Interview: Sandra Quintela – Honduras: 10 years after the coup

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Sandra Quintela, Brazilian economist, member of Jubilee South Brazil, shares with us her perceptions on the implications of 10 years since the Coup d’État  in Honduras.

Secretary JS/A: Do you consider that this fact produced changes in the scenario of the Latin American region? What kind of changes?

Sandra: 10 years after the institutional coup in Honduras, performed in 2009, there have been changes which many of us haven’t been able to fully understand. The Haiti coup in 2004, preceded by the Venezuela coup attempt in 2002, then the coup in Paraguay in 2012, followed by the unimaginable coup Brazil suffered in 2016, have deepened a democratic loss agenda in a brutal manner.

The growing process of militarization, criminalization and judicialization of human rights defenders is a reality both in Honduras and Brazil, as well as in the countries where these defenders are most murdered.

The attacks on Garifuna’s territories, indigenous people and peasants through infrastructural advances such as roads, ports, airports, dams and so on to make sure to introduce large mining projects, oil extraction, monoculture of palm, soy or anything else, mass tourism through resorts and luxury hotels; all of this contributes for the policy of institutional coups in this region, establishing a faster and broader development of the capitalist model.

I would highlight the women situation, because the feminicide increases in the region. It’s no causality the brutal murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras and Marielle Franco in Brazil, among other cases. The domestic violence is another indicator of the increasing scenario of violence. Latin American women remain at the forefront of territorial fights in rural and urban areas.

Secretary JS/A: From your perspective, what is the relation between the model of coup impositions and the social, political and economic conditions in your country?

Sandra: The institutional framework of human rights is completely compromised these days. That has a lot to do with the conjecture the institutional coups allow. Several privatization projects have been installed, such as energy, water, social security, education, forests, etc., this occurred in most of the countries in Latin America. The loss of sovereignty is visible in many of these countries. In Argentina, as an example, the loans from FMI – National Monetary Fund – are approximately US$ 57 billion, these loans have trapped this Nation’s future, with no possibility of deciding which path to go through, since the compromises of debt payment alter National Budgets and can’t fulfill citizens’ real needs.

Colombia’s situation, not only with nine new military bases in the United States, bus also the murder of militants every day given a large dispute for natural resources and a societal project. Neither Colombia nor Argentina have suffered institutional coups, but the coups in Brazil and Paraguay in South America have given way to an impunity atmosphere which frees the bourgeoisie to do whatever it wants, in particular against the wishes of the people, of workers who feel life becomes harder to live every day with poverty and misery knocking at their door.

Secretary JS/A In your opinion, what is the role of social organizations in these scenarios?

Sandra: It’s an incredibly important challenge to social organizations these days to ask themselves: where did we make so many mistakes? How couldn’t we look to concrete cases, such as Haiti, Honduras and Paraguay, and see that this could’ve extended to a country such as Brazil, the eighth economy of the world?

The fate of this region depends largely on the path chosen by central countries, given the large complexity of their economy, size of their population and territory. To Mesoamerica, the road in which Mexico has direct influence, such as their policy in migration, exportation, agricultural production, etc. In South America, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela somewhat orient the socioeconomical development of this sub-region.

If we look south, we encounter a rather complex situation. In Argentina and Brazil, with extreme right wing movements, the Venezuelan crisis and possibility of new coups can generate a disseminated political instability in the region. In other words, what happens today in Honduras and Haiti could be expanded to this sub-region. In the case of Mesoamerica, the paths Mexico will follow have to be overseen with caution. Could Mexican government be an ally to the crisis in Honduras and Haiti? How do civil society organizations of this country generate influence so that an ally can be formed while facing the violent policies of the USA in this region? The challenges are multiple. Through the strengthening of basis work, but also in the construction of alliances in national and regional territories. The situation in Latin America and the Caribbean demands a rather large effort from this part of the world. We will need everyone, tactic and strategic alliances with a diversity of influences in the region!

 

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.

 

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