Honduras

A new map developed at the University of Cincinnati illustrates one motivating force behind migrant caravans leaving Guatemala and Honduras to reach the United States.

UC geography professor Tomasz Stepinski has turned high-resolution satellite images from the European Space Agency into one of the most detailed looks so far at how people are reshaping the planet.

Stepinski said: “Right now there are caravans of people walking to the United States. Many of them are coming from Guatemala.”

In 2008, the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations published a report titled US-Latin America Relations: A New Direction for a New Reality. Timed to influence the foreign policy agenda of the next US administration, the report asserted: “the era of the US as the dominant influence in Latin America is over.”

Then, at the Summit of the Americas the next year, then-president Barack Obama promised Latin American leaders a “new era” of “equal partnership” and “mutual respect”.

A group of youths who identify as LGBTI travel at a distance from the larger group of thousands of Central American migrants who are moving north towards the US border.

The group of at least 40 Honduran LGBTI youths say they face harassment at home and even along the route of the caravan, but remain determined to reach the US where they say they will have a brighter future.

United States President Donald Trump has resorted to racist comments and extreme measures in response to a procession of refugees and migrants heading towards the US.

In mid-October, thousands of Hondurans left for a journey of many weeks through Guatemala and Mexico to the US. At its peak, the procession of refugees and migrants has included more than 7000 people fleeing unemployment, poverty and gang violence.

Hundreds of women, men, children, youth and the elderly decided to leave Honduras on October 12 as a desperate response to survive, the Honduras Solidarity Network of North America writes.

The huge exodus that began in the city of San Pedro Sula reached more than 3000 people by the time the group crossed to Guatemala. The caravan, which is headed north to Mexico then aims to reach the United States, is the only alternative these people have to regain a bit of the dignity that has been taken from them.

The recent uplifting news that 11 of the 21 political prisoners in Honduras would be released on bail and allowed to contest their charges in freedom has brought joy to their comrades but also brought into sharp focus the situation of those who remain locked up on false charges.

United States President Donald Trump regularly professes deep concern for democracy and human rights in Latin America, but the US’s attitude to Honduras highlights the hypocrisy of US policy in practice. 

“This is not a conflict over elections. It’s the Honduran people rejecting the policies of plundering, death and violence of the state”, said Berta Zuniga Caceres, the daughter of murdered indigenous rights leader Berta Caceres and coordinator of the Civic Council of People’s and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH).

At least six people were wounded in clashes between police and protesters in Honduras on February 27 as protesters voiced their opposition to the visit of United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and her country's support for President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was re-elected amid electoral fraud allegations last November.

The British government sold spying equipment worth more than £300,000 to the right-wing Honduran regime implicated in mass human rights abuses, including the assassination of high-profile environmental activist Berta Caceres.

The sale of the spyware came in the year preceding Honduras’s November 2017 presidential election, which was widely seen as stolen by the incumbent government of Juan Orlando Hernandez.

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