By Wellington C. Ramos
Anybody who studies Latin American politics knows that the problem in all of the Latin American and Caribbean countries and even other countries in the world is the inequitable distribution of the countries natural resources and goods to its citizens. During the Spanish colonization of their territories which lasted for centuries, all the wealth was given to a few families from Spain and they owned the lands and had control of the resources backed up by the Spanish Kings and Queens.
The indigenous people were slaughtered, enslaved and those who survived their genocide were forced to work for them as their slaves. Spain’s wars with the British, French and other European colonialist rivals in the Americas, Latin America, the Caribbean and other parts of the world, brought about a huge financial burden on their ability to maintain control of all their territories in the world.
As a result, all the revolutionist leaders from the Spanish territories in Latin America demanded their independence from Spain on September 15, 1821, under the leadership of their leader Simon Bolivar from Venezuela. These countries were being supported by the United States, a nation that was emerging as a world power that desperately needed to build its own empire under the concept of democracy with their own imperialism. The Latin American countries abrupt Declaration of Independence combined with disputed borders led to internal conflicts among themselves.
Plus, they had no resources to sustain their independence as colonies and that became a major challenge for these new nations. Most of the resources in these territories were under the control of Spanish people from Spain or their descendants who were mixed race and were called “Creoles. Many of them were angry that some of their citizens decided to sever ties with their mother country and were not willing to contribute their resources for any form of nation-building. This led to a culture of nations divided between the rich Spanish and Creole families, against the poor subjugated Indigenous peoples and their citizens of African descent, some of whom were brought to these countries as slaves for free labor except for the Miskito and Garifuna people.
Many of the former Spanish colonies were looking up to the United States to assist them in solving their problems but the United States was more concerned about fostering their own interest in this region. Some wealthy political leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean felt that the best way to improve the; economic, social and political conditions in their countries, was to institute programs to improve the living conditions of their indigenous people, people of African descent and poor citizens.
The other wealthy segment of the ruling class who are descendants from Spain and see themselves as Spanish and are still angry with the break away from their mother country was against and still against any change to the Spanish status quo.
When the British removed the Garifuna people from their homeland “Yurumein” now known as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and dumped them on the island of Roatan, Honduras in 1797. They knew of the struggles that were taking place in the region but wanted the Garifuna people to fight for them against the Spanish for their territories in Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize. There is evidence available to prove that some Garifuna people did fight for them.
The Spanish and the nationalistas in Honduras also wanted the Garifuna to fight with them for their independence and they did that also. Garifuna people were fighting for their survival in Central America. Eventually, the Garifuna people developed a lasting bond with the Liberal Party in Honduras due to lands that were granted to them for their support by a Honduran president. This led to an attitude of hatred by the Nationalist Party towards the Garifuna people. This is still an open bleeding wound that has not healed.
Whenever the Nationalist Party is in power, the Garifuna people have more problems with the government of Honduras. From the time this current president Orlando Hernandez assumed office, the Garifuna people have been experiencing gross human rights violations, kidnappings, torturing and killings in Honduras. Several Garifuna leaders have been killed such as Martin Pandy, Mirna Teresa Suazo a Garifuna woman Leader from Masca, including these five Garifuna men from Triunfo De La Cruz, who are still reported as being missing and their whereabouts are unknown up this day namely Alberth Snaider Centeno
Tomas, as well as Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, Suami Aparicio Mejía and Albert Sentana Thomas. Berta Caceres and Felix Vasquez two Lenca Leaders who were also assassinated under Hernandez’s reign. This has led to a mass migration of Garifuna and other people to the United States. It is not only the Garifuna people that are experiencing gross human rights violations but the native indigenous Lenca people as well. Another problem that emerged during Hernandez’s era is an increase in the people who are involved in drugs trespassing on Garifuna and other indigenous people’s lands posing a severe danger to their wellbeing.
When all the votes in the presidential election is counted, Ziomara Castro will become the new president of Honduras and it is only a matter of time before that is being done. Hernandez and his political party the Nationalist, know that they have already lost this election because the numbers are very convincing to everyone.
Currently, president Orlando Hernandez and many of his supporters, are making preparations to secure their family and their safety before they make the announcement. This is due to the tense political climate in Honduras at this moment. With Ziomara Castro becoming the new president of Honduras, it brings a sigh of relief and hope to my Garifuna people, the indigenous people, many other poor citizens in Honduras and the world. The new president will have many challenges, to create new reforms to change the politics in Honduras.
The United States has and continue to have major influence and control over what takes place in Honduras, Latin America and the Caribbean region. It is clear that if these countries have problems, America will inherit some of it because they all have families in the United States. This is the main reason why the Caravans of people are on their way to the United States. It is in the United
States’ best interest is to make sure that these governments provide for the basic need of their citizens or else, they will be joining their relatives in America. Based on what I have heard president Biden say, he sees the relationship between the migration of the people from Central America, with the conditions they endure in their respective countries and he will act.
America cannot afford to say, “let the governments do as they please with their citizens in their respective countries”. Years ago, I remember hearing the late Ronald Regan a Republican president making that statement. After the suffering people heard that, the whole of Central America was engulfed in a long Civil War that cost the United States trillions of dollars. Most of the countries in Central American are drifting backwards towards those types of regimes again.
Electing Democratic governments that care, love and provide the basic necessities to improve all of their citizens’ lives, is a good remedy, to avoid political turmoil, human rights violations, corruption, dictatorship and chaos in most countries on this planet earth.