The new Honduran exodus

Migrant Caravan walking from Ciudad Hidalgo to Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico on October 21, 2018.

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

Honduras, wrote Gregorio Selser, is a republic rented to the empire; it is the United States aircraft carrier in Central America. Today it is also a flagship of the continental narco-politics that carries water. The thousands of Hondurans that make up the Migrant Caravan are passengers on that ship that are looking for solid ground to avoid the shipwreck. [1]

Ironies of neoliberal globalization, those migrants who want to reach the United States flee from the violence and extortion of the criminal gangs settled in Honduras formed of those deported by Uncle Sam; cliques that sow terror with weapons smuggled from that country, and dedicated to exporting drugs to US consumers.

Those migrants long to cross borders to the metropolis that converts them into victims in their own country, because they hope to get employment there to earn a decent living that is denied to them in their country by transnational capital, which sucks their blood and condemns them to the gallows.

According to official numbers (questioned by several citizen observatories), 14 people are murdered in Honduras every day. Their homicide rate per year is 56.7 for each 100 thousand inhabitants. San Pedro Sula, the second Honduras city, the administrative capital and the point from which the Migrant Caravan departed last October 12, has been, for years, the world’s most violent city. The homicide rate there is 142 for every 100,000 inhabitants. The principal cause of the crimes is drug trafficking.

The migrant wave that has it’s the caravan in its crest, is precipitated by violence. Gangs, insecurity and criminality push people with few resources to leave the country and minors not accompanied by adults that would prefer to remain in their land to live.

The Mara Salvatrucha and the Barrio 18 gang dispute neighborhoods, territories and routes for moving drugs. They are transnational organized crime gangs. Each year, thousands of Hondurans must leave their homes and lands to flee from their extortion and persecution.

These cliques have been nourished and strengthened by gang members that the United States deported. They are the offspring of globalization. Many of their members are children of those who migrated due to the combined effect of natural disasters and because of Washington policy that impoverished and prevented the economic growth of that country. The mix of discrimination, segregation, poverty and quarrels with United States gangs in a country that they are not familiar with pushed many Latino young people to form their own gangs in order to defend themselves.

The Honduran gangs are allied with the Mexican drug cartels. Sinaloa, Jalisco Nueva Generación, Los Zetas and the Gulf cartels have agreements with local [Honduran] criminal groups to move cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines and chemical precursors. Honduras is, to those cartels, much more than passage area; it is a base of operations. Those cartels also participate in the trafficking of migrants to the United States.

Honduras is the second poorest country in Latin America: 68.8 percent of its population lives in poverty and 44.2 percent in extreme poverty. The maquiladoras (sweat shops) employ, at miserable wages, 120,000 workers, mostly women between 18 and 30. Ten families control the vast majority of the national wealth. The United States is lord and master of that territory. The special economic zones aggravate this situation.

In 2009, a State coup that Washington supported overthrew President Manuel Zelaya (https://bit.ly/2CxaHVS), because of being close to the continent’s progressive governments. In 2013 and 2017 electoral frauds were perpetrated to avoid the victory of progressive candidates that wanted their country to stop being a banana republic (https://bit.ly/2CUFXyP).

The Migrant Caravan responds to that dramatic situation. It emerged from a self-convoking, not from the convocation of a political party. “We’re not leaving because we want to, the violence and poverty expel us,” its members say. “We are not criminals, but rather migrants,” “We want to work,” they assure.

This caravan is the latest wave of a storm that started in the form of massive displacements of migrants that cross borders, at least since two decades ago. It is composed of pregnant women, minor children, young and not so young people. Instead of leaving their country in secret, alone, exposed to criminal violence and to the extortion of the Mexican police, dependent on polleros, (or coyotes), its members decided to travel in day light, in a group, accompanied by others like them. Like an avalanche, their example begins to be repeated: today there are 7,000 Hondurans in Mexico and many more aspire to come.

The shameful role of the Mexican government, converted into United States’ immigration police, is an offense to the whole country and a mortgage of the national sovereignty. Every year they return some 200 caskets of that country’s citizens murdered in Mexico to Honduras and thousands more are disappeared. The new Honduran exodus reminds us than no one human being is illegal.

[1] When you hear people use the word “invaders” in reference to the Migrant Caravan, please refer them to this article or inform them of the information in this article. Many thanks to Luis Hernández Navarro for writing these important words!

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2018/10/23/opinion/021a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

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