Jorge Montijo, Puerto Rican fellow of an Organization which integrates COMUNA Caribe, members of Jubilee South/Americas, shares his ideas about the implications of ten years since the coup in Honduras.
Secretariat JS/A: Do you consider that this fact produced changes in the scenario of the Latin American region? What kind of changes?
Jorge: The Coup d’Etat in Honduras coincided with external politics in the new USA government to maintain their leadership of the world in general and particularly in Latin America. With the repression of a popular movement in Honduras through their tacit support of the coup, the USA gave their approval to the strong hand against popular and protesting movements, as well as against the region’s critical journalism.
It’s important to point out that the socioeconomic structures that characterize the Honduran State never allowed the establishment of a popular and participative democracy. By nipping the timid efforts of democratization proposed by Mel Zelaya’s government though a coup, the USA gave the green light to oligarchy of neighbouring countries to keep control similarly. This policy promoted in Honduras affects the whole region and hit like a bucket of cold water against the most progressive movements of every country in Central and Latin America. Popular organizations can be repressed with impunity, dissident voices can be silenced by force and internal oligarchies are strengthened at the service of the USA interests.
And although the disorganization of the Honduran Left was appointed as a “cause” for the relative weakness of popular forces against the Right attacks, it is necessary to take into account that, throughout all of the past century until now, the USA has supported national oligarchies both in the genocide massacres as well the selective decapitation of the Left’s leaderships. To give an example closer to us in time and space, this policy of selective murder of popular and leftists leaders was practiced under balaguerism in Dominican Republic between 1966 and 1978, when a whole generation of fighters was liquidated. In the same way, Berta Cáceres is murdered in Honduras in 2016 together with several activists and critical journalists. Everywhere the best leaderships have been killed, trying to harm the attempts to create organized popular mobilizations.
In conclusion, it’s important to point out that not only in Honduras the involvement of the oligarchy with drug trafficking creates a climate of generalized violence that, along with climate disasters promotes a gigantic migration wave in the region. If there isn’t a radical change in the government of these countries, it’s predictable that in the next few decades there will be an exponential increase of migration flow. The resurgence of anti-migrants policies in countries of larger economic development, in this case the USA and Mexico, creates the possibility of a grave humanitarian regional crisis.
Secretary JS/A: In your perspective, what is the relation between the model of coup impositions and the social, political and economic conditions in your country?
Jorge: Puerto Rico is a classic colony under the domination of the USA, so this Coup d’Etat model doesn’t apply directly to us. In our case, the “coup” is our supposed limited sovereignty under the so-called Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, through the laws approved in the Congress of the USA. The most nefarious one, sarcastically named the PROMESA Law, creates a Fiscal Council elected by the Congress, which like the General Captains of Spanish colonization in the 19th Century, has omnipotent powers over the State of Puerto Rico. While the American support in the Honduras Coup d’Etat is a underhanded foreign intervention, in Puerto Rico they unmasked before the world their most important and lucrative colony. Aside from that, as is known, Puerto Rico continues to serve as spearhead in attacks and military interventions against the people of Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Secretary JS/A In your opinion, what is the role of social organizations in these scenarios?
Jorge: The great problem of popular movements in every country is the lack of coordination between the groups and organizations. As it was explained in the first answer, in many of our countries the leaderships of movements have been destroyed by the oligarchy and empire. Saying this is like when it rains it pours, but social movements are obligated to search for alliances and converging points to face their common enemy.
To achieve that, it’s essential to set aside internal struggles. Like Fanon said, the colonial oppression creates struggles within brothers, the horizontal dislocation of violence. Fanon was a psychiatrist and, unfortunately the leaders of popular and leftist movements have an issue of denial when it comes to receiving help from the sciences of behavior to minimize the psychological resistance to truthfully progressive changes. This contrasts with the oligarchy disposition and capitalist power to use this knowledge in order to facilitate hegemony.
Popular organizations have to promote a culture of openness and democracy within themselves. Only this way internal struggles can be resolved in a satisfactory manner and a more effective message to the population against hegemonic ideology can be given. If we assimilate to our oppressors taking on authority and antidemocratic roles in our own organizations, nobody will want to join our fight.
This publication has been produced with the financial support of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Jubilee South Brazil Institute and Jubilee South / Americas and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.