2/19 Honduras:"The Fire the Next Time"; "Turning disaster into opportunity" ; "Honduras is open for business"

NB comments, emphases and most 'US' abbreviations are by the digest

comment: HONDURAS: HELL ON EARTH FROM DECADES OF DOMINATION BY U.S. GLOBAL SOVEREIGNTY
DEATH BY DIPLOMACY, DEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT, DEFENSE

HONDURAS AND ITS CARIBBEAN NEIGHBORS, HAVE LIVED AND DIED UNDER RELENTLESS IMPERIALIST ASSAULT FOR CENTURIES.
THE I998 HURRICANE MITCH BROUGHT U.S. ASSAULT ARMED IN 'HUMANITARIAN' SOFT POWER MERGED WITH HARD POWER. CALLED 'SMART POWER, THIS IS NOW U.S. CONQUEST M.O., FROM R2P, 'RIGHT TO PROTECT BY 'HUMANITARIAN BOMBING' IN LIBYA, TO IN 'NATURAL DISASTER AID' FROM HAITI, CHINA, INDONESIA, PAKISTAN TO NEW ORLEANS, INSTALLING ITS MILITARY TAKEOVER UNDER SOFT USAID/NGOS COVER. BILL CLINTON, ON BEHALF OF HIS IMPERIALIST FOUNDATION , DARED DECLARE THAT 'BUILDING BACK BETTER' WAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR HAITI. OVER $5BILLION DONATIONS LATER, MILLIONS OF HAITIANS ARE STILL STARVING IN RUBBLE, DYING FROM CHOLERA AS U.S. DIPLOMACY, DEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT & DEFENSE DO WHAT IT'S DESIGNED TO DO.

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin,1963
"At the center of this dreadful storm, this vast confusion, stand the black people of this nation, who must share the fate of a nation that has never accepted them, to which they were brought in chains. Well, if this is so, one has no choice but to do all in one’s power to change that fate, and at no matter what risk—eviction, imprisonment, torture, death."
“The Negroes of this country may never rise to power, but they are very well placed indeed to precipitate chaos and ring down the curtain on the American dream”

"The civilized who have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo, are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide their "vital interests" are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the "sanctity" of human life, or the "conscience" of the civilized world."
The Devil Finds Work, Baldwin,1976

Massive Fire Engulfs Honduran Market
2/19/12 VOA http://www.voanews.com/english/news/americas/Massive-Fire-In-Hunduras-13...
Honduran authorities say a massive fire consumed a market in the capital... hundreds of vendor stalls were destroyed in the blaze that started Saturday afternoon in Tegucigalpa.  No deaths have been reported. A local business owner said the fire spread quickly. "It was like a bomb, it quickly spread, the fire was all over of us when we opened to start selling The flames sweep everything away." Last week, a fire swept through a prison in the Honduran town of Comayagua, north of the capital killing over 350 prisoners.

 
Hundreds Dead in Honduras Prison Fire
2/15/12 http://www.voanews.com/english/news/americas/Hundreds-Dead-in-Honduras-P...
The Organization of American States is sending a delegation to investigate. OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza expressed "deep consternation regarding the tragic events" and expressed solidarity with the government. The Comayagua prison housed over 850 prisoners.Honduran prisons are notoriously overcrowded and are often the scene of riots and clashes between rival gang members.  The U.S. State Department has criticized Honduras for "harsh prison conditions." The Central American nation's last major prison fire struck the town of San Pedro Sula in 2004, killing more than 100 prisoners.

Honduras in Flames
2/16/12 Dana Frank, http://www.thenation.com/print/article/166313/honduras-flames
Tuesday night, February 14, at least 357 prisoners died in a fire at La Granja penitentiary in Comayagua, Honduras, one of the worst prison fires in the past century. The fire is only the latest deadly outcome of the larger politically driven firestorm that is Honduras today. The Comayagua fire must be understood in the context of the near-total breakdown of the Honduran state since the June 28, 2009, military coup that overthrew the democratically elected President José Manuel Zelaya....Over 300 people have been killed by state security forces since President Lobo came to power in a November 2009 election boycotted by most of the opposition and almost all international observers. At least forty-three campesino activists have been killed by police, members of the military, and private security guards... US fueled militarization continues to throw financial and diplomatic support behind the corrupt and illegitimate Lobo regime. Obama in his 2013 budget proposed to double US funding for Honduras... US military funding has increased every year since the coup...the US is currently pouring $50 million into expanding its strategically important Soto Cano Air Force Base using the fight against drug trafficking pretext to expand its military presence and control of Honduran police...the government already passed a law in November 2011 allowing the military to take over ordinary police functions.

"Between 1898 and 1934, the Marines invaded Cuba 4 times, Nicaragua 5 times, Honduras 7 times, the Dominican Republic 4 times, Haiti twice, Guatemala once, Panama twice, Mexico 3 times and Columbia 4 times. Washington has intervened militarily in foreign countries more than 200 times."
isamericaburning.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html

Honduras-Military Ties with Other Countries
Data as of December 1993
Honduras Index, http://www.mongabay.com/history/honduras/honduras-military_ties_with_oth...
Although not nearly as important to Honduras as the US--which supplied 73% of the arms Honduras imported 1984 to 1988 -- Israel has also been a noteworthy provider of training and sophisticated weaponry to the Armed Forces of Honduras. A 1982 visit by a high-level Israeli delegation headed by (then) Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and Air Force General David Ivry, was followed by an increase in arms deliveries and training for Honduras. A dozen Israelis trained the Cobras (the elite counterinsurgency unit) and the personal security guards of former Honduran presidents...In1983 the NYT reported significant quantities of weapons captured from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by Israel in their 1982 invasion of Lebanon passed through the Honduran armed forces to the Contras.Brazil, France, Britain, and former West Germany supplied US$70 million worth of arms to Honduras between 1984 and 1988.

NB: failure and blowback from hard power necessitated tactical cosmetic surgery to advance US bipartisan National Security global domination agenda
“All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq... this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war... our children will sing great songs about us years from now.”
Richard Perle

Honduras coup leaders block ousted president's return
• Military vehicles on runway force plane to turn away • Two dead as protesters clash with police at airport
6 July 2009 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/06/honduras-blocks-president-re...
Zelaya, who alarmed Honduras's institutions by veering left after his 2006 election, said oligarchs had turned the clock back to an era of military overthrows. The president's supporters, mostly poor and working class, said they will demonstrate daily until he is reinstated. Dozens have been injured and detained in clashes with security forces. The new authorities have curbed civil liberties and muzzled the media...The interim government has become an international pariah since soldiers seized Zelaya in his pyjamas and into exile....The coup's faltering public relations drive took another blow when the army's top lawyer, Colonel Herberth Bayardo Inestroza, admitted to reporters that the overthrow was illegal... nevertheless necessary, he said, to stop Honduras becoming a socialist ally of Venezuela. The interim government said the takeover was not a coup but a constitutional transfer of power from an authoritarian populist... If Zelaya returns he faces arrest on 18 charges, including corruption and treason.

Does US back the Honduran coup?
7/1/09 Mark Weisbrot, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jul/01/honduras-...
The first statement from the White House did not denounce the coup but called upon "all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter".This contrasted with statements from other presidents in the hemisphere...who denounced the coup and called for the re-instatement of Zelaya. The EU issued a similar, less ambiguous and more immediate response.Later in the day, as the response of other nations became clear, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton issued a statement that condemned the coup – without calling it a coup....and still didn't say anything about Zelaya returning to the presidency...one reason for Clinton's reluctance to call the coup a coup is because the US Foreign Assistance Act prohibits funds going to governments where the head of state has been deposed by a military coup....strong stances calling for the "immediate and unconditional return" of Zelaya... by Monday afternoon Obama finally said: "We believe the coup was not legal and President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras.". But at a press conference later asked whether "restoring the constitutional order" in Honduras meant returning Zelaya, Clinton would not say yes....The military coup that overthrew Honduras's elected president, Manuel Zelaya, brought unanimous international condemnation...and Washington's ambivalence has begun to raise suspicions about what the US government is really trying to accomplish in this situation... The coup leaders have no international support, but could succeed by running out the clock – Zelaya has less than six months left in his term. Will the Obama administration support sanctions against the coup government to prevent this? Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador fired a warning shot announcing a 48-hour cut-off of trade....

The Challenge of Turning a Disaster into an Opportunity
IMF said broad public support for the program is crucial for its success ...street demonstrations against the program made it politically costly for the government
Central America After 1998 Hurricane Mitch in Honduras
Inter-American Development Bank, http://www.iadb.org/regions/re2/consultative_group/backgrounder2.htm
2005 CRS Report: Honduras: Political Economic Situation and U.S. Relations
Summary
For Honduras, Hurricane Mitch constituted an unprecedented catastrophe due to the devastation caused, the human and social toll and the losses and damages to its infrastructure and productive system. Nearly one third of the highway network was affected, with the consequent isolation of cities and productive zones; thousands of dwellings were destroyed leaving thousands of families homeless, many unemployed with no source of income; there was likewise a negative impact on future production and exports, economic growth, employment and revenues. According to the National Emergency Cabinet, the hurricane caused the death of 5,657 people (without counting 8,058 missing), injuring 12, 272 and initially affecting 1.5 million people (of the 6.2 million total population)... The preceding clearly portrays the human and social tragedy that Hurricane Mitch represented for Honduras. With respect to material losses, ECLAC estimated them at around US$3.8 billion, of which US$2.0 billion affected the social and productive capital of the country and the remaining US$1.8 billion on production...
Among the country’s development challenges according to the U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID] are: an estimated poverty rate of 79%; infant mortality rate of 34 per 1,000; chronic malnutrition (33% of children under five years); average adult education level of 5.3 years...

Honduras received significant debt relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch...At the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), Honduras began the process of financial liberalization in 1990...Honduras signed an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) - converted to a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) with the IMF in March 1999..As with most Latin American countries, Honduras's economy is tied to the US...
Today, U.S. troops in Honduras support such activities as disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, counternarcotics exercises, and search and rescue operations that benefit Honduras and other Central American countries. Regional exercises and deployments involving active and reserve components provide training opportunities for thousands of U.S. troops...Honduras, among the 'coalition of the willing' supporting U.S. military operations in Iraq, began providing a military contingent of 370 troops to Iraq in June 2003, joining other contingents from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic...

Obama’s Tango
Restoring U.S. Leadership in Latin America
Mar. 5, 2010 http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65923/christopher-sabatini-and-ja...
Since he took office, U.S. President Barack Obama has articulated a policy toward Latin America that is centered on the idea of partnership. As he said last April, there would be “no senior or junior partner to this new engagement.” The United States, in other words, would be but one actor on the regional stage, not its director. But recent crises -- from the coup in Honduras to simmering tensions in the Andes -- have revealed a fundamental weakness in the Obama administration’s nascent Latin America policy....Negotiations last summer to expand access for U.S. military personnel to seven bases in Colombia also drew immediate fire from Chávez and other regional leaders. Chávez denounced the effort as Yanqui imperialism...
But the clearest test of regional leaders’ ability to resolve a crisis on their own came in June, when a peaceful coup removed José Manuel Zelaya from power as president of Honduras... It took U.S. leadership -- not partnership -- to break the [post coup] deadlock. Brazil, supposedly a regional leader, did little beyond allowing Zelaya to hole up in its embassy when he snuck back in the country. When the U.S.-appointed mediator, Costa Rican President Óscar Arias, failed to reach an agreement, the US sent in officials to negotiate. In the end, Zelaya and the de facto regime agreed to an accord to restore democratic constitutional order with November elections...the US would accept the results of those elections, other nations, including Argentina and Brazil, argued it amounted to tacit endorsement of the coup.Elections were an imperfect solution, but a way out of the deadlock. Latin American countries were clearly waiting for leadership... The Honduras coup was a punctuation mark demonstrating the end of an era of shared goals that could form the basis of collective action in Latin America.
Now, tough issues have been set aside in the name of partnership...It is time for the US to refocus efforts on defining its national interests in the region and to forge and lead ad-hoc alliances necessary to further them....
It is the private sector, civil society, and academic institutions that have the most impact in shaping the region’s attitudes toward the United States. In an example of scale, in 2006, U.S. bilateral development assistance to Latin America was $1.6 billion, while total private investment to the region was $26.8 billion. On such issues as labor rights, transparency, and the rule of law, the U.S. government has a set of shared interests with business coalitions....this last decade has seen the emergence of a number of strong NGOs committed to addressing many long-standing social inequities governments have failed to resolve. The US should lead alliances with these groups to complement state-to-state relations. All this suggests that partnership alone cannot be the fulcrum of the U.S. relationship with Latin America. With Obama’s assistant secretary of state, Arturo Valenzuela, in place, the US must now balance its ideas of partnership with strong leadership. Latin America’s leaders - though keen to reap the benefits of more prominent global standing -- have shown themselves unwilling to address crises out of fear of domestic and regional backlash. As a result, Washington learned it will occasionally have to break with regional consensus to deal with the challenges of Latin America. Aspiring Latin American leaders need to learn that lesson, too....

1903 - Honduras - U.S. forces protect US consulate and Puerto Cortez steamship during revolutionary activity.
1919 - Honduras - September A landing force sent ashore during an attempted revolution.
1983-89 - Honduras - US undertook series of exercises in Honduras (related to US war against Nicaraguan Sandanista government)
234 Uses of United States Forces Abroad, 5 are Declared wars: 1798 - 1993, by Ellen C. Collier, Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy,
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division, Congressional Research Service -Library of Congress -October 7, 1993
http://www.history.navy.mil/wars/foabroad.htm

HONDURAS: U.S. Marines 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925, U.S occupation of Haiti July 28, 1915 - August 1, 1934 to protect corporate interests
The 'Banana Wars' were a series of US occupations, police actions, and interventions in Central America and the Caribbean. This period started with the Spanish-American War in 1898 and the subsequent Treaty of Paris giving the US control of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Between the war with Spain and 1934, the US. conducted military operations and occupations in Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic wikipedia

NB: GEOSTRATEGIC 'FORWARD OPERATING BASE' IN CENTRAL AMERICA ESSENTIAL FOR U.S. REGIONAL & GLOBAL AGENDA
Honduras a Pentagon FOB
3/21/11 http://www.workers.org/2011/world/pentagon_honduras_0324/
The Honduran oligarchy — the so-called “10 families” — rules the country by force and intimidation-- local police, national police, military and death squads. The oligarchy could not stay in power weeks without [US] military, political and financial support. Pentagon morale boosting delegations and training missions to Honduras go on a virtual nonstop basis. Selected military personnel get specialized, all-expenses-paid training at the notorious Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of the Americas) in Fort Benning, Ga.
September 2010 U.S. DoD Center For Hemispheric Defense Studies held a workshop that de facto Honduran President Pepe Lobo Sosa and his top military and security advisors were required to attend. (hondurasculturepolitics.blogspot.com)
December 2010 the Joint Task Force-Bravo assisted Honduras National Police Academy self-defense and riot control training. This month the Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011 annual deployment of U.S. Navy ships to the Caribbean and Latin America started in San Lorenzo, Honduras. Among SPS 2011programs is Navy Criminal Investigative Service training of Honduran military and police “ to advance interoperability between the militaries and build an enduring partnership with the Honduran government.” (southcom.mil)

"...depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World."
Henry Kissinger, National Security Memo 200, dated April 24, 1974

"We’ve knocked out their drinking water. Soon, they will begin to acquire diarrhea and malnutrition."
General Schwarzkopf, shortly after start of first US Gulf war against Iraq

“…There are only two possible ways in which a world of 10 billion people can be averted. Either the current birth rates must come down more quickly. Or the current death rates must go up. There is no other way. There are, of course, many ways in which the death rates can go up. In a thermonuclear age, war can accomplish it very quickly and decisively. Famine and disease are nature’s ancient checks on population growth, and neither one has disappeared from the scene … To put it simply: Excessive population growth is the greatest single obstacle to the economic and social advancement of most of the societies in the developing world.”
Speech to the Club of Rome by Robert McNamara, Oct. 2, 1979

"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than fear of sudden death."
Adolf Hitler

"if you aren't with us you're with the terrorists"
GWB US global terror war 2001

NB: RESULTS OF 13 YEARS US/WB/IMF 'AID' & 'COOPERATION'
5/22/11 President Lobo & former President Zelaya signed the “Accord for National Reconciliation and the Consolidation of the Democratic System in Honduras.”

Honduran -U.S. Relations Congressional Research Service 2011
July 14, 2011 www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34027.pdf
The World Bank maintains development indicators have improved over the past decade because of increased public spending on health and education, but further progress is uncertain. It notes that the country remains vulnerable to external shocks, including declines in prices for agricultural exports and natural disasters such as hurricanes and droughts.75
Despite experiencing relatively strong growth and benefiting from debt reduction programs, Honduras continues to face significant development challenges. The country remains one of the
most impoverished nations in Latin America. According to the most recent household census conducted by the Honduran National Statistics Institute, over 60% of Honduras’ 8 million citizens live below the poverty line (unable to buy the basic basket of household goods); an infant mortality rate of 27 per 1,000; chronic malnutrition for one out of four children under five years of age...(compare to 2005 USAID estimates above) ...
Current U.S. policy objectives in Honduras include (1) improving the human-rights climate... (2) combating high levels of corruption, crime, and drug-trafficking (3) promoting and
implementing social and economic reforms to boost growth and reduce poverty, after Haiti and Nicaragua, the third highest in the hemisphere.
To advance these policy objectives, the US provides Honduras with substantial amounts of foreign assistance, maintains significant military and economic ties, and engages on transnational issues such as migration, crime, narcotics trafficking, trafficking in persons, and port security.
US supports a variety of projects to enhance security, strengthen democracy, improve education and health systems, the environment, and build trade capacity. Most assistance is managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and US State Department. Although the Department of Defense Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 112-10) was signed into law on April 15, 2011, country-specific funding levels are not yet available.

"Honduras is Open for Business"
Carlos Slim and Bill Clinton Sign On to Promote Honduras Investment
July 6th, 2010, http://hondurasoutsourcing.nearshoreamericas.com/
Honduras’ Deputy Foreign Minister Alden Rivera announced that former United States president Bill Clinton and Mexican businessman Carlos Slim will travel to Honduras on November 4-5, 2010 to help encourage private investment.Honduras is among the most severely in need in Latin America. Approximately 53% of the population is rural, and it is estimated that 75% of the rural population lives below the poverty line, unable to meet basic needs. The country still has high rates of population growth, infant mortality, child malnutrition and illiteracy. These and other social and economic factors reflect its status as the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti.“The visit is aimed at promoting the country as a tourism destination to the world, thereby attracting foreign investors,” said Mr. Rivera.
Mr. Slim is listed by Forbes Magazine as the world’s richest person, with a net worth estimated at US$60.6 billion.
Mr. Clinton oversees the William J. Clinton Foundation, which has an endowment estimated at US$46 billion.
Mr. Slim and Mr. Clinton are working with the Spanish government on a philanthropic program, valued at US$150 million, to improve healthcare in Central America and southern Mexico.

The role of USAID in the New Selloff of Honduras
http://www.resistenciahonduras.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=art...
"Honduras is Open for Business" slogan was created after the 2009 coup by the Foundation for Investment and Development of Exports (FIDE). FIDE, a USAID NGO was created in 1984. Directed by Hondurans, its board of directors is Honduran businessmen and women, but its financing comes from USAID
One of the various FIDE projects, the program called The Trade, Investment, and Competitiveness (TIC) created in 2005, has received more than $4.5 million dollars from USAID (source: Conroy, Bill. Millions of dollars in USAID funding still flowing to Honduras (August 27, 2009)....
The USAID Report titled: HONDURAS Country Assistance Strategy, Fiscal Years 2009-2013 makes clear how USAID NGOs and the Honduran government are obeying US mandates. The NGOs, like the National Program for the Promotion of Investment in Honduras 2010-1014 and the "Honduras Open for Business" event for the most part use the same language and same goals laid out in the USAID strategic plan. "Honduras is Open for Business" forms part of the long-term imperialist plan ... The only role of the Honduran people is to serve as cheap labor, guaranteed with the approval of the Hourly Wage Law in November 2010....The CAFTA-DR, the coup d'état and this conference allow the free entry of corporate-Imperialists to exploit natural resources, privatize infrastructure and enslave workers in new plantations, maquilas and free trade zones. The puppets, Porfirio Lobo Sosa and his golpista cabinet, obediently implement the demands of the U.S. government.

“The high point of a deep institutional and legal reform to position Honduras as the most attractive investment destination in Latin America.”
With the launch of web portal “Honduras is open for business” and a video of President Porfirio Lobo's speech, the Honduran Government announced the National Investment Promotion program 2010-2014, named “The high point of a deep institutional and legal reform to position Honduras as the most attractive investment destination in Latin America.”
U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton, former president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Mexican businessman Carlos Slim and the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno, and business leaders from 55 countries will participate in a 3 day Exporters, Business Roundtables and an international business forum, in San Pedro Sula, at the Expocentro fairgrounds, Mr. Clinton calls “Honduras: Open for Business.”

"If the people are not convinced that the Free World is in mortal danger it would be impossible for Congress to vote the vast sums now being spent to avert danger. With the support of public opinion, as marshaled by the press, we are off to a good start. It is our Job - yours and mine -- to keep our people convinced that the only way to keep disaster away from our shores is to build up America's might."
Truman appointee Charles Wilson, Chairman of the Board of GE to head the Office of Defence Mobilization, speech to Newspaper Publishers Assoc. 1950
The quotes above are from the book, "Addicted To War" http://www.addictedtowar.com, posted at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
Obama appointed GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, created by Presidential executive order 1/21/11

"God, war, the World Bank, the IMF, free trade agreements, NATO, the war on terrorism, the war on drugs, "anti-war" candidates, and Nobel Peace Prizes can be seen as simply different instruments for the advancement of US imperialism."
William Blum's Anti-Empire Report

US MILITARY AID TO HONDURAS
www.justf.org/Country?country=Honduras
Our assistance and engagement focuses on military professionalization and transformation, countering illicit trafficking and combating terrorism, and assisting the military to improve its capacity to conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief missions and participate in peacekeeping operations.
Training in international peacekeeping will allow the Honduran armed forces to more fully develop expertise in this area and to participate in future Peacekeeping Operations (PKO). Honduras is also one of the members of the Conferencia de Fuerzas Armadas Centroamericanas (CFAC) PKO battalion, primarily funded through Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). This key initiative will provide new peacekeepers and peacekeeping units to deploy in support of global PKOs.
Because of its geographic location along illicit trafficking routes, Honduras has become a transshipment point for narcotics entering the United States. Training in counternarcotics operations, resource management, logistics and equipment maintenance, and participation in exercises with U.S. forces provides opportunities needed to professionalize and modernize the Honduran military and encourage its continued cooperation with U.S. Counternarcotics (CN) efforts. Honduras is a partner in the Enduring Friendship (EF) initiative, which seeks to increase control over the waterways of the Caribbean by building maritime security capabilities for partner nations. EF supports the President's Western Hemisphere Strategy, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and the Command's Theater Security Cooperation Strategy.
As a means of strengthening defense ties, the United States welcomes participation from Honduras at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) executive courses. These courses are designed to focus on the non-warfighting aspects of security and international relations, and they increase awareness and understanding of U.S. policies, leading to increased trust, transparency, and confidence. The courses also allow U.S. officers to build lasting relationships with their counterparts from Honduras.

U.S. Southern Command, 2009
Document: U.S. Army Leads Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise in Guatemala
The overall goal is to enhance regional interoperability and improve security and cooperation
U.S. Army works hand-in-hand with the Central American Armed Forces Conference to enhance regional stability and cooperation with their annual Peace Keeping Operations Exercise
The conference, known as CFAC, comprised of The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras and was established a decade ago.
The exercise took 3 months of coordination and planning and the team is looking to plan future exercises Next year, the focus country will be Chile, and Brazil in 2011

Document: Honduras-based U.S. Army Helicopters Deploy to Nicaragua in Support of Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Mission
Document: U.S., Honduran Military Members Conduct Combined Jump Training Exercise

Foreign Assistance to Honduras
U.S. Department of State, 2010 Document: FY 2010 Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations
U.S. foreign assistance to Honduras focuses on partnering with the Government of Honduras to enhance security, strengthen democracy and rule of law, improve education and health systems, increase food security...and build capacity to take advantage of opportunities under the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).

Other USG Agency Assistance
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) conducts reviews to verify the condition and use of resources provided to the Vetted unit.

The following Directorate and units from the Honduran National Police (HNP) are recipients of USG assets:
National Direction of Special Services Investigation (DNSEI)
National Direction of Criminal Investigation (DNIC)
National Direction of Special Preventive Service (DNSEP)
National Direction of Preventive Police (DNPP)
Joint Information Communication Center (CEINCO)
Organized Crime Unit (OCU)
Human Rights Prosecution Office

.
U.S. Military Cooperation
The United States maintains a troop presence of about 600 military personnel known as Joint Task Force (JTF) Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base first established in 1983 with
about 1,200 troops involved in military training exercises and supporting U.S. counterinsurgency and intelligence operations in the region. In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch
in 1998, U.S. troops provided extensive assistance in the relief and reconstruction effort. Today, U.S. troops in Honduras support such activities as disaster relief, medical and humanitarian
assistance, counternarcotics operations, and search and rescue operations that benefit Honduras and other Central American countries. Regional exercises and deployments involving active duty and reserve components also provide training opportunities for thousands of U.S. troops.
The June 28, 2009, ouster of President Manuel Zelaya led some to reassess the state of U.S.- Honduran military cooperation. As a result of the Honduran military’s role in Zelaya’s removal...
given that General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, who received U.S. training, led the effort to remove President Zelaya, and the Honduran military reportedly cut off contact with the U.S...
U.S.-Honduran military cooperation resumed following the election of President Lobo, with the US restoring aid and training efforts... also resumed funding construction of a Honduran naval
base on the island of Guanaja,[and] with a naval base in Caratasca in 2009...

U.S. Security Cooperation
Although security cooperation was temporarily disrupted by the 2009 political crisis, communication and coordination between U.S. police and intelligence entities with Honduras military and police elements have improved since President Lobo took office. A high-level task force, co-chaired by President Lobo and the U.S. Ambassador, convenes quarterly to oversee and direct coordination on security sector efforts. Through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and other efforts, the US supports a variety of anticorruption, anti-gang, police training, institution building, and maritime operations programs to prevent crime and improve Honduras’ counternarcotics capabilities. In 2010, joint counternarcotics operations led to an increase in seizures of bulk cash and illegal drugs, a U.S.-vetted Honduran police unit seized a cocaine processing laboratory in March 2011, the first discovered in Central America. According to the U.S. State Department, corruption continues to pose a challenge to Honduras and institutional changes need to be made...

Washington behind the Honduras coup: Here is the evidence
7/15/09 By Eva Golinger
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14390
The Department of State and the US Congress funded and advised the actors and organisations in Honduras that participated in the coup. The Pentagon trained, schooled, commanded, funded and armed the Honduran armed forces that executed the coup and continue pacify the people of Honduras by force. The US military in Honduras on the Soto Cano (Palmerola) military base, authorised the coup d’etat through tacit complicity and support of the Honduran military. The US ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Hugo Llorens, with Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon y John Negroponte, presently an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, coordinated President Manuel Zelaya's removal from power
The US State Department refuses to classify the events as a coup d'etat, or suspend or freeze US economic aid or commerce to Honduras...Washington referred to “both parties” involved and the necessity for “dialogue” to restore constitutional order, legitimising the coup leaders as equal players; manipulated the Organization of American States (OAS) to buy time, allowing the coup regime to consolidate and to weaken the possibility of President Zelaya’s immediate return to power to legitimate the de facto regime and wear down the Honduran peoples' resistance. Secretary of State Clinton and her spokesmen stopped speaking of President Zelaya’s return to power after they designated Costa Rica's president Oscar Arias the “mediator” between the coup regime and the constitutional government; now the State Department refers to... Roberto Micheletti, as the “interim caretaker president”.
The strategy of “negotiating” with the coup regime was imposed by the Obama administration as a way of discrediting President Zelaya – blaming him for provoking the coup – and legitimising the coup leaders. Members of the US Congress – Democrats and Republicans – organised a visit of representatives from the coup regime in Honduras to Washington, receiving them with honors in different arenas of the US capital. Senator John McCain originally coordinated the visit of the coup regime representatives to Washington through a lobby firm connected to his office, The Cormac Group, now, the illegal regime is being represented by top notch lobbyist and Clinton attorney Lanny Davis... Otto Reich and a Venezuelan named Robert Carmona-Borjas, attorney for the dictator Pedro Carmona during the April 2002 US coup d’etat in Venezuela, aided in preparing the groundwork for the coup in Honduras.
The team designated from Washington to design and help prepare the coup in Honduras also included a group of US ambassadors recently named in Central America, experts in destabilising efforts against the Cuban revolution, and Adolfo Franco, ex- USAID administrator the Cuba “transition to democracy” program....

US "smart power" diplomacy played a principal role before, during and after the coup in Honduras. During a press briefing July 1, spokespeople for the Department of State admitted to having prior knowledge of the coup in Honduras, that US diplomats had been meeting with the groups and actors planning the coup to encourage a different “solution” to their discontent with President Zelaya. The State Department confirmed that two high level State Dept. representatives, which included Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Craig Kelley, were in Honduras the week prior to the coup meeting with the civilian and military groups that would participate in overthrowing the democratically elected president....

Ever since the State Dept. has refused to classify what took place as a coup d’etat which would force US to suspend economic, diplomatic and military aid to Honduras... and substantially affect US interests in the Central American nation and the region. July 1 a State Department spokesperson explained: “In regard to the coup itself, I think it would just – it would be best to say this was a coordinated effort between the military and some civilian political actors. Obviously, the military was the entity that conducted the forcible removal of the president and has acted as the securer of public order during this process. But for the coup to become more than an insurrection or a rebellion, you have to have an effort to transfer power. And in that regard, the congress – the congress’s decision to swear in its president, Micheletti, as the president of Honduras - indicates that the congress and key members of that congress played an important role in this coup.”

This position...was ratified after the meeting between Secretary of State Clinton and President Zelaya July 7. Clinton said: “I just finished a productive meeting with President Zelaya. We discussed the events of the past nine days and the road ahead. I reiterated that the United States supports the restoration of the democratic constitutional order in Honduras. We continue to support regional efforts through the OAS to bring about a peaceful resolution consistent with the terms of the Inter-American Democratic Charter…We call upon all parties to refrain from acts of violence and to seek a peaceful, constitutional, and lasting solution to the serious divisions in Honduras through dialogue. To that end, we have been working with a number of our partners in the hemisphere to create a negotiation, a dialogue that could lead to a peaceful resolution of this situation.” ...Washington would push for “negotiation” with the coup regime for an agenda in US interests.... “smart power, the capacity to strategically combine ‘hard power’ with ‘soft power’"... explains Obama’s call for an additional $320 million “democracy promotion” funds in the 2010 budget just for Latin America...substantially more than requested and used for “democracy promotion” in Latin America by the Bush administration in 8 years.]...

[digest comment: 'smart power': US/ hard power bushwacker tactics set back its GWOT. Geopolitical strategists and architects pushed for merging hard & soft into 'smart power' (see previous digest issues), to elevate soft power ('strategic non-violence led US /Soros NGO post-soviet 'color revolutions ) to an active partner with hard power -as in Libya / 'arab spring campaign They had learned the hard way that hard power alone cannot defeat oppressed nations/peoples. Thus info/psywar to 'win hearts & minds' - in the 'homeland' and internationally: 24/7 propaganda called 'public diplomacy' or 'strategic information' by big media, NGO 'activists' and now social media].

Just a month before the coup against President Zelaya, the “Democratic Civil Union of Honduras” [DCUH] coalition was formed in opposition to Zelaya including the National Federation of Commerce and Industry of Honduras (FEDECAMARA), The Workers Federation of Honduras, Association of Communication Media (AMC), Peace & Democracy Group, Generation for Change, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Council of University Deans, National Anticorruption Council... many if not most, beneficiaries of USAID & NED “democracy promotion" funds... just the International Republican Institute (IRI) and International Democratic Institute funded by NED received more than $1.2 million in 2009...

A USAID report regarding its funding and work with COHEP, described how the “low profile maintained by USAID in this project helped ensure the credibility of COHEP as a Honduran organisation and not an arm of USAID.”...
Spokespeople for , declared to the Honduran press June 23rd – five days before the coup against President Zelaya – that they “trust the armed forces will comply with their responsibility to defend the Constitution, the Law, peace and democracy.” When the coup took place June 28th, they were the first to claim immediately that a coup had not occurred, but rather “democracy had been saved”...[...]
The US military and CIA first used the Soto Cano base, about 50 miles from the capital, Tegucigalpa, to launch the coup d’etat against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954... since 1981, it was heavily used by the Reagan Administration for operations throughout Central America. During the eighties, the US used Soto Cano as the base of Colonel Oliver North's "Contra' operations ...that launched psychological warfare (overseen by Otto Reich’s Office for Public Diplomacy), terrorist death squads and special covert ops resulting in the assassination of tens of thousands of farmers and civilians, and even more thousands terrorised, disappeared, tortured throughout the region. John Negroponte, US ambassador at the time in Honduras, with Oliver North and Otto Reich, who directed and oversaw these dirty operations, later were all involved in the Iran-Contra scandal -selling arms to Iran to continue funding US covert operations.
The Soto Cano base houses the US Joint Task Force-Bravo military group, composed of members from the army, air force, joint security forces and the First Batallion Regiment 228 of the US Air Force. The current total presence of US forces on the base numbers approximately 600, and includes 18 combat planes, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, used for special warfare operations. The Honduran Aviation Academy is also located on the Soto Cano base. More than 650 Honduran and US citizens also live inside the base installations.
The Honduran constitution does not permit the presence of foreign military in the country. A “handshake” agreement was made between Washington and Honduras authorising the “semi-permanent” strategic presence of the US military. The agreement was made in 1954, in exchange for multimillion dollar US aid to the Honduran armed forces...
May 31, 2008, President Manuel Zelaya announced that Soto Cano (Palmerola) would be converted into an international civilian airport. The construction of the airport terminal would be financed with a fund from the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA – of which Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominique, Honduras, Nicaragua, St. Vicents, Antigua and Barbados and Venezuela are members). This obviously was a huge threat to the future US military presence in Honduras.
The two generals with in key roles in the coup against President Zelaya, graduates of the US School of the Americas, famous for training dictators, torturers and repressors in Latin America, maintain close ties with the US military forces in Honduras...Commander of the Honduran Air Force General Luis Javier Prince Suazo studied in the School of the Americas in 1996. The Head of the Honduran High Military Command, General Romeo Vásquez, fired by President Zelaya June 24, 2009 for disobeying the president’s orders, and appeared as a principal actor in the military coup days later, is also a graduate of the School of the Americas...both maintain close contact with the Pentagon and the Southern Command.
Charles Ford -- US Ambassador in Honduras through September 2008 when Hugo Llorens was appointed to the position -- was transferred from Honduras to the Southern Command in Florida charged with Pentagon “strategic advising” on Latin America, a position he holds today.

NB:useful gung-ho patriotic outline of US 'assistance' to transform a sovereign nation into a 'cooperative' asset (public diplomacy speak: 'ally' , 'partner'}

Honduras-Chapter 5 - National Security
http://www.mongabay.com/history/honduras/honduras-national_security.html
Honduras's location on the borders of El Salvador and Nicaragua has made Honduras geostrategically important to the United States. Honduras's geostrategic role in the Central American (see Glossary) 1980s crisis had a significant impact on reinforcing historical processes that strengthened the military and its key role in Honduran society.
In the 1980s, Honduras became a buffer area to help contain leftist guerrilla activity in El Salvador as well as a home base for United States-supported Contras (short for contrarevolucionarios) to destabilize the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. In addition, the United States poured millions of dollars into the country during the 1980s and early 1990s to increase the size and strengthen the capabilities of the Honduran armed forces and massively expand Honduras's military infrastructure, which supported a United States military presence. Between 1983 and 1993, the United States, in conjunction with the Honduran armed forces, carried out almost continuous military maneuvers on Honduran soil.

Honduras-United States Military Assistance and Training
Honduras Index, http://www.mongabay.com/history/honduras/honduras-united_states_military...
Since the 1930s, the United States has been the armed forces' major source of military assistance. Initially, such assistance aided in the formation of a fledgling air force, and emphasis on this service branch continued through the 1940s. United States lend-lease funds granted to Honduras during World War II were used primarily for aircraft, engine parts, and support equipment. Following the signing of a military assistance agreement in 1954, the focus of United States aid shifted toward the army. New combat battalions were created, and increasing numbers of Honduran military personnel were trained at the US Army School of the Americas. Military assistance funding increased dramatically during the 1960s, from US$1.1 million for the years 1953 to 1961 to US$5.9 million for the years 1962 to 1969.

During the early 1980s, conflict in Central America increased Honduras's strategic importance and led the US government to maintain a significant military presence in Central America as a counterforce against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Sharp increases in military assistance to Honduras followed the buildup of US troops and equipment in Honduras. In 1983 US forces began large- scale maneuvers in Honduras that not only provided joint training for US and Honduran forces but also allowed the Reagan administration to skirt congressional limits on military aid to that country and the Contras. Throughout the 1980s, the US also built or improved military-related installations such as airfield, barracks, and radar stations.

In February 1983, the US and Honduras conducted joint military exercise Big Pine, the largest of its kind ever held in Honduras. A total of 1,600 United States military personnel and 4,000 Honduran soldiers participated in exercises designed to help Honduras improve its deployment techniques and logistical support in the field. US Army elements provided mobility for Honduran forces and logistics and communications assistance. US Navy elements included two landing ships and two landing craft. US Air Force personnel participated in coordination of landing and air supply operations. A number of training personnel, mostly from the Army, remained to train the Honduran army in infantry tactics. Also during the exercises, a sizable radar installation staffed by over fifty Air Force technicians was placed south of Tegucigalpa.

The number of US advisers increased in 1983 with the approval of a new training amendment to the 1954 military assistance agreement. The Regional Center for Military Training [CREM] was constructed on the Caribbean coast, to train Salvadoran ground forces, as well as Hondurans. The center initially had about 125 US Army Special Forces personnel, raising the total number of US forces from about 125 to about 270 in July 1983.

CREM closed in 1985, but US military advisers remained. Between 1983 and 1993, with the US and Hondurans carrying out almost continuous string of joint military maneuvers on Honduran soil. To facilitate the maneuvers and strengthen Honduran military infrastructure, a network of roads, improved ports, and additional airfields were constructed.

Between August 1983 and February 1984, United States forces carried out Big Pine II, a considerably more extensive military exercise than the earlier Big Pine maneuvers, involving up to 5,000 US military personnel. Extensive naval maneuvers involved two US Navy aircraft carrier task forces, another task force led by the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey, with US Marines landing on the Caribbean coast during the exercises....to demonstrate, according to a senior United States official, the ability and intention of US military forces to operate in Central America and persuade the Nicaraguan Sandinista government to desist from fomenting insurrection in the region.

A simulated defense of Honduras from a mock Nicaraguan invasion was staged between February and May 1985. Called Big Pine III and Universal Trek, the military exercises involved thirty-nine US warships, as well as 7,000 US and 5,000 Honduran troops. The exercises, which featured a massive amphibious landing on the northeastern coast of Honduras, were the most intricate peacetime military operation the US had erev carried out in Central America. The war games prompted concern among some Hondurans that their country's national sovereignty was being compromised and the Honduran people might be pushed unwillingly into a regional war.... demonstrations called for the withdrawal of the US military.

But an even bigger show of force in Honduras occurred during Operation Solid Shield in May 1987. It simulated a US response to a Honduran request to help fight a Nicaraguan invasion, and coincided with even larger US exercises being carried out on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The Honduran phase of this operation involved more than 7,000 US military personnel plus 3,000 Honduran soldiers. A combined air and sea landing in Honduras was undertaken by 3,000 helicopter assault troops from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and a marine amphibious unit of 1,800 from Camp Lejeune testing the ability of the army, navy, marine corps, air force, and coast guard to mobilize and operate together in a large-scale operation -- also to train and build a logistical infrastructure for the US Contras in Honduras. Daniel Ortega, then president of Nicaragua, accused the US of planning an imperialist invasion of his country.

During the early 1990s, Honduras continued to serve as a military outpost for the United States. The Enrique Soto Cano Air Base, operated by the Honduran air force, functions as the US intelligence gathering, communications, and logistical nerve center . Billing it as a temporary site, the Pentagon, beginning in 1983, began spending hundreds of millions of dollars in order to transform it into the most advanced base in Central America, extending the airstrip for US military aircraft, installing sophisticated listening devices and radar to track the communications and movements of El Salvador's leftist guerrillas and coordinate air strikes against them -- and also handle communications with the Contras trying to overthrow the Sandinista government.
As of 1993, the huge base was home for about 1100 Joint Task Force Bravo (JTFB) troops and about 600 Honduran soldiers. JTFB, a joint command of the US Army and the US Air Force. The US never paid base rights because legally the facility is on temporary loan from the Honduran government. Upkeep of the Air Base costs the US about $50 million a year.

The three elements of the US military assistance program for Honduras come under IMET, MAP, and the FMS. Under the IMET program, Honduras received $14.2 million between 1962 and 1986, an additional U$5.8 million between 1987 and 1991. During the 1980s, the IMET program provided military education to 9,500 Honduran military officers at bases in the United States and other locations. During the same period, El Salvador was the only Latin American country to receive more military training than Honduras under the IMET program. In addition to the IMET training at the US Army School of the Americas, (in Panama before 1985, after at Fort Benning, Georgia), Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) of US Special Forces entered the country to train Honduran soldiers in counterinsurgency and other military tactics.

MAP grants to Honduras totaled $257.2 million between 1962 and 1986; additional MAP grants totaling U$140 million were made available from 1987 to 1989. FMS credits totaled US$44.4 million from 1978 to 1983, and although Honduras did not receive FMS credits between 1983 and 1990, it did receive US$51 million in credits during 1991 and 1992.
Other United States military-related programs also aided Hondurans during the 1980s. Under the Overseas Security Assistance Management Program, the United States stationed military managerial personnel in Honduras and authorized nearly US$2 million each year for this program. Honduras also benefited from United States Department of Defense military construction grants, which financed the construction and maintenance of military airfields, radar stations, ammunition storage warehouses, training facilities, and a strategic road network. The United States military retains access and usage rights to many of these facilities. In just a two-year period--1987 and 1988--about US$8.2 million was spent for United States military construction in Honduras.
In 1985 Honduras and El Salvador were exempted by the United States Congress from the prohibition of using United States aid for foreign police forces. As a result, Fusep has been the beneficiary of US$2.8 million in training, riot-control gear, vehicles, communications equipment, and weapons. Aid to the Honduran police has also been provided under the Anti-Terrorism Assistance program, which is managed by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Other police training has been sponsored by the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), which is managed by the United States Department of Justice.
Between 1983 and 1990, forty-seven United States military personnel died in Honduras as a result of accidents and shootings. During the same period, several bombings, some claimed by leftist guerrillas, wounded about a dozen American soldiers stationed in Honduras. In August 1993, US and Honduran troops and naval carried out joint exercises in various parts of Honduras under the code name Caba�as 93... testing coastal patrolling, drug interdiction, parachuting, and psychological warfare capabilities of the two armies. Data as of December 1993