Open Letter from a Honduran Teacher to President Joe Biden
By Lucy Pagoada-Quesada
From New York
Mr. President Joe Biden,
As a Honduran-US citizen, I am writing to urge you to change course in U.S. policy towards Honduras so that my country can return to democracy. You were Vice President when in 2009, the government of your party led by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, supported the military coup in Honduras against our Constitutional President Manuel Zelaya Rosales. This led to a series of events that undermined our democracy and forced thousands to abandon their homes for refuge in the United States.
In 2010, the US government imposed on us Porfirio Lobo-Sosa, whose son Fabio Lobo is imprisoned in the U.S. for cocaine trafficking. In 2013, they also imposed on us the narco dictator Juan Orlando Hernández whose brother Antonio (Tony) Hernández is imprisoned in New York for trafficking tons of cocaine and weapons to the United States. In 2017, the United States imposed Hernández on us for a second time, and in a clearly fraudulent illegal reelection that was recognized as such by the Organization of American States (OAS).
From the moment that this violent, National Party narco-dictatorship was imposed on us, Honduras plunged into the worst social, economic, and political crisis in our history. This is what has led desperate Hondurans to flee in the massive exodus of displaced human beings called caravans. They do not come in search of the American dream, but rather fleeing the nightmare that this country, the United States, has imposed on them.
The Trump administration signed agreements with the countries of Guatemala and Mexico so that their security forces would be deployed to prevent passage of the displaced victims en route to the U.S. border, thereby denying the right to seek asylum and refuge.
So, President Biden, the caravans are the result of the failed policies of the “savage capitalist” system, as Pope John Paul II said, which the U.S. imposes on the Latin American region and the world. And if you and your government want the immigration “problem” to end, then we ask for a halt to U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of Honduras. The neoliberal economic model that the United States imposes on other countries in the region, including Honduras, has not worked. On the contrary, it has produced and deepened extreme inequality, poverty, violence, and the massive and inhumane exodus of entire displaced families.
You have been elected at a time of profound racial division, inequity, and the economic and health crisis due to COVID-19. Therefore, you must understand how difficult it is to prepare and hold an electoral process under those circumstances.
Like you and the US people, we in Honduras are fighting to recover our democracy, justice, and peace, which was destroyed by the 2009 coup d’état. And this coming November 2021, we are going to hold presidential elections for the third time after that terrible historical moment that changed our lives. Therefore, the only thing we demand from your government is to allow us to cast our ballots without foreign interference and that our sovereign decision as a people be respected. I assure you, that, in this way, your government will not have to face the massive exodus of brothers and sisters who are fleeing from Honduras in search of what was unjustly taken away from them.
I sign with all due respect and hope that the purposes of your administration are fulfilled for the good of the people.
Lucy Pagoada-Quesada, U.S.-Honduran citizen, is a teacher from NY.
[Photo credit: Flirck, open license. 2009 coup d’état in Honduras]