Almost half of the cocaine imported to the United States now passes through Honduras — a total of 20 to 25 tons each month, according to U.S. and Honduran estimates, as the country becomes the western hemisphere’s cocaine hub.
The drug trade in Honduras is changing the country in various ways, enriching wealthy landowners along the Atlantic coast and increasing violence in the north as local gangs transporting drugs develop armies of street dealers, contributing to a homicide rate that rivals Kabul, Afghanistan.
The illegal military coup in June of 2009 was supported by the Obama administration despite having recognized it as unconstitutional and illegitimate, according to WikiLeaks diplomatic cables. The military basically kidnapped the former President and forcibly removed him from power.
What followed were a whole host of human rights violations – including 3,000 people killed in Honduras including journalists, lawyers, and leaders of popular organizations – most of which were never investigated. Nevertheless, Obama administration had “representatives from the U.S. Department of State [meet] with de facto president Porfirio Lobo Sosa,” who continues to benefit from US aid, which has increased every single year since the coup in 2009, with $68 million allocated for 2012.
Dana Frank at Nation magazine recently uncovered a close relationship between the corporate drug lords and private paramilitaries and the Obama administration. Wealthy landowners with ties to the cocaine trade, like Miguel Facussé, have been orchestrating illegal land grabs and murders of peasant farmers in the countryside. Facussé supported the 2009 military coup, has met with the State Department numerous times, and met with Obama in Washington DC in the first week of October.
As Frank documents, Obama has “allocated $45 million in new funds for military construction, including expansion and improvement of the jointly operated Soto Cano Air Force Base at Palmerola (supplied now with US drones) and has opened three new military bases.” “Police and military funding,” Frank continues, “almost $10 million for 2011, rose dramatically in June with $40 million more under the new $200 million Central American Regional Security Initiative, supposedly to combat drug trafficking in Central America.”
As the intensifying drug trade and its associated violence continue to wreck Honduras, the Obama administration has stubbornly chosen to carry on supporting the Honduran regime, its violent drug lords, and the destruction prohibitionist drug war that drives the entire scene. Despite public statements by various Latin American leaders expressing openness to decriminalization as a solution, the US has sided with the status quo.