About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Honduras Murder Rate and Venezuela's Almost Coup

Back in April the UN put out a report that the murder rate in Honduras was the highest in the world. Close (90 per 100,000 vs. 53) to double that of Venezuela. This list has been shooting around the internet and news sources for months now - for good or evil.

The folks over at American Stinker Thinker (is that Uncle Sam sitting on an inodoro on their home page?) want to point out, however, that things in Honduras are not that bad, and that the kids coming north are certainly not migrating because of any push-pull factors (it's all that jerk Obama's fault, they argue, just sittin' on his White House porch suckin' kids north). They offer a graph of El Salvador (avg. 41.2) and Guatemala (avg. of 39.9) with lower murder rates, conveniently leaving Honduras off the chart but adding an aside that if they were to add Honduras, its murder rate would "present a similar graph." Well, at over twice the average of the other two they would have to double the height of the graph, but other than that, just the same.

So, I'm not here to bellyache about kids at the borders. My beef is this: Between January and April, the neocon right in the United States had their knickers in a twist about the violence in Venezuela that was "plunging the nation into chaos." Opinion journalists like Frances Martel (an avid National Enquirer reader) wrote in Breitbart (yep, that far right) that President Maduro had "catapulted" Venezuela into a high murder rate. This came with near daily slams at Venezuela and stories that Venezuelan applications for asylum were WAY up and that torture and violence were off the charts - as proven by pictures of four guys with black eyes and some cuts.  Well, we assume they are from Venezuela, at least. Maduro had to go. Venezuelans needed asylum. The US needed to invade. The people of the middle-class Venezuelan twitterverse had spoken on the oppression of long lines for food and college kids with contusions and it was time for intervention and change.

Meanwhile, in Honduras where the gangs and cartel thugs chop off arms and legs, the paleoconservative magazine "The American Conservative" notes that our Drug War has been a failure and that the US has plunged that nation into incredible violence. The right leaning mag goes on to say (back in October 20 friggin 12:

Just this week, the Associated Press reported an “unprecedented surge” of unaccompanied children jumping our southern border to get into the U.S from Central America, and Honduras in particular. Many of them don’t make it, and are sent back to lives made untenable by brutal poverty, gangs, and neglect.
These are our drug war orphans, made in part by failed policies that ignore the historic folly of prohibition.

Sigh. So why is Venezuela ripe for coup and invasion and their citizens worth of asylum because it is tough getting eggs and milk, while Honduras is "not so bad" and really "not our problem"? Back in 2008 the French ambassador felt Honduras was slipping into a narco state, and I'd argue the coup that ousted Zelaya has only accelerated that process. I'll see your coeds with black eyes in Venezuela and raise you piles of bodies in Honduras. If only Honduras had oil we didn't control, then maybe we'd care.