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Friday, September 28, 2012

Neo-liberalism advances quick profit, divides people, disestablishes nations: Honduras as U.S., U.S. as Honduras

Tales of boondoggles in the Americas 
by Luis E. Aguilar (co-edited and translated by Colectivo Morazán; Source: Resistencia Honduras)

Photo caption:  Hondurans protest charter cities proposal.   Banner reads: Model Cities  Expulsion of Garifuna People from Honduras.  Photo G. Trucchi.

Edited for Today’s Insight News by
Carolyn Bennett

Leveraging country against itself, against its people

At issue in Neoliberals’ boondoggles, Luis Aguilar says, are at least two critical elements:

The Relationship between proposed projects and a country’s tradition of “development” strategy [and]

The Cynicism with which circles of power in a country plan and present a substantially ambitious model to the society that is clearly contrary to the collective welfare of the people of that country

“Charter Cities”: short term, returns to few, foreign counseled

The “Charter Cities” scheme, proposed at the Honduras Open for Business or HOB conference of May 2011, Aguilar says, is linked to a “plan by Stanford University professor Paul Romer.” Though Aguilar was writing about Central America's Honduras, his observations on the neoliberal invasion of Honduras are the neoliberal invasion of North America's USA.

 “We do not know with exact certitude what the master design for Honduras is or whether it is being prepared in Tegucigalpa [Honduras’s capital] in association with Washington or exclusively in Washington,” Luis E. Aguilar writes.” And the issue is not whether neoliberal projects can be implemented, or whether they are being used simply as ‘development’ bait for public consumption; but what is clear is that ─

Counseling for the projects comes from abroad and in close collaboration with pro-market liberalists and the right wing which functions as a transnational network society.

They attack a problem they see as temporary and respond with even more elements of the neoliberal agenda… even creating a particularly new element such as charter cities.

Imperialists export “American Dream”: divide to conquer

The “Charter City” project (like U.S. charter schools and cities within cities) in Honduras is a major boondoggle that“falls within the framework of the anti-union strategies, the last scream of globalization.”  It is “a plan to make Honduras (as with other Latin American countries) a guinea pig for one of the most nefarious conspiracies of Western imperialism on the working classes.”

In these proposed autonomous cities, where authorities could sign their own treaties and international free trade agreements, labor laws would be rendered inapplicable, Aguilar says.

The few vs. the many: In the “Carter Cities” construct, inhabitants “could establish their own privatized security forces and courts (parallel cities within cities in U.S. state of Georgia or U.S. Iraq), while offering the typical tax-exemptions, among other neoliberal policies.

“The Charter City is a physical barrier that offers a legal framework coveted by transnational capitalists. This experiment ─ which in essence breaks down the structure of the Nation State ─ is put in place to join the global system of tax havens, duty-free export processing zones” (maquilas or maquiladora, processing fees: e.g., foreign-owned factory where imported parts are assembled by lower-paid workers into products for export) “and other as yet undefined schemes that place the desires of corporations above all else.”

Vultures descend into manufactured or inevitable distraction

A society battered by violence facilitates a process of short-sighted individualization, he says.

Vacuum in infrastructure: In the aftermath of Honduras’s 2009 coup, “right-wing politicians filled with a desperate desire (the United States’ long-neglected, poorer states and cities) to turn Honduras into some sort of model of development [invited] neoliberal proposals which continue to create hotter and more polluted cities,” Aguilar said, “where desperate drivers stuck in traffic are idiotically happier to have their own space ─

 away from crowds of people and protected by the glass and metal of their own cars as opposed to using public transportation, requiring people to make contact with each other.

Together we stand
Collective means benefiting whole society stymied

“Among other benefits,” Luis Aguilar correctly observes, “large scale collective means have much longer life …; “they promote local industry and the transfer of technological know-how.”

But the vultures thwart expansion of collective means. In the best of cases, as happened in North America, imperialists “halt support of advancements in technology and research.” From the start of the neoliberal period, Aguilar says, “imperialism has been erasing collective means from the continent.”


We stand together 
Sources and notes

“Three Neoliberal Tales in Honduras: The Inter-oceanic Train, Metro-buses and Charter Cities (Luis E. Aguilar, co-edited and translated by Colectivo Morazán; Source: Resistencia Honduras), July 29, 2011,  http://upsidedownworld.org/main/honduras-archives-46/3138-three-neoliberal-tales-in-honduras-the-inter-oceanic-train-metro-buses-and-charter-cities


Republic of Honduras (Spanish: República de Honduras), a Central American country situated between Guatemala and El Salvador to the west, Nicaragua to the south and east; on its northern coast the Caribbean Sea, on its narrow coast to the south the Pacific Ocean. Honduras’s area includes the offshore Caribbean department of the Bay Islands.

The capital is Tegucigalpa (with Comayagüela) and another city of equal importance industrially and commercially, though half the capital’s population. is San Pedro Sula. The bulk of Honduras’s population, citizens presented with innumerable economic and social challenges in a   “developing nation,” lives a generally isolated existence in the mountainous interior. Britannica note

Coup of June 2009 (Wikipedia notes)

The 2009 Honduran coup d’état was part of the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis that occurred when the Honduran Army on orders from the Honduran Supreme Court ousted President Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile on June 28, 2009. Soldiers stormed the presidential residence in Tegucigalpa early on the morning of the 28th. They disarmed the presidential guard, woke the president and put him on a plane to Costa Rica.

Many governments, media, and human-rights organizations outside Honduras have termed the ouster a coup. Though the U.S. government was not as unequivocal in its official statements at the time, soon after the event, a confidential U.S. Embassy cable (later leaked by WikiLeaks) summarized the legal situation this way:

The Embassy perspective is that there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch, while accepting that there may be a prima facie case that Zelaya may have committed illegalities and may have even violated the constitution.

There is equally no doubt from our perspective that Roberto Micheletti’s assumption of power was illegitimate.

Nevertheless, it is also evident that the constitution itself may be deficient in terms of providing clear procedures for dealing with alleged illegal acts by the President and resolving conflicts between the branches of government. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Honduran_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

Upside Down World

Founded in 2003, Upside Down World is an online magazine covering activism and politics in Latin America. It is made up of work from writers, activists, artists and regular citizens from around the globe who are interested in flipping the world upside down...or right side up.

Upside Down World provides concerned global citizens with independent reporting on Latin American social movements and governments that have refused to prostrate themselves to the interests of corporate globalization, and instead have focused their work on addressing the needs of the people.

While corporate media often distort or overlook this progressive, regional trend, Upside Down World seeks to provide an alternative resource for information about the achievements and challenges of these people-powered movements.

From Bolivia’s gas conflicts to worker-run factories in Argentina, from Guatemalan resistance to mining to the new political process in Venezuela—Upside Down World has produced original reporting and perspectives that help readers understand what’s happening on the ground in the region.

One hundred percent reader-funded, Upside Down World publishes weekly articles, news briefs and blogs on Latin America. Its articles have been translated and republished in hundreds of websites, magazines and newspapers. Of the thousands of people reading the magazine each week are political analysts, journalists, academics and activists based around the globe.

Editorial Collective: Benjamin Dangl (founder): Ben(at)upsidedownworld.org
Cyril Mychalejko: Cyril(at)upsidedownworld.org
Jason Wallach
April Howard: april.m.howard(at)gmail.com
Contributing Editors/Translators:
Patricia Simon
Marielle Cauthin


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


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