{"code":"23866","sect":"Centroam\u00e9rica","sect_slug":"centroamerica","hits":"931","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/201912\/centroamerica\/23866","link_edit":"","name":"What Are the Consequences of Continued U.S. Support for Honduras?","slug":"what-are-the-consequences-of-continued-u-s-support-for-honduras-","info":"","mtag":"Politics","noun":{"html":"Parker Asmann","data":{"parker-asmann":{"sort":"","slug":"parker-asmann","path":"parker_asmann","name":"Parker Asmann","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"931","pict":{"cms-image-000027850-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"27850","name":"cms-image-000027850.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000027850.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000027850.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000027850-jpg","text":"<p>Hundreds of people demonstrating their support of President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez in front of the presidential home. Foto: Fred Ramos\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EHundreds of people demonstrating their support of President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez in front of the presidential home. Foto: Fred Ramos\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000032669-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"32669","name":"cms-image-000032669.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000032669.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000032669.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000032669-jpg","text":"<p>Sunset over Tegucigalpa. The Honduran capital is surrounded by suburbs under control of the gangs. The inequality of the city is a result of widespread political corruption. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ESunset over Tegucigalpa. The Honduran capital is surrounded by suburbs under control of the gangs. The inequality of the city is a result of widespread political corruption. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000032670-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"32670","name":"cms-image-000032670.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000032670.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000032670.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000032670-jpg","text":"<p>Protests in the Villanueva neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. The people took to the streets in protest of the illegitimate reelection of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EProtests in the Villanueva neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. The people took to the streets in protest of the illegitimate reelection of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000032681-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"32681","name":"cms-image-000032681.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000032681.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000032681.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000032681-jpg","text":"<p>An opposition supporter holds a US flag upside down in front of a line of riot police during a protest demanding the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for his alleged links to drug trafficking in the surroundings of the Congress building in Tegucigalpa on October 9, 2019. - Opposition legislators tried to start an impeachment to President Hernandez Tuesday night at the Congress accusing him of drug trafficking, a measure with few possibilities of success in a parliament with a majority of pro-government legislators. A US prosecutor had said on October 2 at the opening of the trial of the Honduran president's brother Tony, that the president himself took fortunes in drug bribes. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA \/ AFP)<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EAn opposition supporter holds a US flag upside down in front of a line of riot police during a protest demanding the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for his alleged links to drug trafficking in the surroundings of the Congress building in Tegucigalpa on October 9, 2019. - Opposition legislators tried to start an impeachment to President Hernandez Tuesday night at the Congress accusing him of drug trafficking, a measure with few possibilities of success in a parliament with a majority of pro-government legislators. A US prosecutor had said on October 2 at the opening of the trial of the Honduran president's brother Tony, that the president himself took fortunes in drug bribes. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA \/ AFP)\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":32681,"date":{"live":"2019\/12\/27"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2019","data_post_dateLive_MM":"12","data_post_dateLive_DD":"27","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=32670\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Protests in the Villanueva neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. The people took to the streets in protest of the illegitimate reelection of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EProtests in the Villanueva neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. The people took to the streets in protest of the illegitimate reelection of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EJust days after former Honduran congressman Juan Antonio \u201cTony\u201d Hern\u00e1ndez was \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/analysis\/tony-hernandez-conviction-honduras\/\"\u003Econvicted on drug and weapons charges\u003C\/a\u003E in the United States, the U.S. Charg\u00e9 d\u2019Affaires in Honduras Colleen Hoey \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/JuanOrlandoH\/status\/1185620669540786177\"\u003Ewas photographed\u003C\/a\u003E smiling and laughing alongside his brother, President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez. The photo-op was followed by a comment from Michael Kozak, the U.S. State Department\u2019s Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, who called the administration of President Hern\u00e1ndez a \u201c\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.efe.com\/efe\/america\/politica\/ee-uu-alerta-a-evo-morales-cuenta-los-votos-hay-preguntas-sobre-comicios\/20000035-4095915\"\u003Ereliable partner\u003C\/a\u003E.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe photograph and comment were typical for the pat-on-the-back and turn-a-blind-eye U.S. strategy in Central America\u2014basically propping up whatever head of state will do the United States\u2019 bidding. President Hern\u00e1ndez represents short-term stability and somebody willing to bow to U.S. economic and political interests, no matter his alleged involvement in protecting and accepting bribes from drug traffickers and stealing million of dollars worth of state funds.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cPresident Hern\u00e1ndez and other high-ranking officials want to escape accountability, and when they keep trotting out photos showing them being congratulated by high-ranking U.S. officials, it weakens efforts to hold them accountable,\u201d said Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWeeks earlier, U.S. prosecutors had amounted the president\u2019s brother\u2019s criminal conspiracy to state-sponsored drug trafficking, which had also \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.justice.gov\/usao-sdny\/pr\/former-honduran-congressman-tony-hern-ndez-convicted-manhattan-federal-court-conspiring\"\u003Edirectly influenced the outcome\u003C\/a\u003E of the last three presidential elections. Yet, despite the conviction, it\u2019s been business as usual between the United States and Honduras.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E***\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOver the last decade, the United States has poured hundreds of millions of dollars of support into Honduras, one of its biggest regional allies, despite credible allegations that past and current administrations have been engaged in outright criminal conduct.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Central American nation has long been a focal point of U.S. efforts to spread its influence throughout Latin America. In 2016 and 2017 alone, the US government bestowed Honduras with almost $400 million dollars to help combat drug trafficking, provide police and military with equipment and training, promote economic growth and development, as well as improve the justice system and prevent violence, among other efforts, according to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.wola.org\/monitoring-assistance-central-america\/\"\u003Edata\u003C\/a\u003E from WOLA.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBut this assistance hasn\u2019t always helped ensure good practices. Some of the funds have gone directly to militarized police units like the Tigres, a force created in 2012 specifically to fight organized crime that has been dogged by \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elheraldo.hn\/pais\/1009116-466\/honduras-polic%C3%ADas-tigres-dejaron-enlibertad-al-capo-wilter-blanco-ruiz\"\u003Ecorruption allegations\u003C\/a\u003E involving some of the country\u2019s most high-profile drug traffickers. The money has also been funneled into the National Police, even while former police chief Juan Carlos \u201cEl Tigre\u201d Bonilla Valladares, among other \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.justice.gov\/usao-sdny\/pr\/former-honduran-national-police-officer-charged-conspiring-import-cocaine-united-states\"\u003Ehigh-ranking police officers\u003C\/a\u003E, is alleged to have \u003Ca href=\"http:\/\/www.aquiabajo.com\/blog\/2019\/10\/4\/day-three-president-juan-orlando-hernandezs-joh-brother-tony-hernandez-on-trial-in-new-york\"\u003Eplayed a central role\u003C\/a\u003E in facilitating drug trafficking and been involved in extrajudicial murders.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ETo counteract simply lumping funds into the coffers of corrupt and violent agencies, the United States has supported important police reform initiatives and anti-corruption commissions designed to address such rampant corruption and impunity. However, heading police reform efforts is Security Minister Julian Pacheco Tinoco, himself \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elheraldo.hn\/pais\/1325848-466\/juicio-tony-hernandez-los-cachiros-julian-pacheco-soborno-ministro-seguridad-honduras\"\u003Eaccused of accepting bribes\u003C\/a\u003E from some of Honduras\u2019 most notorious drug traffickers. At the same time, the very political actors that have been the target of anti-corruption investigations have used their own power and connections to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/analysis\/how-honduras-maccih-loses-even-when-it-wins\/\"\u003Ehamper or block\u003C\/a\u003E probes into their alleged misconduct.\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=32681\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"An opposition supporter holds a US flag upside down in front of a line of riot police during a protest demanding the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for his alleged links to drug trafficking in the surroundings of the Congress building in Tegucigalpa on October 9, 2019. - Opposition legislators tried to start an impeachment to President Hernandez Tuesday night at the Congress accusing him of drug trafficking, a measure with few possibilities of success in a parliament with a majority of pro-government legislators. A US prosecutor had said on October 2 at the opening of the trial of the Honduran president's brother Tony, that the president himself took fortunes in drug bribes. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA \/ AFP)\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EAn opposition supporter holds a US flag upside down in front of a line of riot police during a protest demanding the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for his alleged links to drug trafficking in the surroundings of the Congress building in Tegucigalpa on October 9, 2019. - Opposition legislators tried to start an impeachment to President Hernandez Tuesday night at the Congress accusing him of drug trafficking, a measure with few possibilities of success in a parliament with a majority of pro-government legislators. A US prosecutor had said on October 2 at the opening of the trial of the Honduran president's brother Tony, that the president himself took fortunes in drug bribes. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA \/ AFP)\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EUnwavering U.S. support for Honduras has also reaped considerable political damage. In legitimizing the National Party administrations of former President Porfirio Lobo and sitting president Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez in the aftermath of the 2009 coup d\u2019\u00e9tat, the US government backed the ousting of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThat support has fostered \u201ca long-term and hideous disaster that\u2019s continuing to worsen,\u201d said Dana Frank, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. \u201cIt\u2019s helped destroy the rule of law and the criminal justice system, while opening the floodgates for corruption and impunity to inundate a criminally controlled government.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBoth former president Lobo and current president Hern\u00e1ndez have been accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from notorious drug traffickers\u2014such as former Sinaloa Cartel capo \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/brief\/alleged-el-chapo-bribe-honduras-president-sets-stage-us-drug-trial\/\"\u003E\u201cEl Chapo\u201d Guzm\u00e1n\u003C\/a\u003E and Cachiros leader \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/brief\/honduras-narco-testifies-ex-president-took-bribes-from-traffickers\/\"\u003EDevis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga\u003C\/a\u003E\u2014to fund various political campaigns in exchange for providing protection and allowing drugs to flow freely through the country en route to the United States.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EEven so, the United States \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.state.gov\/on-the-presidential-elections-in-honduras\/\"\u003Egave its stamp of approval\u003C\/a\u003E to President Hern\u00e1ndez\u2019s highly questionable victory during the 2017 presidential election after he walked back a constitutional ban on reelection to run again. This came despite calls from international organizations \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.reuters.com\/article\/us-honduras-election\/oas-says-honduran-presidential-election-should-be-redone-idUSKBN1EB0XH\"\u003Efor new elections\u003C\/a\u003E due to widespread allegations of \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/world\/2017\/dec\/22\/us-recognizes-re-election-of-honduras-president-despite-calls-for-a-new-vote\"\u003Eelectoral fraud\u003C\/a\u003E, which prompted protests that were \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/world\/2018\/jan\/02\/us-silent-as-honduras-protesters-killed-in-post-election-violence\"\u003Eviolently repressed\u003C\/a\u003E. Security forces \u201cmade intentional lethal use of firearms\u201d in quelling the demonstrations, according to the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ohchr.org\/EN\/NewsEvents\/Pages\/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22799&LangID=E\"\u003EUnited Nations\u003C\/a\u003E. At least 30 people were killed after the dust settled, some from gunshot wounds to the head.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe U.S. government has completely ignored a huge amount of evidence showing that so many [government officials] have serious allegations of corruption and involvement in drug trafficking, which essentially allows them greater political capital and bolsters their position in confronting these kinds of charges,\u201d said Annie Bird, Director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission who has done extensive research on impunity and corruption in Honduras.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EState institutions have also suffered immensely under the post-coup administrations. A corruption scandal first uncovered within the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS) in 2014 saw government employees steal hundreds of millions of dollars from the institution, some of which President Hern\u00e1ndez admitted \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.reuters.com\/article\/us-honduras-corruption\/honduras-president-graft-linked-companies-helped-fund-my-campaign-idUSKBN0OJ26B20150603\"\u003Ehelped fund\u003C\/a\u003E his 2013 presidential campaign. Before him, Lobo was also accused of \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/brief\/corruption-probe-catches-former-honduras-president-porfirio-lobo\/\"\u003Ediverting at least $1 million\u003C\/a\u003E in government funds destined for social programs to pay for his own presidential security, in addition to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/analysis\/contracts-awarded-honduran-drug-caln-illustrate-cyclical-corruption\/\"\u003Eawarding government contracts\u003C\/a\u003E to businesses owned by the Cachiros drug trafficking clan.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EPoliticians pilfering state institutions has become almost standard practice in Honduras, of which the United States is well aware. In May of 2019, for example, the U.S. State Department \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/05\/US-CentAm-Corruption-List.pdf\"\u003Ereleased a corruption report\u003C\/a\u003E identifying 13 current and former Honduran officials accused of engaging or facilitating corruption. Many of those singled out \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/analysis\/us-corruption-list-highlights-criminal-ties-northern-triangle-presidents\/\"\u003Ehave direct ties\u003C\/a\u003E to President Hern\u00e1ndez and the National Party.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWhat\u2019s more, a \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.univision.com\/univision-news\/latin-america\/exclusive-a-pandoras-box-of-corruption-in-honduras\"\u003EUnivision investigation\u003C\/a\u003E revealed the \u201csystematic embezzlement of public funds\u201d by top government officials\u2014including members of President Hern\u00e1ndez\u2019s family\u2014using a network of 53 non-profit organizations that laundered \u201cthe majority\u201d of some $70 million they received over the last 10 years.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe National Anti-Corruption Council and Honduran think tank FOSEDH estimate corruption and mismanagement robs the country of around \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/fosdeh\/status\/1189974759091646465\"\u003E$1.5 billion annually\u003C\/a\u003E, or about six percent of its gross domestic product. A \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/carnegieendowment.org\/files\/Chayes_Corruption_Final_updated.pdf\"\u003E2017 report\u003C\/a\u003E from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace went so far as to call corruption the \u201coperating system\u201d in Honduras.\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=32669\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Sunset over Tegucigalpa. The Honduran capital is surrounded by suburbs under control of the gangs. The inequality of the city is a result of widespread political corruption. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ESunset over Tegucigalpa. The Honduran capital is surrounded by suburbs under control of the gangs. The inequality of the city is a result of widespread political corruption. Foto: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EMeanwhile, the country\u2019s education and health systems are hanging on by a thread amid the U.S.-backed heavy-handed focus on security, which has come with deadly consequences. A May 2017 \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/oig.justice.gov\/reports\/\/2017\/o1702.pdf\"\u003Ewatchdog report\u003C\/a\u003E identified at least three instances in 2012 where \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2017\/05\/24\/us\/politics\/dea-honduras-drugs.html\"\u003Edeadly force was used\u003C\/a\u003E during joint operations carried out in Honduras by the National Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Behind the scenes, however, public institutions have been hollowed out by severe budgets cuts and corruption scandals that have looted their resources, putting both sectors \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/world\/2019\/jun\/05\/honduras-protests-teachers-doctors-president\"\u003Eon the brink of collapse\u003C\/a\u003E as teachers and medical professionals demand more support and funding.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe National Party administrations that took office following the coup have also promoted \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/global-development\/2014\/may\/01\/world-bank-loan-honduras\"\u003Eneo-liberal economic policies\u003C\/a\u003E, opening the country\u2019s natural resources up to private investment. Thousands of hectares of land used for subsistence farming have been repurposed for the lucrative palm oil industry, while other territories sacred to Indigenous communities have been taken over to make way for hydroelectric dams at the expense of local populations that were \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/wp.radioprogresohn.net\/estado-hondureno-viola-derecho-de-consulta-previa-a-pueblos-indigenas\/\"\u003Enever consulted\u003C\/a\u003E, a direct violation of \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ilo.org\/wcmsp5\/groups\/public\/---americas\/---ro-lima\/documents\/publication\/wcms_345065.pdf\"\u003EHonduran law\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe government has effectively prioritized the interests of elites and wealthy investors over Honduras\u2019 most marginalized communities. In the process, Honduras has become \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.globalwitness.org\/en\/campaigns\/environmental-activists\/honduras-deadliest-country-world-environmental-activism\/\"\u003Eone of the most dangerous countries\u003C\/a\u003E in the world for environmental defenders fighting to protect the land and its resources. The brazen \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.insightcrime.org\/news\/analysis\/berta-caceres-murder-coordinated-plot-made-months-prior-report\/\"\u003Ehigh-profile murder\u003C\/a\u003E of activist Berta C\u00e1ceres in 2016 put this reality into the international spotlight, while many other \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/FLDAmericas\/status\/1187121328874233857\"\u003Eattacks and killings\u003C\/a\u003E of activists have taken place since.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EStill, U.S. support hasn\u2019t wavered, all but undermining efforts to hold those accused of ravaging the country accountable.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWhile the United States does not hold all of the blame for the current state of Honduras, there\u2019s no denying how destructive its continued support, financial or otherwise, has been for a large share of Hondurans.\u003C\/p\u003E"}