Rights Action
February 4, 2019
CBC’s The Sunday Report delves into role of U.S., whitewashes role of Canada in creating underlying causes of why so many Central Americans flee, every year
By Grahame Russell, Rights Action, February 4, 2019
Narrator Michael Enright ends his February 3, 2019, CBC Sunday Report interview with Professor Elizabeth Oglesby asking “Are things going to get worse this year?” The answer is yes. Things are already worse in Guatemala and Honduras in 2019. I will come back to why.

(Mexico Daily News, January 31, 2019)
This Sunday Report looks closely at the historic and current role of the U.S. government in supporting corrupt, repressive, military-backed regimes in Honduras and Guatemala, so as to benefit the interests of numerous global companies and investment firms, thus contributing directly to why 10s of 1000s of people flee into exile, every year.
Not only does Enright ask pointed questions of his guest, but he also makes comments, himself, about the aggressive, interventionist role of the U.S.
However, Michael Enright and The Sunday Report ignore completely how the Canadian government and companies have also contributed to the underlying conditions of violence, destitution and government repression and corruption in Honduras and Guatemala.
A few gaping silences
While Michael Enright rightly asked Professor Oglesby about how U.S. corporate interests (from the history of the United Fruit Company and banana barons to the deadly African palm industry) help create the very conditions that force people to flee, Enright asked no questions and made no comments about numerous Canadian mining companies (Goldcorp, Hudbay Minerals, Tahoe Resources/ Pan American Silver, Radius Gold, Aura Minerals) that are directly responsible for human rights violations, environmental and health harms, and forced evictions, while benefitting from government repression, judicial and political corruption and impunity.
Enright asked no questions about the proactive, aggressive role the Canadian government has played, over the past 20 years, in pressuring Central American countries to pass pro-mining industry laws and open their natural resources to Canadian mining companies.
The silence got louder when discussing Honduras. While Professor Oglesby did talk of the recent spiral of violence after the fraudulently stolen elections of November 2017, there was no discussion – neither by Michael Enright nor Professor Oglesby – about how Honduras’ current nightmare situation dates back to the U.S. and Canadian-supported military coup in June 2009 that illegally and violently ousted the country’s last democratically elected government.
It was after this 2009 coup, and the ensuing spike in government repression, generalized crime and violence, organized crime, corruption and impunity that the numbers of Hondurans fleeing started substantially, right through to the current phenomena of large-scale refugee caravans.
As a leading media outlet in Canada, an obvious question is why the CBC would correctly delve into and expose the negative and complicit role of the U.S. government, but not that of the Canadian government and businesses, in Honduras and Guatemala’s now permanent nightmare of violence, destitution and government repression and corruption.
Why things are getting worse – the “Venezuela crisis”
Conditions of corruption and impunity in Guatemala and Honduras have worsened in January 2019, with the explosion of the so-called “Venezuela crisis” into the international limelight. Professor Oglesby discussed some of this related to Guatemala and the government’s illegal shutting down of the U.N. sponsored CICIG (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala).

I say ‘so-called’ Venezuelan crisis because what is occurring goes far beyond Venezuela’s borders. Over the past 70 years, the U.S. has led and supported violent and illegal interventions (some supported quietly by Canada; some supported openly) across Latin America, beginning with Guatemala in 1954, and from there Cuba, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Grenada, Central America many times (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala), Panama, Haiti and Honduras yet again in 2009.
Every one of these ‘government change’ interventions has gone violently and destructively for the majority populations of these countries and their political and judicial institutions. Tellingly, these interventions usually have gone well for global corporations and investors, the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, etc.
Now, live on TV, an attempted coup in Venezuela led by the U.S., Canada, the ad hoc ‘Lima group’ and certain economic and political elites in Venezuela.
‘Lima group’ and the “democratic allies” of Canada and the U.S.
Not only are these coordinated ‘government change’ measures illegal, as they were in every other case mentioned above, but this U.S. and Canadian led effort is directly empowering the Honduran and Guatemalan regimes, now presented as “democratic allies”.
Back at home, the military-backed Honduran and Guatemalan governments are throwing out – as Professor Oglesby discussed - any pretense of putting an end to corruption and impunity. The number of desperate people fleeing Central America – mainly Honduras and Guatemala – will increase, as will the suffering of a majority of Venezuelans.
This is a U.S. and Canadian-led illegal ‘government change’ effort going on in prime time, with basically no democratic oversight or accountability from the U.S. and Canadian political and judicial systems; with the mainstream media in both countries enabling and justifying this.
How can things not get worse?
Grahame Russell, Rights Action
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