On the 14th Anniversary of the 2009 Coup in Honduras

June 29th, 2023 - by Honduras Solidarity Network in North America

We Say “Never Again!” “No More Impunity!”
For the US and its Partners in Crime
Honduras Solidarity Network in North America

(June 28, 2023) — On this year’s anniversary of the US and Canada-supported 2009 coup d’etat, the Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) honors the years of resistance in Honduras to that coup and the 13 years of dictatorship it installed. We recognize that today the Honduran people continue to fight to dismantle all the structures of the post-coup dictatorship and are up against the same powerful forces they faced in 2009.

One of those powerful forces is the United States government which not only has never acknowledged its role in the coup and the subsequent installation of a repressive dictatorship but instead, continues to interfere and conspire against the much-needed changes proposed by President Xiomara Castro and her government.

This June 2023 we echo the concerns of Honduran and international solidarity organizations about threats against President Xiomara Castro’s government and the efforts to stop the reforms it is trying to implement. Pro-2009 coup (golpistas) and rightwing groups have called openly for a coup to bring down the Castro government. They manipulate public opinion in attempts to block changes and to protect themselves in impunity for past and ongoing violence against people’s movements.

The US meanwhile is busy at work drawing on its imperialist ‘toolbox’ used to control or overturn governments across the region. In Honduras since President Castro’s inauguration in January 2022, the US has hammered the Castro government both via Twitter and public speeches against new policies. For example, the US Ambassador interferes in reforms aimed at improving access to electricity for poor Hondurans. The Ambassador supported union-busting during the construction of the new US “fortress” embassy and publicly opposes labor law reform that seeks to improve, not weaken, labor standards.

Not only does the US oppose the repeal of the ZEDES law which hands over sovereignty to foreign corporations ownership of “Charter Cities” but also backs these same corporations’ use of the Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. This is despite the fact that ISDS was repudiated by the US in the reform of the NAFTA agreement (USMCA).

As the Honduran government proposes a tax reform that would require US and Honduran corporations and the wealthy elite to at last pay taxes, the US once again felt it had the right to critique the reform, working alongside the wealthy business class to protest against it. (For more details, see the HSN and Honduras Now’s US Intervention Monitor here or at hondurasnow.org/us-interventionmonitor/).

Besides directly challenging reforms and adding to the noise against the new government, the US is also cynically using the banner of human rights and anticorruption to undermine the changes needed to tackle human rights and corruption.

Barely a word was spoken by the State Department about human rights issues during the 2009-2022 dictatorship when there were constant attacks on protesters, human rights defenders, women and girls, and land defenders. From 2009- 2021 more than 300 campesinos were assassinated for claiming their right to land, many indigenous leaders including Berta Cáceres and at least 23 Garifuna leaders were murdered by the dictatorship.

The corruption of the dictatorship included the outright theft of millions of dollars in public funds for health care, education, and infrastructure by the narco-government run by Juan Orlando Hernández and the National Party. The US maintained its political and economic support for “our partner in Honduras, President Juan Orlando Hernández” all those years and now continues to partner with members of the right-wing National Party, Liberal Party, and the Honduran elite.

There are human rights issues that persist in Honduras under President Castro, and the HSN continues to be concerned about the murder of campesinos in the Aguán Valley, threats, attacks, and criminalization of Garifuna land defenders, and the use of the military in the prisons and on the streets. But instead of creating a space for the President Castro administration to tackle these issues, the US continues to interfere to maintain the status quo, which favors US geopolitical and economic interests above and before human rights, justice, and the rule of law.

The HSN is adamant about the role of the US in Honduras, but note that the post-coup narco-dictatorship was propped up and supposed by a US-led coalition of governments including Canada, transnational business interests, and international financial institutions. Shamefully, this US-led coalition worked hand-in-hand (knowingly or unknowingly) with drug cartels, to fund the dictatorship’s political programs and fraudulent elections.

The Canadian government and Canadian mining companies reaped economic and political benefits from the post-coup regimes, including a new Mining Law. The World Bank funded JOH’s ‘Vida Mejor’ social programs, helping the National Party to buy votes and commit electoral fraud in at least the 2017 elections, while ensuring the continuation of the global neoliberal model that favors the wealthy and further impoverishes the poor.

Not only does the US interfere in domestic policy in Honduras but it also pressures Honduras on its foreign policy. In fact during her first year as President, Castro rescinded certain international campaign promises under pressure from the US.

Honduras Erupts on 14th Anniversary of 2009 Coup

Nevertheless, Honduras has recently taken some international actions contrary to the US pressures, including applying to join the BRICS group and more participation with Mexico and Colombia in defending their sovereignty in the face of a renewed pattern of soft and hard threats of coups against progressive governments in Latin America.

The Honduras Solidarity Network stands with the Honduran people and peoples’ movements that are struggling to recover from the dictatorship and refound their country. We stand against US and Canadian pressure aimed at crippling the new government so that corporations from the global North can continue to exploit Honduras.

We say, “Never Again!” to coup-mongering and interventions against people’s movements in Honduras. We encourage our supporters and allies to stay tuned for the upcoming New York-based trial of ex-President and accused drug trafficker Juan Orlando Hernández, the former head of the Honduran National police, Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, and police officer Mauricio Hernández. The HSN will aim to put the US,

Canada, and all those that rallied behind the narco-dictatorship ‘on trial’ for the destruction and damage that their support for the dictatorship has and continues to have in Honduras.

It is time that the US and Canada be held accountable for aiding and abetting the narco-dictatorship while turning a blind eye to violence and serious human rights violations in their efforts to promote their own geo-political and economic interests. No more impunity!

“Honduras, 10 Years after the Coup: The Uprising You’re Not Hearing About,” Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN