BY JESSICA MENDOZA, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Gaspar Sanchez, Sexual Diversity Coordinator for the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, CCPIOH was at Augsburg for a presentation on Nov. 1. The purpose of his talk was to inform the audience about CCPIOH’s movement to empower indigenous communities and advocate for basic human rights in Honduras.
Sanchez described CCPIOH’s efforts to educate the people of Honduras about the importance of decolonizing indigenous people’s territory as well as their mindset. One of the main points of his speech was the daunting influence of countries like the United States, which has a capitalist system.
Capitalistic societies perpetuate racism, sexism and the patriarchy. Sanchez emphasized that the people from the Unites States have a responsibility to remain aware of our nation’s presence in foreign countries.
The United States has a history of viewing Latin America as its “backyard,” Sanchez said, not as various unique and capable countries. The presentation brought to light issues of U.S. foreign policy actions in Honduras.
One such issue is the heavy presence of the U.S. military in Latin American countries. Throughout the talk, Sanchez referenced the U.S.’s vast spending on military action training in relation to Honduras as well as Colombia and Mexico.
The United States has a large corporate presence in Latin America. Their commercial interest has even led to their intervention in military coup in order to protect their sphere of influence. On the U.S. State Department’s website, it claims that the intention of military presence in Honduras is to disrupt criminal networks and implement violence protection programs.
“The military training the U.S provides has not served to make communities safer in Honduras, as corruption and crime are still heavily present,” Sanchez said.
In 2009, Honduras staged a coup that overthrew the presiding President Manuel Zelaya. This was followed by the election of President Porfirio Lobo Sosa. The United States were quick to accept Lobo’s leadership even though repression and death rates rose in during his establishment. Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world even with the $1.5 million the United States has invested for border management and military training.
Sanchez stressed that the United States’ main rationale for increased military presence and policy financing is that Honduras particularly plays a role in the influence the United States has throughout other Latin American countries. He emphasized that positive change in a country needs to come from within through local activists and community leaders.
This article first appeared in the Friday, November 10, 2017, Edition of The Echo.