is food over fuel still relevant? for my pre-departure research paper, i argued that the movement of unified campesinos in aguan (MUCA) fight for food sovereignty is a direct threat to wealthy honduran land owners, the honduran governments and multinational corporations. the fruit stands along the highway are filled with overripened bananas and mangos. on the same drive, i pass by fields of neatly ordered palm oil trees. this same highway was built with US aid money and connects the largest US army base in central america to the rest of honduras. these sightings challenge the argument for food over fuel.
the effects of US imperialism are structurally intergrated into normative honduran life. i further the cause for imperialism by teaching english as a volunteer internationally. the chairs, desks and whiteboards are stamped with stickers that read “US AID.” when the students do not dress in uniform, the differences in class status are marked by distinctions in expensive US clothing brands like aeropostale, abercrombie & fitch, hollister and tommy hilfiger. when hondurans wear fashionable US clothing, it is a statement of status that rejects the “underdevelopment” of honduras and poverty.
my mentor elly from intercordia’s partner organization, international cultural youth exchange (ICYE) describes an aspect of honduran culture as “give me.” additionally, she describes government politics, whether left or right, as corrupt. when all this US aid money is spent to further honduran development, how come the majority of hondurans continue to live in poverty? in her book “dead aid,” dambiso moyo poses the question: why do donors continue to give aid without demands and expectations from the recipients? additionally, who does development benefit?
the distinctions made between the US as a developed nationa and honduras as an undeveloped nations is made through aid donations. when honduras is marked as an undeveloped nation, it is positioned as a lacking and problematic country. honduras’ main exports are bananas and coffee. these exports designate the country as economically “behind” in development compared to countries that have profitable industries focused on banking, natural resource extraction and technologies. the US affirms its positions of power to govern by its ability to give aid donations.
honduras’ compliance with US expectations is demonstrated by its economic agreements with mining corporations and palm oil production companies along with its military agreements with the construction of the largest central american US army base on honduran soil. although honduras is compliant with US demands, the corrupted honduran governments live royally while the common folks of honduras live in poverty. further, honduras’ compliance favorable benefits the interests of the US and positions honduras as its subordinate. aid sustains control for those in power and inhibits justice. aid stifles development and upholds injustice.