While walking yesterday morning near the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa—where Mel Zelaya, the last legitimate president of Honduras, was recently interned for over 4 months—I encountered Víctor Lagos, a Honduran man of few teeth who sells newspapers on the street. He usually carries three of the mainstream daily publications, all of which continue to celebrate the June 28 coup against Zelaya, and usually apologizes that the content of said three publications is essentially identical.
Lagos dutifully read me La Prensa’s front-page description of the brief Saturday visit by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe to newly-inaugurated Honduran President Pepe Lobo: “Uribe and Lobo sign security pact.” The corresponding article specifies that cooperation in “security materials” will be initiated on February 15 but does not address the fact that cooperation between the two nations already exists in the form of ex-Colombian paramilitaries employed in the Honduran private security sector.
One of the objectives of the alliance is to combat narcotrafficking, which Uribe is quoted as saying “spawns terrorism, destroys societal morals and ethics and creates disrespect for the law,” although he does not explain whether his familiarity with the process stems from his inclusion on the 1991 list of prominent narcotraffickers compiled by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. As for Uribe’s announcement to Lobo that security, economic prosperity, and social equality all go hand in hand, it would thus follow that the deliberate generation of insecurity by terrorizing Colombian peasants and fumigating farmers would ensure a lack of prosperity and equality among the affected sectors of the population, whose permanent economic and social subjugation makes them easier to dispose of whenever their presence on land becomes an obstacle to the exploitation of resources.
Insecurity in Honduras has meanwhile been encouraged via such practices as prominently featuring homicide photographs in the daily papers, although the Honduran police have proved inept at determining how to best apportion their security materials in order to respond to threats and have resorted to shooting anti-coup teachers and union leaders in the head, as well as sexually assaulting anti-coup females with their police batons. As for the time I was held up in broad daylight a few hundred meters from the police barricade outside the Brazilian embassy, the only person who took notice was Lagos, who offered me a free newspaper in compensation.
Yesterday morning’s news also included reports of visitors to Honduras who had not yet pledged security cooperation, such as the vice-consul of Brazil, whose rejected arrival to the Tegucigalpa airport on Friday resulted in the removal of Immigration director Nelson Willy Mejía from his post for one day. Hondurans named “Nelson Willy” are probably less of a result of past experiments in international security cooperation than, for example, Hondurans named Ronald Reagan or “Usnavy”—pronounced “oos-NAH-vee”; that Hondurans will now start naming their children Álvaro Uribe is probably only one of the many dangers posed by newfound Latin American alliances.