Honduras: As repression worsens, US backs government

The US has announced it will continue giving millions of dollars in military funding to the Honduran government, despite the high-profile targeted assassinations and other human rights abuses documented this year in the Central American nation.

The decision was taken by the US Department of State on September 30. It was justified to Congress on the grounds that Honduras “has taken effective steps to meet the criteria specified in the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriation legislation.”

A total of US$55 million in foreign assistance will be funnelled to Honduras in what the US claims will improve security, governance and the economic difficulties that drive undocumented migration from the country.

The amount is supposedly subject to a series of conditions that range from combating corruption to protecting the rights of political opposition parties and journalists.

The justification that Honduras has taken “effective steps” to increase security and safety is contradicted by the high levels of violence that has led to the Central American country having the world’s highest homicide rate at 90.4 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Violence and impunity have also resulted in civil rights activists losing their lives. One example is indigenous environmentalist activist Berta Caceres, who was shot at her home in the western town of La Esperanza in March. Another is Jose Angel Flores and Silmer Dionisio George, two activists fighting for land rights who were both shot as they left a meeting in Tocoa in the country’s north-east on October 18.

The political instability and violence plaguing the country has followed the US-backed 2009 coup against elected, left-leaning president Manuel Zelaya.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]