The United States, Honduras, and the Crisis in Central America

The United States, Honduras, and the Crisis in Central America

The United States, Honduras, and the Crisis in Central America

The United States, Honduras, and the Crisis in Central America

Synopsis

Prior to the 1980s Honduras was an obscure backwater, of little public or policy concern in the United States. With the advent of the Reagan administration, however, Honduras became a launching pad for the administration's contra was against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and for counterinsurgency operations in El Salvador.

Placing events in the context of Honduran history, the authors provide a fascinating account of Honduran domestic politics and of the personalities, motives, and maneuvers of policymakers on both sides of the U.S.-Honduras relationship-- too often a tale of intrigue, violence, and corruption.

Excerpt

Much water has flowed under the Guanacaste bridge since this book was first conceived in the summer of 1984. Back then it seemed appropriate to write a short, pithy tale of a small, dependent country corrupted by the overwhelming power and influence of the "Colossus of the North." In the process of researching the study, however, we found a history and society much richer and more interesting than that. Having lived in Honduras for two years and visited it on numerous occasions, we came to love it even as we were appalled by its weaknesses. This affection may not always be apparent in the pages that follow. Inevitably, if one is focusing on the causes of a crisis--whether current or chronic--one must dwell on the negative: poverty, corruption, subservience to foreign interests, and so on. Such realities tend to overshadow the positive traits of a people. Yet we have grown to appreciate the strength and courage of the many ordinary Hondurans who continue to live their lives under the most trying of circumstances: mothers attempting desperately to survive and keep together the remains of their families after fathers have left home, peasants still seeking to eke out a living though the land they work cannot support them, schoolteachers trying to survive on a salary that is not nearly enough to sustain a decent living. There is much here to respect, as well as much to criticize.

Above all, we have come to understand that Honduras is not a one-dimensional society. Though the country is best known to North Americans through stereotypes, it is not simply a "banana republic." (Today, in fact, bananas account for only about one-third to one-half of the value of Honduran exports.) Nor is it quite the "constitutional democracy" that the Reagan administration designated it or the "land- based aircraft carrier" that was the object of so much ridicule from the political left during the 1980s. Although all these images capture part of Honduran reality, they are essentially political cartoons; they oversimplify and distort to the point of caricature. Behind them there . . .

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