands of Hondurans to send their children north to flee the region.

But contractor documents obtained about the program show that it was based in part on communications strategies to win “hearts and minds” developed during the counterinsurgency phase of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several OTI officials and contractors overseeing the project came to Honduras from Afghanistan, where they managed the civilian, nation-building side of the war. They included Miguel Reabold, OTI’s country representative in Honduras, who previously represented OTI in Afghanistan.

Part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by counterinsurgency adviser David Kilcullen.

In addition, a key part of the project was subcontracted to a company owned by David Kilcullen, who was the senior counterinsurgency adviser to Army General David Petraeus in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Kilcullen’s research methodology, according to a contract proposal I obtained, was “built around a streamlined set of metrics” that provide a “manageable method for assessing counterinsurgency campaigns that can be replicated and customized in other insecure environments.” The contract was submitted to Reabold on October 16, 2012.

The USAID official confirmed that Kilcullen’s company, Caerus Associates, “received two grants totaling approximately $77,000 to assist USAID/OTI to assess licit and illicit networks in San Pedro Sula,” Honduras’s largest and most violent city. But, he added, “the Honduras Convive program is not a counterinsurgency program.”

LIKE THIS? GET MORE OF OUR BEST REPORTING AND ANALYSIS

In a lengthy e-mail, the official added that Convive “has drawn its lessons from best practices in violence prevention, community policing, and community cohesion from urban environments all over the world.” Since the program began, he insisted, violence has declined. He provided figures showing “marked reductions in homicides between 2013 and 2014 in some of the city’s most dangerous communities,” with declines of between 18 and 46 percent in several municipalities.

“USAID believes that homicides are decreasing due to a combination of factors, included among them a more cohesive community, represented by empowered leaders, working closely with Honduran government partners (including the police); international donors; and complementary USAID programs,” the official wrote in his e-mail.

But nowhere in the USAID documents does the word “coup” appear. The agency’s claims and statistics stand in stark contrast to the situation in Honduras, where civil society has been reeling from a wave of political violence and assassinations perpetuated by what many believe are state-sponsored death squads.

Even as Convive was being formulated in 2012, repression and violence had become a pressing issue for Hondurans. That January, UC-Santa Cruz historian Dana Frank described the carnage in The New York Times, reporting that “more than 300 people have been killed by state security forces since the coup, according to the leading human rights organization Cofadeh.” It appears to be just as bad in 2016.

A month ago, on March 3, the renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home by unknown gunmen. Two weeks later, Nelson Garcia, a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), co-founded by Cáceres, was shot to death. Since then, thousand of Hondurans have protested what Democracy Now! has described as a “culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests.”
GET A DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION FOR JUST $9.50!
Subscribe

The killings have brought the US government’s programs in Honduras under increased scrutiny and drawn sharp criticism of Clinton’s covert support for the 2009 coup while she was Secretary of State.

In particular, opponents of Clinton have seized on her own admissions in her autobiography, Hard Choices, that she used her power as Secretary of State to deflect criticism of the coup and shift US backing to the new government. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot,” Clinton wrote.

In 2014, two years before her murder, Cáceres herself condemned Clinton’s statements about the coup, saying “this demonstrates the meddling of North Americans in our country.” Clinton, she added, “recognized that they didn’t permit Mel Zelaya’s return to the presidency…even though we warned this was going to be very dangerous and that it would permit a barbarity.”

The Clinton campaign did not respond to e-mails seeking comment on her department’s role in Honduras Convive or in shaping US policy toward Honduras. But in March, after Cáceres’s statements on Clinton were reported in The Nation, a campaign official told Latino USA that charges that the former Secretary of State supported the 2009 coup were “simply nonsense.” “Hillary Clinton engaged in active diplomacy that resolved a constitutional crisis and paved the way for legitimate democratic elections,” she said.

* * *

The players in Honduras Convive provide a glimpse into the privatized world of covert operations managed by USAID and OTI, and how they dovetail with broader US foreign-policy goals of supporting governments friendly to US economic and strategic interests. They also show how Hillary Clinton might manage US foreign policy as president.

Under Clinton’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, OTI’s programs were expanded and strengthened, and the State Department pledged to “work much more closely” with the office. “We will build upon OTI’s business model of executing programming tailored to facilitate transition and promote stability in select crisis countries,” the review said. The overall plan for OTI was overseen by a Clinton deputy and the administrator of USAID. Most of its projects are contracted to a group of private aid companies in Washington.

Honduras Convive, for example, was outsourced to Creative Associates International (CAI), a company that has worked closely with USAID’s OTI on projects in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya. In 2010, CAI teamed up with OTI to run a clandestine operation in Cuba dubbed “Cuban Twitter,” as revealed in 2014 by the Associated Press. It was designed to use social media to spark anti-government unrest in that country.

A key piece of CAI’s project in Honduras, determining the social networks responsible for violence in the country’s largest city, was subcontracted to Caerus, Kilcullen’s company. It was founded in 2010 while Kilcullen was working as a top counterinsurgency adviser to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In addition to advising Petraeus, Kilcullen served during the Bush administration as a senior adviser on counterinsurgency to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

One of Kilcullen’s first contracts in Afghanistan, according to the Caerus documents I obtained, was to design and manage a $15 million USAID program measuring stability in Afghanistan—a key task of the counterinsurgency effort. Kilcullen also developed close ties to the Office of Transition Initiatives. OTI is “the closest thing we have now to an organizational structure specifically designed to deal with the environments of the last ten to twenty years,” Kilcullen said in a talk to the New America Foundation in 2013.

Like Kilcullen himself, the Caerus contractors who led the Honduras project had extensive experience with the wars in Afghanistan. Stacia George, Caerus’s “Team Leader” on the Honduras project, was employed at Caerus from 2012 to 2014, where one of her tasks was training “Department of Defense professionals on using development as a counterinsurgency tool in Afghanistan” (she is now deputy director of OTI). Another Caerus associate involved in the Honduras program, William Upshur, taught counterinsurgency tactics in Afghanistan for the Army’s 10th Mountain and 82nd Airborne divisions from 2010 to 2013 (he’s now an associate with intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton).

The Caerus proposal to OTI, which I obtained, emphasizes the company’s extensive experience with counterinsurgency, surveillance, and data collection in Afghanistan as well as its ties to OTI. Many Caerus staffers “have worked directly for [OTI] developing policy, implementing field programs, and managing program evaluations based on stabilization goals and objectives,” it says.

CAI, the prime contractor for Honduras Convive, deferred all questions about the project to USAID. But a CAI spokesperson said that “Creative doesn’t do counterinsurgency work and doesn’t have anybody on staff involved in counterinsurgency.”

* * *

“U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region.” —Alex Main, NACLA Report

The AID/OTI program was part of a grand US plan to improve security in Central America by building closer ties with local military forces and using US troops to train their police. Honduras has become a litmus test for the plan.

Today, hundreds of US Special Forces and Navy SEALs are training Honduran units for civilian law enforcement. The plan is “driven by the hope that beefing up police operations will stabilize a small country closer to home,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The training is set to expand in the $1 billion “Alliance for Prosperity” program for the region that was unveiled in late January of 2015 by Vice President Joe Biden.

Main, the CEPR analyst, says Central Americans should greet the Biden plan with skepticism. “From the U.S.-backed dirty wars of the 1980s to the broken promises of economic development under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the historical record shows that U.S. policies and assistance have often undermined prosperity, stability, and democracy in the region,” he wrote last year in NACLA Report on the Americas.

In Honduras, Main told me, the overriding US interest has been “keeping this government in power.” The “window dressing” of Honduras Convive, he added, has “been going on pretty much since the coup.” Many observers, including lawmakers, agree.

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras.” —Lawrence Wilkerson, former adviser to Colin Powell

On March 16, 730 scholars organized by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs signed a letter urging the State Department to demand human rights accountability in its dealings with Honduras. “We are deeply concerned that the U.S. government condones and supports the current Honduran government by sending financial and technical support to strengthen the Honduran military and police, institutions that have been responsible for human rights violations since the coup d’état of 2009,” the letter stated.

That same week, 23 members of Congress and the AFL-CIO called on Secretary of State John Kerry to address the violence in Honduras directed against trade unionists and human rights defenders. And on March 14, activists with SOA Watch, which opposes the School of the Americas, where many Honduran and Central American military leaders have been trained, raised a banner in front of USAID’s headquarters in Washington reading “Stop Funding Murder in Honduras!”

“I’ve been pretty much appalled by US policy with respect to Honduras,” Lawrence Wilkerson, the former deputy to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told me when I brought OTI’s Honduras program to his attention in an interview last year. “If I could sum it up for what it’s been for so many years, that’s protecting all the criminals in power, basically for US commercial interests.”

Origen: How Hillary Clinton Militarized US Policy in Honduras

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En Estados Unidos: detenidas dos personas por colgar manta en honor a Bertha Cáceres en Edificio Reagan

Por colocar dos mantas en las que se manifiesta repudio por el asesinato de la dirigente Indígena-Lenca Bertha Cáceres y exigir el cese de ayuda económica militar del gobierno de Estados Unidos  a Honduras, dos hombres fueron arrestados el lunes 14 de marzo de 2016 en la ciudad de Washington,  Estados Unidos, de acuerdo con un informe de la agencia de noticias Associated Press (AP).

De acuerdo con el informe de la agencia, los participantes colocaron dos mantas en la parte frontal del edificio Ronald Reagan en la capital estadounidense, las cuales mostraban los mensajes “Bertha Cáceres ¡PRESENTE!” y “USAID pare financiamiento asesinatos en Honduras”, refiriéndose esta última al apoyo económico de parte del gobierno al país por medio de la Agencia de Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID, por sus siglas en inglés).

Al realizar esta acción fueron identificados por la policía quienes procedieron a su detención. De momento se conoce que los detenidos son ciudadanos residentes y activistas por los Derechos Humanos aunque no pertenecen a una organización especifica, señala el reporte de AP.

“Nos manifestamos en solidaridad con nuestra querida camarada Berta y el pueblo lenca y todos los hondureños que valientemente se resisten a ser desplazados de su territorio”, afirmó Jake Dacks, uno de los detenidos, según un comunicado de prensa distribuido por su amigo Jacob Blickenov, divulgado en las últimas horas.

Bertha Cáceres fue asesinada el pasado 03 de marzo de 2016, en su casa de habitación en la ciudad de La Esperanza, departamento de Intibucá, aproximadamente a 300 kilómetros al occidente del país. Al momento de la brutal muerte, ella se desempeñaba como Coordinadora del Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Hondjras,(COPINH)

Hasta el momento no existe reporte de la liberación de los ciudadanos

El curioso nombre del edificio ubicado en el centro político del país de las barras y las estrellas, pertenece al ex presidente norteamericano e impulsor de la Doctrina de la Seguridad Nacional, (DSN), en Centroamérica a inicios de los años 80, misma que en Honduras dejó más de 180 desapariciones forzadas de dirigentes del movimiento social y popular.

¿Por qué exigir el cese de ayuda de USAID?

La consolidación de proyectos extractivos en comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes es la motivación que desencadenó la resistencia de organizaciones defensoras del territorio y los recursos naturales en los últimos años.

Para el caso, el COPINH denunció que dentro de las agencias de cooperación internacional que están financiando la construcción del proyecto hidroeléctrico AGUA ZARCA, se encuentra USAID, por medio del programa de Proyecto Mercado.

Este proyecto hidroeléctrico, el cual inició en el año 2006, fue rechazado por las comunidades de Río Blanco (Intibucá) y San Francisco de Ojuera (Santa Bárbara). Los  pobladores buscaron ayuda del COPINH y con ello se formó un proceso de lucha para exigir el retiro de quienes están al mando de su construcción, es decir, la Empresa Desarrollos Energéticos S.A (DESA), de capital hondureña, luego de una concesión otorgada en el año 2010 por el Congreso Nacional.

En diciembre de 2015 se firmó el convenio entre el representante del proyecto hidroeléctrico Sergio Rodríguez y Jorge Soto, en representación del Proyecto Mercado de USAID, supuestamente con la finalidad de generar beneficios en al menos 112 productores de cultivos en ambas zonas. Sin embargo los resultados mostrados son la campaña de criminalización permamente hacia los grupos organizados en defensa de los recursos y el asesinato de una de sus lideresas, como es el caso de Bertha Cáceres.

Multinacionales financieras como el Banco Mundial (BM), el Banco Finlandés, Banco Holandés y la empresa china Synohidro, participaron con apoyo monetario para la construcción del proyecto Agua Zarca, violentando el derecho a la consulta previa que tienen los pueblos originarios, establecido en el convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT).

Origen: En Estados Unidos: detenidas dos personas por colgar manta en honor a Bertha Cáceres en Edificio Reagan

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5 Takeaways from US Congress Northern Triangle Aid Package

The United States Congress included $750 million for the Northern Triangle countries in its annual budget. The amount is below what the White House requested as part of an effort to address an immigration crisis that has since abated, but remains higher than expected.

The “Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016” (pdf) has money for development assistance, economic programs, military financing and training, and global health and security programs for the whole region, but it is mostly focused on the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, which saw a massive uptick in migration of unaccompanied minors in recent years. The bill was approved on December 18, 2015, by the House of Representatives with 316 votes to 113, and by the Senate with 65 votes to 33.

Among the few details given about where the aid would would go (pdf) was a line item for $4 million for forensic technology, $7.5 million for the Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comision Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG), and $3 million for Guatemala‘s police sexual assault units. (See chart below)

Reactions to the proposed spending in the region were generally positive from the Democrat side.

“The Obama Administration and Congress are ushering in a new era in US-Central America relations with this investment,” Representative Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.

Few Republicans reacted directly to the Central America part of the budget proposal, but its base complained that the Obama administration had won a victory by getting congress to support so-called “pull factors” for the migrants, such as amnesties and resettlement programs.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Security Policy

There are numerous conditions and prerequisites placed on the aid package, and congress requires that the administrators of this money — the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — report to it by September 30, 2016, regarding whether or not the recipients are complying with these requirements.

Specifically, the bill says that congress can withhold up to 75 percent of the funding to the Northern Triangle countries “unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports that such government is taking effective steps to meet certain requirements.”

15-12-18-US-Congress-Central-America-Aid

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InSight Crime Analysis

The first thing that stands out in this aid package is the amount of money in the pipeline. The $750 million package — while not what the White House requested — is as much as the US gave the entire region via what’s known as the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) between 2008 and 2014 (see the Congressional Research Service report about spending here – pdf).

Secondly, the bill comes at a time when the US seems distracted by terrorism in the Middle East and at home, and came from what was, at least, a very divided congress. To be sure, the migrant crisis that precipitated discussion of this aid has abated, although it still remains a major concern. Yet, congress took clear steps to address the ongoing violence, impunity and elite transgressions in the region.

SEE ALSOCoverage of US/Mexico Border

Third, the conditionality attached to the spending is strict and, while necessary, it may be subject to the political whims of the day and thus endanger overall funding. For example, up to 75 percent of the aid is conditional on Northern Triangle countries showing they are “taking effective steps” to address various border and migration, as well as corruption, human rights, and tax collection issues. However, what is “effective” to one congressman may not be to another.

Fourth, congress has identified at least one key component for change: forensic evidence. Such evidence is what has unseated a corrupt president and vice president in Guatemala and is upsetting the balance of power in Honduras. Both the $4 million line item for forensic technology and the aid for CICIG — which is leading the efforts to prosecute the former Guatemalan officials — are part of this effort; the bill also subtly inserts language requiring similar judicial bodies in both Honduras and El Salvador to “have investigatory and prosecutorial independence and authorities comparable to CICIG.”

Fifth, congress is really hoping that it does not have to go at it alone. The Inter American Development Bank helped develop a plan in 2014 to address rising violence in Central America, and the US is clearly hoping it will contribute financially with both loans and aid.

The money from congress may also be contingent on Central American governments contributing more than they have in the past.

“It is important to set conditions, because these funds cannot be a blank check,” Guatemala-born US Congresswoman Norma J. Torres stated in a press release. “Congress […] will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure that there is real progress.”

Origen: 5 Takeaways from US Congress Northern Triangle Aid Package

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Salud sexual y reproductiva de las hondureñas en el “limbo” legalsin fro

Versión para impresiónVersión PDF

• La tasa de embarazo en adolescentes en Honduras es la segunda más alta de Latinoamérica.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Conexihon).-  El uso de las Píldoras Anticonceptivas de Emergencia (PAE) permanece en un limbo legal desde hace meses, luego que el Congreso Nacional solicitara a la Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) su opinión sobre el anteproyecto de Ley que revierte esa decisión, convirtiendo un problema de salud sexual reproductiva, en el país con mayores embarazos adolescentes de la región, en un “perfecto limbo legal”.
Así lo dio a conocer por el Grupo Estratégico PAE, una instancia de sociedad civil dedicada a la promoción del derecho a elegir sobre el uso de la llamada píldora especialmente para prevención de embarazos en casos de violencia sexual.
En 2014, de acuerdo con las cifras de la organización Médicos Sin Fronteras, integrante del grupo, únicamente en Tegucigalpa, en el Hospital Escuela Universitario (HEU) y en dos centros de salud donde atiende casos de emergencia a personas sobrevivientes de violencia sexual, de 527 personas atendidas el 57% de los casos son niñas y adolescentes menores de 18 años.
El embarazo producto de una agresión sexual, es una de las consecuencias que más preocupa a las sobrevivientes, teniendo que enfrentar obstáculos por la limitante en relación a la prevención del embarazo en Honduras, debido a la prohibición de la Píldora Anticonceptiva de Emergencia (PAE), sufriendo consecuencias como el rechazo social y/o familiar, el matrimonio forzado y la deserción escolar.
Otros estudios
De igual forma, estudios en esta rama revelan que en el país una de cada cuatro mujeres entre 15 a 19 años ha estado alguna vez embarazada. Los índices destacan que un 45 por ciento de las adolescentes sin educación han estado embarazadas, frente a un 0.9 por ciento de las que están en educación superior, según reveló el Programa “Piénsalo Bien” que dirige la agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo (USAID) con el apoyo del Despacho de la Primera Dama.
Pese al programa de prevención impulsado por el gobierno, Honduras es el único país de la región, en el cual no se garantiza el abordaje médico completo para la víctima de la violencia sexual por la ausencia de la PAE, esa situación se ve agravada desde su prohibición en 2009, basada en el desconocimiento sobre el mecanismo de acción, pues “se ha invalidado la evidencia científica y médica al más alto nivel que indica que la PAE no actúa sobre el óvulo fecundado o un embarazo pre-existente”, indicaron.
Para el Grupo Estratégico PAE “Honduras debe cumplir con la atención de todas las necesidades médicas de las víctimas de violencia sexual, reduciendo su sufrimiento y garantizar su recuperación. La aplicación de la evidencia validada en relación al tema y respetar el valor de la atención médica sin prejuicios morales”.
“En todos nuestros protocolos médicos, que se basan en la literatura disponible por la Organización Mundial de la Sslud siempre se ofrece una alternativa sencilla y segura para prevenir el embarazo. En todos los países que trabajamos pueden disponer de la Píldora Anticonceptiva de Emergencia, menos en Honduras”, explicó Henry Rodríguez, Jefe de Misión Regional para México y Honduras de MSF y profesional especialista en medicina tropical internacional con más de quince años de atención médico-humanitaria.
“Es un dilema ético para nosotros y nuestro equipo, que día a día trata con niñas, adolescentes, mujeres que han sido víctimas de una agresión sexual, una violación y a quienes no podemos, por la prohibición que existe en el país, ofrecer una opción para prevenir el embarazo”, enfatizó el galeno.
Debate entró en perfecto un limbo legal
El Congreso Nacional reabrió en 2014 el debate nacional sobre el uso de las PAE sin ningún resultado. Hasta la fecha el proyecto de ley fue presentado a finales de marzo anterior, por el diputado nacionalista Antonio Leva Bulnes, permanece en un “perfecto limbo legal”, indicó  Regina Fonseca, del Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM).
El Congreso Nacional solicitó a la Corte Suprema de Justicia su opinión sobre el anteproyecto que en su artículo 1: autorizar y permitir, de acuerdo a las normas aplicables al caso establecidas en el Código de la Salud, la promoción, venta y compra relacionada con la Píldora Anticonceptiva de Emergencia (PAE), así como la distribución pagada o gratuita y la comercialización de fármacos de anticoncepción de emergencia en farmacias, droguerías o cualquier otro método de adquisición.
En ese sentido, la CSJ indicó que no debe opinar al respecto, sin embargo, la Comisión de Salud a esta fecha no ha presentado el dictamen, finalizó Fonseca.

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Embajada de EE.UU. lanzará proyecto GENESIS “ Generando Emprendedores y Sinergias Sostenibles”

Esta alianza establecida entre USAID y un socio local como FUNADEH implica una fuerte participación y compromiso del sector privado hondureño.

El Embajador de los EE.UU James D. Nealon, acompañado de otros funcionarios de esa oficina diplomatica y ejecutivos hondureños inaugurarán este jueves el denominado proyecto “Génesis” con el cual se promueven nuevos emprendimientos, es decir, pequeños negocios.

El titular de la embajada norteamericana se hará acompañar del director de la Agencia de los EE.UU para el Desarrollo Internacional, (USAID James Watson; del director del Proyecto GENESIS-FUNADEH, Fernando Ferrera y del director ejecutivo de la Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo de Honduras, (FUNADEH) José Carlos Morales.

En el salón “Mario Belot”, de la sede de la Cámara de Comercio e Industrias de Cortés, (CCIC), se efectuará a partir de las 2 de la tarde el lanzamiento del proyecto “GENESIS; Generando Emprendedores y Sinergias Sostenibles”.

Con el lanzamiento del proyecto Generando Emprendedores y Sinergias Sostenibles (GÉNESIS) la USAID y la Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo de Honduras (FUNADEH) forman una alianza global de desarrollo.

Esta alianza establecida entre USAID y un socio local como FUNADEH implica una fuerte participación y compromiso del sector privado hondureño.

Fuente: http://www.radiohrn.hn/l/noticias/embajada-de-eeuu-lanzar%C3%A1-proyecto-genesis-%E2%80%9C-generando-emprendedores-y-sinergias-sostenibles

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Pleito entre diputado y periodista Esdras Amado López y embajador estadounidense

ESDRAS NEALON

Por: Redacción CRITERIO

redacción@criterio.hn

Tegucigalpa. Una supuesta utilización de fondos de la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID) para la campaña del Partido Nacional, enfrascó este miércoles en un pleito al periodista y diputado, Esdras Amado López y al embajador norteamericano, James Nealon.

El diputado sostiene tener en su poder un documento que le filtraron y que liga a dirigentes del Partido Nacional y a funcionarios del actual gobierno en la utilización de tres millones 656,000 lempiras, provenientes de la cooperación de USAID, para la campaña política del presidente Juan Orlando Hernández.

“Esfuerzos cínicos de Esdras Amado López, para involucrar a Estados Unidos en la política de Honduras son lamentables”, James Nealon

López dijo que como periodista buscó el equilibrio de la noticia y a las 3:35 de la tarde llamó a la oficina del Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los Estados Unidos (USCIS), para lograr un pronunciamiento oficial, por lo que la encargada de prensa, Ledy Pacheco, le informó posteriormente que el embajador quería ver el documento que sustentaba la denuncia, el cual remitió inmediatamente.

Sin embargo, una hora después, “mi sorpresa fue ver que el embajador James Nealon, puso en su Twitter que yo estaba haciendo acusaciones, cuando lo que estaba haciendo era una consulta como periodista”.

Pero lo más lamentable es que también en la embajada redactaron un comunicado “diciendo que soy un cínico”, expresó en alusión a una declaración de la embajada de los Estados Unidos, publicada en la página de Facebbok de la representación diplomática.

A su juicio, la actuación correcta que hubiera asumido el embajador era desvirtuar la denuncia y comunicarle que los datos eran falsos, pero jamás lanzarle acusaciones que atentan contra la libertad de expresión y que son una clara falta de respeto a su persona.

CRITERIO transcribe a continuación la declaración de la embajada:

La Embajada de los Estados Unidos está consciente de las falsas acusaciones que fondos de USAID fueron desviados hacia una campaña política. Esto es falso.

Esdras Amado López – una figura política y periodista – llamó a la Embajada para decir que tenía pruebas que fondos de USAID para COPECO habían sido desviados a una campaña política. De hecho, el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos no ha transferido dinero para COPECO en los últimos 15 años, desde la destrucción que causó el huracán Mitch. Estados Unidos se enorgullece de apoyar a COPECO a través de entrenamientos y donaciones de equipo, pero no se han destinado fondos a la institución.

Esfuerzos cínicos cómo los del Sr. Amado López para involucrar a los Estados Unidos en la política de Honduras son lamentables, pero no cambiará nuestro compromiso de apoyar a Honduras para crear oportunidades económicas, fortalecer instituciones, y aumentar la seguridad de los ciudadanos. Apoyamos todos los esfuerzos de los hondureños para promover la transparencia y combatir la corrupción.

Al respecto, López expresó su malestar al considerar que el embajador de los Estados Unidos está atentando contra la libertad de expresión, porque su actuación al pedir su reacción ante el supuesto acto de corrupción, lo hizo en carácter de periodista por ser el propietario y director de Cholusat Sur (Canal 36).

Añadió que Nealon no puede politizar su consulta y ligarla con su posición de diputado porque actuó en carácter de periodista y tampoco lo puede calificar de cínico, solo por investigar una denuncia que le llegó a su canal.

El controversial comunicador social, respondió airadamente al diplomático “no me venga a hablar de cinismo señor embajador, si hablamos de cinismo, su gobierno es cínico, porque su gobierno utilizó un terreno democrático como el hondureño para poner bases militares contrarrevolucionarias financiadas por su gobierno”.

Apuntó que la embajada estadounidense no puede alegar que no se involucra en la política hondureña, porque sería otro acto de cinismo, negar que estuvo detrás del golpe de Estado de 2009, contra el entonces presidente Manuel Zelaya.

“Estados Unidos se ha metido en las decisiones de Honduras, como por ejemplo: una compañía que quedó fuera del suministro de energía eléctrica y su gobierno a través del embajador, Larry Palmer fue a la Casa de Gobierno para exigir que contrataran a la compañía americana”, denunció.

“Entonces como me viene a decir usted embajador que no se meten en las cosas políticas de Honduras, si yo he participado en reuniones de la embajada americana en donde lo que se toca son cosas políticas”, agregó.

López manifestó que “aquí en Honduras todo mundo le tiene miedo a los gringos”, pero que su caso no es el mismo. “Usted podrá ser el representante del imperio, pero yo no le tengo miedo a usted caballero”, le dijo al embajador Nealon, a quien inmediatamente retó quitarle su visa, ya sea la de diputado o la de periodista.

Fuente: http://criterio.hn/pleito-entre-diputado-y-periodista-esdras-amado-lopez-y-embajador-estadounidense/

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Embajada estadounidense calificó de cínico a periodista hondureño

Alerta 81-15 | Honduras, 11 de junio de 2015
Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre). “Esfuerzos cínicos cómo los del Sr. Amado López para involucrar a los Estados Unidos en la política de Honduras son lamentables, pero no cambiará nuestro compromiso de apoyar a Honduras para crear oportunidades económicas, fortalecer instituciones, y aumentar la seguridad de los ciudadanos…”, dice parte de un comunicado que la embajada de Estados Unidos divulgó la tarde del 10 de junio.
Esa declaración constituye una violación a la libertad de expresión si se considera que “los límites de la crítica aceptable son, por tanto, respecto de un político, más amplios que en el caso de un particular”, de acuerdo con un juicio de la Corte Europea de Derechos Humanos, citado por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CorteIDH).
“La libertad de expresión e información […] debe extenderse no sólo a la información e ideas favorables, consideradas como inofensivas o indiferentes, sino también a aquellas que ofenden, resulten chocantes o perturben. […] Los límites de críticas aceptables son más amplios con respecto al Estado que en relación a un ciudadano privado e inclusive a un político. En un sistema democrático, las acciones u omisiones del Estado deben estar sujetas a un escrutinio riguroso, no sólo por parte de las autoridades legislativas y judiciales, sino también por parte de la prensa y de la opinión pública”, según el Caso “Herrera Ulloa”, de la Corte IDH, citando el Caso “Castells c. España”.
Asimismo, en su análisis, La Libertad de Expresión en la Jurisprudencia de la Corte IDH, de Sergio García Ramírez y Alejandra Gonza, editado en México, en 2007, se establece que un sistema de control al derecho de expresión en nombre de una supuesta garantía de la corrección y veracidad de la información, puede ser fuente de grandes abusos y, en el fondo, viola el derecho a la información que tiene esa misma sociedad.
En su comunicado, la representación extranjera continuó diciendo que “Esdras Amado López – una figura política y periodista – llamó a la Embajada para decir que tenía pruebas que fondos de USAID para COPECO habían sido desviados a una campaña política. De hecho, el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos no ha transferido dinero para COPECO en los últimos 15 años, desde la destrucción que causó el huracán Mitch.  Estados Unidos se enorgullece de apoyar a COPECO a través de entrenamientos y donaciones de equipo, pero no se han destinado fondos a la institución”, indicó la representación diplomática.
“La Embajada de los Estados Unidos está consciente de las falsas acusaciones que fondos de USAID fueron desviados hacia una campaña política. Esto es falso”, agrega.
López dijo que se siente agredido y estigmatizado pues actuó como periodista y no en su rol de diputado. Tanto el pronunciamiento como los mensajes en Twitter de la embajada estadounidense están siendo divulgados por los activistas del partido en el poder para hacer burla de él y desprestigiarlo como periodista por las denuncias de corrupción que ha venido haciendo en Canal 36, dijo.
En su programa en Canal 36, López relató que buscó el equilibrio de la noticia y la encargada de prensa, Ledy Pacheco, le informó que el embajador quería ver el documento donde aparecía la denuncia.
Relató que remitió el documento y una hora después, “mi sorpresa fue ver que el embajador James Nealon, puso en su Twitter que yo estaba haciendo acusaciones, cuando lo que estaba haciendo era una consulta como periodista”.
“No me venga a hablar de cinismo señor embajador, si hablamos de cinismo, su gobierno es cínico, porque su gobierno utilizó un terreno democrático como el hondureño para poner bases militares contrarrevolucionarias financiadas por su gobierno. Cómo me viene a decir usted embajador que no se meten en las cosas políticas de Honduras, si yo he participado en reuniones de la embajada americana en donde lo que se toca son cosas políticas”, agregó López.
El periodista vinculó además a la embajada estadounidense con el golpe de Estado del 28 de junio de 2009.
C-Libre solicitó, por correo electrónico, una reunión con representantes de la embajada y una respuesta para consignar su versión en la alerta, al cierre de esta edición no habían respondido ni enviado un acuse de recibo de la comunicación. También se les escribió a la cuenta de https://twitter.com/usembassyteg?s=04 para conocer su respuesta.
Asimismo, C-Libre considera que esta acción contradice la historia democrática de Estados Unidos puesto que esta nación ha sido un baluarte en la defensa de la libertad de expresión.

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¿Qué dicen los funcionarios del gobierno de los Estados Unidos? – 10 Junio 2015

 

Miércoles, 10 de Junio de 2015. Ver en línea
¿Qué dicen los funcionarios
del gobierno de los Estados Unidos?
Quien para saber lo que el equipo de Juan Orlando Hernández estará informando de lo que ocurre en el país al gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Quien para saber también lo que estará analizando el gobierno de los Estados y la interpretación que hace sobre las múltiples caminatas de decenas de miles de personas en contra de la corrupción y del gobierno, y de qué fuentes estará recibiendo informaciones además de las oficiales.

La versión de Casa Presidencial ya la sabemos: se trata de una conspiración de diversos sectores opositores que incluso podrían estar recibiendo algún respaldo del narcotráfico. Las caminatas de las antorchas son parte de un plan desestabilizador del crimen organizado.

¿Es esta la misma versión que manejan los funcionarios del gobierno de los Estados Unidos? ¿Qué dice la Embajada de los Estados Unidos sobre la actividad agitadora que está convulsionando a toda la sociedad hondureña? ¿Qué papel está jugando en su relación con el gobierno y con aquellas ONGs que reciben fondos directamente de USAID o del propio departamento de Estado?

Sea lo que fuere, Juan Orlando Hernández gozaba del aval de la administración del gobierno de los Estados Unidos. ¿Seguirán convencidos los funcionarios del gobierno de los Estados Unidos que el gobierno de Juan Orlando Hernández es el más apropiado para liderar ese asunto que llaman Alianza para la Prosperidad? ¿Seguirán creyendo que somos los demás –los que cuestionamos y señalamos de corrupto al gobierno–, los que estamos equivocados? ¿Qué tiene que ver la Embajada con ese eslogan de “caiga quien caiga” que, evidentemente, desvía la atención de la presión hacia los que saquearon el Seguro Social?

Quien para saber. La verdad lo que importa no es saber lo que piensan los funcionarios del gobierno de Estados Unidos. Lo importante es lo que deseamos expresar con mucha claridad: pensamos que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos, a través de sus diversos funcionarios y colaboradores, se han equivocado de remate con el gobierno de Juan Orlando Hernández. Y si siguen con este error, el gobierno de los Estados Unidos seguirá participando de la responsabilidad de la creciente inestabilidad que está ocurriendo dentro del país.

Lo decimos sin tapujos: la administración de Juan Orlando Hernández es un fiasco, una impostura, una mafia organizada desde el poder del Estado, que quien la siga avalando –incluyendo el gobierno de los Estados Unidos–, será como querer apagar con gasolina el fuego que ya se ha extendido. Y de este fuego, todos saldremos chamuscados, Incluido el propio gobierno de los Estados Unidos, por seguir teniendo su mente tan cerrada para escuchar la voz de otros sectores que no sea la de sus aliados tan comprometidos con la auténtica criminalidad por mucho que quieran disimularla con palabras e informes impecables y formalmente coherentes.

La soberbia no siempre es la mejor consejera, por mucho poder que se tenga, o por muy pequeña que parezca la dignidad de quienes cuestionamos de frente la corrupción e impunidad que cubre al equipo de Don Juan Orlando Hernández, el gobierno de los Estados Unidos ha dejado claro que su lugar en Honduras es el de maquillar el rostro de altos delincuentes y corruptos.

Fuente: http://radioprogresohn.net/index.php/comunicaciones/nuestra-palabra/item/2132-%C2%BFqu%C3%A9-dicen-los-funcionarios-del-gobierno-de-los-estados-unidos?-10-junio-2015

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Femicidios, violencia doméstica y sexual, delitos que más sufrendoméas


  • Miércoles, 10 Junio 2015 17:06

Femicidios, violencia doméstica y sexual, delitos que más sufren hondureñas

Autor del artículo: EFE

Tegucigalpa – Los delitos que más sufren las mujeres hondureñas por la violencia que afecta a su país son los femicidios, la violencia doméstica y los abusos sexuales, revela un informe presentado hoy por el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD) y ONU Mujeres en Tegucigalpa.

En lo que respecta a muertes violentas, la ciudad de San Pedro Sula (norte), la segunda más importante del país, registró en los últimos 10 años 580 casos de femicidios, seguida por Tegucigalpa, con 406, añade el estudio “Violencia y Seguridad ciudadana. Una mirada desde la perspectiva de género”.

El diagnóstico, que ha contado con el apoyo de la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID), fue presentado en la Casa de las Naciones Unidas con la participación de representantes de varios municipios del país centroamericano, que registra altos índices de violencia.

La investigación sobre violencia y seguridad ciudadana fue hecha en los municipios de Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Choloma, Tela y La Ceiba, los últimos cuatro en el norte de Honduras.

Las menores entre los 10 y 14 años de edad son las más afectadas por violencia sexual, indicó la asesora especialista en género de la ONU Margarita Bueso.

Agregó que el segundo sector más afectado por violencia sexual es el de las jóvenes entre los 15 y 19 años.

“Ambos grupos representan el 71 por ciento” de las víctimas, añadió Bueso en la presentación del diagnóstico, al que además asistieron representantes de organizaciones de mujeres y del Poder Judicial, entre otros invitados.

Bueso señaló que, según el estudio, el 90 por ciento de los delitos sexuales en el país son contra niñas y mujeres, y que a partir de 2009 “los delitos sexuales se incrementan en las niñas de 10 a 14 años, sin que existan datos que expliquen las razones de esos abusos”.

En Honduras, el femicidio fue tipificado como delito en 2013, pero hasta ahora no hay ingresos por eso en los juzgados penales o en los tribunales de sentencia, añadió la experta.

En lo que respecta al acceso a la Justicia, el diagnóstico indica que entre 2008 y 2014 fueron llevados a los juzgados 102.766 casos de violencia doméstica a nivel nacional, pero se observa que el 54 por ciento, más de la mitad, caducaron antes de tener cualquier respuesta por parte del sector judicial.

Las cifras reflejan la alta mora judicial que sigue imperando en Honduras, según diversos organismos defensores de mujeres.

Según el diagnóstico, los actores responsables de los femicidios identificados en los cinco municipios donde se hizo el estudio están relacionados con el crimen organizado, pandillas conocidas como “maras”, redes de narcotráfico y trata de personas.

“En muchos de los casos, las mujeres fueron asesinadas por su relación de convivencia con hombres vinculados directamente a estas redes. Son identificados también hombres que mantienen o han mantenido una relación sentimental, de convivencia o de acoso sexual con la víctima”, subraya el estudio.

En el evento hubo consenso sobre la importancia que tiene la formación en valores del ser humano desde su niñez, comenzando en el hogar, pasando por la escuela y demás espacios en los que después se desenvolverá.

La vicealcaldesa de San Pedro Sula, Lilia Umaña, dijo a Efe que el gobierno local de esa ciudad impulsa varios proyectos sociales a favor de la niñez y la mujer.

También ejecuta programas de capacitación en participación comunitaria a mujeres que son microempresarias, lo mismo que con grupos familiares y centros educativos, agregó.

Umaña señaló, entre otras cosas, que en muchos casos la violencia contra las mujeres sigue campeando porque estas no denuncian desde el momento en el cual comienzan a ser maltratadas.

Algunas interponen la denuncia hasta que han sido maltratadas por quinta, décima o enésima vez, o hasta que son remitidas a un hospital donde ya no pueden ocultar de lo que han sido víctimas.

Fuente: http://www.proceso.hn/component/k2/item/104016-femicidios-violencia-dom%C3%A9stica-y-sexual-delitos-que-m%C3%A1s-sufren-hondure%C3%B1as.html

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Embajador de los Estados Unidos James Nealon ataca a periodista de Honduras Esdras Amado López

EALNEALONEl periodista Esdras Amado López fue acusado y señalado por parte del Embajador de los Estados Unidos, James Nealon quien dijo que el comunicador era cínico por haber dado acusaciones falsas en relación a un supuesto desvío de fondos de USAID hacia una campaña política.

El periodista Esdras Amado López obtuvo un documento en el que supuestamente el ex director de COPECO Lisandro Rosales habría girado instrucciones para que fondos de USAID y PRESUPUESTO CENTRAL fueran enviados a los coordinadores departamentales para la campaña de Juan Orlando Hernández.

Para confirmar su veracidad o saber sobre una reacción oficial de la embajada Norteamericana el periodista Esdras Amado López envió escaneado el documento mediante correo electrónico y espero la reacción oficial.

Para sorpresa del comunicador, la embajada publico un documento oficial en el que decía que “La Embajada de los Estados Unidos esta consciente de las falsas acusaciones que fondos de USAID fueron desviados hacia una campaña política”

“Esfuerzos cínicos como los del Sr. Amado López para involucrar a los Estados Unidos en la política de Honduras son lamentables”.

Pero de igual manera no bastándoles el comunicado, el embajador James Nealon utilizando la cuenta oficial de TWITTER ataco de igual manera al periodista Esdras Amado López.

Aquí todos los documentos

DOC_COPECO

El comunicado de la Embajada de los Estados Unidos:

La Embajada de los Estados Unidos está consciente de las falsas acusaciones que fondos de USAID fueron desviados hacia una campaña política. Esto es falso.
 
Esdras Amado López – una figura política y periodista – llamó a la Embajada para decir que tenía pruebas que fondos de USAID para COPECO habían sido desviados a una campaña política. De hecho, el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos no ha transferido dinero para COPECO en los últimos 15 años, desde la destrucción que causó el huracán Mitch.  Estados Unidos se enorgullece de apoyar a COPECO a través de entrenamientos y donaciones de equipo, pero no se han destinado fondos a la institución.
 
Esfuerzos cínicos cómo los del Sr. Amado López para involucrar a los Estados Unidos en la política de Honduras son lamentables, pero no cambiará nuestro compromiso de apoyar a Honduras para crear oportunidades económicas, fortalecer instituciones, y aumentar la seguridad de los ciudadanos. Apoyamos todos los esfuerzos de los hondureños para promover la transparencia y combatir la corrupción.

Aqui los Twitts tanto del Embajado Nealon, como la respuesta de Esdras Amado Lopez

 

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URL: http://cholusatsur.com/noticias/?p=10824

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La protesta popular contra JOH y la corrupción

Jun 10

fuera_joh_2

LAS POSICIONES CRISTIANAS.
POSICIÓN JESUITA. “La administración de Juan Orlando Hernández es una mafia organizada desde el poder del Estado, que quien la siga avalando –incluyendo el gobierno de los Estados Unidos–, será como querer apagar con gasolina el fuego que ya se ha extendido. Y de este fuego, todos saldremos chamuscados, Incluido el propio gobierno de los Estados Unidos, por seguir teniendo su mente tan cerrada para escuchar la voz de otros sectores que no sea la de sus aliados tan comprometidos con la auténtica criminalidad por mucho que quieran disimularla con palabras e informes”. Radio Progreso, 10 de junio 2015.

POSICIÓN EVANGÉLICA. “Rechazamos que la lucha contra la corrupción se manipule e instrumentalice políticamente para desestabilizar el país. Al contrario, sugerimos que esta lucha tenga como objetivo fortalecer las instituciones del Estado. Nos pronunciamos en contra de actos vandálicos, la interrupción de la libre circulación por las calles, la paralización de la producción y el comercio, la toma y destrucción de oficinas públicas, la manipulación de la información y las campañas de desprestigio a nivel internacional, para empañar la imagen del país” (Confraternidad Evangélica de Honduras).

 

DIALOGO NACIONAL. El único diálogo que hace falta en Honduras es aquél que conduzca a la Sociedad a definir la salida de la elite actual – corrupta, violenta y narcótica – para reconstruir el Contrato Social y Político en una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente con la nueva generación. Flores Facussé cree que su consenso de 1981 es eterno, sus amigos “constituyentes¨ de entonces creen que todo está bien así como está. Este nuevo diálogo no es una mesada de viejos dirigentes de ¨centrales obreras¨ sin bases con partidos políticos electoreros que sólo activan 6 meses antes de los “escrutinios¨, con empresarios agiotistas y narcos, con cristianos mercenarios y medios con complejo de carteles del poder ¡no¡

 

Jun 9

PRIMERO DINERO. La misión de la Unión Europea en Tegucigolpe respalda al régimen de ‪#‎JOH‬, porque tiene en riesgo una inversion de 120 millones de Euros en el país (2014-2020) principalmente en el sector justicia y la perspectiva de ejecutar el ADA; el BID un crédito promedio anual de $350 millones, la mayoría para seguridad, y la USAID en línea de presión sobre el Congreso un monto de $400 millones de la Alianza para la Prosperidad. No se puede esperar otro comportamiento de esta “comunidad internacional”, que no sea la defensa de sus intereses. Primero su dinero. Y por eso JOH tuvo que reunirlos el lunes, porque están inquietos, y el martes asistió al Consejo Empresarial Latinoamericano, CEAL, que financia dictaduras democráticas de mercado, porque también están inquietos.

 

Jun 8

NUEVAS SEÑALES. El Presidente JOH suspendió hoy su viaje al Foro sobre ZEDEs en San Francisco, California, y al Vaticano también. Este lunes reúne de emergencia a los alcaldes del país para prometerles 600 millones de lempiras que adeuda en transferencias, pero les pide que apoyen su defensa ante las conspiraciones en el nivel local; inmediatamente después se reune con el Cuerpo Diplomático, incluyendo el embajdor de USA que estaba evasivo…

 

Comentarios de Félix Molina

Fuente: http://voselsoberano.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17186:iinquietos-por-la-protesta-popular-contra-joh-y-la-corrupcion&catid=1:noticias-generales

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PMA dará asistencia alimentaria a Guatemala y Honduras facilitada por EE.UU.


  • Jueves, 21 Mayo 2015 14:59

PMA dará asistencia alimentaria a Guatemala y Honduras facilitada por EE.UU.

Autor del artículo: EFE
Panamá.- El Programa Mundial de Alimentos (PMA) informó hoy de que llevará asistencia alimentaria a casi 90.000 personas en Honduras y Guatemala gracias a una contribución de 5 millones de dólares otorgada por Estados Unidos.
Los fondos aportados por el Programa de Alimentos para la Paz de Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID/FFP) serán destinados a “proporcionar asistencia alimentaria a 87.145 personas, y ayudar a la recuperación de los efectos prolongados de la sequía del año pasado en Honduras y Guatemala”.
La oficina para América Latina del PMA, con sede en Panamá, precisó este jueves en un comunicado que la asistencia llegará a unas 52.500 personas afectadas por la sequía en Guatemala, con un costo estimado de 3 millones de dólares, y a otras 34.645 en Honduras con los 2 millones de dólares restantes.
“Estamos muy agradecidos con el Programa de Alimentos para la Paz de USAID por esta oportuna contribución, que asistirá a pequeños agricultores y jornaleros, a no sólo recuperarse de los efectos de una grave sequía, sino que les permitirá también aumentar su resiliencia ante futuras crisis climáticas”, dijo el director Regional del PMA para América Latina y el Caribe, Miguel Barreto.
El PMA informó de que “proporcionará dinero en efectivo y cupones para las personas más vulnerables, lo que les permitirá participar en (…) la construcción, gestión y recolección de cursos de agua, tanques sépticos, acueductos comunitarios, terrazas agrícolas y drenajes, letrinas, y huertos familiares y comunitarios”.
Añadió que junto a los gobiernos de Guatemala y Honduras coordina la ejecución de todas esas actividades, que se llevan a cabo en Quiché y Jalapa en Guatemala, y en Intibucá, Lempira, Francisco Morazán y Copán en Honduras.
El programa de las Naciones Unidas aseveró que además de impulsar la economía local, los programas de efectivo y cupones son útiles cuando se dispone de alimentos en los mercados pero las personas no cuentan con los recursos para comprarlos.
El PMA es la mayor agencia humanitaria que lucha contra el hambre en el mundo, y brinda asistencia a unas 90 millones de personas en 80 países, de acuerdo a la información oficial.

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Coups, Massacres And Contras: The Legacy Of Washington’s New Point Man In Latin America

Despite shifts on Cuba and Venezuela, the Obama administration’s appointment of a man who’s been involved in the overthrow of leftist governments since the 1980s, to head the White House’s top agency on Latin American affairs shows little may have really changed.
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Mark Feierstein, former associate administrator for USAID and Washinton's new point man on Latin America, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Feierstein's legacy of covert regime change has many Latin American leaders questioning Washington's intents. Mark Feierstein, former associate administrator for USAID and Washinton’s new point man on Latin America, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Feierstein’s legacy of covert regime change has many Latin American leaders questioning Washington’s intents.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced in December that it would immediately re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, a policy shift that ended 54 years of isolation. In another move that was diametrically opposed to this policy shift, it then imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela in March.

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and president of Just Foreign Policy, argues that Obama realized his administration made a mistake implementing the sanctions, and so attempted to back-pedal by stating: “We do not believe that Venezuela poses a threat to the United States, nor does the United States threaten the Venezuelan government.”

Weisbrot added: “And then he did something that no U.S. president has done since 1999, when Hugo Chávez was president-elect of Venezuela: he met with Venezuela’s head of state. This was arguably as important for hemispheric relations as his meeting with Raúl Castro.”

But with the appointment of Feierstein, Weisbrot told MintPress News that he believes U.S. policy toward Latin America may not have changed at all.

“Feierstein’s been involved in campaigns against left governments since the U.S.-backed war against the Sandinistas in the 1980s,” Weisbrot told MintPress, adding that he can’t understand why nobody has reported on Feierstein’s appointment yet.

Indeed, a quick review of Feierstein’s track record in Latin America reveals that the new senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council has played an integral role in facilitating destabilization of South American countries since the 1980s.

Feierstein will replace Ricardo Zúñiga, who negotiated the Cuba deal, along with deputy national security adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes.

 

Massacre in Bolivia

In 2010, Feierstein was appointed assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This caused considerable friction between Bolivia and the U.S. because Feierstein acted as a campaign consultant to former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (1993-1997; 2002-2003). Sánchez de Lozada, who is also known as “Goni,” is infamous in Bolivia because 64 people were allegedly killed under his orders for opposing the liberalization of the country’s gas resources during the notorious “Black October” incident. He currently faces charges of genocide in Bolivia, but has fled to the United States.

In 2006, Feierstein expressed no regret to getting Sánchez de Lozada elected. He said: “You know, we are proud of the role that we played in electing Goni.”

 

Coup in Paraguay

Feierstein was assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at USAID in 2012, when the country’s opposition legislature executed a coup d’etat against leftist President Fernando Lugo, allegedly for mishandling the violent eviction of peasant farmers in the Curuguaty region.

However, Weisbrot explained in a piece for The Guardian at the time that the legislature had different motives:

“The politics of the situation are clear enough. Paraguay was controlled for 61 years by the rightwing Colorado party. For most of this time (1947-1989), the country was ruled by dictatorship. President Lugo, a former Catholic bishop from the tradition of liberation theology who had fought for the rights of the poor, was elected in 2008, but did not win majority backing in the Congress. He put together a coalition government, but the right – including the media – has never really accepted his presidency.”

USAID had increased funding to its programs in Paraguay following Lugo’s election. According to Natalia Viana, an investigative reporter for The Nation, this “was to prevent his [Lugo’s] policies from becoming too leftist—and to prevent his administration from becoming too close to Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador or Cuba.” She also reported that, “funding was channeled to some of the very institutions that would play a central role in impeaching Lugo six years later, including not just the police force but the Public Ministry and the Supreme Court.”

According to Viana, USAID anticipated the opposition’s ulterior motives early on and cozied up to them. Feierstein is recorded as saying that the country’s supreme court, which refused Lugo’s appeal, was “efficient and effective for the Paraguayan people.” He described it as “an example for other countries.”

 

Funding the Contras in Nicaragua

U.S. backed Nicaraguan rebel leader stands with guerrilla fighters with  in their camp in southern Nicaragua, 1983.  The rebel, trained, armed and funded by the CIA, formerd to overthrow the Nicaraguan Sandinista government. U.S. backed Nicaraguan rebel leader stands with guerrilla fighters with  in their camp in southern Nicaragua, 1983.  The rebel, trained, armed and funded by the CIA, formerd to overthrow the Nicaraguan Sandinista government.

Perhaps what Feierstein is most famous for, however, is his role as a project manager for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Nicaragua, where it played an instrumental role in ousting the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), also known as the Sandinistas, in the 1980s and 90s.

The FSLN is a socialist political party and revolutionary group that implemented a broad range of social reforms across Nicaragua after taking power in 1979, including a literacy campaign, health care, and the promotion of gender equality.

After being elected in 1980, President Ronald Reagan was ideologically opposed to the leftist ideology of the Sandinistas, which allied with Cuba and the Soviet Union, and determined to overthrow the government. He authorized the CIA to finance, train, and arm rebel forces in Nicaragua, some of whom were allied with the former Somoza regime, to fight the FSLN. The ensuing war lasted until the early 1990s.

Due to popular American opposition against Reagan’s policies toward Nicaragua, Congress cut funds to the rebels, who were called “Contras,” in 1985. The White House continued to support the Contras through the now infamous Iran-Contra deal, which saw the National Security Council, along with other government agencies like the CIA, sell arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua.

The NED was integral in U.S. efforts to destabilize the elected government.

Feierstein explained his rationale for the U.S. role in attempting to overthrow the Sandinistas in a 1991 book review of Thomas Carothers’s book “In the Name of Democracy: U.S. Policy Toward Latin America in the Reagan Years.” He wrote: “To prevent Marxism from spreading in Central America – that is, to contain the Sandinistas and thwart Leftist victories elsewhere – required supporting the military, a primary obstacle to democracy in Latin America.”

The Contras have since been accused of numerous human rights violations. It is estimated that up to 50,000 people were killed.

Speaking with MintPress, Weisbrot speculated that Obama may have appointed Feierstein because he cares very little about U.S. policy toward Latin America. He explained that the Cuba deal has more to do with Obama’s legacy than it does with any real tangible policy shifts.

“So the Cuba move is a legacy thing – he wants to be the president who opened up Cuba,” he argued.
He concluded: “It’s a nice legacy to have because it’s something most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has wanted since the 90s, and even before.”

Fuente: http://www.mintpressnews.com/coups-massacres-and-contras-the-legacy-of-the-washingtons-new-point-man-in-latin-america/205494/

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Honduras: EE UU aprueba 8 millones para TSE

8 de Abril de 2015

09:47PM  –  Redacción  

Los fondos recibidos son auditados previamente por la misma oficina de USAID.

Además de USAID, la organización Konrad Adenauer ha colaborado con el TSE.
Además de USAID, la organización Konrad Adenauer ha colaborado con el TSE.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

El gobierno de Estados Unidos -a través de su programa USAID- desembolsó 400 mil dólares (8 millones de lempiras) para financiar programas de capacitación del Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE).

Gracias a estos recursos, el ente colegiado ha traído expertos internacionales para capacitar a su personal en temas político-administrativos, previo al inicio del año electoral 2016.

Ayer, por ejemplo, se discutió el Plan Operativo Anual, que se sumó a otros seminarios impartidos en semanas pasadas.

Además de USAID, la organización Konrad Adenauer ha colaborado con el TSE y ya se están haciendo gestiones con Japón y con Taiwán para que financien otros programas, dijo el director financiero del ente electoral, Darío Valladares.

Durante el año pasado y el presente, el TSE ha impulsado programas de capacitación, de actualización de la cartografía, sistema administrativo financiero, manuales de procedimiento administrativo y manuales de puestos y salarios, todos con recursos externos.

Los fondos recibidos son auditados previamente por la misma oficina de USAID y posteriormente por el Tribunal Superior de Cuentas, dijo el director financiero.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/pais/829259-331/honduras-ee-uu-aprueba-8-millones-para-tse

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USAID Y Fundación Lady Lee: Promoverán programas para reducir la violencia

Martes, 10 Marzo 2015 21:30

 Julissa Ustariz, Directora Fundación Lady Lee y James Watson, Director de la USAID, al firmar la carta de entendimiento. Julissa Ustariz, Directora Fundación Lady Lee y James Watson, Director de la USAID, al firmar la carta de entendimiento.

TEGUCIGALPA- Fundación Lady Lee y la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID) suscribieron una carta de entendimiento con el fin de promover los programas de educación, prevención de violencia y otras inversiones para la protección de jóvenes en alto riesgo.

El objetivo principal del acuerdo es  reducir el crimen y la violencia en zonas vulnerables en los municipios de San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba y Choloma, para lo cual ambas instituciones contemplan actividades que colaboren al cumplimiento de sus metas compartidas.

Ambas partes trabajarán en  intercambiar la información relacionada a la provisión de asistencia técnica y financiera que implica el aumento al acceso de la educación para localidades metas y asistencia técnica y financiera para apoyar fortalecer a la cohesión comunitaria.

También   incorporarán el Programa de Voluntariado de Corporación Lady Lee y documentarán y compartirán experiencias para resaltar lecciones aprendidas y  las buenas prácticas.

SEPALO

Ambas instituciones llevan colaborando desde el 2013 en diversos programas  y proyectos de prevención de violencia.

Fuente: http://www.tiempo.hn/naci%C3%B3n/item/22659-usaid-y-fundaci%C3%B3n-lady-lee-promover%C3%A1n-programas-para-reducir-la-violencia

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Senador Kaine reconoce que ya es tiempo de una reforma migratoria

Senador Kaine reconoce que ya es tiempo de una reforma migratoria

EL PROGRESO, Yoro. Durante su visita al Centro Técnico Vocacional Loyola de la Fundación Fe y Alegría, el senador demócrata de los Estados Unidos, Timothy Michael Kaine, reconoció que es tiempo de una reforma en el sistema de inmigración de su país.

Kaine sirvió en 1980 como misionero y maestro en este centro educativo por su afinidad a los Jesuitas que fundaron el lugar, por lo tanto su visita ayer fue provechosa para compartir con los estudiantes, docentes y personal de la fundación, además de conocer las necesidades que tiene el instituto.

“Es un momento muy importante y emocionante para mí regresar a Honduras, después de muchos años. Viví aquí en 1980, la gente en El Progreso y las amistades que hice fueron  una fuente de inspiración para mí, después de estar aquí”, destacó el senador.

Indicó que programas como el Loyola son importantes para desarrollar a los jóvenes, “la escuela tenía solo 25 estudiantes durante mi tiempo aquí, pero ahora hay casi 300 aprendiendo gastronomía, soldadura mecánica y otras profesiones”.

El pasado martes, Kaine en compañía de su colega republicano John Cornyn y el embajador de lo Estados Unidos en Honduras, James Nealon,  visitó en la colonia Suyapa de Chamelecón de San Pedro Sula, un Centro de Alcance auspiciado por la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (Usaid).

“Es importante porque los jóvenes necesitan lugares seguros donde puedan aprender capacidades y tener un futuro en Honduras. Visitamos algunas empresas para entender qué podemos hacer en los Estados Unidos para ayudar al país a trabajar juntos”.

Expresó que en su nación habrá un debate sobre una propuesta del presidente Barack Obama para invertir mil millones de dólares en los países de Centroamérica como Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador, “por lo tanto, es importante para nosotros visitar, hablar con la gente y escuchar sus ideas o sugerencias porque necesitamos hacer la mayor buena inversión”.

Dijo tener un corazón especial para programas de los jóvenes, “si podemos invertir en proyectos que desarrollen a las personas y a la economía, creo que es la mejor cosa, por lo que es mucho más fácil hablar sobre eso con mis colegas con una visita como esta y no solo por los recuerdos de hace 35 años, sino que ver cómo está ahora para ayudarme a convencerlos”.

Ante la determinación del juez federal de Texas, Andrew Scott Hanen, en suspender temporalmente las acciones ejecutivas sobre migración anunciadas por Obama, manifestó que “apoyo la reforma del sistema de inmigración y las acciones del presidente; tengo confianza que en las Cortes de Apelación vamos a ganar”.

En ese sentido, agregó que deben trabajar juntos en el Congreso para una reforma del sistema de inmigración, “porque la última fue en 1986, hace casi 30 años, por lo tanto, es tiempo para una reforma mejor y voy a trabajar duro en eso, cada día en el Senado”, apuntó.

Como parte de una agenda de trabajo, los senadores tienen contemplada para hoy en horas de la mañana, una reunión con el Presidente Juan Orlando Hernández, seguida de una conferencia de prensa. (AEA)

Fuente: http://www.latribuna.hn/2015/02/18/senador-kaine-reconoce-que-ya-es-tiempo-de-una-reforma-migratoria/

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Obama formaliza solicitud de $1,000 millones al Congreso

2 de Febrero de 2015

09:38PM  –  Redacción  

USAID deberá presentar estrategia para “atender los factores clave en países de Centroamérica”, dice propuesta de presupuesto.

El presidente Barack Obama pidió ayer fondos para Centroamérica al Congreso de Estados Unidos.
El presidente Barack Obama pidió ayer fondos para Centroamérica al Congreso de Estados Unidos.

Tegucigalpa

El presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, pidió este lunes al Congreso 1,000 millones de dólares (más de 21,000 millones de lempiras) para ayudar a Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador.

Los fondos fueron solicitados a través de la propuesta de presupuesto de cuatro billones de dólares presentada al Congreso norteamericano para el año fiscal del 2016, vigente a partir del mes de octubre.

Con esta ayuda el gobierno estadounidense busca impulsar la implementación del Plan Alianza para la Prosperidad (PAP), presentado por los países del Triángulo Norte de Centroamérica para frenar la migración ilegal.

Inicialmente Estados Unidos propuso el año pasado entregar ayuda financiera a Honduras, El Salvador y Guatemala, de donde salieron más de 51,000 niños que fueron detenidos al cruzar solos la frontera.

Al mismo tiempo más de 69,000 que viajaban desde Centroamérica, en su mayoría madres, jóvenes y niños, fueron arrestados en la frontera sur del territorio norteamericano.

El aumento en la cantidad de niños que viajaban solos tomó por sorpresa al gobierno de Barack Obama pese a que desde hacía años aumentaba el número de menores que viajaban sin compañía en busca de atravesar la frontera.

La situación forzó al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional y al Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos a enfocar sus recursos a ese tema, ya que ambas agencias son responsables de atender a los menores que son detenidos cuando cruzan la frontera sin compañías.

Obama describió la situación como una crisis humanitaria a mediados del año pasado.

La Agencia para el Desarrollo Internacional de Estados Unidos (USAID) será la encargada de entregar al Congreso una estrategia para “atender los factores clave en países de Centroamérica” de donde han salido los niños migrantes, de acuerdo con el presupuesto para el Departamento de Estado propuesto por el presidente.

La solicitud presupuestal indica que el dinero se usará para mejorar la seguridad en la frontera, así como para el desarrollo social y para mejorar el sistema de aplicación de la ley, así como los sistemas judiciales en esos países.

Parte de los recursos también se usaría para restaurar las instalaciones de repatriación para ayudar a procesar a los inmigrantes que son deportados de Estados Unidos.

La solicitud presupuestal del Departamento de Estado también incluye un fondo de 142 millones para ayudar a México a reforzar la seguridad en su frontera sur.

El voluminoso documento del presupuesto enviado ayer al Congreso, que es al mismo tiempo una relación de gastos como una especie de programa político, previsiblemente suscitará la oposición de los republicanos que ahora dominan ambas cámaras del Congreso.

Plan

En noviembre del año pasado, Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador presentaron en la sede del BID, en Washington, los alcances de la Alianza para la Prosperidad, un plan que nació para contrarrestar las causas de la migración de niños y adultos.

La iniciativa plantea acciones contundentes contra la pobreza, el desempleo, la inseguridad y además formula estrategias para fortalecer la economía de la región y acelerar el proceso de desarrollo y así evitar la migración.

Fue elaborada en conjunto por los gobiernos de Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador, a petición de Obama, durante una reunión sostenida con los presidentes de los tres países centroamericanos en julio pasado en Washington, para tratar el tema de la migración infantil.

La Casa Blanca informó la semana anterior que Obama planea la inversión de unos 400 millones de dólares en programas de integración aduanera para impulsar los intercambios comerciales, así como en infraestructura de transportes.

Otros 300 millones de dólares serán aplicados en la seguridad comunitaria, reforma de las policías, la cooperación regional en asuntos de defensa y elaboración de medidas coordinadas de ataque al crimen organizado.

Asimismo, unos 250 millones de dólares se concentrarían en el fortalecimiento de las instituciones para “permitir a los gobiernos atender de forma más efectiva los problemas sociales, económicos y políticos” que enfrentan.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/inicio/791332-331/obama-formaliza-solicitud-de-1000-millones-al-congreso

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EE.UU. y el gobierno de Honduras inauguran proyectos para fortalecer la educación

La compilación de libros “Si creo y leo, me recreo”, constituye una herramienta didáctica y metodológica diseñada para fomentar habilidades y destrezas de lectura en niñas y niños en edad escolar.

El Embajador de los Estados Unidos de América, James Nealon, junto al Ministro Director del IDECOAS-FHIS Mario Pineda, y el Ministro de Educación, Marlon Escoto participarán este vienes 23 de enero en distintos eventos que fortalecen la educación del país.

En El Progreso, Yoro a las 9:00 a.m.: Por la mañana el Embajador Nealon y el Ministro de Educación harán la donación de una colección de 70,000 libros en la Casa de la Cultura de El Progreso. “Si creo y leo, me recreo” es una colección de literatura infantil escrita e ilustrada por niñas y niños hondureños de diferentes grupos poblacionales, étnicos, culturales y sociales. Está compuesta por 23 libros inéditos conteniendo elementos propios de la cosmovisión, idiosincrasia, tradición y magia de los pueblos de Honduras.

La compilación de libros “Si creo y leo, me recreo”, constituye una herramienta didáctica y metodológica diseñada para fomentar habilidades y destrezas de lectura en niñas y niños en edad escolar.

En coordinación con la Secretaría de Educación y el American Intitutes for Research y su Proyecto EducAcción, la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional USAID implementa esta iniciativa de fortalecimiento a la calidad del sistema educativo hondureño.

En la Ceiba, Atlántida a la 1:30 p.m.: Seguidamente el Embajador Nealon y el Ministro de Educación se trasladaran a la ciudad de La Ceiba donde en compañía del Ministro de IDECOAS-FHIS participarán en la inauguración de las mejoras al sistema de iluminación de bordos y calles y remodelación de la Escuela Enrique Ortez Pinel ubicada en la colonia Primero de Mayo.

La ejecución de estos proyectos fue posible debido a la participación activa de la comunidad de Primero de Mayo, a través del modelo de ejecución PEC (Proyectos Ejecutados por la Comunidad). La comunidad aportó mano de obra no calificada y materiales locales con lo cual contribuye en mejorar la cohesión social comunitaria.

Para concluir su visita, el Embajador y los Ministros colocaron la primera piedra del Centro de Alcance y la remodelación del Jardín de Niños Francisco Zepeda Andino.

Con la implementación de estas obras se evidencia el interés del Gobierno de los EEUU por apoyar la educación y seguridad en el país.

Los cuatro proyectos en mención cuentan con una inversión total de US$ 228,000.00. Con una contribución de US$206,000.00 del gobierno de los EEUU, US$18,000.00 del Gobierno de Honduras, US$3,000.00 de la municipalidad de La Ceiba, y US$1,000.00 de la comunidad.

Fuente: http://www.radiohrn.hn/l/noticias/eeuu-y-el-gobierno-de-honduras-inauguran-proyectos-para-fortalecer-la-educaci%C3%B3n

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Honduras: the Failings of Neoliberalism

Militarization and the Failed State

by GREG McCAIN

Robando is Spanish for stealing. “Juan Robando” is the not-at-all-affectionate moniker given to the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH). January 27th marks the end of the first year of his presidency. His theft of the elections of November 2013 ensured the continuance of Honduras’ neoliberal trajectory. A trajectory previously boosted by the Agricultural Modernization Law of 1992. This law jettisoned any agrarian reforms attempted beforehand. Neoliberalism took a further leap in 2009. That’s when the ruling elite instigated the coup d’état which ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Thirteen oligarchic families led the coup with the assistance of the US State Department, at the time headed by Hilary Clinton. The Honduran Military kidnapped Zelaya using the private plane of Miguel Facussé Barjum, President of the Dinant Corporation and the richest man in Honduras. They refueled at the US’s Palmerola Military Base before whisking the deposed President to Panama.

Even though Zelaya’s administration ratified and supported CAFTA-DR in 2006 (“free” trade agreements being the neo-liberals’ favorite bludgeoning tool for maintaining the wealth of the ruling elite) he was seen as an impediment to the neoliberal agenda. This was due in part to his making several pragmatic economic decisions. For example, he raised the minimum wage and entered into agreements with peasant farmers to help them obtain land titles (which enraged Facussé). Mostly, though, it was because he was friendly to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and worked for Honduras’ entry into ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America).

The sham election of 2013 was simply an extension of the coup. Overwhelming evidence showed that JOH and his National Party (NP) stole the elections. His party engaged in various means of vote tampering, outright threats, and murders of opposition candidates and supporters. Nevertheless, his presidency was legitimized.

JOH’s campaign promised a “mano duro,” or iron fist approach, to ending the crime that ranks Honduras as the murder capital of the world. His plan to put Military Police (MP) on every street corner across the country has thus far been implemented in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula and incrementally elsewhere. But, homicides continue unabated along with the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators. Despite JOH’s and the US State Dept.’s attempts to fudge the numbers, the World Health Organization reports that homicides have increased in the past year to 103.9/100,000 people. In addition, the MP have been involved in numerous cases of intimidation, brutality, kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder.

Regardless, JOH continues his crusade to amend the Constitution so that it institutionalizes the Military Police as a security force bound by his dictates. This has been met with opposition in Congress and thus far has failed to receive the necessary votes. Even the easily bribed diputados (members of Congress) of the Liberal Party must have had flashbacks to the days when too much power given to the Military resulted in dictators ordering death squads and the disappearances of those who opposed the government. Of course, both of those occur today, but under the guise of it being street gangs or narco-traffickers and thus justifying a need for giving the Military Police more power and increased aid from the US. The NP is now proposing a secret ballot so it can manipulate the outcome of a congressional vote.

JOH has further promised greater collaboration with the US military in ending the narcotrafficking that has spread to every department in the country. A number of narco rings have seen their leaders arrested and extradited to the US, some purported to have contributed to JOH and other National Party candidates in the election. Nevertheless, others have expanded their markets once JOH and the US DEA have removed their competition. The lack of transparency in the extradition process underscores the ties between organized crime and the government. Indeed, The National Congress moved to have new extradition legislation voted on in a secret committee session that excluded opposition parties from taking part in the strategizing of the new law.

Since the beginning of his presidency there has been increasing talk of amending the constitution so that JOH can be reelected. This was the very issue that the coup instigators used to justify their kidnapping of Zelaya, accusing him of conspiring to install himself as “President for life.” The difference being that JOH wants his NP controlled Congress to amend the Constitution without public input. Zelaya wanted a National Referendum so that the voice of the people could be heard on this and other constitutional matters. It is actually unconstitutional for the Congress to even discuss a change to the reelection law. The JOH controlled judiciary branch is maneuvering to get that changed. Advisors inside JOH’s administration are saying that reelection of the President is already a done deal. Justice in Honduras is not blind since it is able to look the other way when palms are being greased.

The Honduran justice system is maintained with funding from USAID as an inefficient, opaque, and dysfunctional system to protect the ruling elite from being prosecuted. It is also kept as is to criminalize those who seek justice such as the peasant farmers who struggle for legal access to land. 4000 campesinos have judicial proceedings against them, an increase of almost 1000 just in 2014. They must sign in at a courthouse every 15 days or risk arrest and this could go on indefinitely. Judges at the municipal level and in the Supreme Court, as well as Public Defenders and Prosecutors in the Public Ministry are at the service of the ruling elite either through influence peddling or threats made against their lives. Miguel Facussé Barjum has succeeded in using the justice system to his own benefit, both in his literally getting away with murder and in his swindles of national and international banks as well as other corporations.

Facussé has avoided prosecution for the numerous assassinations against environmentalists and campesino human rights advocates that he has ordered stemming as far back as the 1980s when he helped finance the death squads responsible for the disappearances of students and human rights activists. These political hits continued into this decade with the murder of Antonio Trejo the lawyer for the MARCA campesino movement who was assassinated in November of 2012. Trejo succeeded in challenging land grabs by Facussé and others. After Trejo’s murder, Facussé used his influence peddling to get a judgment in favor of the campesinos overturned in the Supreme Court.

Facussé and Dinant, in collaboration with the Honduran military, have carried out a campaign of criminalization of campesinos who have succeeded in challenging the legal ownership of land. Dinant has hired Tricuro, a neoliberal Washington, D.C. public relations firm. Tricuro makes its money cleaning up the reputations of corporate and government human rights violators and environmental polluters. Its propaganda in regards to Dinant states,

“At no point in our history have we engaged in forced evictions of farmers from our land. The removal of trespassers has always been undertaken exclusively by Government security forces, acting within the law and under direct instruction from the Honduran courts, whose rulings are based on evidence that proves beyond doubt that Dinant are (sic) the rightful owners of the lands in question.”

Tricuro’s assertion that the Honduran courts base their rulings on evidence is farcical. The UN, The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and many national and international human rights organizations have reported that it operates on influence peddling, threats of death, and impunity for those such as Facussé and the other ruling elite.

It is true, currently, that Dinant doesn’t directly evict peasant farmers from disputed land. In the past they contracted Orion Security to do this, and in turn they committed numerous murders on and off Dinant property. They grew increasingly out of control aligning themselves with criminal infiltrators of the campesino movements and turned on each other resulting in 17 deaths of guards and numerous disappearances. This in contrast to the 150 plus campesinos murdered. It got to the point were the guard’s paramilitary actions and Dinant’s unwillingness to rein them in began to hurt the corporation’s international reputation and investments. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, well aware of Facussé and Dinant’s criminal behavior in the past, withheld the remaining half of a $30 million loan. They only did this after national and international human rights organizations made it uncomfortable for business to continue as usual. The IFC’s ombudsman did an internal audit of the loan and “discovered” that Dinant was not living up to The World Bank’s human rights compliances.

The IFC is currently assessing the situation, visiting the Aguán and working out negotiations with campesino groups organized under the Agrarian Platform. They are doing so with the assistance of a Washington, D.C. based mediator. Under the spotlight of international scrutiny, Dinant has removed firearms from immediate use by its guards (but giving Honduran military the discretion to rearm them). Interestingly, the number of murders has sharply declined once the paramilitary Orion Security was disarmed. There are still murders of campesinos within the movement, some caused by criminal infiltrators financed by the military, but with $15 million and untold millions more in international investment hanging in the balance, Facussé ordered the killing suspended until the IFC renders a decision in whether to restore the loan or not.

Now, Dinant exclusively uses the Honduran Military, the Military Police and National Police as its defacto private security (although, it has been witnessed that Orion guards are often mixed in with military and police during evictions). By Dinant’s own admission, it has built barracks on its plantations for soldiers. The security forces are allowed to harvest African Palm fruit on its plantations and sell it as payment for its services. Often the Honduran government doesn’t pay its low ranking soldiers for three to four months on end and then they receive less than $200/month in salary. Also, Facussé has personally paid for hotel accommodations for military officers at hotels in Tocoa for extended periods of time. He has been witnessed walking up to the reception desk, asking how much is owed, and throwing down a wad of cash.

Colonel Jovel Martinez, the current commander of Operation Xatruch, told one community, La Panama, which is essentially surrounded by Dinant’s Paso Aguán plantation, that he would kill on sight anyone who trespassed on Dinant property and that it didn’t matter if they were children. He said this in front of the community with numerous children present. He also told the community while a Dinant representative was present that he could have them all relocated to the Moskitia so that Dinant could take their land. This being said shortly after soldiers held rifles to the heads of community leaders. This was also stated in light of the exhumation of two bodies of campesinos from clandestine graves in the Paso Aguán plantation. It is suspected that other bodies of disappeared campesinos are still buried there. It is this type of terror and intimidation that Facussé has instigated and financed in the Aguán.

In a further attempt to spin responsibility for the conflict away from its client, Tricuro states, “Externally funded armed groups, with no interest in farming, are using the conflicts in Honduras for wider political ends by encouraging the illegal seizure of private lands.” Of course it doesn’t reveal that these “armed groups” are actually being funded by Facussé through Col. German Alfaro, a graduate of the US’s School of the Americas (SOA), and one time chief of Xatruch III. These two have paid infiltrators in various campesino movements creating internal conflict within the movements. These infiltrators have even included individuals at leadership positions within the movement. Alfaro has on several occasions intervened when transit police had arrested them. In one instance, several men driving in a Dinant vehicle were stopped at a police traffic checkpoint near the town of Rigores. The transit police arrested them because they had a cache of military grade rifles. Alfaro showed up at the Tocoa police station, ordered them to be released, and gave them back the high caliber arms.

Further, Alfaro, while he was commander of Xatruch, appeared on local TV broadcasts in Tocoa on at least a weekly basis speaking incessantly about “terrorists and leftists trained in Nicaragua and by Colombian FARC rebels destabilizing the region.” He smeared the campesino movements as “outsiders coming here to destroy the country.” Several TV and print journalists in Tocoa and Trujillo have stated, insisting on anonymity, that Alfaro has approached them and offered bribes to report negative stories about the campesino movements. Some of them even boast about accepting the money. “Of course I took the money!” One TV reporter stated. “Look, Dinant owns the Aguán Vally, Facussé owns Honduras. Los tacamiches son jodidos,” The tacamiches are fucked! Tacamiches is a derogatory term equivalent to the “n” word in English, used in Honduras by the middle and upper classes, the police, and the military to denigrate and dehumanize the lower classes. This exemplifies how the culture of corruption sown by Facussé, Dinant, and JOH takes root and propagates through out Honduran society.

Several journalists were fired from their jobs or received death threats. They had refused the bribes and reported honestly regarding Dinant’s abuses to the environment or complicity with the military in creating conflict. Additionally their families were terrorized, and some had to go into hiding. In late 2013, Alfaro targeted the US human rights defender Annie Bird with a smear campaign when she exposed these and other rights violations by Dinant and the Military. The Honduran press published her photo and parroted Alfaro’s claims that she was “destabilizing the region.”

This is classic SOA and US Southern Command (USSC) counter insurgency propaganda to destroy legitimate movements in Latin America that oppose the pillaging and plundering by the ruling elite and to deny freedom of the press and to criminalize human rights defenders. It also has the elements of a US military psychological operation to criminalize popular movements and create terror in the minds of the local population.

Facussé, Alfaro, JOH and the USSC have implemented the “shock doctrine” in the Aguán and other regions by instigating and financing violence to justify the militarization of the region and the continued takeover of the natural resources of Honduras. Dinant gobbles up more land and tightens its stranglehold on every aspect of the market from seed sales to pricing of the fruit to processing and export with its monoculture of African Palm. JOH gets his continued military aid from the US, and the USSC maintains Honduras as a strategic point for militarizing Latin America and controlling US corporate interests in the region.

Small farmers are forced to become indentured servants to the African Palm industry to eek out a living. The seeds that Dinant claims that it sells to farmers at below market value are genetically modified so that the new plants don’t propagate viable seeds thus keeping the farmers dependent on Dinant if they want to expand their harvests. They sell their harvests of palm fruit at extremely low prices, which are dictated by Dinant and the global export market. Prices for basic grains increase on a monthly basis and there are no domestic market structures that would enable peasant farmers to grow sustainable food supplies. JOH’s solution for the lack of domestic bean harvests is to import beans from Ethiopia thus keeping the wheels of the global trade markets greased. The riches of the country are syphoned off into the ruling elite’s US and off shore bank accounts while the poverty rates increase. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, since the coup in 2009, “virtually 100% of all income gains have gone to the wealthiest 10%.”

Forbes Magazine places Facussé in the top 12 richest millionaires in Central America. The United Nations Development Program puts the poverty level in Honduras at 64.5% of the population (about five million people) with 42.6%, close to 3.2 million people, at extreme levels of poverty. The UN defines extreme poverty as, “severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.” Honduras meets all the criteria for being categorized as a failed state, which the Global Policy Forum defines as, “No longer (able to) perform basic functions such as education, security, or governance, usually due to fractious violence or extreme poverty. Within this power vacuum, people fall victim to competing factions and crime…” or they migrate to where they might be able to find a better life which often leads to further hardship. A recent AFL-CIO delegation to Honduras concluded that, “The U.S. government criminalizes migrant children and their families, while pursuing trade deals that simultaneously displace subsistence farmers and lower wages and standards across other sectors, and eliminate good jobs, intensifying the economic conditions that drive migration.”

Dinant’s PR spin calls the right of peasant farmers to have access to sustainable agriculture, and control over what and to whom they sell, “extreme and outdated political views.” Col Alfaro, Col Martinez, and Dinant officials have all attempted to paint the campesino movements as holding extreme political views influenced by outside forces. In reality, it is their along with JOH and the US government’s neo-liberal vision of the world that has proven to need extreme uses of force and militarization to maintain the status quo of the global corporate export-market-driven economy. They have been the ones to bring in outside forces. Colombian, Israeli, and US military forces train the Honduran military and police in crushing popular dissent and repressing campesino, indigenous and afro-indigenous Garífuna communities. USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) spread pro-neoliberal propaganda by infiltrating civil society organizations, looking for and rewarding those who comply and sabotaging those who dissent.

Dinant has proudly boasted of having retired Colonel Charles McFetridge as a consultant to guide them in “how we vet, recruit and train our security staff, and how they engage with members of the community.” McFetridge was a US Defense Department consultant to the US Embassy in Jakarta in the 1990s. He worked closely with then President Suharto, the dictator of Indonesia who committed numerous genocidal atrocities. A US Embassy staffer stated that McFetridge essentially “dismiss(ed) human rights claims to serve what he would consider the more important agenda.” That agenda being increased military aid to Suharto’s dictatorship and increased US militarization of Southeast Asia. McFetridge was recommended to Dinant by the IFC.

Is it any wonder as to why international business organizations heap praise on Facussé? It was, in part, through his influence peddling that the 1992 Modernization Act was enacted, and he has personally reaped the benefits of having collective land titles held by campesinos divvied up into individual titles; the easier it being to intimidate, swindle and assassinate individuals rather than a collective. This 1992 domestic law was a precursor to the international “free” trade deals such as NAFTA, CAFTA-DR, and the soon to be shoved down our throats Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP. All of these deals have been spun as being a great utopian vision to restore trade balances and generate jobs and prosperity for all.

Neo-liberalism is a failure if the rhetoric supporting it is to be believed. Its realization has been devastating. It has given corporations rights to plunder resources and the ruling-class more power and impunity while taking basic human rights away from citizens, sovereignty away from countries, and a clean sustainable environment away from the planet. The campesino movements in Honduras, with their demonstrations of localized power of self-determination and demands for economic justice and food security, threaten the divide-and-rule politics of the ruling-class.

The general consensus amongst the campesinos of the Aguán is that once the IFC makes its decision of whether or not Dinant gets its remaining loan funds, and as international scrutiny of Dinant fades, it will be business as usual with perhaps a greater use of force and greater numbers of assassinations by Dinant and the State security forces. They know this to be true because the IFC’s negotiating process has nothing in it to end the impunity of Facussé and the other ruling elite nor to secure food sovereignty to the campesinos nor to rein in the security forces from treating Honduran citizens as enemy combatants.

As JOH’s first year in office comes to an end, he may very well have succeeded in laying down the foundation for a dictatorship. Facussé and the other ruling elite as well as the US State Department will continue to pull his strings. And the US and Honduran militaries are poised to crush any popular resistance to the ruling elites continued plundering. Daniel Facussé, President of the Honduras Maquiladora Association, and a family member of Miguel’s, tellingly stated when appealing to the Congress, “It is in your hands to raise the Military Police to constitutional status so that no person, no one from the Executive class, has to withdraw from the streets, and that in the end, if we can bring investments we will bring jobs.”

Greg McCain has been monitoring and reporting human rights violations in Honduras since 2012 spending the majority of his time in the Aguán region. To follow his work please visit: Human Rights Observation Honduras.

 

Fuente: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/21/honduras-the-failings-of-neoliberalism/

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EUA destina unos 130 millones de dólares para reducir migración desde Centroamérica

Martes, 30 Diciembre 2014 12:59

EE.UU. – El gobierno de los Estados Unidos mediante La Ley de Asignaciones Consolidadas del Presupuesto de EE. UU. del 2015  ha incluido un aporte económico de 130 millones de dólares para Guatemala, El Salvador y Honduras, mismos que se utilizarán en proyectos que vayan encaminados a reducir la migración sin documentos hacia ese país desde el triángulo norte de Centroamérica.

Según la normativa aprobada, estos recursos requieren una estrategia real para hacer frente a los factores claves específicamente en la migración infantil proveniente de los tres países antes mencionados.

Además se ordena la instalación de una oficina que se encargará de coordinar la estrategia, cuyo delegado será nombrado por el secretario de Estado de EE. UU., luego de consultar con la Agencia de EE. UU. para el Desarrollo Internacional (AID).

Una parte de los fondos está incluida en la Iniciativa de Seguridad Regional para Centroamérica (Carsi, en inglés), de acuerdo con la legislación, por lo cual deberán ser invertidos en promover iniciativas de seguridad fronteriza y lucha contra la trata de personas, las pandillas y el narcotráfico.

Desarrollo social

Otra parte de los recursos será del programa de Ayuda al Desarrollo y el Fondo de Apoyo Económico, que incluye el financiamiento de programas para el impulso de las áreas más vulnerables a la migración irregular, así como apoyar la educación y generar oportunidades de empleo.

También se financiarán programas de fortalecimiento a las familias, para reducir el maltrato a menores, otra de las causas de la migración ilegal.

Fuente: http://www.tiempo.hn/naci%C3%B3n/item/13240-ee-uu-destina-unos-130-millones-de-d%C3%B3lares-para-reducci%C3%B3n-migraci%C3%B3n-desde-centroam%C3%A9rica

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Gobierno de Honduras: “Mejoramos en materia de Seguridad”

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El gobierno de Juan Orlando Hernández resultó aprobado en la lucha contra la criminalidad con la calificación de un 53.7%, según el Barómetro de las Américas, que realiza la Universidad de Vanderbilt, sobre la política de seguridad de todos los países de Latinoamérica.

Con ese resultado Honduras superó en materia de seguridad a países como Argentina, que fue el peor evaluado con el 32.3%, seguido de Venezuela con un 32.4% y en tercer lugar Brasil con un 32.8%.

El gobierno con más apoyo a su política contra el crimen es el de Daniel Ortega en Nicaragua, que alcanza el 65,6 por ciento. En segundo lugar está el de Rafael Correa en Ecuador, con 62 por ciento.

El informe fue elaborado por la Universidad de Vanderbilt, Tennessee, con el respaldo de organismos internacionales como la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID), el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), y el Banco Mundial (BM), entre otros.

Fuente: http://lanoticia.hn/nacionales/gobierno-de-honduras-mejoramos-en-materia-de-seguridad/?ModPagespeed=noscript

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Renuncia jefe de USAID por el restablecimiento de relaciones entre EE.UU. y Cuba

Fundada en 1961 por el entonces presidente John F. Kennedy, USAID tiene por objetivo promover la prosperidad económica, fortalecer la democracia, proteger los derechos humanos, mejorar la salud mundial y lograr otros objetivos entre todas las naciones, según el sitio web de la agencia.

Agencias / EL LIBERTADOR

Washington. El jefe de la Agencia de Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional, Rajiv Shah, deja su puesto, según un comunicado de la organización, después de que EE.UU. y Cuba hayan iniciado conversaciones para la normalización de relaciones.

“Quiero agradecer al Presidente [de EE.UU. Barack] Obama por el honor de servir al país durante los últimos cinco años como jefe de la Agencia para el Desarrollo Internacional. Con emociones encontradas informé al Presidente Obama y al Secretario de Estado Kerry que voy a dimitir en el medio de febrero de 2015”, dijo Shah.

El anuncio de Shah se produjo inesperadamente después de que trascendiera la posible ‘normalización’ de las relaciones entre Cuba y EE.UU.

Fundada en 1961 por el entonces presidente John F. Kennedy, USAID tiene por objetivo promover la prosperidad económica, fortalecer la democracia, proteger los derechos humanos, mejorar la salud mundial y lograr otros objetivos entre todas las naciones, según el sitio web de la agencia.

Sin embargo, USAID ha sido objeto de crítica. En abril se informó que la USAID creó en secreto una cuenta de Twitter con la intención de provocar disturbios en Cuba.

Documentos secretos obtenidos por la agencia AP revelaron que durante más de dos años la agencia estadounidense actuó dentro del movimiento del ‘hip-hop’ cubano “para romper el bloqueo informativo”.

La institución estadounidense había elegido al grupo ‘Los Aldeanos’ y a otros artistas locales para financiarlos, en algunas ocasiones sin que los músicos lo supieran, con el fin de incitar movimientos sociales antigubernamentales que provocasen la respuesta de la Policía cubana.

Fuente: http://www.ellibertador.hn/?q=article/renuncia-jefe-de-usaid-por-el-restablecimiento-de-relaciones-entre-eeuu-y-cuba

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