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How Joe Biden’s privatization plans helped doom Latin America and fuel the migration crisis

On the campaign trail, Joe Biden has boasted of his role in transforming Colombia and Central America through ambitious economic and security programs. Colombians and Hondurans tell The Grayzone about the damage his plans did to their societies.

by Max Blumenthal

Part 9 - Hondurans take to the streets, wind up in US-style supermax prisons

By 2017, the movement in Honduras that had galvanized against the US-orchestrated 2009 coup saw its most immediate opportunity for political transformation at the ballot box. President Hernández was running for re-election, violating a constitutional provision on term limits. His opponent, Salvador Nasrallah, was a popular broadcast personality who provided a centrist consensus choice for the varied elements that opposed the country’s coup regime.

When voting ended on November 26, Nasrallah’s victory appeared certain, with exit polls showing him comfortably ahead by several points. But suddenly, the government announced that a power outage required the suspension of vote counting. Days later, Hernández was declared the victor by about 1 percent.

The fraud was so transparent that the Organization of American States (OAS), normally an arm of US interests in Latin America, declared in a preliminary report that “errors, irregularities and systemic problems,” as well as “extreme statistical improbability,” rendered the election invalid.

But the United States recognized the results anyway, leaving disenfranchised Hondurans with protest as their only recourse.

Hondurans tried to change what happened in their country through the 2017 elections, not just Hernández but all the implementation of all these policies that the Biden plan had funded and implemented all these years since the coup,” explained Karen Spring, of the Honduras Solidarity Network.

They tried to change that reality through votes and when the elections turned out to be a fraud, tons of people had no choice but to take to the streets.

At the front lines of the protests in 2017 was Spring’s longtime partner, the Honduran activist Edwin Espinal. Following a protest in November of that year where property damage took place, Espinal was arrested at gunpoint at his home and accused of setting fire to the front door of a hotel. He fervently denied all charges, accusing the government of persecuting him for his political activism.

In fact, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had placed a protective measure on Espinal in 2010 in response to previous attempts to legally railroad him.

The government placed Espinal in pre-trial detention in La Tolva, a US-style maximum security prison normally reserved for violent criminals and narco-traffickers. Last October, Espinal and Spring were married in the jail while surrounded by masked guards.

Since the Biden plan, contractors have been coming down to build these US-style maximum security prisons,” Spring said. “That’s where my husband Edwin Espinal is being held.

They say the company is Honduran but there’s no way Hondurans could have built that without US architects or US construction firms giving them the plans,” she added. “I’ve been in the prison and it’s like they dumped a US prison in the middle of Honduras.

Reflecting on her husband’s persecution, Spring explained, “Edwin wanted to stay in his country to change the reality that caused mass migration. He’s one of the people who’s faced consequences because he went to the streets. And he’s faced persecution for years because he’s one of the Hondurans who wanted to change the country by staying and fighting. Berta Caceres was another.

Hondurans wanted to use their votes to change the country and now they’re voting with their feet,” she continued. “So if Biden’s plan really addressed the root causes of the migrant crisis, why aren’t people asking why migration is getting worse? Hondurans are voting on the Biden plan by fleeing and saying your plan didn’t work and it made our situation worse by fleeing to the border.

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