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Sun Jul 27, 2014, 03:54 PM

To Address Honduran Refugee Crisis at the Border, US Should Stop Financing Repression in Honduras

To Address Honduran Refugee Crisis at the Border, US Should Stop Financing Repression in Honduras
Sunday, 27 July 2014 09:59
By Laura Raymond, Truthout | Op-Ed

In mid-July, the first planeload of women and children who had fled Honduras and found themselves in the center of a refugee controversy at the US border were sent back into the same dire situation they risked their lives to leave. They were dropped off at Palmerola Airforce Base, a base north of Tegucigalpa jointly controlled by US and Honduran military and given 650 lempiras, or $30, to get back to the towns and villages they had fled.

The individual stories of those fleeing Honduras are varied, but most have the rampant violence in their country as a common denominator. As Nelson Arambu, an LGBT community organizer from Honduras recently told me, "The wave of migrants from Honduras are no longer coming here to work, they are coming to save their lives." Since the military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, violence and repression have continued to increase. Honduras currently has the highest murder rate in the world. The current refugee crisis at the US border is a foreseeable and understandable consequence of this violence.

Unfortunately, after playing a widely criticized role in legitimating Honduras's post-coup government, the US government is now using this crisis to further entrench its alignment with one of the most corrupt and violent police and military forces in the hemisphere. Couched in language about bolstering "security" and "prosperity" in the region, both the White House and the Senate have proposed yet more US "investment" in the very Honduran security forces that are responsible for the violence, human rights abuses and lawlessness that are contributing to the flight of tens of thousands of Hondurans.

This past April, Josť Guadalupe Ruelas, the director of Casa Alianza, a well-regarded organization that advocates for homeless children, presented a report on violent deaths of children in Honduras during the first few months of the new government. He noted that some of the killings were extrajudicial executions committed by Honduran state agents. Weeks later, he ended up in intensive care at a hospital after being brutally beaten by Honduran Military Police and jailed overnight without medical attention. The police claimed he'd been in a traffic accident.


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