lunes, 17 de mayo de 2010

Professionalizing the Honduran Police: Advice from Germany


An article in La Tribuna today reports that Cristian Luth, the Director for Central America of the the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, says that the Foundation will advise the National Police in Honduras "to guarantee the professional development of their employees":
"The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, at the request of [Director of the National Police] Jose Luis Muñoz Licona, will work with the National Police to first perform a structural analysis, and then an analysis over the work of this important institution in conjunction with two German Police colonels. The result of this analysis will serve as a guide to this institution, and the Honduran government, to guarantee the high professional level of the Honduran Police."

Then-President Carlos Roberto Reina of the Liberal Party reportedly used the Foundation in 1996 and 1997 to advise on the separation of the National Police force from the Armed Forces by coordinating a dialogue between civilian and military representatives on the need of a democracy for independent institutions.

Luth said, "this also was the theme of the last year when we supported President Roberto Micheletti."

What is the Naumann Foundation, and what expertise does it have in reorganizing police forces in Latin America?

It describes itself as "a foundation for liberal politics," based on the ideas of German protestant theologian Friedrich Naumann, who believed that a functioning democracy needs politically informed and educated citizens. The Naumann Foundation intends to promote civic education, political dialogues, and political counseling. It is affiliated with the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), a Liberal party that is a minor partner with the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, emphasizing neoliberal economic policies like privatization, deregulation, "reducing bureaucracy", and "reform of collective bargaining". In other words: Republicans.

The values the Friedrich Naumann Foundation espouses are interesting. One goal is that all citizens may freely live in an open society. It supports free markets, and access for all to education, labor, information, markets, and small government.

Curiously, the Foundation emphasizes that it is interested more in the equal application of rules to all rather than justice, because "just results do not exist."

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation has worked with the Liberal Party of Honduras (PLH in Spanish) for some time. Rosalinda Sabillón, the Foundation program director in Honduras bragged shortly before the coup that the Naumann Foundation had a "39 member caucus" in the Honduran Congress.

The Foundation offers seminars and training courses to Liberal Party members, and provides them with access to campaign advisors from the German FDP. President Zelaya had an FDP campaign advisor on his campaign, Peter Schroeder. Schroeder had worked as communications director for the FDP prior to forming his private company to manage political campaigns. The foundation also trained Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, who Porfirio Lobo Sosa just appointed as ambassador to the UN, former candidate for president Elvin Santos, former Zelaya adviser Yani Rosenthal, Central Bank director under the de facto government Gabriela Nuñez, and the head of the de facto regime, Roberto Micheletti Bain, who in 2008 held meetings with FDP Vice President Werner Hoyer about intensifying the Foundation's activities in Honduras with an eye to the 2008 internal PLH elections.

Via its Central American director Cristian Luth, the Foundation promulgates the idea that Roberto Micheletti Bain "defended the constitution of Honduras against titanic forces", and that Manuel Zelaya was going to introduce "twenty-first century socialism" in Honduras. This was a position it took after Zelaya, formerly a protege, led Honduras in joining the ALBA alliance.

Today, the Naumann Foundation is promoting Elvin Santos as the best hope for re-uniting the Liberal Party, since he continues the ideas of Roberto Micheletti. The foundation regularly place their press releases in El Heraldo and La Tribuna as news stories. Their agenda for Honduras is clear, and adds to the evidence that last year's coup d'Etat, far from being entirely an internal struggle, was supported by global conservative economic, political, religious, and social forces.


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