TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS — MintPress News went to Honduras and spoke with a number of leaders of the Honduran resistance amid a 66-day uprising over a neoliberal austerity deal reached between the government as the country marked the 10-year anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup d’etat.
Last Thursday, the Honduran government passed a privatization law, the run-up to which had triggered uprisings challenging the mandate of President Juan Orlando Hernandez and protesting the implementation of a privatization deal reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — a deal kept secret until this week. The battle against it was fought tooth and nail, with average Hondurans following the lead of healthcare and education activists.
MintPress has obtained a copy of the law. The document details the government’s plan to sever 6 billion lempiras ($242 million USD), and includes instituting a maximum wage on public sector contract “technical and professional” workers amounting to $2,426 a month, but promises not to cut healthcare and education. An agreement with the IM F over the state-run electrical company remains in question.
What is known is that the deal consists of more of the same neoliberal remedies that have already devastated Honduran civil society. One person interviewed by MintPress called the approach “neoliberalism on steroids.” And she would know: her husband is a political prisoner sitting in a U.S.-designed maximum security facility. The prison was paid for under the Honduran Security Tax, a program backed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that bankrolls the military and police while the rest of the government is gutted.
Photo | Alexander Rubinstein
Adrienne Pine, a Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington and expert on Honduras, told MintPress:
The fact that education and healthcare were left out is a pretty big win for the movement because that is what they were planning to cut, and the healthcare and education workers who have led this struggle against this have prevented those cuts even though there has been this very radical reduction in public spending.”
On May 6, the IMF announced it had reached a “staff level agreement” that was believed to be targeted towards healthcare, education and more. That same day, protests started breaking out.
But as news emerged on Tuesday of the deal becoming law, the IMF also announced its approval of a plan to restructure the public electric company and said it would give the Honduran government $311 million in loans over the next two years. Around the same time, a fresh corruption scandal was unfolding at the electric company. Professor Pine explained to MintPress:
ENEE [the Honduran public electric company] has already been subject to privatization measures over the past few years that have significantly weakened it. Problems in the ENEE have to do, at their root, with the privatization itself, but right now it looks like the IMF and the U.S. are justifying the privatization by using examples of corruption at the agency rather than addressing the underlying structural issues.”
Photo | Alexander Rubinstein
The resistance in Honduras fought off further privatization of health care and education in a struggle that left piles of students shot and scores of people killed, as well as resulting in the political imprisonment of a young man who is accused of fueling a fire at the U.S. Embassy in the capital. Romel Valdemar Herrera Portillo, 23, sits in a military-run prison, designed by the United States, called La Tova alongside political prisoners Edwin Espinal and Raúl Álvarez.
In this article, MintPress will feature exclusive interviews not just with leaders of the Honduran resistance but also with people who have been directly affected by the coup and all that it has brought….
But see, it’s “global warming” that has created so many refugees at the border, not the US, IMF and WB. This is the brazen lie that MSNBC & company are telling their viewers, who are destined to join the refugees if the CFR has its way.