The Reality of the War on Drugs is a War on the People



16 April 2016

As the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs prepares to meet in New York City, the members of the Honduran Solidarity Network (HSN) join their voices with those of the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice in denouncing the U.S. War on Drugs and the unjust and violent policies implemented by the U.S. Government and its contractors in pursuit of the flawed objectives of this ill-conceived project in Honduras, Mexico and all of Latin America and the Caribbean. In particular as we near another anniversary of the tragedy, we highlight the seemingly forgotten case of the slaughter of two pregnant women and two boys in the rural town of Ahuás, Honduras during a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operation on May 11, 2012. These murders remain in impunity; no one has been held accountable for the crime and no serious investigation has been conducted by the DEA, or any other US government entity. Our members have interviewed the victims of Ahuás as well as other victims of violence that is justified as being part of the War on Drugs in Honduras.

We call for an end to impunity and an end to this War that continues to bring such tragedies and suffering.

Set in motion by President Richard Nixon in the late sixties, the War on Drugs was confirmed by former top Nixon advisor John D. Ehrlichman in a 1994 interview as having been a framing tactic used to target African Americans and anti-war protesters. From this odious political genesis this “war” became the mechanism for the mass incarceration of Blacks and Latinos in the U.S., tearing apart communities and families for generations.

Washington inserted the War on Drugs into the foreign policy realm with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the need for a new external threat to justify bloated military budgets and U.S. military presence around the globe. Helicopter sales to Colombia, toxic illicit crop spraying projects and increased military aid in the name of disrupting the flow of cocaine and marijuana to the U.S., the War on Drugs made a slew of Pentagon and State Department contractors very wealthy while violence ravaged the affected countries.  Ironically, the effect of the War on Drugs on its stated objective – the eradication of the drug trade – was only to act as a catalyst for drug trafficking, making illicit profits greater and exacerbating the impunity, increased militarization, and human rights violations that now have come to characterize Honduras, the most violent country in the world.

In Honduras, the 2009 coup and its continuation increased the power of a corrupt oligarchy with ties to narcotics cartels while allowing the War on Drugs to be used to promote violence and human rights violations including forced disappearances and assassinations. The militarization of nations like Honduras has fostered an environment of impunity in which police, special forces, the military, and private security contractors, not to mention U.S. military, U.S. Government agents and U.S. contractors, are heavily armed and feel answerable to no one. Given this situation it should not be a surprise to anyone to see thousands of Hondurans fleeing their country in another of the forced migrations that wars produce. 

We stand with the brutalized but resistant peoples of Honduras, Mexico and the other victims of the War on Drugs who are taking a stand against crimes like the slaughter in Ahuás and the 2014 disappearing of the 43 students in Iguala, Mexico. The U.S. must stop providing support to governments that do not respect the rule of law, allow crimes to occur with impunity and are themselves implicated in many of the crimes committed in the name of national security and the War on Drugs. Impunity for crimes directly involving U.S. forces must also end.  We call on our elected officials to insist that officials in the State Department and the Department of Justice sweep aside delaying tactics and obfuscation, so that there can be a genuine and rigorous investigation of these cases and the many other that further stain the reputation of our nation and cause such pain and suffering both at home and abroad.