Sunday, April 11, 2010

Armed Forces vs. campesinos: Militarizing the Bajo Aguan

News reports from Honduras today confirm that, fed up with negotiating with ungrateful campesinos, the Lobo Sosa government is proceeding to escalate the confrontation with unarmed campesinos seeking land rights on the Honduran coast.

El Heraldo reports that more than 30 military transports have arrived to quell what it calls the zozobra there-- literally, anxiety. Whose anxiety?

Even the right wing El Heraldo recognizes what is coming:
While the Honduran governor prepares to receive the president-elect of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, this Monday, the conditions for a massacre are being created.
More than 3000 families are at risk if the Honduran government proceeds with military action. El Heraldo actually quotes a spokesperson for MUCA, the campesino organization, Yony Rivas:
"Today, the Bajo Aguán has been totally militarized and we have detected at least 30 military vehicles with troops that are carrying high caliber arms... A climate of anxiety has been created in the area, because we know that the army in our country defends the interests of the oligarchy. We are living a very difficult moment."

Andrés Pavón, director of the Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras (CODEH) noted that this was unprecedented, because civilian conflicts should be resolved by police, not the armed forces.


Anonymous said...

I think the quote about the massacre has been disappeared. You might want to check it.


RAJ said...

Indeed, in an illustrative act of post-facto editing and recontextualizing of news stories that typifies the Honduran press at its worst, the El Heraldo's story datelined yesterday no longer includes the quote that was there on Sunday.

And they added some new filler that is particularly chilling:

According to officials, the government is preparing a general disarmament in the country to atenuate the wave of criminality that afflicts Honduras, but it is considered that the actions will be carried out in all the Atlantic coast, a zone that is the setting of organized crime.

The transition from this nonsequitur to passages denouncing the MUCA members as concerned not with a settlement, but with a vague "something else", and in the process reducing the MUCA directors to people close to Manuel Zelaya, leads to another disturbing passage:

Other social sectors have pointed out as well that the campesinos are being pushed including by external forces to create a climate of ungovernability and violence in the country.

There is no evidence that outside agitators are manipulating the MUCA members, whose dispute over these lands is long-standing. But accusing them of being agents of Zelaya or of shadowy foreigners, and associating them with criminality and lawlessness, lays the groundwork for what the article originally foretold: a massacre.