Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Honduras Is a Hellhole: Who’s Responsible? – Original

Posted by M. C. on June 29, 2018

Silly me. I always thought it would be in the US best interest to make our neighbors strong. A bull work against invaders.

Marine General Sedley Butler was one of the US “peacekeepers” of the 20’s and 30’s making Central America free for United Fruit Company. He saw the light and wrote War Is A Racket.


As tens of thousands gather at our southern border, roiling US politics, the question arises: why are so many of the asylum-seekers and migrants crossing the border illegally from three Central American countries in particular: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala?

To begin with, it’s no coincidence that these are the three “most invaded” countries south of the Rio Grande – that is, invaded by the United States and its proxies.

The Reagan years saw the apex of US intervention in the region, with fear of Communist “infiltration” motivating massive US aid to local despots and right-wing death squads throughout Central and South America: the fear of Cuban and Soviet influence drove US policy. In El Salvador, a raging civil war between rightist landowners and a leftist insurgency cost tens of thousands of lives and billions in lost income. In Guatemala, with a long history of US support to a callous and violent elite, a 36-year civil war between conservative landowners and Communist-led guerrillas devastated the country. Honduras is the scene of a recent US-backed coup, and also of a short story by O. Henry wherein the phrase “banana republic” was coined. A more appropriate phrase describing this Central American country could hardly be imagined, what with bananas looming large as the national product and source of wealth, and lots of political intrigue – periodic coups, assassinations, incredible corruption, all of it presided over by the warlords of Washington and their corporate favorites…

The history of Honduras is the story of a decades-long struggle against militarism: the generals, backed by the US over the decades, created a socio-economic system centered around the supremacy of the army, which controlled not only the political scene but also dominated the economy. As liberal reformers of Zelaya’s ilk began to investigate the abuses carried out by the former military regime, the culprits didn’t wait for the prosecutor to call on them: they launched a terrorist campaign of bombings and assassinations…

The cartels have clearly reestablished their influence in Honduras: what we are seeing is a repeat of the nihilistic 1990s. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, in the period immediately after the Clinton-endorsed coup the murder rate “increased from 60.8 per 100,000 in 2008 to 81.8 in 2010, 91.4 in 2011 and 90.4 in 2012” – among the highest in the world. The US government has issued a semi-permanent travel advisory that basically tells tourists to stay away

The history of Honduras before the rise of American hegemony has done more to shape the country than any other single factor: the vital question of land ownership is the central issue here and in the entire South. Feudalism was never really abolished, and the feudalist remnants that persist to this day in the region delayed economic and technological development and kept the vast majority in penury. US foreign policy helped to sustain the life of this systemic repression: it didn’t create it. Whatever the “root causes,” the blowback from all this history has created something very close to a failed state.

This is why tens of thousands are making the long trek to the US-Mexican border: the social and institutional basis of human civilization is breaking down, not only in Honduras but throughout Latin America. Yet this is neither new nor is it primarily attributable to the actions of the US. Yes, our “war on drugs” has created a criminal class that is rivaling the power of the local governments to keep order, but hard drugs are illegal everywhere, not just in North America…

The criminal cronyism that is destroying civilized society south of our border isn’t something that can be stopped if only Washington will “do something.” It is up to the people who live in these countries to liberate themselves from their oppressors: America isn’t going to solve their problems, which go back to the legacy of Spanish colonialism. What is needed is an “America first” regional policy that abjures the mistakes of the more recent past, while returning to the wisdom of the farther past – that of John Quincy Adams, our best Secretary of State, who, when pressured by hotheads to endorse the cause of Greek independence, answered that America “is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

Be seeing you



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