ALAI, América Latina en Movimiento
The dominant concept:
Muzzled security is a masked security, a fraudulent notion, a false idea of democracy that results from the freedom of the market, and which has its greatest expression in war. It creates the fallacious notion of an internal enemy and the perverse idea of an "internal war" when in reality it is the maintenance and the reproduction of the accumulation and expansion of transnational capital; these are the true roots of violence, manifested through racism, gender aggression, inequality, extreme poverty and environmental degradation.
According to Zubiri, the word "emet" means truth, derived from the hebrew verb "aman", whose meaning is to have confidence, or security. In Latin "security refers to securus: tranquil, without the need to take care, without danger."
Identity is a historical and dialectical process. A culture develops when communities or nations organize themselves, mobilize and transform themselves in order to make their own political decisions; to satisfy their material, spiritual and cultural needs in order to achieve good living (buen vivir), social justice and the historical dignity of peoples. True security is based on the integral life of all living beings. It is human, with due respect for the rights of Mother Earth, and it is planetary as well.
In the neocolonial context of Latin America, the word "security" has been associated with the policies of the state ordered to oversee, punish, repress and discipline peoples through patriarchal obedience and humiliation. In synthesis, this is the total domination of peoples subjected to new ways of consolidating imperialism through local, para-state or supranational apparatus to impose hegemony.
In essence we are dealing with all the forms of protection and defence of structural and historical relations of domination of economic power, ideological politics to impact the everyday family, communitarian, national, regional and international life of our peoples. This comes through social inequality, racism, discrimination, symbolic violence, gender violence, torture, social injustice, the seizure of lands and territories of indigenous peoples, the colonizing of power through a war against all of us.
The instruments to impose such security have four components: ideological (alienating education, media domination, religious and academic fundamentalism without knowledge or conscience); repressive forces (military, police, counterinsurgency); juridical (that works through the justification of power: a punitive state, military police states, states of exception, coup d'état, a subordinate state, the narco state, the charter-city state); economic - occupation of lands and territories with violent dispossession of indigenous peoples, garífunas and misquitos, mining industries, dams, agrifuels, genetically modified plants and megaprojects for tourism, as well as "Charter Cities", or Model Cities, Special Areas for Development, that constitute an extreme example of muzzled security or the absolute control of territories of Latin America, particularly Honduras, under the pretext of a war on drugs.
The counterpart of Muzzled Security is Democratic, Hemispheric and Multidimensional Security. In the dialectical movement the one is transformed into the others under the mask of democracy and theocratic ideas.
Security: war against all of us through political action
Policies of security have their own history (Manifest Destiny, the Monroe Doctrine, the Doctrine of Living Space, the Doctrine of National Security, the Santa Fe Document, Zero Tolerance, Plan Colombia, Plan Puebla-Panama (Plan Mesoamerica), Plan Mérida (participation of the DEA in joint operations with the Honduran Police and Army, in which pregnant misquita women were murdered); Reactivation of the Fourth Fleet of the Southern Command in the Caribbean, Operations Rapid and Furious (arms for juvenile gangs); Plan of Repatriation of Immigrants, the war on delinquency, the war against the Maras, the privatization of health, housing, education and Repressive Private Security organizations.
The philosophy involves the suppression of the "right to be", the loss of hope and the right to dream, of both individuals and communities. Muzzled Security is constituted by organic intellectuals, technology, scientific methods and media strategies.
Thus throughout history there have been different takes on security, but none of these exclude military and police organizations: National Security Doctrine, Hemispheric Security Doctrine, Multidimensional Security, Human Security, Democratic Security, Citizen Security.
What is seen hides what is not seen
One way to present the incidence of violence has been the rate of homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants. It is an indicator that demonstrates the deliberate and illegal killing of a person by another person. It is then an indicator of the dead, but doesn't take into account the violence against the living that results in spiritual, mental and physical death.
In spite of being apparently an objective measure, the rate of homicides becomes a bag into which one relegates data, supplied by repressive bodies or the media at the service of the media war, concerning deaths due to personal and individual causes. Thus the structural origins of the violence produced by the capitalist system are ignored. In this way both the impunity and the responsibility of the repressive institutions of the state are covered up, as well as that of private security and powerful economic groups.
This reinforces the dominant ideology according to which we are savage peoples with a culture of violence, so that the barbarians must be civilized through military bases, the operations of the DEA, and the spiritual war of religious, academic and media fundamentalism.
In 2011, Honduras had the highest rate of homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants in the world (86.5), followed by El Salvador (76.3), Guatemala (38.6), Mexico (23), Panama (19), Nicaragua (13), Costa Rica (10.3).
There exists a significant difference in homicide rates in the region in spite of historical and cultural similitude. This is not the place to explain the differences, which could be the object of another article. One difference is Nicaragua, whose policies are not aligned with or surrendered to the Pentagon: they have fewer problems with drugs, youth gangs, and low homicide rates, mutual respect between the civilian population and military and police institutions.
The ex-ambassador of the U.S. in Nicaragua, Oliver Garza, by order of the Pentagon, has become the military advisor to the Government of Honduras, with an office in the Presidential Palace. The Honduran government is not free to access a respectful cooperation with the Nicaraguan government in matters of security.
Security gives rise to insecurity
The design and the architectural structure of houses and cities have been transformed. Closed spaces now prevail, with electric fences, walls, metallic doors and windows. Visible communication between neighbours has been broken. Television cameras are everywhere in houses and streets to ensure greater control, justified by delinquency. The city is the image and likeness of prisons. Political and daily life corresponds to an imprisoned democracy.
Prison policy is a system in which the condemned of the earth live. The fires and massacres in prisons in Honduras have shaken international conscience. Health is profoundly altered with the architectural change. Esthetics has become twisted. A lack of family and community communication prevails. Paranoia is the norm. Every new person is a potential enemy. One lives in a world of suspicion (with "a carnation of suspicion in one's buttonhole", said the poet Roberto Sosa). Trees are cut down because they may hide aggressors. Accidents and deaths are frequent in cases of fire; people cannot exit their houses because at times they do not know the system for opening iron-barred doors and windows. People live under stress for fear of assaults and the frequent noise of alarms and firearms at night.
The policy of neoliberal privatization has been extended to security and has resulted in a most lucrative industry, both local and multinational. The private training in the use of firearms has grown, especially among young people from wealthy families. There is the presence of every kind of electronic equipment to spy on and keep track of neighbours and people in the streets. This is a world in which we are all under surveillance except the powers that control the situation. There is no intimacy in communication since the laws allow for telephone tapping and cybernetic interference.
In the case of Honduras one lives in a Subordinated Military Police State; Private Security has more than 60 thousand armed men and women, more than the total in military and police ranks. Hired assassins constitute a system that bargains with death and becomes a mechanism of security for those who pay for crime.
The President of the Republic, the Secretaries of State in Justice and Human Rights, the National Agrarian Institute and Education have all been threatened. The oligarchic element enjoys impunity in the assassination, persecution and torture of campesino families, women, youths, defenders of human rights and opposition and popular resistance cadres.
In the name of security human rights have been violated, lands confiscated from original peoples, campesinos and Garífunas, and coups d'état and the installation of military bases are in effect crimes against democracy.
Who are the most violent people in the world, with the highest number of arms?
Eighty per cent of the drugs that move into the United States come through Central America, and this has stimulated the violence and the illegal traffic in drugs and arms (organized crime). This has given rise to some discussion in the USA concerning the real function of the Federal Antidrug Administration (DEA) as well as the office of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), concerning the operation "Rapid and Furious" which has resulted in the illegal transport into Mexico of more than two thousand assault rifles, fifty sniper rifles and thousands of munitions. In addition the possibility has been mentioned of something similar in Honduras, although this was denied by US authorities. Honduran Misquita families have accused DEA agents of taking part in assassinations of their loved ones, something that has been denied by the agency.
In the twenty-first century we believe that peace and justice should prevail and that war is not a mechanism suitable to overcome the problem of drugs. Our desire is that there should be no lethal consumption of drugs, including alcohol, tobacco and all the rest. The highest consumption of drugs in the world is in the USA, and this reflects the social crisis and the lack of opportunity for work, education and recreation for youth in the USA. The drug traffic is inseparable from the legal as well as the clandestine traffic in arms and consequent corruption. The search for security involves the changing of market relations and transforming social and political inequality into a democracy with economic equality and a world without arms or armies.
According to SIPRI (The International Institute for Peace Research of Stockholm) the world spends 1738 billions of dollars on arms (2011). Central America and the Caribbean spend seven billion dollars. Military expenditures are higher in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. In the case of Honduras, one of the poorest countries of Latin America, the US military assistance budget increased with respect to 2011 by 70% (51 million dollars) and has come to be one of the strategic axes of US policy.
The National Assembly of Costa Rica gave permission in 2010 for the landing of 46 warships, 200 helicopters and seven thousand marines. In 2012 two special military bodies have been created in Guatemala: Fuerza Tarea Tecún Umán, and the elite group Los Tigres in Honduras.
Challenges for the future
In the face of this situation of "security policies" we have the challenge of being able to develop a critical and reflexive consciousness about problems of violence in the context of these security policies. Being able to assimilate and reflect critically on the lessons of history through everyday life is essential for the building of our future. Parties, social movements, educational or academic institutions are denaturalized when they distance themselves from social reality and lack a critical and participative stance in the face of the progressive destruction of Mother earth. This as well as the violations of human rights, and the absence of these institutions from the defence of sovereignty and the self-determination of peoples.
It will not be possible to create integral, human and democratic security, in which the respect for life, dignity and the rights of Mother Earth without engaging in theory, truth and history and developing a social and political practice concerning human rights, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, which involves working with social movements and libertarian institutions.
We must never forget that the form, the essence, of the pedagogy of transformation must be rooted in the love, solidarity and liberation of the oppressed, with the unity and respect for the historic dignity of the peoples of Latin America. The immediacy of the unjust reality: misery, hunger and sickness assails our eyes, ears, our sentiments and this perception of the whole picture that generates solidarity with pain and suffering. What we see immediately is the path for reaching the essence that, nevertheless, is not the essence itself of the phenomenon. The assimilation and transformation of reality must move through social praxis. It is not a question of each of us being transformed in order then to change the reality; on the contrary, we cannot change our own essence without active participation in the total and unitary social construction of a diverse world where peace, justice, human and planetary solidarity become the reality.
(Translation: Jordan Bishop)
-- Juan Almendares is a Honduran Medical Doctor, ex-rector of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH), and was a presidential candidate for the Unificación DemocráticaI party (UD).
[Página de búsquedas]
Quienes somos | Área Mujeres |
Minga Informativa de Movimientos