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Racist, white supremacist military rule in Honduras

July 20, 2009

by Willie Thompson, professor emeritus, City College of San Francisco

The racist slurs directed toward President Obama by interim Honduran Foreign Minister Colindres of the coup government reflect that regime’s attitude toward Blacks in their own country, such as these Black Honduran youth. Returning elected President Zelaya, who supports Afro-Hondurans, to power will be a victory for them as well as for all Hondurans.
The racist slurs directed toward President Obama by interim Honduran Foreign Minister Colindres of the coup government reflect that regime’s attitude toward Blacks in their own country, such as these Black Honduran youth. Returning elected President Zelaya, who supports Afro-Hondurans, to power will be a victory for them as well as for all Hondurans.
The racist assault on United States President Barak Obama by the Honduran military coup government, installed on June 28, 2009, was greeted by the U.S. media with what John Pilger called “contrived silence, a censorship by omission.” (Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, 7/6/09) The poisonous racist attack on the first Black U.S. president was based on racist preconceptions and was carried out by interim Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez Colindres on June 29, the day after the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya was arrested and sent into exile in his pajamas.

The ex-foreign minister is courted for his reports on the coup and constitutional crisis but avoided on his assault on President Obama. The pattern of the U.S. media is to protect the racist coup government and oligarchy.

Honduran Foreign Minister Colindres referred to Obama as “that little Black boy who knows nothing about anything [ese negrito que no sabe nada de nada],” later adding, “a little black man who doesn’t know where Tegucigalpa (the Honduran capital) is [El negrito no conoce donde queda Tegucigalpa].” Colindres and the Honduran coup government are overtly expressing a poisonous, racist and white supremacist shibboleth in Latin America: that people of African descent and Africans are stupid, uncivilized and more appropriately belong enslaved on agricultural plantations.

Colindres concluded his government’s racist assault by associating Blacks with queers, prostitutes and leftists: “I have negotiated with queers, prostitutes, leftists, Blacks, whites. This is my job. I studied for it (probably in U.S universities or U.S. military schools). I am not racially prejudiced. I like the little Black sugar cane plantation worker who is president of the United States. [He negociado con maricones, prostitutas, con ñángaras (izquierdistas), negros, blancos. Ese es mi trabajo, yo estudié eso. No tengo prejuicios raciales, me gusta el negrito del batey que está presidiendo los Estados Unidos.]” ( FAIR Blog Honduras 7/10/2009)

The term “negrito del batey” refers to Haitian workers who migrate to work on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic. It was popularized by the song, “El Negrito del Batey,” about a Haitian who “would rather leave work to the oxen” and go out dancing instead.

“For more than a week after they were uttered, Ortez’ slurs were a big story in Latin America and around the world: The Chinese and French wire services Xinhua and Agence France Presse covered them, among others. But besides online sites like Daily Kos and the Huffington Post, the story was mostly ignored by U.S. journalists, who otherwise freely quoted Ortez about Honduras’ coup and constitutional crisis.” (FAIR)

Congressman Donald Payne, D-New Jersey, of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, expressed outrage at the coup government’s racist assault. He was told by Lanny Davis, former special advisor to President Bill Clinton and representative to the Honduran chapter of the Latin American Business Council, that the foreign minister had been “sacked” or fired and that Colindres was a “far out extremist bigot.”

Payne seemed further outraged by Davis’ attempt to trivialize and dismiss the foreign minister’s poisonous, racist preconceptions and to make his views an exception. Payne responded forcefully that “he (Colindres) was hired by the same people who arrested the President and took him out of the country and that he must reflect the philosophy and opinions of the Honduran coup government. Honduras’ military government is now protected by Hillary Clinton’s U.S. State Department contrary to the policies of the Obama White House.

Bernard Chazelle, a Tiny Revolution blogger (6/28/09) said of the Honduran coup, “There’s no way this would have happened if the U.S. had said no.” Chazelle also cites Honduras’ decision to delay the accreditation of the U.S. ambassador in solidarity with Bolivia as the basis of the bad blood between the U.S. and the Zelaya government.

It is also clear that Noriega, Reich, Lanny Davis and other Clintonites are using the vicious Honduras coup to attack Chavez of Venezuela, Correo of Ecuador, Morales of Bolivia, Castro of Cuba, Ortega of Nicaragua and all the progressive governments and people of Latin America. These Clintonites, Bushites and Reaganites want another Haiti where Aristide was removed by the U.S. with impunity and where former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton has been appointed as special United Nations ambassador.

Five hundred fifty U.S. military personnel are stationed at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras. During the 1980s Honduras received $l.6 billion in U.S. foreign aid. This has decreased substantially following the end of the Contra wars in Central America.

U.S. exports to Honduras in 2004 were valued at $3.1 billion, half the value of Honduras imports. Two thirds of Honduras’ exports, valued at $3.6 billion, are destined for the U.S. These exports include bananas, seafood, electrical wiring, gold, tobacco and coffee.

This tiny country of 7.6 million people would collapse economically and militarily if the U.S. were to impose an embargo as the coup requires it to do. Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America with an “extraordinarily unequal distribution of income and high unemployment.” Its 2007 unemployment rate was 27.8 percent; its 2008 inflation rate was 11.8 percent. Its economic growth depends on the economy of the U.S., its largest trading partner. (2009 CIA Fact Book)

Ninety percent of Hondurans are mestizos (Amerindian and European), 7 percent are Amerindian, 2 percent are Black, including 98,000 Garifunas, descendants of unenslaved Blacks and Indigenous Caribs from St. Vincent. One percent of the population is white. The Honduras census doesn’t account for the Amerindian and African mestizos, which would produce a much larger percent for the Black Honduran population.

This census error is repeated throughout the Americas, thus revealing a smaller percent and number of people of African descent in the Americas. Congressman Payne noted that President Zelaya came to New York to swear in the leader of an Afro-Honduran organization. He must not be too bad, Payne noted, at a subcommittee hearing.

It seems obvious that the Honduran military coup is about the United States’ support for Hispanic racist and white supremacist oligarchy control in the Western Hemisphere. The people of the United States must press our government to cut off private and public economic and military ties with Honduras until President Manuel Zelaya is restored to power unconditionally and without prejudice.

The North American people can also boycott Honduran coffee and bananas, its major imports to the U.S. Vamonos!

Willie Thompson, president of the Organization of African North Americans, is professor emeritus of sociology, City College of San Francisco. Email him at willliemackthompson@msn.com.

19 thoughts on “Racist, white supremacist military rule in Honduras

  1. honduranjose

    White supremacist???? This is country is all made up of people of mixed descent! It was a stupid comment from a man of advanced age who unfortunately still harbors the insensitivity with which he was brought up as a child 70 years ago.
    The man has since resigned from any public position.
    The dictatorship that was being planned by Zelaya would not have been good for honduran whites, blacks, browns, chinese or any race, nationality or social class.
    We are a better country now that Zelaya is gone and the world should be supporting the removal of another wannabe dictator.

    Reply
  2. ERIC GERMER

    AN UNFORTUNATE STATEMENT BY THE FORMER HONDURAN FOREIGN MINISTER, BUT NOT FAR FROM THE TRUTH THE OBAMA IS AN IGNORANT AND HAS A DANGEROUS AGENDA, AND WHAT ABOUT HUGO CHAVEZ, COMING TO THE U.N. AND CALLING PRSIDENT BUSH “THE DEVIL”. WHERE IS YOUR MASSIVE OUTRAGE ABOUT SOMEONE INSULTING YOUR PRESIDENT?
    HAS ANYONE OF YOU AT BAY VIEW, EVER WATCHED HUGO CHAVEZ SPEECHES? LOOK AT THEM IN YOU TUBE, THERE IS ONE WHERE HE IS YELLING GO TO HELL YOU SHITTY YANKEES (VAYANSE AL CARAJO, YANKIS DE MIERDA), I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, LOOK IT UP, AND I STILL BELIEVE THIS COMMENT INCLUDES ALL AMERICANS, WHITE, BLACKS, HISPANICS, NATIVE AMERICANS, ASIANS ETC. AT LEAST MR ORTEZ HAD THE DIGNITY TO STEP DPWN AFTER HIS COMMENT; AND HUGO CHAVEZ? HE IS STILL RULING IN VENEZUELA, FINANCING PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS ALL OVER LATINA MAERICA, AND YES SUPPLYING DRUGS TO THE MEXICAN CARTEL, SO AMERICANS OF ALL ETHNICS WILL CONSUME IT. NOW WHO IS BEING BIAS? THE MEDIA AS USUAL. YOUR RADICAL VIEWS MAKE ME LAUGH.

    Reply
  3. PROUD HONDURAN

    This article is showing that you have absolutely no idea about the Idiosyncrasies of the Honduran people. I am of mixed Native and African blood and have always and I mean always been called “Negro” and when I was a child I was called “Negrito” by MY FAMILY!! In Honduras we do not share the whole politically correct ideals that you do. We call people of and asian decent “Chinos” (Chineese) and all Arabs “Turkos” (Turks)…no i’ll will, it’s just part of our culture! Having said that, the people of Honduras are holding strong and will not give in to cmmunist dicatator wanna bee’s who want to do the same to us that they are doing to Venezuela! I am not living in Honduras at teh moment, but my family is, and they tell me that they would rather die of hunger than to let the “world” impose a dictatorship on them. Please, if you ARE willing to do your research, read ARTICLE 239 of the Honduran Constitution!!! I am proud of my heritage…but I am even prouder of being HONDURAN!!

    Reply
  4. ERIC GERMER

    –RIGHT ON PROUD HONDURAN, LET THEM KNOW, I AM ALSO HONDURAN, SERVED MY COUNTRY IN THE ARMY, 1984-1986, I KNOW WHAT A COMMUNIST THREAT IS, AND WE ARE THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT HIS PEOPLE WASN`T SEDUCED BY CHAVEZ, KEEP THE STRUGGLE, REMEMBER HIGH IS THE NIGHT AND MORAZAN IS WATCHING.

    Reply
  5. Danny

    what is it with you media people that just love Banana Republic Dictators? I live in Honduras and yur comment and I quote:

    “It seems obvious that the Honduran military coup is about the United States’ support for Hispanic racist and white supremacist oligarchy control in the Western Hemisphere”

    So you are saying that the “military coup” (It wasnt by the way do your homework por favor) was designed to keep the black man down?? TO WHAT EFFECT???

    Are you people concerned for the Venezuelan drugs that wont be delivered to the US via Honduras? Are the black Brothas and Sistas concerned about that.

    And oh yeah….boicott our bananas and coffee no problem “Bro´s”, we have boicotted your Crack and Coke supplies anyway, good luck with your next fix!

    Long live the UNracially prejudiced free Honduras and all its mestizos, indios, negritos del batey and oh yeah the white minority that keeps the black man down.

    And in conclusion if im a “White Pro military Coup Hhonduran” then I must be a White Supremacist (that could be just so)…and for the record I dont hate black people, I hate stupid ideas and prejudice.

    Reply
  6. Dan

    This is one of the worst/ridiculous articles that I have read in a long time. Please do your homework before making crazy claims of “white supremacists” ruling the country. This is just a stupid rant by someone who is trying to make a battle against communism in to something that it is not. Do not equate one person’s remarks as a stereotype for a nation. This article should be removed because of the idiocy it represents.

    Reply
  7. Powwah

    One question for you all,What is the condition of the decendents of the arfikan slave trade in Honduras?I Have been there with family and i have seen their plight ,you act like this conditions does not exist.Be HONEST

    Reply
  8. Rufus

    In response to PROUD HONDURAN comments, I submit the following quote: ODECO President Celeo Alvarez Casildo writes in the complaint: “The unfortunate and disrespectful statements made by ‘Chancellor’Ortez Colindres are a real insult to humanity, especially to the Afro-descendant people he is calling ‘negritos.’ If the ‘chancellor’ dares to call the president of the first world power a ‘negrito,’ what treatment should be expected for the poor, Afro-Honduran on the ground?" Someone who reportedly is more educated than you (and more sensitive) disagrees with your perspective on the use of the word "negrito." I am a black american. I understand an insult when I hear one. The foreign minister's comments were meant to insult our president. He basically called Obama a "little black boy." His comments are just "stupid words." But if his attitude towards blacks represents those of the coup lead government, then poor black Hondurans are in real danger.

    Reply
    1. Cat

      It seems like some comments were taken out of context, for example when you are angry you might say stupid white people or other racist comments. It is clear that Colindres was angry at Obama's lack of support of Honduran due process of law because it was not a military coup but Honduras was merely following what the constitution dictates. I don't think you understand the Honduran connotations of 'negrito' I am honduran and some of my cousins are black, black people in Honduras are liked because they are rare. They are responsible for the kind of music that gave Honduras world recognition, "punta".

      Reply
  9. Rufus

    I would like a native Honduran to answer the following questions about your society: Are decendents of african Hondurans treated differently than other Hondurans? Are they (black hondurans) represented in the government? Do they own land? Do they live in poverty? Do they live in equal, but separated neighborhoods? Racism will never end. Equal access to opportunity (i.e. education, training, ownership of land, etc.) will stop discrimination. If you are a PROUD white Honduran, Danny, answer my questions.

    Reply
  10. Rufus

    Thank you for responding Danny. Since I don't live in Honduras, I rely on what I read from different sources concerning the situation there. I not sure about your statement "racism is not a thing of color in Honduras its a thing of money." Perhaps you mean that discrimination is not based upon color, but upon a lack of money. I am sure many hondurans (white, mestizo and black) would disagree with you.

    My point in this discussion was that the comments made by the

    Chancellor were intended to insult our president, Mr. Obama. There was no need for him to refer to Mr. Obama's color in expressing his dislike of him. I don't see how any rational person could defend his choice of words.

    Reply
    1. ERIC GERMER

      HEY RUFUS, I AM HONDURAN AND LIVE IN THE USA, WHEN HUGO CHAVEZ CALLED PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, DID YOU COMPLAIN TO THE VENEZUELAN EMBASSY?

      Reply
  11. Rufus

    Copied from another blog site. Very informative. Catracho writes:

    I’m a Honduran mestizo living in USA. I would never dare say that in Hondurans there is no descrimination towards blacks, first because I’m not black. I believe that only a black Honduran can answer that question. All I can tell you is that while I lived there, I saw black-Hondurans as fellow country men/brothers, and I still do. I must also remind black-Hondurans that Honduras is not the USA, where whites enjoy most of the wealth…My family and I suffered too, there where many days were we had no food on the table, and that’s why we left the country. 70% of the population live in extreme poverty, we all suffer together and just like you, I have recentment towads the 10% elite that holds all the wealth, which are the same skin color as mine! Saludos!

    Respond to this PROUD white Honduran.

    Reply
  12. Danny

    Yes, black people own land, black people live in the same neighborhoods, and go to the same stores and eat the same fried chicken as I do…I work alongside with black people (who went to school by the way just like I did).

    We all eat shit equally here, white, mestizo, black and all.
    racism is not a thing of color in Honduras its a thing of money.

    there are black poor and black wealthy, white poor and wealthy and the rest of the colors of the spectrum.

    its not written in stone as you racism mongers would like it yo be.

    Reply
  13. tome123

    listen……what is right is right!…….without a fight. that is to say [the violence gommitted on a people, a community, a government, a state , a country, a world by military means, has never been or will never be the answer to the problems the we (the human species and all other forms of life on this planet ) have faced in the past , are facing now, and will no doubt face in the future] . to fall in step with the rythm of the warring drums is, as it always has been, the worst mistake a person can make as he/she carries on with their moments in this fleeting but ever so precious existence we have come to know as life.
    we can work it out harmoniously with a little effort, and awareness , a little in the direction of peace.
    what is right…..is right……..without the fight.

    Reply
  14. African-Girl

    I do apologize for this post, but I know nowhere else to ask this question.

    All these comments get me thinking twice. I am black, straight from African, living in the US for almost a decade and I have been around few hondurans lately. I even met a nice young Honduran, a Mestizo to be precise and he tells me he is in love with me. Yet I did not know about this racist situation in Honduras. Regardless, I found him attractive and wonder if I should pursue this since I am really black. For the record, I am proud of being black and don't mind being with a white or mixed guy.
    Any insights about such relation? He talks about having kids soon and getting maried. How will my life be if we have to go back leave together in Honduras. I know he wouldn't face problems in my country in Africa.
    Thank you so much for you feedback

    Reply
      1. Jamie

        To all the Haters, take a look. Barack Obama is the 2 Term president of the most powerful super power in the world. Don't deceive yourself. Power is no longer about color!

        Reply

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