I have said it a few times in my time in Honduras. Being British, I often get labelled gringo, a tag that I loath. Not that I have a problem with people from the US, nor am I a snooty Brit who feels above them. I am not. It’s more about wanting to be disconnected as much as possible from US imperialism; a role it took up after the British Empire crumbled.
Before I get started, I must clarify something. For me, it’s important to separate a person from the political power in his or her country, as that individual doesn’t properly represent the behaviour and acts of that political establishment. For instance, the average Honduran is more decent and caring than those in power, the everyday Brit is nowhere as cold or conniving as the Tory party, and the great people of the US of A have very little in common with Donald Trump. It just goes to show how disconnected a government is from its citizens. That’s what I’ve come to realize in my lifetime, anyway; see the best in people, rather pigeon-holing a person through being blinded by patriotism and politics, which for me has created conflicts within and/or between countries.
While I saying that, I am going to unravel all what I have just said by stating that I have always enjoyed an upper highground over US friends as far as Honduras politics is concerned. Yes, snooty and posh, an undeserved platform to look down patronizingly on our petulant US cousins across the pond, which I know wind-ups gringos. It gives me that platform to say things such as, “Don’t moan about Russia meddling with your elections when you’re faffin’ around with another country’s politics”, with those in Central America being prime examples. A taste of your own medicine, so to speak.
Unfortunately, that platform has been taken away, after the British newspaper The Guardian uncovered that the UK government sanctioned the sale of up to £300,000 of spyware to the Honduran government just before the Honduran elections, which included sophisticated spy technology which according to the Guardian “can be used to intercept, monitor and track emails, mobile phones, and online messaging services such as WhatsApp was sold to Honduras to be used by its law enforcement agencies“.
How much this has been used on the 40 odd people who have been killed and 2,000 who have been detained since the elections, is obviously unclear. However, Juan Orlando Hernández’s use of military and Swat teams to repress opposition or protestors, with kidnappings, torture and extrajudicial killings, has been well-documented in the international press. I expected my government to know better. It’s not the first time it’s funded such regimes, though. Just look at Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey and Egypt. Go on. Take a bow.
The article goes on to say, “the 2008 British Export Control Act prohibits the sale of arms to countries where there is a clear risk that they will be used to repress their own people.
“Nevertheless, the government has sanctioned the sale of spyware to authoritarian states.”
Suffice to say, this raises many questions, especially for a government that prides itself on being fair and just, and bring tyrants to justice. Yet if it continues these dodgy dealings, it will find itself on the wrong side of history, yet again, further diminishing Britain’s stock on an international scale, when it has never been worse (especially in my lifetime), thanks to way it’s dealt with Brexit. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP and member of the Commons committee for arms export control, has asked the government to name the company that sold this spyware equipment. With these dealings being closely connected to the Tory party, we await an answer, although the chances are those involved will slime themselves out of it, one way or the other.
One of Britain’s most famous fictional characters is obviously James Bond. I have always championed him. This time, however, 007 could be working for the wrong people.