Today’s top story in the Honduran paper El Heraldo, one of the mouthpieces of last year’s coup against President Mel Zelaya, proclaims that Honduras celebrated 189 years of independence from Spain yesterday “in peace and tranquility” and that “every Honduran heart beat stronger” with love and pride for the land. These rosy characterizations are difficult to reconcile with news from other venues, such as the communiqué from the Honduran band Café Guancasco—pillar of the anti-coup Resistance and source of political compositions like “Club of Idiots”—according to which their peaceful concert in San Pedro Sula was attacked with tear gas and water cannons courtesy of the police and military with no regard for the presence of children and the elderly. A band member was also severely beaten.
El Heraldo acknowledges that the Resistance was also involved in Independence Day celebrations but stresses that these centered around praise of Hugo Chávez and Che Guevara, which is presumably intended as proof that anti-coup Hondurans are not in fact in favor of national independence. Additional care is taken to specify that Chávez also led a coup in the past; other relevant news provided is that Zelaya is in “self-imposed exile in the paradise of the Dominican Republic”, followed by a discussion of the crown worn by a member of a gay and lesbian organization at yesterday’s Resistance march in Tegucigalpa.
It is only at the very end of the article that we learn that Zelaya’s supporters in San Pedro Sula had “tried to beat some students”, according to a San Pedro police official, which is why, El Heraldo explains, “the police had to act immediately using the force required, with batons and tear gas”. Not explained is why the police had to act immediately against a member of Café Guancasco when it is presumably challenging to simultaneously play a concert and beat students.
As for the name of the concert—“What Independence?”—this could refer to a variety of aspects of the contemporary political situation in Honduras, such as the role of international mining corporations, fruit companies, members of the Honduran oligarchy of Middle Eastern descent, the U.S. military base at Soto Cano, and the U.S. State Department. In addition to enjoying strong ties to one of the primary lobbyists on behalf of the Honduran coup on Capitol Hill, Hillary Clinton has been actively campaigning in the aftermath of illegitimate Honduran elections (another event cast as a civic triumph by the Honduran media) to have the country readmitted to all regional organizations from which it was expelled based on antidemocratic behavior. In her Independence Day salute to Honduras, Clinton lauded the “resumption of democratic and constitutional government this year” despite the fact that the last democratic and constitutional Honduran government was overthrown for its attempt to democratically allow the citizenry to revise the national constitution, and despite the continuing assassination of anti-coup citizens.
Regarding Honduran hearts that have not been stopped and instead continue to beat strongly with love and pride, meanwhile, we can only hope that the drivel produced by Honduran reporters is a precautionary measure given the high incidence of journalist assassinations. Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez responded to a spate of killings earlier this year by pointing out that the majority of journalists killed did not even possess a degree in journalism.
As for dubious credentials in other areas, former chief of internal affairs for the Honduran police María Luisa Borjas informed me last year that Alvarez had contributed to the unwarranted extermination of some 3000 young Hondurans during his previous term as Security Minister via a liberal application of the term marero, or “gang member”. Alvarez’ suggestion in 2004 of potential cooperation between Al Qaeda and the Mara Salvatrucha for purposes of U.S. infiltration meanwhile highlights the indispensability of Honduran willingness to exterminate on behalf of U.S. security; other instances of Honduran altruism include the coup against Zelaya, after which the Honduran military credited itself with halting the northward expansion of Venezuelan socialism.