Tag Archives: Aguan

When the obvious is the enemy of the true

“In cases of this kind, the obvious is the enemy of the true,” Gabriel Stolzenberg wrote in a reply in the Science War debate. The quote is very appropriate for the events in Honduras the last year.

When then-president Manuel Zelaya was thrown out by the military on June 28 2009, it was an “obvious” “military coup d’état.” It was so “obvious,” that for the majority of observers it has been absurd to even consider the possibility that it was something else. In fact, anybody who even entertained the idea that one should analyze the legal facts would typically be labeled a “golpista” (coupster), and all debate would stop before it started.

This mentality even reached the highest hall of the world, when the General Assembly of the United Nations condemned the events as a coup d’état without even listening to the democratic institutions of Honduras.

In my book Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective – Mapping the Fairy Land I spent some ink on the issue of how to analyze observations and use logic, and how not to fall for terms whose meanings we don’t understand (which was a key point of criticism by Alan Sokal in a Science War argument to which Stolzenberg responded with that dictum). I also pointed out that the greatest threat in science is that we fall prey to our assumptions, and that life is not different from science. To say that the obvious is the enemy of the true is another way of putting it. Also I saw it as an obvious military coup d’état, but following my own advice, when I heard claims that it was a legal maneuver, I went to the bottom of it, sought out legal documents from Honduras, and concluded that indeed it was not a coup. In fact, it was an anti-coup; they stopped a coup d’état.

The real truth about the events of Honduras is that there are dark forces at play, hidden agendas that have not been brought sufficiently to light because so many don’t look beyond the “obvious.”

Amazingly, even the new president of Honduras, “Pepe” Lobo, seems to have had a blind eye until now. Last week he said about the land conflict in lower Aguán, “I think that behind all of this there is a political interest in some sector to generate a problem for this government … to damage it using the theme of human rights.” The interim president, Micheletti, was acutely aware of how the enemies of the Constitution tried to stage conflicts and force a reaction from the state, so that the (legitimate and necessary) response could be portrayed as human rights violations, but Pepe Lobo apparently has not understood what went on in his own country while he was running for president. He seems to have been quite naive, at least until now.

The first task of the president is to defend the nation, but to do that he or she has to understand the nature of the threat. Honduras’s threat now is of a revolution. Those involved in the land occupations are trying to divide the people and force the government to use force, so that some segment of the population will be misled to believe that it is an illegitimate government, and join in a revolution against it. The land conflict in lower Aguán is the center stage for that fight. The goal is expressly stated as overthrowing the form of government; it is not a conclusion or inference on my part, it is what the self-labeled “resistencia” openly says.

Until now I have wondered what in the world Pepe has been up to, but with this news it seems clear. He has not understood the nature of the conflict.

Fortunately, he has realized now what an ugly game is being played against him, and that he needs third party observers who can get the truth out, so that the “obvious” cannot continue to suppress the “true.” Better late than never.

Of course, Pepe needs to vamp up every aspect of the justice system. He promised more prisons, but the country also needs better resources in the courts, prosecution, investigation, and police. Crucially, the police must have popular support, so any hint of corruption must be dealt with. In a country where everyone knows that you can bribe a policeman to avoid a traffic citation, that is a huge mountain to climb.

In my opinion, president Lobo needs to raise his ambition level by many notches, and fast.

A third journalist murdered in Honduras in 2 weeks

It is starting to look ugly. Five journalists murdered the past year, and three already this year: On March 1st, 11th, and now 14th. The latest journalist victim of the rampant crime in the Central American country was Nahúm Palacios, shot dead by two men armed with AK-47 near his home in Tocoa.

Palacios was the news director of a local TV station. The murder took place Sunday night as he was returning home.

Tocoa is a city in lower Aguán, and the center for the farm occupations in recent months (see La Prensa’s videos in Spanish). It is about 30 km downstream of Sabá, where Sweden built a 450 m long bridge after hurricane Mitch, the longest bridge in Honduras (coincidentally, yours truly picked that length).

There are reports in media that these occupations is more than what first meets the eye. They reportedly have heavy arms, receive training from the FARC narco-guerilla in Colombia, and monetary support from either drug smugglers, Hugo Chávez, or both. A few days ago they failed to occupy a factory for palm oil, which they attacked at 5 AM, since a group of militaries on the way to buy bananas by chance passed by. Even though only a few of the soldiers were armed it was enough to swing the balance of the battle in favor of the guards defending the place.

These land occupiers have shown over and over again that they do not like media attention, for instance by shooting at journalists who enter the palm tree plantations. If they had had peaceful intentions, wouldn’t they have welcomed media attention? What is it that they wish to hide?

The police has not yet said anything to my knowledge about the reason for this latest murder, if it had anything to do with his work. However, regardless of the reason in this specific case, it is clear that media should look closely at the development in lower Aguán, since the peace could be threatened by the developments in that sector.

Perhaps a serious injustice was made there in the 90’s, I don’t know, but I do know that two wrongs don’t make one right. If they have a legitimate complaint then the government should take them seriously, but ONLY as long as they don’t go outside the law themselves. Starting a guerilla is a very counter-productive move, and in my opinion it is as certain as Amen in the church that Chávez is behind it. One may wonder if it is not time to start treating Hugo Chávez the same way we treat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il. Venezuela is rather obviously a state sponsor of terrorism by now. The farmers in lower Aguán are well advised to stay as far away from Chávez, FARC, and drug cartels as possible, and to inform the security forces of any foreign infiltrators in the area. Only death and destruction will come from letting this continue to escalate.

To all journalists, reporters, bloggers, and you who write in social media: You can honor Palacios’s memory by continuing to report the truth, now more than ever. For every journalist that is silenced, let there be a hundred more who takes up the torch and spreads the news!

Media: SvD.

Rapport varnar för möjlig gerilla i Honduras

En underrättelserapport som lästs av La Prensa i San Pedro Sula varnar för att bondeorganisationer i Aguandalen i nordöstra Honduras har ingått en strategisk allians med vänsterorganisationer, den kommunistiska knarkgerillan FARC i Colombia, och med drogkarteller som smugglar kokain genom Honduras. De lär redan vara beväpnade med grovkalibriga vapen, och instruktörer från FARC skall vara på väg för att lära dem använda granater och andra vapen. De har ockuperat odlingar av afrikansk oljepalm (källan till oljan bakom många vardagsprodukter, tänk Palmolive). Odlingarna tillhörde ett kooperativ från 1981 till 1993, då tillgångarna såldes under omständigheter som tydligen är ifrågasatta.

Dessa lantarbetare i Aguan har sedan valet i slutet av november kommit i fokus för de politiska konflikterna i Honduras. Det är kanske kärnan av det som kallats “motståndsrörelsen” mot “statskuppen” av dem själva, men som andra kallar “insistencian” eftersom de insisterar på att kullkasta statsskicket, med vilka som helst till buds stående medel. Den nationella ledaren för denna gruppering är Rafael Alegria, och även om de själva påstår sig vara fredliga, så har media som är välvilligt inställda till dem rapporterat att de beslutat ta till “militanta” metoder för att få till stånd en “konstituerande grundlagsförsamling”, vilket naturligtvis förutsätter att det existerande statsskicket först kullkastas – något som bara kan ske genom revolution eller statskupp (som den Zelaya försökte genomföra förra året men vilken stoppades av HD och kongressen den 28 juni).

De allianser med FARC för vapen och träning, och drogkarteller för finansiering, som rapporten nämner, förefaller stämma in i den strategin. Vad drogkartellerna får ut av det hela är naturligtvis en fristad i Centralamerika om projektet lyckas. Att de mexikanska kartellerna nu flyttar sin bas från Mexiko till Centralamerika beror på de hårdare polisiära insatserna i deras hemland, enligt en rapport från USAs UD, refererad av El Heraldo.

Något gerillakrig har inte startat i Honduras, utan rapporten varnar för möjliga hot så att landets säkerhetstjänst kan ta itu med dem innan situationen spårar ur. Förhoppningsvis kommer situationen att kunna hanteras på fredlig väg i domstolar, och genom presidentens personliga insats i att medla i konflikten mellan bönderna och den registrerade ägaren av marken.

PS. Medan jag skrev detta genomfördes ett journalistmord, se nästa post.

Uppdatering 2010-03-03: Beträffande situationen i nedre Aguan så hävdar släktingar till de 6 som skjutits hittills (5 vakter och ett barn) att de som mördade dem inte kan vara bönder, för bönder använder inte den typen av vapen eller taktik, utan de är terrorister och måste behandlas som sådana av myndigheterna, skriver La Prensa. Tidningens journalister kunde inte ta sig hem till dessa släktingar för de blev beskjutna, så mötet ägde rum på annan plats.