Saturday, October 15, 2016

More US aid for Honduras - for what?

AP reports today:
The Obama administration has certified that Honduras has taken "effective steps" to improve human rights conditions and reduce corruption despite ongoing concerns of abuse. The move frees up millions of dollars in U.S. aid to the Central American country. 
$55 million to be exact.

But for what?

The country is militarized. Military police and the military staff highway checkpoints. What they really do there I do not know. We can expect more militarization.

Yes, the police and military are supposed to respect civilians. A young soldier on leave told me that they should be held accountable if they do something wrong or ask for bribes. But police have beaten demonstrators in northern Honduras protesting the establishment of toll booths on highways.

Crime continues but the government says that there are people being imprisoned for these crimes. Yet I know of at least three cases where people who did not commit crimes are in jail and have not come for trial for several months.

Human rights workers experience threats. In March, prominent environmental indigenous activist Berta Cáceres was murdered. Another member of the organization she led was killed a few months later. Recently two leaders of that organization escaped assassination attempts.

Journalists experience pressure, death threats, and assassinations.

Corruption continues, though under new guises. I have heard reports of some medical workers being compelled to work for the ruling party in order to get and keep a job.

Investigation of crimes is minimal. Even worse is that people fear to report crimes because impunity is so rampant that criminals with connections get released and can take revenge against their accusers.

And so $55 million US dollars will arrive.

I weep.

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