Skip to Content

Poor, Abused Honduras; Groped Again

A Case of Imperial Misconduct

Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, is a classic liberal Democrat. What makes him interesting in this context is that he spent nearly a year of his young, pre-politico life back in the 1980s working in Honduras with Jesuits steeped in Liberation Theology, the spiritual discipline among the poor that follows the human teachings of Jesus Christ, that is, the antithesis of right-wing Christian fundamentalism. Kaine has publicly spoken out in favor of the OAS call for a new election in Honduras. I see this as a matter of the human heart. Thanks to his personal experiences on the ground there, Kaine intimately knows something about the suffering of the Honduran people. I share this kind of empathy-inducing experience. In my case, in 1984 I was deported from Honduras with five other Americans for speaking publicly in Tegucigalpa against the Contra War. Our arrest was overseen by Proconsul Negroponte and his staff, and to this day, I’m a persona-non-grata in Honduras. Why? Because, like Kaine, I was a young witness and learned something important about abusive power that gives me great sympathy for the Honduran people. Given his political status, Kaine (who emphasizes his facility with Spanish) may not wish to emphasize the reported fact that as a young man he met with Father James Carney, a radical American priest who worked with the poor who was presumably killed by Honduran forces, possibly with US complicity. His body was never found. I met brave people like this as well, so I know enough to discount the standard, glib label of "communist" that so effectively intimidates many Americans from a true understanding of the Honduran reality. One thing I learned in Honduras is that Hondurans who live in Central America are just as much “Americans” as any citizen of the United States. Our great, self-congratulatory myth of American Exceptionalism functions as a blinder for too many North Americans. My experiences in the 1980s in Honduras and Central America were insignificant but personally profound, which, of course, is the English meaning of the word honduras. These experiences led me to a commitment to what is a perennial, complex human struggle for peace and justice that will end for me only when I pass into oblivion.

The Trump administration works the other side, the side that sees war as profitable and peace as domination, the side Dick Cheyney referred to as “the dark side.” I don’t believe in absolutes or anything permanent; but I do believe in good and evil as forces in contention within us all, which means they're also contending inside nation states and inside all institutions, including religion institutions. In a move that reeks of this kind of mundane evil, President Trump publicly threatened every nation in the UN General Assembly that if you vote against us (in this case, against moving our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem) we’ll retaliate by withdrawing any aid we’ve promised you. The vote was so lopsided, it read like the world giving the Trump administration the finger. Noteworthy, the lapdog government of President Hernandez in Honduras was one of nine tiny nations voting with the United States.



story | by Dr. Radut