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Nine years on from the coup, we still need to stand up for Honduras

IT’S now nine years since the US backed the military coup in Honduras which deposed the progressive democratic government of president Manuel Zelaya. 

The consequences for the Honduran people were deepening poverty and increasing violence and repression. 

Despite multiple allegations of fraud in the presidential election last year, Donald Trump recognised National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez, a conservative US ally, as the election winner. 

Post-election protests have been met with a declared state of emergency and massive repression, involving the use of thousands of police, Swat teams, soldiers and military police.  

More than 30 people have been killed and many hundreds injured. Over 1,300 arrests were made during this post-election crisis. 

Many protesters face ongoing legal actions against them by the government. Twenty-three people, recognised as political prisoners, are facing extremely severe charges. Denied bail, they have been imprisoned for months under terrible conditions — prisons in Honduras are notorious for their squalor and danger. 

Arrests of activists continue and more prosecutions are expected as the regime continues the repression. 

The crisis has provoked a new surge in migration by Hondurans fleeing the crisis. The US government is implementing policies that violate international human rights and refugee standards.

Trump’s administration is detaining thousands of migrants, refusing to accept petitions for asylum and brutally separating children from their parents. 

Even Hondurans already living in the US are not safe. Some 50,000 who have lived legally in the US for decades under temporary protected status will have this withdrawn in January 2020 and will be forcibly deported back to Honduras to face repression.

Trump’s administration continues to support the Honduran regime politically and economically. Millions of US dollars help fund a military and security apparatus that a recent report UN high commissioner for human rights condemned for violating human rights.  

But the US is not alone in this. The British government is complicit in the Honduran government’s repression of political protest. 

Despite the wealth of evidence of the Honduran regime’s use of illegal surveillance and abuse of human rights, the British government issued export licences for the sale of spyware to Honduras. 

No further export licences should be granted for the sale of any equipment to the Honduran government that could be used for internal repression.

Let’s step up our international solidarity with the people of Honduras.

Chris Williamson is the honorary president of Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America. You can sign a petition to Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Theresa May against Britain selling spyware to Honduras at bit.ly/honduraspetition. Chris Williamson will be speaking at a session  on Latin America at Arise — A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas this Saturday, July 28. The opening rally for Arise takes place from 6.30pm at Student Central, WC1E on Friday July 27 and then various events take place there and at Unite House on Saturday July 28 from 10am-5pm. Participants include John McDonnell MP, Diane Abbott MP, Richard Burgon MP, Shami Chakrabarti, Steve Turner of Unite the Union and more. The event is supported by the Morning Star. You can book advance tickets for Arise on July 27-28 at arise-festival.com. You can follow Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas on Twitter via @arise_festival and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LabourLeftFestival.

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