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Hondurans mark coup anniversary

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Local Hondurans and human rights activists will protest at the Honduran Consulate, 4439 W. Fullerton, on Thursday, June 28 from noon to 2 p.m. to mark the third anniversary of the 2009 coup and demand an end to U.S. military support, including financial assistance and “boots on the ground.”

A deadly attack on Honduran campesinos travelling by canoe on May 11, apparently killed by Honduran police officers accompanying U.S. DEA agents in a U.S. State Department helicopter, reveals the “quiet escalation” of the U.S. military presence there, according to a June 11 Nation [2] article.

While Latin American nations have refused to recognize the post-coup government, the U.S. has embraced it, with President Obama welcoming Honduran President Porfirio Lobo to the White House last October and Vice President Biden travelling to Honduras to pledge continuing support in March.

Obama’s 2013 budget more than doubles military and police aid to Honduras, according to the Nation.

The pretext is the war on drugs, but the vice president of the Honduran Congress estimates that 40 percent of the nation’s police are involved in organized crime, and other officials have exposed “narco-judges” and representatives of drug cartels in Congress.

Human rights abuses have continued to mount, with 22 journalists among hundreds of Hondurans killed, the AFL-CIO reporting “numerous murders” of trade unionists, and the UN reporting that “human rights defenders continue to suffer extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture” and other abuses.

A deadly campaign against campesino activists pursuing land rights  — in one town, police burned down 100 homes and bulldozed three churches and a schoolhouse in one day last June — moved Rep. Jan Schakowsky to write a letter calling for a suspension of police and military aid in March.  It was signed by 94 members of Congress.

A “second coup” now underway reflects the economic agenda of multinational corporations.  It includes laws privatizing the nation’s ports, electrical and water systems, and potentially the entire school system; legislation sharply reducing labor rights; and a new “Model Cities” law establishing zones where transnational investors can operate free of the nation’s constitution, legal code, and democratic governance.

You could call it Michigan [3] (or Wisconsin, or perhaps Chicago) on very bad steroids.

But the resistance movement continues to fill the streets, according to the Nation, with hundreds of thousands marching on May Day organized by the nation’s labor federations and a new political party.

In Chicago, La Voz de los de Abajo’s Honduras Resists [4] blog carries updates of developments there as well as news of human rights delegations from Chicago.