From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Canada's Free Trade in Oppression

On June 28th 2009 the democratically elected Manuel Zelaya government was overthrown by the Honduran military.Zelaya was preparing to rewrite Honduras' constitution that was drafted by a previous US backed military dictatorship and institute land reforms granting land titles to the nations poor farmers known as the Campesinos. Both moves were opposed by the nations ultra rich palm plantation owners, who have laid claim to this land.

The coup and subsequent fraudulent elections has lead to a popular movement to restore democracy, redraft the constitution,and enact land reform the very things Zelaya was elected to do. The government and the wealthy plantation owners of course have reacted violently to put down the peoples movement. In fact last year Honduras was ranked as the most dangerous nation for journalists. Plantation owners have openly murdered Campesinos and movement leaders with legally mandated impunity.

More at The Real News

This is where Canada enters the picture.Along with the US,Canada is one of the leading nations in the whitewashing of the coup.But it's involvement doesn't stop there, Canada helps provide training and funding to the Honduran National police who burn crops and destroy whole Campesino villages clearing the way for the plantation owners to reclaim the land.

More at The Real News

But wait it gets worse,Canada is holding out $700 million in economic development and a possible free trade deal with one of the poorest nations in South America in exchange for favourable changes in Honduras' mining laws which will benefit Canadian mining companies who have a brutal record of polluting the countryside with such poisons as cyanide.

Canadian tourism interests are also in the violent land grab business. Kidnapping, threats murder and the odd massacre are being used to clear the to way build a $15 million port in the coastal city of Trujillo to receive cruise ships and to build a four-park tourist attraction that includes hotels, a shopping centre, and more.

In November 2009, 5 months after the military coup, Rights Action reported on a letter writing campaign initiated by pro-coup North Americans living on Honduras’ north coast and the Bay Islands – including Roatan -, to pressure the US and Canadian governments to effectively support the coup, by legitimizing the post-coup regime led by Roberto Micheletti. (See Rights Action’s Alert #89 “Pro-Coup North Americans in Honduras”,

Wait there's more,Gildan Activewear of Montreal, a major supplier to Canadian and American universities operates sweatshops in Honduras where workers toil under horrendous conditions. Crippling injuries are common among the women who toil there, once injured they are cast out to fend for themselves,often no longer able to work in order to feed their families.

Tomorrow Our incontinent PM visits Honduras in the hope of expanding this relationship,sure hard to be a proud Canadian these days isn't it.

For more info on Harper's visit to Honduras and what's at stake see Rights Action - August 8, 2011 HONDURAS - Canadian Investment & Business Alert

UPDATE: On Aug. 4, the Lobo government of Honduras approved the entry of Canadian soldiers into the country to take part in a joint training exercise, as such we will be sending 150 soldiers to work alongside the military of one of the most illegitimate and oppressive regimes in the world

On Friday August 12,2011, While on a state visit to Honduras,the first by any leader since the coup, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the signing of a free trade deal with  the Lobos government . This deal still needs to be ratified, however that is a mere formality. One more consequence of giving Harper a majority government

An Open Letter To Harper From The Women Of Honduras


  1. In a similar vein, I was struck yesterday by Harper's facile assertion that those who oppose the new FTA with Columbia on human rights grounds are actually sinister "protectionists". What he fails to realize (or just refuses to admit) is in countries where corrupt oligarchies rule & all economic power is controlled by established elites no amount of free trade will bring social justice. All an FTA with Columbia does is provide those now in control with an opportunity to enrich themselves off the labour of the persecuted underclass. Signing FTA's with any country with egregious human rights violations will not increase human security or deliver social justice; rather, said FTA's will simply reward third world national business models that thrive off oppression and terror.

  2. Well put my friend as always however I have to disagree with the contention that our incontinent PM fails to realise that these trade deals do not bring about societal change,rather he just doesn't give a damn.

  3. 'Protectionists?' How can there be protectionists?? What Canadian industry will be under threat of serious financial harm from production in Colombia? What Colombian product(s) would destroy Canadian companies, save for a tariff on its/their importation?

    I doubt the Cons seriously believe opposition is due to 'protectionism'. I think Harper's playing the hate-list associative word game. Everyone against his ideas is a commie, terrorist, protectionist, separatist, unionist, feminist, anarchist, godless hoodlum. These being the sorts of words his base and media are trained to respond to.

  4. Anon Absolutely,never debate always denigrate. Unfortunately to date it has been an effective strategy for him, how much longer it continues to be remains to be seen. Not much longer I hope

  5. A dollop or three of protectionism would do the economy good anyway. Our economy did better when we made some of our own stuff. I've never understood what makes that such a difficult concept.

  6. Purple Library Guy I'm old enough to remember the bad old days of "protectionism" You know those days when there was a job for all who wanted one.

  7. I'm just asking to see if anyone happens to know -- are any of the "war criminals" that Toews is trying to expel from Honduras?

  8. Thank you for this. I shall RT it until my fingers fall!

  9. Anon, The first one that was arrested Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez was from Honduras. He is believed to have belonged to an army unit that may have been involved in crimes, however out government believes that he faces no danger upon his return.

    Make of that what you will

  10. Hey Min, please do but what ever you do don't hurt yourself @brit_newsman would never forgive me if you did LOL