Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 11:45 AM EST
Nightmare libertarian project turns country into the murder capital of the world
Even Ayn Rand would be taken aback.
Since the 2009 coup against President José Manuel Zelaya and subsequent election of Porfirio "Pepe Lobo" Sosa and his favored successor Juan Orlando Hernandez, Honduras has embarked on a devastating neoliberal economic program that has contributed to its status as one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the region. The privatization of Honduran society has been accompanied by a militarization of public security efforts in the country, both of which have been fueled by a network of U.S.-supported policies and programs.
Despite the country's crackdown on crime, violence in Honduras has skyrocketed in recent years. Honduras now has the world's second-highest national murder rate and is home to two of the world's five most violent cities. Unchecked gang activity has contributed to widespread corruption and impunity within police and government institutions.
This weekend, a coalition of leftist opposition parties came together temporarily to defeat a proposed amendment to the Honduran constitution that would have given permanent status to the country's militarized police force, known as the Policía Militar de Orden Público, or PMOP.
This "elite" police unit, which serves under the direct command of the presidency, is intended to support President Hernandez's heavy-handed crime reduction efforts. President Hernandez created the PMOP shortly after coming to office in 2014, with support from a legislature dominated by his conservative National Party. The Hernandez administration's police militarization efforts also had the backing of the country's business sector.