From CIA-supported violent dictators to the Tijuana refugees


This 2 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

A Brief History of U.S. Dirty Wars in Central America That Set the Stage for the Refugee Crisis

The world watched in horror as U.S. Border Patrol agents opened fire with tear gas on a group of refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Among the targets of this assault by U.S. forces were women and children, many of whom fled Honduras.

Across the news media, these refugees are simply referred to as “migrants”, or “the caravan.” Rarely do we get any context of why they are risking their lives and the lives of their children to flee Honduras.

And part of why we don’t hear the context is because to really tell this story, you need to talk about the U.S. dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s, the impact of neoliberal economic policies, and the catastrophe of climate change caused by the U.S. and other major world powers.

You need to know history. And if you know this history, particularly in Honduras, then you know that what we are seeing now is a situation where the U.S. set a house on fire and as the flames have raged, the U.S. is standing against the people trying to flee the fire that Washington set to their home.

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Will Trump shoot refugees from Honduras dictatorship?


This 25 October 2018 video says about itself:

The Migrant Caravan and Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric

Migrants are undeterred by Trump’s smears and threats against the migrant caravan.

By Andrea Lobo:

Trump to deploy hundreds of troops to the border against Central American migrants

26 October 2018

The US Defense Department is expected to approve as early as next week the deployment of 800 to 1,000 active duty troops, mostly from the Army and Air Force, to the US-Mexico border, according to Trump administration officials.

While media reports indicated that details have not been finalized, this is the most concrete indication so far that the Pentagon plans to deploy troops domestically against the “caravan” of thousands of Central American migrants, mostly families with women and children that are currently crossing Mexico and seeking to reach the US.

The comments made by the US officials and media commenters sought to minimize the significance of the deployment, stating that the troops will be composed of engineers, aviation support, doctors and lawyers. Troops can still carry arms, CNN cites a military official, but “solely for self-defense.”

However, the unofficial announcement comes exactly one week after Trump first threatened to “call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” He called the caravan an “onslaught” and said that the impoverished workers and peasants are “hardened criminals”, while making unfounded and racist claims that “Middle-Easterners” have joined it.

On Thursday morning, Trump restated his threat to deploy the military on Twitter, calling it a “National Emergency” and adding, “They will be stopped!” The previous night at a rally in Wisconsin he said the military was “all set” to be sent against the migrants.

Such a move would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the armed forces from carrying out domestic law-enforcement activities, excluding the National Guard. While US officials speaking to CNN denied that troops would deal directly with the caravan, a myriad of provocations can be construed to justify their direct intervention, which could turn into a massacre of unarmed workers and children on the basis of “self-defense”.

Last weekend, at the Guatemala-Mexico border, about 400 Mexican antiriot police began an assault against the migrants by tackling and shooting tear-gas canisters against the defenseless families seeking to cross the bridge toward the port of entry. Some migrants responded by throwing rocks, sandals and other objects, which led to an even more aggressive attack by the police.

While not confirming the deployment, Captain Bill Speaks, spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, wrote in an email to Military Times that the Department of Defense will “ensure the safety and security of the CBP [Customs and Border Patrol] personnel involved in border security operations.”

The troops are expected to join the 2,100 National Guardsmen already deployed across the US-Mexico border in late May.

The move is bound up with Trump’s efforts to exploit the caravan to ramp up nationalist and xenophobic sentiments ahead of the November 6 midterm elections in the United States.

The caravan has become a massive demonstration of workers. As they marched into Mexico, the 7,000-strong caravan chanted “Migrants are not criminals! We are international workers!” Mexican workers and peasants have warmly welcomed them with food, supplies and lifts.

The domestic deployment of the military against immigrants is a serious warning to the entire working class in the United States and internationally, immigrant or native-born alike. The ruling class is ready to respond to any defiance to the foundations of capitalist rule by proclaiming a “national emergency” and employing deadly repression.

As the Pentagon escalates its military confrontations against its main geopolitical rivals, the US ruling class is preparing to suppress all political dissent. The domestic deployment of troops is a precedent for waging total war against rivals abroad and social opposition at home.

On Tuesday, US vice-President Mike Pence told the media that the Honduran [right-wing coup] president, Juan Orlando Hernández, had assured him that the caravan was being “organized by leftist organizations and financed by Venezuela”, which Trump has referred to repeatedly as “socialist”. Such arguments seek to characterize the migrants as a “foreign invasion” to create a ready-made pretext for a violent attack against the migrants.

The Mexican and Guatemalan authorities have also deployed their militaries to stop the caravan. The Guatemalan government reported that it has sent back about 4,000 Honduran migrants. It placed military personnel and barbed wire at the main highway into the country from Honduras, at Agua Caliente. However, about 2.500 Hondurans who crossed into Guatemala on Tuesday successfully repelled the Guatemalan police and military officials who were requesting documentation and seeking to make arrests. According to the Guatemalan Prensa Libre, they simply marched forward as a group.

The current Central American caravan across southern Mexico and Guatemala is estimated at 14,000 migrants, according to the Mexican El Universal, with additional contingents planned. The main body leading the caravan yesterday left the town of Mapastepec in the Mexican state of Chiapas, about 95 miles from the Guatemalan border.

The migrants are at least 1,000 miles from the US border. There can be long pauses to regroup as the caravan faces the efforts of Mexican authorities to divide, detain and deport the migrants. It is therefore uncertain when it will reach the US and how large it will be.

The fascistic policy of the Trump administration builds on measures previously supported and implemented by the Democratic administration of Barack Obama, which presided over more deportations than any other. While Trump has taken these policies to a new level, the parallels of both administrations include family separations, the deployment of the National Guard to the border, the expansion of surveillance and physical barriers at the border, the deportation of minors, and the buildup and use of the Mexican armed forces as an extension of the US border patrol.

Policies such as the separation and prolonged detention of migrant families violate US and international law, constituting torture and crimes against humanity. Moreover, the attempted deportation of a Salvadoran mother and daughter in August in the middle of an ongoing hearing demonstrates the sheer lawlessness with which the government is carrying out its policies.

Trump’s threat to force migrants to apply for asylum in Mexico before reaching the US is another breach of US and international law.

The response of the Democratic Party to Trump’s onslaught against immigrants was characterized by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who told Democratic candidates this month that insisting on criticizing Trump’s anti-immigrant policies was a “waste of energy.” Even after Trump’s threats against the caravan, Democratic leaders kept accusing Trump for “changing the topic.”

The Democrats have instead focused their electoral appeals on stoking militarism and anti-Russia hysteria to portray Trump as “too soft” on Russia. In addition to seeking to compel Trump to adopt a more aggressive stance against Russia, this campaign has been used to attack basic democratic rights, including through Internet censorship.

Democratic legislators have led an offensive for pressuring the Ecuadorian government to hand over WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, calling him a “threat to global security,” while seeking to incriminate him as an actor in the supposed Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Without WikiLeaks, Americans and the world would not know the extent of the lies and US cover-up of the Honduran military coup of June 28, 2009 that installed a regime even more pliant to US demands and further worsened the social crisis behind the mass migration.

After the coup in 2009, the State Department insisted to the press that it did not know “who did what to whom.” However, a cable released by WikiLeaks dated July 24, 2009 from the US embassy in Honduras and sent to the Obama’s White House and Hillary Clinton’s State Department explores legalistic rationalizations “for a solution” to justify the overthrow. It concludes that the event “constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup” and that the “Forced Removal [of President Manuel Zelaya] by Military was Clearly Illegal.”

The months and years that followed saw a dramatic intensification of the use of death squads and the military to repress social opposition against the coup and the resultant wave of corporate tax cuts, tax exemptions, cuts to environmental and labor regulations, and corrupt concessions that chiefly favored US and local corporations. A 2014 report by the US think tank Center for Economic and Policy Research measuring the impact of the overthrow found that poverty had increased 13.2 percent and extreme poverty 26.3 percent in the first two years after the military coup.

By Steve Sweeney:

Friday, October 26, 2018

NICOLAS MADURO branded US Vice-President Mike Pence a “crazy extremist” today after Washington accused the Venezuelan president of funding the migrant caravan which has been blocked from entering the US.

Caracas blasted claims of a “Venezuelan plot”, warning they could be used as the pretext for US military intervention against the country.

Speaking from the Oval Office alongside US President Donald Trump, Mr Pence claimed he had spoken to Honduran [right-wing coup] President Juan Orlando Hernandez who told him the caravan was sponsored by “leftist groups” and funded by Venezuela.

WHITE HOUSE MULLS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MIGRANT CARAVAN The White House is considering a major executive action to stop the caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico from entering the U.S. Any potential ban would come from the same legal authority as Trump’s controversial travel ban. [HuffPost]

Defend immigrant workers against Trump’s military crackdown: here.

Honduran girl escapes from Trump’s prison, recaptured


This Twitter message is about a girl refugee from the bloody dictatorship Honduras, who escapes from a Donald Trump prison for immigrant children, and is then recaptured.

Scottish Conservative politician supports Honduras, Haiti dictatorships


Scottish Conservative Andrew Bowie campaigning with British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017

By Conrad Landin in Scotland:

Exclusive: Ruth Davidson called to condemn Scottish Tory MP over links to coup-backing lobby group

Andrew Bowie took sponsorship from International Republican Institute accused of links to coups in Honduras and Haiti

SCOTTISH TORY leader Ruth Davidson is facing calls to condemn one of her MPs, after he met with a US lobby group linked to a series of coups d’etat.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie was sponsored by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on a two-day junket to Paris worth £450, the Morning Star can exclusively reveal.

The Tory politician told parliamentary authorities that the purpose of the January trip was “to discuss from a British perspective the response to populism and the changing political landscape in the West.”

The IRI has been linked to the failed 2002 coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

It has also been accused of playing a role in the successful removal of Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, and of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

Labour’s Holyrood shadow Brexit minister Neil Findlay said: “The Scottish Conservatives have tried to distance themselves from the more extreme elements in the Conservative Party.

“And yet here we see one of their MPs working hand-in-glove with an organisation that is implicated in the undermining of democracy and sovereign states.”

Mr Findlay said Scottish Tory leader Ms Davidson “should condemn and distance herself from the actions of this MP.”

The IRI is one of several organisations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which was established by the US Congress in 1983 after US president Ronald Reagan’s seminal speech at Westminster calling for an international alliance “to foster the infrastructure of democracy.”

It received a US government grant of $339,998 (over £230,000 at the time) for “political party building” in Venezuela prior to the short-lived 2002 coup.

On the day Mr Chavez was temporarily ousted, IRI president George A Folsom said Venezuelans “rose up to defend democracy.”

Stanley Lucas, institute boss in Haiti, was accused by former US ambassador Brian Dean Curran of behaviour which “risked us being accused of attempting to destabilise the government.”

Mr Lucas was an avowed opponent of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and counselled the opposition to refuse to work with the social democrat government in order to cripple it, according to the New York Times.

In 2004 a group of right-wing military chiefs ousted the Aristide government in a coup.

In 2009 Mr Zelaya was ousted as Honduran leader in another military coup.

The IRI said the sham election which followed was “free of violence and overt acts of intimidation” and appeared credible.

SNP MP Chris Stephens told the Star: “This revelation demonstrates that the Scottish Tories, far from being centrist, are hard-line rightwingers, whose views on domestic and international issues continue to alienate the electorate.

“Ruth Davidson should distance herself from Bowie. The extremist views held by the Scottish Tories are the reason they have lost 21 elections in a row in Scotland.”

Nine years on from the coup, we still need to stand up for Honduras: here.

Washington presses Central America to militarize and turn away from China: here.

Honduran two-year-old girl cries because of Trump’s Border Patrol


A two-year-old girl from Honduras cries as her mother gets strip searched and arrested at the USA-Mexican border. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Photo of 2-year-old girl feeds outrage over US immigration policy

In the United States, criticism is growing against President Trump’s immigration policy. …

And if there is one image that feeds that indignation, it is the above photo by the American photojournalist John Moore. Some American newspapers have published it and the photo is widely shared on social media.

We see a 2-year-old girl from Honduras who looks up cryingly at her mother, who is being arrested by the border police. They were part of a group of about twenty people who had crossed the border with Texas. The border police caught them on 12 June at McAllen.

The US American photographer John Moore was there. He has been working along the Mexican border for ten years. “When the border patrol noted the names of the people, I could see a mother holding a young child. … [The Border Patrol] … asked the mother to set down her daughter. At that moment, the young child broke into tears, and she started wailing. ”

“And I took a knee and had very few frames of that moment before it was over. Almost overwhelmed by emotions, she picked up her daughter, and they were rushed into the van and all taken away.” I had to take a few deep breaths to recover.”

The mother still said that they came from Honduras. They had been on the road for one month and were exhausted. “But as a father – and I have a toddler myself. It was very difficult to see what was happening in front of my lens and thinking what it would be like for my kids to be separated from me”, says Moore. “Because I thought they would be separated quickly. I saw from their faces that they had no idea what would happen to them.”

It is not clear whether this girl has really been separated from her mother. This usually does not happen immediately with the arrest. It happens when the parents are prosecuted because they cross the border illegally. Then they are not allowed to keep their children in prison.

The US government recently introduced a zero tolerance policy. Almost 2,000 children have been separated from their families since April. According to the rules, children under 5 years of age may stay with their parents. But that does not always seem to be the case in practice. Due to language problems or lack of staff in the reception centers it sometimes goes wrong.

Unknown where the girl is

The American BuzzFeed News made inquiries with the American border police last weekend. A spokesperson did not know what had happened to this girl. …

Photographer John Moore also does not know what happened to her. “I would very much like to know. Ever since I took those pictures, I think about that moment often. And it’s emotional for me every time.”

In Honduras, there was a right-wing military coup deposing the center-left president in 2009. Then President Obama at least verbally condemned that coup; but his then Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton supported it. Ever since, the regime, its death squad supporters and violent drug dealers massively murder pro-democracy activists, environmentalists, indigenous people, teachers, lawyers, feminists, journalists and little girls who complain about bad situations at schools.

BORDER PATROL CHASE ENDS IN DEADLY CRASH At least five people were killed and several others injured when an SUV believed to be carrying undocumented immigrants crashed in southern Texas after being chased by Border Patrol agents. [HuffPost]

PROTESTERS DESCEND ON TEXAS TENT CITY Constructed last week to shelter migrant children, the site became home to a protest Sunday as crowds marched to oppose the separation of immigrant families at the border. [HuffPost]

A young girl holds on to her mother as they wait with other families to request political asylum in the United States, across the border in Tijuana, Mexico

Trump under fire after blaming Democrats for child refugee scandal: here.

ALMOST 2,000 children were separated from their families at the US border over six weeks, officials say. Following a Trump administration crackdown on ‘illegal’ border crossings from Mexico, adults are being detained, meaning the children with them are removed from their care. The issue is causing a growing political storm in the US. Last Thursday Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to defend the ‘zero tolerance’ approach: here.

Honduras dictatorship using British spyware


This video says about itself:

Human Rights Activist Berta Cáceres Murdered In Honduras

3 March 2016

Activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in Honduras last night. She’s spent decades fighting for indigenous communities, against environmental destruction. It was dangerous work that made her a target for death threats.

By Chris Williamson, Labour MP in Britain:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It’s time to end spyware sales to Honduras

The British government faces a challenge over spyware sales to Honduras, writes CHRIS WILLIAMSON

TWENTY-FOUR human rights organisations, from Honduras and Britain, have called on International Trade Secretary Liam Fox to stop the export of surveillance equipment to Honduras.

The call follows recent challenges by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle to the government’s highly questionable decision to allow sales of spyware to the Honduran government.

The minority Conservative administration has sanctioned the sale of telecoms interception equipment to Honduras, despite its appalling human rights record and the current situation in the country.

In their letter to Fox the organisations describe, with chilling examples, the alarming human rights record of Honduras. Political activists and human rights defenders generally are subject to targeted repression, through various means, including illegal surveillance.

International bodies such as the EU and the Office of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights have frequently drawn attention to serious human rights violations in Honduras.

The EU Parliament, for example, described Honduras in 2016 as “one of the most dangerous … in the region for human rights defenders.”

A report by Global Witness Witness in January 2017 entitled Honduras: The Deadliest Place to Defend the Planet reported that 123 land and environmental activists were “murdered in Honduras since the 2009 coup, with countless others threatened, attacked or imprisoned.”

The murder of renowned Honduran environmentalist Berta Caceres demonstrated collusion between the state security forces and a hydro-dam company to carry out surveillance of members of Caceres’s organisation COPINH.

As part of the strategy to control and neutralise community protests, surveillance increased in the months and hours leading up to her assassination.

Such illegal surveillance is not an isolated occurrence but is part of a wider pattern of repression by the Honduran state.

A Peace Brigades International report in 2016 noted that eight prominent Honduran human rights activists were on a government list to be put under illegal surveillance.

Yet the Westminster government seemingly ignored this wealth of evidence of the actual use of illegal surveillance and abuse of human rights when issuing the export licences.

The situation in Honduras has worsened since National Party candidate Juan Hernandez’s “victory” in the presidential election of 2017 that was widely characterised as fraudulent.

Despite multiple allegations of fraud, Trump recognised Hernandez, a conservative US ally, as the election winner.

In doing so, he ignored poll observers’ findings and calls for a new election by the Organisation of American States (OAS), members of Congress and the opposition Honduran Alliance Against Dictatorship party.

Trump’s action flagrantly contradicted stated US policy on Honduras, which the State Department sets out as “focused on strengthening democratic governance, including the promotion of human rights and the rule of law.”

Following that election, Hernandez’s National Party government cracked down brutally on legitimate protest, using the police, the military and also, allegedly, death squads.

His government has also been accused of links with organised crime, including drug-trafficking gangs.

Supporters of the Honduran Alliance Against Dictatorship party have been protesting on the streets against fraud in the presidential elections since the election result was declared.

The street demonstrations have been met with a mobilisation of thousands of police, Swat teams, soldiers and military police. At least 40 people have been killed and more than 2,000 detained.

The UN high commissioner for human rights recently published a shocking report on the deaths of 23 Honduran political activists in these protests.

The report condemns the 23 murders, at least 16 of which it affirms resulted from state security forces shooting directly into crowds.

But human rights organisations such as the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) say the government is responsible for upwards of 35 deaths and the arrests of at least 1,350 people, many of whom remain in jail.

Today, 26 political prisoners who protested about the rigging of the presidential elections are known to be incarcerated in high-security jails, yet not a single person has been investigated or charged for any of the extrajudicial assassinations carried out since the November elections.

But Trump is not bothered by these blatant abuses of democratic norms and human rights. The US preoccupation in Latin America is not with compliant states that bend to and serve US political, economic and military interests. Instead, it is focused on forcing “regime change” in countries which do not toe the US line.

And, it seems, the British government is not perturbed by these abuses either. Further weight needs to be added to the campaign by the human rights organisations and the Labour Party’s challenges to ensure that no further export licences are granted for the sale of any equipment to the Honduran government that could be used for internal repression.

Chirs Williamson MP is president of Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America. You can sign a petition to Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Theresa May against Britain selling spyware to Honduras at bit.ly/honduraspetition. You can follow Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America at www.facebook.com/LabourFriendsofProgressiveLatinAmerica and twitter.com/labourfplam.

Google and Amazon are assisting authoritarian governments in the Middle East aligned with Washington to censor the internet and prevent the use of encrypted communications by their populations: here.

Israeli spyware being used to help brutal regimes track ‘dissidents and gays’: here.