robertogreco + honduras   17

Greg Grandin reviews ‘Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War’ by Tanya Harmer · LRB 19 July 2012
"Harmer dispatches two myths favoured by those who blame the coup on Allende himself. The first is that his commitment to democracy was opportunistic and would soon have been abandoned. ‘One might even,’ Falcoff writes, ‘credit the Nixon administration with preventing the consolidation of Allende’s “totalitarian project”’. The second is that even if Allende wasn’t a fraud he was a fool, unleashing forces he could not control – for example, the left wing of Popular Unity, and the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria, which was further to the left of Allende’s coalition and drew inspiration from the Cuban Revolution, Cuba conceived here as a proxy for Moscow.

Harmer shows that Allende was a pacifist, a democrat and a socialist by conviction not convenience. He had an ‘unbending commitment to constitutional government’ and refused in the face of an ‘externally funded’ opposition ‘to take a different non-democratic or violent road’. He invoked history to insist that democracy and socialism were compatible, yet he knew that Chile’s experience was exceptional. During the two decades before his election, military coups had overthrown governments in 12 countries: Cuba in 1952; Guatemala and Paraguay in 1954; Argentina and Peru in 1962; Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and again Guatemala in 1963; Brazil and Bolivia in 1964; and Argentina once more in 1966. Many of these coups were encouraged and sanctioned by Washington and involved subverting exactly the kind of civil-society pluralism – of the press, political parties and unions – that Allende promoted. So he was sympathetic to the Cuban Revolution and respected Castro, especially after he survived the CIA’s Bay of Pigs exploit in 1961. And when Allende won the presidency, he relied on Cuban advisers for personal security and intelligence operations.

But Cuba’s turn to one-party authoritarianism only deepened Allende’s faith in the durability of Chilean democracy. Socialism could be won, he insisted, through procedures and institutions – the ballot, the legislature, the courts and the media – that historically had been dominated by those classes most opposed to it. Castro warned him that the military wouldn’t abide by the constitution. Until at least early 1973 Allende believed otherwise. His revolution would not be confronted with the choice that had been forced on Castro: suspend democracy or perish. But by mid-1973, events were escaping Allende’s command. On 11 September he took his own life, probably with a gun Castro gave him as a gift. The left in the years after the coup developed its own critique of Allende: that, as the crisis hurtled toward its conclusion, he proved indecisive, failing to arm his supporters and train resistance militias, failing to shut down congress and failing to defend the revolution the way Castro defended his. Harmer presents these as conscious decisions, stemming from Allende’s insistence that neither one-party rule nor civil war was an acceptable alternative to defeat.

A photograph of Allende taken during his last hours shows him leaving the presidential palace, pistol in hand and helmet on head, flanked by bodyguards and looking up at the sky, watching for the bombs. The image is powerful yet deceptive, giving the impression that Allende had been at the palace when the coup started, and was beginning to organise resistance to it. But Allende wasn’t trapped in his office. He’d gone there earlier that morning, despite being advised not to, when he heard that his generals had rebelled. The Cubans were ready to arm and train a Chilean resistance and, Harmer writes, ‘to fight and die alongside Allende and Chilean left-wing forces in a prolonged struggle to defend the country’s revolutionary process’. But Allende ordered them not to put their plans into operation, and they listened: ‘The Chilean president,’ Harmer says, ‘was therefore far more in control of Cuba’s involvement in his country than previously thought.’ He also rejected the idea of retreating to the outskirts of Santiago and leading an armed resistance: in Harmer’s assessment, he committed suicide rather than give up his commitment to non-violent revolution.

Many, in Chile and elsewhere, refused to believe that Allende had killed himself. The story had to be that he was executed, like Zapata, Sandino, Guevara and others who died at the hands of traitors. Che fought to the end and had no illusions about the bourgeoisie and its democratic credentials. Allende’s legacy is more ambiguous, especially for today’s revived Latin American left, which despite its remarkable electoral success in recent decades still struggles to tame the market forces set free after the Chilean coup. In 2009 in Honduras, for instance, and last month in Paraguay, democratically elected presidents were unseated by ‘constitutional coups’. In both countries, their opponents dressed up what were classic putsches in the garb of democratic proceduralism, taking advantage of vague impeachment mechanisms to restore the status quo ante.

For Brazil’s Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), founded in 1980 by militant trade unionists including the future president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the coup in Chile reinforced the need to work with centrist parties to restore constitutional rule. Social issues weren’t completely sidelined, but attaining stability took precedence over class struggle; for the first time in Latin American history, a major left-wing party found itself fighting for political democracy as a value in itself, not as part of a broader campaign for social rights. ‘I thought a lot about what happened with Allende in Chile,’ Lula once said, referring to the polarisation that followed the 1970 election, when the Popular Unity coalition won with only a bit more than a third of the vote. That’s why he agreed to set the bar high for a PT win. During the Constituent Assembly debates leading up to the promulgation of Brazil’s 1988 post-dictatorship constitution, Lula insisted that if no one candidate received a majority in the first round of a presidential election, a run-off had to be held between the top two contenders, which would both give the winner more legitimacy and force him or her to reach out beyond the party base. Like Allende, Lula stood for president three times before winning at his fourth attempt. Unlike Allende, though, each time Lula ran and lost and ran again, he gave up a little bit more of the PT’s founding principles, so that the party went from pledging to overturn neoliberalism to promising to administer it more effectively.

In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez drew a different lesson from the defeat of the Popular Unity government. Soon after he was elected president in 1998, before coming out as a confrontationalist, indeed before he even identified himself as a socialist, Chávez began to compare himself to Allende. Wealthy Venezuelans were mobilising against even the mildest economic reforms, as their Chilean predecessors had done, taking to the streets, banging their pots and pans, attacking the government through their family-owned TV stations and newspapers, beating a path to the US embassy to complain, and taking money from Washington to fund their anti-government activities. In response, Chávez began to talk about 1973. ‘Like Allende, we are pacifists,’ he said of his supporters, including those in the military. ‘And like Allende, we are democrats. Unlike Allende, we are armed.’ The situation got worse and worse, culminating in the coup of April 2002 which, though unsuccessful, looked very like the coup against Allende. Chávez found himself trapped in the national palace speaking to Castro on the phone, telling him he was ready to die for the cause. Ever the pragmatist, Castro urged him to live to fight another day: ‘Don’t do what Allende did!’"
greggrandin  salvadorallende  history  marxism  socialism  democracy  2012  tanyaharmer  venezuela  economics  inequality  class  pacifism  cuba  fidelcastro  brazil  brasil  lula  luladasilva  latinamerica  us  richardnixon  intervention  revolution  government  argentina  honduras  guatemala  paraguay  perú  bolivia  hugochávez  pinochet  chile  henrykissinger  tanyharmer  coldwar  markfalcoff  dilmarousseff  authoritarianism  dictatorship  coup 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Harvest of Empire – Harvest of Empire
[Available on YouTube, for now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyncOYTZfHE ]

[See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_of_Empire:_A_History_of_Latinos_in_America ]

"The Untold Story of Latinos in America

“We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies 
are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us.”
Juan González, Harvest of Empire

At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Onyx Films is proud to present Harvest of Empire, a feature-length documentary that reveals the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today.

Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! Co-host Juan González, Harvest of Empire takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.

From the wars for territorial expansion that gave the U.S. control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and more than half of Mexico, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S.

As Juan González says at the beginning of the film “They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades — actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north.”

Harvest of Empire provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the enormous sacrifices and rarely-noted triumphs of our nation’s growing Latino community. The film features present day immigrant stories, rarely seen archival material, as well as interviews with such respected figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Dr. Lorenzo Meyer, journalists María Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, Grammy award-winning singer Luis Enrique, and poet Martín Espada."
film  documentary  us  history  immigration  latinamerica  puertorico  mexico  guatemala  honduras  juangonzález  cuba  nicaragua  elsalvador  rigobertamenchú  jessejackson  anthonyromero  junotdíaz  lorenzomeyer  maríahinojosa  geraldorivera  2011  martínespada  luisenrique  dominicanrepublic  latinos  imperialism  politics  policy  foreignpolicy  braceros  wwii  ww2  civilrights  race  racism  migration  communism  redscare  centralamerica  caribbean  colonialism  socialism  capitalism  fidelcastro  rafaeltrujillo  spanish-americanwar  inequality  exploitation  sugar  cotton  revolution  resistance  fulgenciobatista  dictatorships  oppression  deportation  texas  california  newmexico  arizona  mexican-americanwar  nevada  colorado  florida  nyc  óscarromero  harrytruman  democracy  jacoboárbenz  unitedfruitcompany  eisenhower  cia  intervention  maya  ethniccleansing  land  ownership  civilwar  iran-contraaffair  ronaldreagan  sandinistas  contras  war  bayofpigs  refugees  marielboatlift  1980  jimmycarter  language  spanish  español  miami  joaquínbalaguer  hectortruji 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Inside MS-13 - Latino USA
"President Trump has been talking a lot lately about MS-13, a street gang that started in California and spread to Central America. But what is the real story behind the gang? Latino USA takes a deep dive into MS-13, from the gang’s origins in Los Angeles, to the economic motor that powers them in Central America, to a string of brutal murders in Long Island, New York. Plus, the other reason why the administration is talking about MS-13 these days: politics."



"Where Is MS-13 Really From? Hint: Not Central America"
http://latinousa.org/2017/08/11/ms-13-really-hint-not-central-america/

"In recent weeks, President Trump and his administration have been talking a lot about the MS-13 gang, often linking its criminal activities with illegal immigration from Central America.

Indeed, over the last two decades, warring between MS-13 and the 18th Street gang has risen to out-of-control levels of violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Yet the roots of Central America’s gang problem lie far away, in Los Angeles, where both MS-13 and 18th Street were born. The gangs were formed by young, alienated immigrants who struggled to adapt to hostile neighborhoods in L.A. In the ‘90s, the LAPD worked with immigration authorities to deport undocumented gang members, eventually deporting tens of thousands of criminals to Central America.

Once the gangs were installed in Central America, repressive policing policies known as the mano dura unintentionally worsened the problem. Mass incarceration of young kids from street cliques alongside hardened criminals turned prison into a finishing school for gang members.

In this segment, we explore the history of the Central American gang problem through a man who lived it firsthand. Alex Sanchez is a former MS-13 member who leads the Los Angeles office of Homies Unidos, a non-profit that helps gang members integrate into society."



"MS-13: Why Long Island, Why Now?"
http://latinousa.org/2017/08/11/ms-13-long-island-now/

"MS-13 has been making headlines recently, and attracting the Trump Administration’s attention, largely because of a string of youth murders in Suffolk County, New York. Since January 2016, MS-13 is suspected to be involved in 17 murders in Suffolk County—approximately 38% of all homicides during that time period.

Part of the tragedy is that migrants from Central America come to places like Suffolk County to flee exactly the kind of violence they are now facing. Law enforcement is stuck between trying to work with the community to prevent violence and the Trump administration’s deportation rhetoric which keeps undocumented people from coming forward with information.

Liz Robbins, an immigration reporter for The New York Times, joins us to talk about the gangs murders in Suffolk County, why the area is a hot bed for MS-13 violence, and how law enforcement has responded."



"What Does It Feel Like to Be Called an ‘Animal’? A Former MS-13 Member Speaks Out"
http://latinousa.org/2017/08/11/feel-like-called-animal-former-ms-13-member-speaks/

"Gerardo Lopez was born in Los Angeles to Argentinean and Mexican parents, and he joined MS-13 when he was 14 years old. He has since left MS-13, and now serves as Director of the Denver chapter of Homies Unidos, an anti-gang violence organization.

Lopez discusses what the constant news coverage of MS-13 feels like to someone with deep connections to the gang, and how this seems particularly different in President Trump’s America.

An extended version of this conversation is available on our sister podcast, In The Thick, a show about race, culture, and politics from a POC perspective. You can find it in your podcast feed or at InTheThick.org."



"How MS-13 Makes Money"
http://latinousa.org/2017/08/11/ms-13-makes-money/

"The economic motor that supports gangs in Honduras isn’t drug trafficking, kidnappings or prostitution rings, it’s something much more simple and insidious: extortion.

No sector of the economy suffers from gang extortion quite like bus and taxi drivers. If you are a bus driver, there’s something that will happen every so often where you are stopped at an intersection. A kid will come up to you and hand you a cell phone. Then, the guy on the other end of the line will say, “Hi, I’m calling from such-and-such a gang. And if you want to keep driving this route, you have to pay me money every single week. Or else we will kill you.”

Every month in Honduras, there are probably a few million dollars that come out of hardworking people’s paychecks and into the pockets of gang members. Over 40 bus drivers were murdered by gangs this year alone for not paying up.

On top of the terrible human toll, extortion is a major drag on the Honduran economy. And it’s getting worse and worse. Latino USA’s Marlon Bishop reports on this bloody industry from Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital."
ms-13  california  losangeles  centralmerica  elsalvador  gangs  longisland  newyork  donaldtrump  politics  policy  immigration  via:felipemartinez  youth  isolation  violence  restortativejustice  prisons  2017  honduras 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Photos: Migrants From Around the World Come to Tijuana — to Wait - Voice of San Diego
"Rabiu Musah spent a long time getting to Tijuana.

“I took a flight from Ghana to Brazil. From Brazil I took a bus to Peru, then Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, then Mexico,” said the 23-year-old Ghanaian native. “So I passed through 10 countries to make it up here.” He traveled by bus and on foot for more than two months.

Musah wanted to apply for refugee status in the United States, fleeing an increasingly unstable situation in his home country. Like thousands of others, he didn’t know of a better way to do it than to make his way to the U.S.-Mexico border and ask for help.

“I had some problems with my colleagues, when they tried an assault on me,” said Musah, who worked as a graphic designer in his home country. “So staying there might be a problem for me, so with the little money I had, I decided to leave.” He decided to try to get to New York, where some of his family lives.

Musah didn’t have anywhere to go while his application was processed by overwhelmed and backlogged United States border authorities.

“I slept at the park for five days,” he said, resting while he waited in line. Residents of Tijuana give him and hundreds of others waiting for a decision food and water. Now, he’s staying at the Desayunador Salesiano Padre Chava facility, one of the many migrant shelters in and around Tijuana that generally caters to deported people and those waiting to find out whether they can cross into the United States. The shelters are seeing an unprecedented surge in people stranded from all over the world as they await an answer from the U.S.

In these shelters, which are supported by donations and help from the Mexican government, refugees and migrants from Ghana are sharing tables with Haitians, Hondurans and others. Many of the migrants are Mexicans themselves – a large number of people from the violence-plagued states of Guerrero and Michoacan are among those trying to get to the U.S.

The story of Ghana’s diaspora is very much like the story others asking for humanitarian relief from other countries tell. Ghana has experienced political, economic and social instability for decades, resulting in widespread violence and lack of opportunity, particularly for trained professionals. Traditionally, Ghanaian refugees have tried to travel to North Africa or Europe, but as the refugee crises in both regions have worsened, more are traveling longer distances out of desperation and necessity.

The United Kingdom’s surprise decision last week to leave the European Union could mean even more people fleeing violence in their home countries choose to seek shelter in North America. Already there are people from eastern Europe showing up alongside those from Haiti, Mexico’s interior, Central America and across the African continent — refugees and migrants who might otherwise travel to Europe, but are either denied or choose instead come to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they can take their chances on the immigration systems in the U.S. but fall back on staying in Mexico.

More than a thousand migrants have arrived at the San Ysidro crossing in the past few weeks. Most of the people coming to cross from outside Mexico appear to be from Haiti. Some people here want to get to their families in the United States, said Father Jesús Árambarri, director of Desayunador Salesiano. Others are just in Tijuana because it was easier to get here rather than one of the other ports of entry. He said his facility, like other shelters in the region, is overwhelmed and in need of donations.

“Men’s clothes, men’s shoes, razors, other toiletries, there are hundreds of people coming through here every day, every day who could use those things,” Árambarri said. “Thanks to God, we’re getting through this difficulty.”

People staying in Tijuana say they’re not opposed to asking for humanitarian visas from Mexico’s government, should they be denied the opportunity to travel to the United States; people from Ghana say they are not certain whether they will be able to learn Spanish sufficiently to get a job. It is a concern not shared by Rabiu Musah, who said he has already picked some up.

“If I’m denied, maybe I will choose living here,” said Musah. “If I go back, it could be something like … it might end up with my life in danger. So going back to my country — maybe in a future time, but for now, no.”"
tijuana  border  asylum  migration  borders  refugees  2016  ghana  haiti  mexico  us  honduras 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis - Video - NYTimes.com
"From Central America, thousands of children fleeing poverty and danger make multiple attempts to reach the United States despite increased efforts by Mexico to turn them back."
migration  immigration  us  latinamerica  guatemala  honduras  mexico  children  youth  2015  border  borders  minors  centralamerica  brentrenaud  craigrenaud 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Economists tested 7 welfare programs to see if they made people lazy. They didn't. - Vox
"All of the above evidence concerns the developing world. But it's worth being skeptical about welfare queen claims in rich countries as well. For one thing, the biggest program the US currently runs for prime-age poor adults is the earned income tax credit. There's a substantial body of evidence showing that the EITC encourages work, usually by pulling single parents into the workforce. That lets it have an anti-poverty impact beyond the actual cash that the tax credit provides to families.

But even unrestricted cash programs aren't likely to have a major effect on work in rich countries. A number of studies in the US in the 1970s examined "negative income tax" programs, where a set sample of poor households received cash grants whose size shrunk as the households earned more money through their jobs. The studies found very mild declines in work, largely due to people taking longer to find a good job while unemployed and spending longer in school. Even those estimates were exaggerated by participants underreporting the amount of work they were doing, perhaps to get bigger checks; when researchers examined administrative data, rather than survey responses, they found barely any effect on work at all.

A much better experiment in Canada, where an entire town got a guaranteed income by way of a negative income tax, found even milder reductions in work, and then only with new mothers (who spent longer at home with their newborns) and teenagers.

There's no doubt that poorly designed social programs can deter work. Aid to Families With Dependent Children, the pre–welfare reform welfare program, was found to decrease hours worked by 10 to 50 percent among recipients; that likely has something to do with the fact that AFDC benefits were taken away at a rate of 100 percent, so every dollar earned on the job was a dollar not received from AFDC. Who would work under that condition?

But most welfare programs are better than AFDC. Whether they're in the US or in developing countries, they don't tend to keep people from working."
welfare  labor  economics  2015  behavior  honduras  indonesia  mexico  morocco  philippines  nicaragua  universalbasicincome  canada  afdc  ubi 
november 2015 by robertogreco
How 50 reporters exposed the World Bank’s broken promises | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
"At a military camp in a violence-stained region of Central America, a Honduran Army officer informed Sasha Chavkin that he knew the reporter’s itinerary – where Chavkin was going and the people he planned to interview. When Chavkin asked how he had acquired this information, the colonel said simply: “Yo soy un militar.” (“I am a military man.”)

In Kenya’s western highlands, rifle-toting officers from the Kenya Forest Service confronted Anthony Langat and Jacob Kushner as the Nairobi-based reporters tried to interview indigenous peoples who claimed forest rangers had burned them out of their homes. The officers questioned the reporters for nearly an hour, refusing to say whether they were under arrest.

Along the Gulf of Kutch, a manager for one of India’s largest coal-powered plants, flanked by security guards, confronted Barry Yeoman, a freelance magazine journalist: Who was he and what was he doing at the fishing settlement near the plant? When Yeoman tried to sidestep the questions, one of the guards said they already knew who he was: “Aren’t you with ICIJ?”

These kinds of encounters aren’t unusual when it comes to boots-in-the-mud foreign reporting. What’s different is that all these journalists were working together, on the same story, as a part of a reporting partnership involving more than 50 journalists led by ICIJ, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Their subject: How power plants, dams and other big projects bankrolled by the World Bank can harm people and the environment.

Over the course of a decade, the reporting team found, projects financed by the World Bank physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people. These vulnerable people, often among the poorest in their societies, were forced from their homes, lost land or other assets or saw their livelihoods damaged. During this period, the investigation found, the bank regularly failed to follow its own rules for protecting the people living in the path of development.

To show the human consequences of the bank’s investments, reporters from ICIJ, The Huffington Post and more than 20 other ICIJ media partners reported on the ground in 14 countries. They traveled to isolated villages and urban slums in the Balkans, Asia, Africa and Latin America. They entered areas bloodied by civil conflicts. And they asked tough questions in places where journalists are often watched, questioned and, in some instances, targeted for violence or arrest.

“What connects a lot of the work on the investigation is that people were reporting in places where the local authorities are heavily invested in controversial projects,” says Ben Hallman, an editor and reporter for HuffPost who traveled to the mountains of Peru as a part of the investigation. “These places tend to have weak rule of law, and essentially the system that exists is opposed to you getting out the story. There’s definitely a chilling effect.”

ICIJ is a non-profit news organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. We have a full-time staff of 11 in the U.S., Europe and Latin America and 190 member journalists in 65 countries who team with us on cross-border reporting collaborations.

At ICIJ, we operate on the principle that many stories are too big, too complicated and too global for a lone-wolf muckraker – or even a single news organization – to tackle.

That’s certainly the case with the reporting team’s World Bank Group investigation, which focuses on a sprawling organization with more than 10,000 employees and a PR operation that works hard to deflect negative coverage.

The World Bank Group is owned by 188 member countries, with the U.S. and a few other Western nations holding much of the voting power. It funnels money to governments and corporations with the goal, it says, of ending extreme poverty.

Its push to end poverty is complicated by the reality that dams and other game-changing projects can make things worse rather than better for people nearby. People forced to resettle because of big projects often end up poorer than before. Some face hunger and disease. Even when people aren’t evicted from their homes, projects can destroy or damage their livelihoods. A dam that changes a river flow, for example, can drastically reduce catches for fishing communities.

The World Bank’s “safeguard” rules are supposed to protect people whose lives are disrupted by its investments. Families pushed from their homes must be provided new homes. People whose ability to earn a living has been damaged must get help to restore or replace their livelihoods.

The bank often fails to enforce these rules. In some cases, the World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corp., have financed governments or companies accused of human rights violations such as rape, murder and torture.

In Kenya, for example, indigenous people claim they have been burned out of their homes and evicted from ancestral forests by a World Bank-funded forest conservation program.

“I don’t understand why they chase us like this,” Selly Rotich, a mother of five, told Langat and Kushner in September as she sat outside her scorched home in Kenya’s Embobut Forest."
worldbank  development  kenya  india  honduras  sashachavkin  anthonylangat  jacobkushner  barryyeoman  journalism  balkans  latinamerica  asia  africa  investment  economics  policy  politics  finance 
july 2015 by robertogreco
My libertarian vacation nightmare: How Ayn Rand, Ron Paul & their groupies were all debunked - Salon.com
"In Honduras, the police ride around in pickup trucks with machine guns, but they aren’t there to protect most people. They are scary to locals and travelers alike. For individual protection there’s an army of private, armed security guards who are found in front of not only banks, but also restaurants, ATM machines, grocery stores and at any building that holds anything of value whatsoever. Some guards have uniforms and long guns but just as many are dressed in street clothes with cheap pistols thrust into waistbands. The country has a handful of really rich people, a small group of middle-class, some security guards who seem to be getting by and a massive group of people who are starving to death and living in slums. You can see the evidence of previous decades of infrastructure investment in roads and bridges, but it’s all in slow-motion decay.

I took a van trip across the country, starting in Copan (where there are must-see Mayan ruins), across to the Caribbean Sea to a ferry that took my family to Roatan Island. The trip from Copan to the coast took a full six hours, and we had two flat tires. The word “treacherous” is inadequate—a better description is “post-apocalyptic.” We did not see one speed limit sign in hundreds of kilometers. Not one. People drive around each other on the right and left and in every manner possible. The road was clogged with horses, scooters and bicycles. People traveled in every conceivable manner along the crumbling arterial. Few cars have license plates, and one taxi driver told me that the private company responsible for making them went bankrupt. Instead of traffic stops, there are military check points every so often. The roads seemed more dangerous to me than the gang violence.

The greatest examples of libertarianism in action are the hundreds of men, women and children standing alongside the roads all over Honduras. The government won’t fix the roads, so these desperate entrepreneurs fill in potholes with shovels of dirt or debris. They then stand next to the filled-in pothole soliciting tips from grateful motorists. That is the wet dream of libertarian private sector innovation.

On the mainland there are two kinds of neighborhoods, slums that seem to go on forever and middle-class neighborhoods where every house is its own citadel. In San Pedro Sula, most houses are surrounded by high stone walls topped with either concertina wire or electric fence at the top. As I strolled past these castle-like fortifications, all I could think about was how great this city would be during a zombie apocalypse."



"One can dismiss the core of near-sociopathic libertarian ideas with one simple question: What kind of society maximizes freedom while providing the best outcomes for the greatest number of human beings? You cannot start with the assumption that a Russian novel writer from the ’50s is a genius, so therefore all ideas about government and society must fit between the pages of “Atlas Shrugged.” That concept is stupid, and sends you on the opposite course of “good outcomes for human beings.” The closer you get to totally untamed, uncontrolled privatization, the nearer you approach “Lord of the Flies.”

These questions about how best to provide a good society are not being asked in Honduras, but they are also ignored in the United States as a matter of routine. We have growing income inequality and government is being ever more controlled by a few extremely wealthy political donors. Our own infrastructure is far from admired worldwide, and the trend doesn’t look good from where I’m sitting. We have yet to stop our own political rhetoric to address the basic question about what kind of place and in what type of society we want to live.

Society should not exist to make a few people fabulously wealthy while others starve. Almost all humanity used to live this way, and we called it feudalism. Many people want to go back to that sort of system, this time under the label of libertarian or “the untrammeled free market.” The name is irrelevant because the results are the same. In Honduras, I did not meet one person who had nice things to say about the government or how the country is run. My takeaway from the trip is that living in a libertarian paradise satisfies only a few of the wealthiest citizens, while everyone else thinks it sucks.

Honduras has problems but people should go visit anyway and soon. The dangers are fleeting, and there are coffee plantations to tour, ruins to see, cigars to smoke and fish to catch. The people need your tourism dollars. As a bonus, it’s important for Americans to see the outcome when the bad ideas of teenage boys and a bad Russian writer are put into practice. Everyone believes in freedom, but it’s an idea both fetishized and unrecognizable when spouted by libertarians. There can be no such thing as freedom, safety or progress of any kind, when an entire society is run for the benefit of a handful of rich assholes and global conglomerates. If you think I’m overstating it, just go to Honduras and see it for yourself."
inequality  libertarianism  libertarians  2015  edwinlyngar  honduras  economics  privatization  infrastructure  us  aynrand  ronpaul  government  capitalism  sanpedrosula 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Race and racism in Honduran soccer and society - The Washington Post
"Presence on the soccer team, however, does not equal acceptance. For most of the 20th century, the Honduran state has ignored its African-descended population — or worse. In 1937, the government of Tiburcio Carias massacred 22  Garifuna leaders in the village of San Juan. Garifuna language was banned in school curriculums until the 2000s. Social indicators among black Hondurans tend to rank near the bottom; access to education and jobs lags behind much of the rest of the country. And in soccer, racism persists as well. In 2006, a politician claimed that blacks brought the level of play on the team down because they were not as “intelligent” as other Hondurans. In response to Chávez’s 2011 anti-racism campaign, a former Honduran national team psychologist argued that “blacks, by nature, have low self-esteem and therefore look for ways to call attention to themselves.”

In other words, while Afro-Hondurans make up a large portion of the national team — and always have — their presence has not yet led to greater tolerance. Nor has it occasioned a change in Honduras’ dominant narrative about race. What does this mean? The persistence of racist attitudes in Honduras implies that soccer, which many claim capable of changing attitudes about race and creating a more just world, may not be the panacea that many would like it to be."
honduras  race  2014  soccer  football  sports  visibility  stereotypes  worldcup  futbol 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Self-Improvement Kick | This American Life
"A perfectly normal guy gets rid of everything he owns, changes his name, says goodbye to his friends — and begins walking. In the name of peace. And Honduran government officials try to heal their corrupt country by starting a perfect city, from scratch. For the new year, we bring you stories about how far some people go in hopes of a better life."
honduras  paulromer  politics  utopia  change  economics  startingfromscratch  startingover  resets  primingthepump  cities  2013  octaviosanchez  self-improvement  from delicious
january 2013 by robertogreco
Americas South and North
"We are a collective of historians who study, analyze, and think about Latin America from a variety of time periods, countries, and topics. Out interests range from the borderlands region of Mexico to the southern part of Chile; from indigenous peoples and religion in colonial Latin America to middle-class cultures in the late-20th century; from gender history to human rights struggles; and much, much more. We started this blog to provide a forum to write, think about, and generally discuss Latin American history, culture, peoples, politics, and the place of Latin America in the region and the world. Here’s who we are, and you can contact us at americassouthandnorth@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @AmSouthandNorth."
panamá  honduras  elsalvador  costarica  guatemala  ecuador  bolivia  venezuela  colombia  uruguay  paraguay  argentina  brasil  brazil  chile  mexico  blogs  latinamerica  perú  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Episode 415: Can A Poor Country Start Over? : Planet Money : NPR
"Today's show is the story of two men and one big idea.

The big idea is that a poor country should take a small, empty part of its territory and say: We're going to build a new city here. And in this new city, we're going to get rid of our existing laws and rules, and bring in the best laws we can find from around the world. Get help from foreign countries. Maybe the UK could serve as a court of appeals. Maybe Canada could send in a few Mounties to help set up a police force.

The two men are Paul Romer, a world famous North American economist, and Octavio Sanchez, chief of staff to the president of Honduras.

They think their big idea could be the answer to one of the oldest, hardest problems in economics: How do poor countries get richer?

And they seem like a perfect match. Paul is a famous economist who can sell the idea around the world. Octavio has the ear of the president in a poor country looking for a change.

On the show, we find out what happens…"
latinamerica  poverty  change  colonialism  citybuilding  honduras  octaviosánchez  paulromer  2012  nationbuilding  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
In Arming Libyan Rebels, U.S. Would Follow an Old, Dark Path - Max Fisher - International - The Atlantic
"The U.S. has a long, complicated, and dark history of arming rebel groups around the world…Argentina and Honduras…Chile…Nicaragua…Khmer Rouge…

…cycle is a familiar one: rather than commit American lives to a murky & uncertain conflict, White House asks CIA to find or create local proxies that can do the fighting for us. We invariably find the most skilled fighters, most ruthless killers, who can best challenge or outright topple whatever regime—often communist, usually despotic & deserving of ouster—has earned American ire. But the conflict often escalates & turns for worse…

Violence begets violence, instability begets instability, and the U.S. tactic of arming rebels has been incredibly successful at fomenting both, but has done little to end either, often creating problems far outsizing those we originally meant to solve.

Neither the French nor the British share this sordid history with the U.S."
politics  history  intelligence  france  foreignpolicy  us  2011  libya  cambodia  honduras  nicaragua  chile  argentina  afghanistan  pakistan  cia  dirtywar  gorevidal  amnesia  taliban  gaddafi  uk  williamcasey  barackobama  josephlieberman  williamhague  pinochet  communism  coldwar  genocide  despotism  khmerrouge  vietnam  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
Un Techo para mi País
"MISIÓN: Mejorar la calidad de vida de las familias que viven en situación de pobreza a través de la construcción de viviendas de emergencia y la ejecución de planes de habilitación social, en un trabajo conjunto entre jóvenes voluntarios universitarios y estas comunidades. Queremos denunciar la realidad de los asentamientos precarios en que viven millones de personas en Latinoamérica e involucrar a la sociedad en su conjunto, logrando que se comprometa con la tarea de construir un continente más solidario, justo y sin exclusión."
activism  architecture  argentina  chile  haiti  perú  bolivia  brasil  latinamerica  colombia  costarica  ecuador  elsalvador  guatemala  honduras  mexico  nicaragua  panamá  paraguay  dominicanrepublic  uruguay  social  housing  volunteerism  glvo  yearoff  charity  community  untechoparamipaís  brazil  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Global Voices in English » Getting to Know the Global Voices Latin America Team
"As outgoing Editor for Latin America, I have seen the Global Voices team from Latin America grow tremendously over the past three years. Each of the volunteer authors has dedicated time and energy to serve the mission of Global Voices, and to share their part of the world with a global audience. At any given time, each of the countries that make up the Latin American region has been represented by a talented blogger tasked with the challenge of presenting a wide range of issues in a balanced and fair manner. Now that I am moving on to take the helm at Rising Voices, I am eager to see how the team will take the coverage of such a diverse region to greater heights under the leadership of the new Latin America Editor, Silvia Viñas. Continuing a recent tradition, let's meet some of these amazing people that have been part of the Latin American team (in alphabetical order by first name)."
globalvoices  blogs  blogging  chile  argentina  mexico  uruguay  colombia  perú  paraguay  costarica  guatemala  venezuela  latinamerica  dominicanrepublic  ecuador  honduras  panamá  nicaragua  bolivia  elsalvador  cuba  spanish  español  portuguese  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco

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