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An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis

Honduran and other Central American immigrants are refugees and therefore should be treated as such by U.S. immigration law, border patrol and ICE as well as the Mexican government. Many are escaping weak neoliberal and militaristic governments, such as the one in Honduras, where narcotrafficking and narcomenudeo have thrived under the U.S.-backed Juan Orlando Hernandez’ regime and his military police.

Juan Orlando Hernandez and the Nationalist party have stolen millions from public service agencies, such as Social Security Administration, to run their campaigns against the opposition and now people are suffering. His presidency cannot provide jobs, healthcare, safety in their neighborhoods, and food. Eating in Honduras is a luxury. For instance, minimum wage is under $400 dollars a month, but electricity, water and food, costs well over $500 a month for a household. Maquiladoras, agro-export companies are benefiting from free trade laws which maintain the minimum wage below the governments minimum wage laws and  do not allow unions to organize and protect workers.

Since Juan Orlando Hernandez took office in 2013 and since his fraudulent elections in 2017, the country has witnessed a decline in security, becoming one of the most dangerous country in the world, where children, women and Transgender people are killed at the rate of a country in an active war. of the 200 LGBTI murders, only two cases have seen prosecution, over 600 women a year are killed, known as feminicides, these murders go unpunished, they are never prosecuted.

The exodus we are seeing in Honduras today is the direct result of U.S. foreign policies in the region for over 50 years, but the more recent U.S. State Department support of JOH’s presidency is perhaps the most devastating blow to the Honduran people and for democracy in Honduras.

The proposal by Trump to build a wall in the Southern and Northern Mexico border is outrageous and puts in danger the sovereignty and political diplomatic relationship between Mexico and Guatemala, as well as diplomatic relations with the other Central American nations.  It is an absurd and miserable proposal which does not make diplomatic sense in the region. At the same time violates the rights of immigrants and Indigenous peoples who live in the region of Chiapas and in Guatemala.

Transgender people are living conditions similar to that of a genocide in Honduras, right before our eyes the eyes of the international community, many are murdered for just being Transgender. It is time that immigration movements across the Americans consider this vulnerable population and demand the Honduran government protect Transgender youth.”

Honduras is a weak government that must use militarization, military police and national police to repress its people. It is clear that the illegitimate president Juan Orlando Hernandez must step down, it is the wish of the Honduran voters and the people now fleeing. He has failed to bring food, security and jobs to the working poor.

US aid to the Honduran military budget and the State Department’s diplomatic support for Honduras must stop if you want to see democracy and justice in Honduras.

Suyapa Portillo Villeda is an Associate Professor of Chicano/a-Latino/a Transnational Studies at Pitzer College.