Sunday, October 09, 2011

My Last Day in Honduras is Wednesday

I will be leaving Honduras on Wednesday, but hopefully not for good.  I don't really know right now what the future will hold on my return to Honduras.  I love this country and it has become as much a part of me as I have became a part of Honduras.  I am not sure how returning to the US is going to affect me, but it will be a very difficult transition for me that is for sure.

My heart breaks for so many things right now.  I am sad about my cousin, sad about the death of a friend, and even more sad now that my son has returned to the states and me forcing him to go back when he wanted to stay in Honduras.  I had to insist though with the murder rate at 82 per 100,000 there is no way I am letting him stay here when he has a way out.  So he went back to the states and he promised his friends he would return to Honduras and I am sure he will, he is after all more Honduran than he is American.

I have thought about all the things I will miss here and I am feeling very sorry for myself right now so I am going to write about the misery I feel right now over leaving Honduras.  What I will likely miss most is the food here. I love the different foods, green fried bananas, chimol, ceviche, yucca with chicharrones, there are countless things...of course these things can be found in the US and are more common all the time as the community grows in the US, but the food for some reason never tastes the same as it does here.  That said what I will truly miss the most are my friends and neighbors.  Las Brisas is now a conflicted zone when it was very safe and hopefully soon they regain control of the community and plans are in action as I write this so most have whispered to me in about a year things should be settled down again.  The community sad to see us go are all in agreement that we have made the best decision in leaving and that all of them wish they could transplant our little community to the US and I wish that too because it would be great to have all my same neighbors in the US with me, but that is impossible.  I will miss walking to the 'pulperia' and talking to several people along the way or going to visit friends in the evening or even going to the local lady that cooks food and buying chicken and tajadas or a baleada.  Listening to the kids pop fireworks at tremendously inappropriate times.  I will miss the vegetable man with his cart and horse selling us potatos, tomatoes, green peppers, etc and listing for his cart to come by the loud speaker he speaks over.  I will miss water being delivered to my house and will feel really wierd about drinking out of a tap....I can see the looking for wierd stuff coming out of my tap now..and nothing happening in the my water ran from brown to yellow and occasionally clear..but usually never without floaties...oh well wierd the things I will miss.  I will miss having wall to wall ceramic flooring.  I love my ceramic floors and hate carpet.  I will miss living in my two story house and standing on the second floor patio looking out over the neighborhood and being able to see the Merendon from there. I have made my decision but sort of regret it in a way, but I know this is the best thing even if it is killing me inside.  My heart is broken I love it here.  I never wanted to return to the US, but I never dreamed the mess Honduras would become.  I will miss watching the kids play soccer and my son running around shirtless after the soccer ball.  Remind me why I am doing this again?

The things I won't miss are the violence and pain that have been caused by really bad people.  I miss my cousin and want him back, but know that is impossible in my heart.  I miss David and I miss so many things...but I have to go back to the US and start over.  I will miss my life here, but I will have a new life that I am not sure is going to be as I would like in the US.  I will be with someone I love dearly which counts for a lot.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

256 Women Murdered in Honduras during 2011

Over 256 women have been murdered in Honduras in this year alone.  This is a terrible number of women and absolutely astounding.  What is worse is that very few of these crimes have been solved.

In Honduras, when you read the paper it is very rare to see the paper admit a woman was raped before she was murdered.  The paper will say that the body was found half naked or naked, and things along that line that imply what occurred but they rarely come out and say the woman was raped and murdered.

Recently two little girls of just 13 years old were found dead after they had left out from their home at 7 pm together.  The girls were found in two different locations.  One was found dead close to her home and the other was found in the colonia Villeda Morales.  How can anyone murder two 13 year old girls? These are babies!

Here we don't seek justice we just often hear the family say ...let God take care of it.  That saying of dejalo a Dios drives me up a wall. How are they ever going to get justice if they don't put some effort into discovering who is behind all this? For all we know some of this is the work of a serial killer! No, we just leave it to God and let him sort it out, while more women die every day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Cousin Has Been Kidnapped

I have blogged extensively about the violence in Honduras and two days ago the unthinkable happened in my family.  My son's cousin*he isn't actually my cousin, but he is the cousin of my stbx husband and son* Two days ago he was in his home with his kids that he is raising with his wife*not their mother*.  He has eight children total and is taking care of all of them on his own.  He had a spot in the market that he ran with his father and mother and his father has been working for the government lately since the win of Pepe Lobo as president.

As to what happened, we know very little except that men dressed as DNIC officers broke into the home and took him from his house two days ago, since that time we have heard nothing.  We have received no ransom demands, no clue as to where he is and we have been to morgues, police stations to see if he was in jail, hospitals and everywhere else we could think of.  He seemingly disappeared without a trace.

I am asking everyone to keep his mother Amparo and father Marino in their prayers.  He has a brother, Leonard and a sister Diana and his name is Noe.  Of course he has eight children that are hoping for his safe return though with each passing hour that looks less hopeful.  This has indeed been a very difficult week for our family and neighborhood, 2 burials in the past 8 days and now another missing.

If you have have seen or know of the whereabouts of Esteban Noe Moreno Cañada please call 2566-1238, 9673-2527 or for English 8883-4766 any information that you have is appreciated.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Honduras Needs Samaritan Laws

On Sunday one of our neighbors and my son's soccer coach was killed in a motorcycle accident on Avenida Junior in front of Taco Pollo here in San Pedro Sula.  His oldest daughter Melissa was with him.  They had just returned from a trip to Tela and Santa Barbara.  A drunk man hit them and he was thrown off his motorcycle with the daughter.  He hit the telephone pole so hard that it knocked his helmet off and he hit his head on the pavement.  At first he was unconcious and then he woke up.  At some point his daughter was transported to the IHSS hospital.where she is in grave condition.  Somehow though no one, not even the police transported him to the hospital.  It seems the reason was he had a tattoo, not a gang tattoo mind you, just a tattoo.  The ignorance of some folks here astounds me when it comes to tattoos you are automatically assumed to be associated with a gang or to be a criminal.  This somehow makes you subhuman and not worthy of your life being saved.  It even can earn some folks making comments that you should be dead.  He was left in agony begging for help for almost 1 hour and not even the police would rescue him and he finally expired from his injuries then they sent for forensics to recover his body.

This above scene would never occur in the US because the police would be in serious trouble and any people around would have long before called an ambulance and rescue services regardless of what the man looked like.  In Honduras, we need to establish samaritan laws that not only protect people if they rescue someone and take them to the hospital and at the same time requires people to act and not just stand there and allow someone to die on the side of the road without rendering aid, especially the police should be held criminally responsible for someone dying like this.  How outrageous that now we are burying a man who was a wonderful neighbor, father and coach.  He had three children, two daughters and a son. His 12 year old son had been stricken with polio as a small child and it caused serious damage to his spinal column and organs.  This young man was doted on by his father and he never needed for anything.  They spent countless time and hours trying to find medical assistance for his son.  His daughters Melissa 19 and Pamela 14 are wondeful brite young ladies.  This man is a loss to our neighborhood and we are all saddened by the situation.  Had he been taken to the hospital he may have been saved, but no one, not even the police tried to save him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Honduran Social Security Insurance For Hondurans Outside of Honduras

Next Wednesday, President Porfirio Lobo Sosa will be announcing a new insurance program for ex patriot Hondurans that live in the exterior such as the US.  This will cover general medicine and other medical needs that are provided by Social Security Hospital in Honduras.  It is being called ' Catracho Seguro' .  Right now I do not have a huge amount of information n this other than more information is available at the Consulate in Miami, Florida. I give a thumbs up to Pepe on this initiative as it wil help insure many uninsured Hondurans in the US.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Honduran Funeral Customs

I loaned my living room area the other day for a wake the other day for one of my neighbor's sons who was murdered.  Their home was too small to accomdate a large amount of people.  I got first hand experience with some of Honduran beliefs and traditions when it comes to funerals.

First, Hondurans are extremely superstitious.  These superstitions and beliefs are even more engrained in the areas of life and death.

Most wakes in Honduras are held in private homes and not in funeral homes. I am not sure for the reason for this other than the fact that the family stays with the body for the entire time until burial and the fact that a wake is a huge social event involving not just family but friends and neighbors as well.

One thing I noticed is the way they enter the casket into the home and exit the casket from the home.  The casket is always exited from the home feet first.  Hondurans believe that if you remove a casket head first that the deceased will then come back and take all of the people at the wake with them to the other side.  During the wake the casket is also placed so that the sun will cross the face of the deceased to provide them with light and make the deceased happy.  The feet should always face the door so that the spirit is not bound inside the home.

The wake is held all night long and is a huge event.  There is no such thing as a small wake.  Everyone is invited to the wake..there is no formal invitation it is without saying that everyone can come in the neighborhood and family as well.  Food and drinks are served, even alcoholic drinks.  It is custom that family stay the entire night with the casket to keep their loved one company so that they are happy in the process of moving into the spirit world.  Many people think it is dangerous that you will make the spirit unhappy if you sleep during the hours of 3 and 5 am instead of keeping the dead company.  The casket also should have 4 lit candles the entire night without allowing them to burn out.  This will light the way for the spirit into the spirit world and make the spirit happy without upsetting them by the darkness.  They also believe all caskets should have flowers of some sort even if it is wildflowers.

Once the casket is removed feet first from the home to be taken to the cemetary for burial Hondurans believe that the doors should be left wide open so that the spirit of the deceased then follows the casket to the cemetary for the proper burial instead of remaining bound in the home.

When people return from the burial they are then able to sleep and take baths to get rid of hijillo.  People in Honduras are often told not to visit wakes if they have cuts or are ill because of hijillo.  Pregnant women can assist as long as they tape camphor tablets to their belly button thus preventing the hijillo from affecting them and the unborn child.

What is hijillo? It is the process of decomposition of the body and the gas that the body produces.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Snow Cones with a Honduran Twist

In Honduras like in most Latin American countries the icecream man pushes a cart around selling his ice cream to the neighborhoods.  Here they have a different version than I have ever seen.  It is something that I enjoy though.  They scoop shaved ice into a cup and put the snow cone flavoring in the ice usually a red color and slap 'miel' honey on it and canned condensed milk on top with a straw and spoon for your enjoyment.  I never get tired of this treat and I usually ask them to leave the ' miel' off because it makes it too sweet I love the condensed milk being added to the topping...I wish I had my camera with me this afternoon but perhaps I can find a picture of it on the net somewhere and add it here for everyone...the cost of these little treats is 10 lempiras which is about 50 cents or less in US dollars.

It´s Raining Fish, quite Literally

Honduras I believe is the only place in the world where it rains fish once a year.  It happens in the department of Yoro sometime between May and July.  There is no specific day, but if you want to have a truly unusual experience in a trip this would be it, but you would need to plan an extended vacation since there is not a set day.

There is no credible explination for this phenomenon through science, but it really does happen. Tradition here says that Father Jose Manuel Subarina came to Honduras and upon finding so many desperately poor people he prayed for 3 days and 3 nights and upon that it rained fish providing a blessing for the people that has continued on every year.

What is interesting is the phenomenon includes fish that are not from that area and are fresh water fish.  It does occur only during a very strong thunderstorm that lasts at least 3 hours so it needs to be a torrential rain storm before you will get the raining of fish.  It also usually occurs around 4 or 5 in the afternoon.  Something even more interesting is that none of the fish that have fallen from the sky have been able to be kept alive, they all die within a few hours regardless of what is done, so it seems they are sent to be eaten and not grown.  The fish rain starts from a very black rain cloud that rises up over the mountaintop and always originates from the same direction, it is most likely that it will occur sometime between June and July but evidently has occurred in May as well.  What is interesting is how this always occurs year after year one time a year.

So grab your basket and come to Yoro during this season if you want to experience what it is like to have it rain fish.

Here is a Youtube video of the area where it occurs

Honduran Spaghetti

When I first started my adventure with Honduran cuisine the two things that were a bit strange to me where Honduran spaghetti and fried green bananas known as ´tajadas´.  I first came to Honduras to visit when my 15 year old son was not yet 1 year old.  He celebrated his 1st birthday in Honduras.

Honduran spaghetti is interesting, it took me some time to get used to, but now that I have gotten used to it sometimes I like to add it instead of rice.  I never could understand how in the world it is that Hondurans like to eat both rice and spaghetti in the same plate, wow all the carbohydrates at work there....we walk a lot here, but not enough to work off that type of diet.

You might wander what is so interesting about it, in reality Honduran spaghetti is quite simple to make.  Take 1 pound of spaghetti noodles and put them to boil in water and a pinch of salt, gather the rest of your ingredients, 1 package of tomato sauce, 1 pack of 4 ounces of Honduran Sula or fresh if you can get it, half a stick of margerine, hard Honduran cheese that is grated like parmesan, and 2 chicken buillon(I use the Issima brand that is a package instead of a cube).  Once your spaghetti is cooked tender take a collander and flip spaghetti into it to drain, then immediately put back in pot while hot, add margerine, buillon, half pack of tomato sauce, crema and mix till you get a light orange color, you don´t want to add too much tomato sauce so you may want to add 1/4 of package first and then add more as you go.  Once this is done you can serve with a meat accompaniment, salad and beans...and of course if you want to be fully Honduran, add white rice to it and top the spaghetti with the crumbled cheese.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Resumen of the Week.

I really don't want to write about the violence going on in Honduras, but I find the need to continue on with this because if someone doesn't it is easy to forget about what is going on around us.  What is occurring here is a true tragedy and it seems like there is little that can be done to stop it.

Pepe said that his ex minister of Security made a proposal to cure the violence outbreaks but that they violated human rights and he wanted no part of it.  My question is what was the proposal and how did it violate human rights? I was really interested in the idea to clean up the police and no one has a 'right' to a job, they should be able to be fired for any act of corruption no matter how small or large.  In fact, it should be an automatic jail sentence.  Things just don't work that way in Honduras though as I am finding out.  I guess it is the Catracho way of doing things...pig headed as it is.

In the past week 3 police officers have been murdered in the line of duty and one soldier.  Two of the police officers were in Bajo Aguan along with a Honduran soldier when the patrol car they were in was attacked by 'guerrilleros' a true loss, I hope these officers and soldier are given full honors at their funeral.  The other police officer was an official, the Chief of DNIC in La Paz was murdered when he had stopped to check out a fake bomb package in Ocotillo.  Assasins opened fire on him and an ex police officer leaving both dead.  No one has been captured as of yet in either of these crimes, but it is a clear signal of the deterioration of law and order in Honduras, what little there was before anyway.

In my neighborhood we have had the pleasure of having no 'maras' so far, but the violence still breaks out here as well because there are maras in surrounding areas.  The neighborhood launched a small vigilante group but sometimes it takes quite a bit of effort to control even this small neighborhood.  It is impossible to keep all criminal elements out.  I live in a 40 year old neighborhood of Las Brisas close to Expocentro in San Pedro Sula one of the most violent cities in the Americas.  It seems a shame that to protect ourselves that as citizens we have to violate the law ourselves by arming ourselves to the teeth and shooting at anything strange that moves in the night, but that is exactly what we have done.  Anyone strange is checked out, churches have been advised to change their hours to earlier in the evening so that services end by 8 and no one should be in the park after 9 pm.  Where before we were in the street up till 2 am many nights the watch group has asked everyone to be in their home no later than 10.  This in general has been for the safety of the neighborhood.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brewing Guerilla War in Bajo Aguan

I haven't spoke about this in awhile because it is a sore point with me.  I disagree vehemently with the president Pepe Lobo on this issue. I would not have even considered giving the land to these criminals in the first place.  He has proposed however, to pay for it with tax payer money.  The thing is they have already proven they are not going to be happy with this and that they are determined to carry out a war and take the entire area regardless of what agreements are made.

Yesterday, a police truck was attacked with grenades and high powered weapons.  As a result a police officer and a soldier are dead and others are injured.  The police truck was doing patrols so there had been no confrontation this was an out and out planned attack.  It is time to go in there and clear out the entire area of people and do a shake down.  I would retire any proposals from Congress that have to do with giving land to anyone.

What needs to be passed is a law that if you didn't buy the land you can't have it period.  I do not understand the attitude of some of the poor folks that think that because a person is wealthy it is ok to steal from them. I have seen this attitude from several people in Honduras and I fail to see how stealing from the rich is any different from stealing from anyone else.

What I see is a small scale guerilla war that needs to be quashed in its early stages and some of this guerilla war is being fueled by Mel Zelaya, Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega.  Any foreigner in that area needs to be told that they need to leave Bajo Aguan and to stay out if they don't want to be presumed as making war against the state of Honduras.  There are plenty of areas they can find safe haven in Honduras outside of the Bajo Aguan if they are not here for malicious reasons.  Anyone else caught with high powered weapons or grenades in that area need to be charged under military codes for making war against Honduras and treated accordingly.  Treason in the US gets you put in front of a firing squad...I wonder how long it would take for them to stop making their little guerilla war if the state of Honduras started putting traitors in front of a firing squad?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Can the Honduran Police be Cured of Corruption?

According to the plans of the now Ex Minister of Security Ricardo Alvarez he wanted to get rid of corrupt police.  To be able to fire them on the spot for corruption starting with the highest up of officials all the way down to the lowest entry level police officers.  I salute that idea, but is it possible to really cure the police of Honduras or even Honduran society of corruption in our government officials?

It is almost custom when the police stop you to offer them a 'mordida' of say 100 or 200 lempiras to just forget the whole situation. Usually these are harmless situations of using your cell phone while driving or not wearing your seatbelt or running a red light.  However, this corruption adds up to bigger corruption of paying to ignore drug shipments, to forget about ballistic evidence, etc.  It is not uncommon to see police going into neighborhoods to collect 'rent' from drug dealers and common theives to let them continue with their guns in hand and to continue dealing drugs while police look the other way.

The way to cure this of course is perhaps a few things, the ability to independent police investigation unit to investigate police corruption and to take complaints against officials and police officers from the general public and let those people remain anonymous.  To offer a reward for reporting corruption.  Also, I like the idea of undercover police officers, but that is not going to help without the combination of other things as well as adding a prison sentence to anyone offering a bribe to police officers in the first place.

Can the police and Honduran people be cured of corruption? Perhaps, but we have a long row to hoe before we get to cure the ailment of corruption in Honduras.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Case of Ramon Matta Ballesteros

I read an article in a few days ago about Ramon Matta Ballesteros.  I have read about him over time and know that he is in the US in a prison for life for the murder of a DEA agent in Mexico.

Hondurans complain that he was extradited in violation of the Honduran constitution and that he was going to pay the entire external debt that Honduras owed. It is true that he offered to pay our external debt in Honduras,  but it is also true that he murdered a DEA agent and a Federal police officer of Mexico.  He had to pay the price for that crime and he is in jail for that crime.  what is also clear is he should not have been in Honduras in the first place.  He had been detained in Colombia and bought his way out of prison with $2 million and returned to Honduras where he should have been immediately arrested.  There are also extradition agreements with the US and Honduras whereas the US extradites people wanted for murder in Honduras and Hondurans have the obligation to extradite people wanted for murder in the US.

I don't want to spend my time on him, because I have heard way too many Hondurans boo hoo about the son he left behind for 23 years and that the son lost out on his father.  My concern is for the agent he killed and his family.  You might wander who is the DEA agent that he murdered? Well let's talk about him

His name was Enrique Camarena, he was 38 years old when he was murdered by Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros.

Enrique Camarena was a decorated DEA agent and a marine.  He had a wife by the name of Mika and three sons.  This is who Kiki Camarena was and this is the legacy he left.  His wife and children were without a husband and a father, but not one word from Matta's son about the family of the man his father tortured and killed.

Here is information on the case itself

and the information about the tape of his actual torture and murder were made public

The person's rights that we should be concerned about are those of the man he killed brutally and that of his children who grew up without their father.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ex president Zelaya said that he considers the murder of one of his FNRP members as an act of war.  The person he is referring to is Mahadeo Roopchands Sadloo, a person of Indian origin.
I am all for freedom of speech, but this guy was a rebel rouser and we do not know that this was any political issue at all.  With all the violence going on for all we know he had narcotics connections and was 'dealt with' accordingly.  He was a naturalized citizen promoting the overthrow of the constitution and government, he should have been deported.
Zelaya said, this is a declaratio of war against us.
Really? According to police the guy they called' Emmo' got into an argument with a client over some rims and the situation ended in tragedy that the client shot him five times. That hardly is a declaration of war or even a political act.  
Unknown individuals shot ' Emmo' five times according to the hospital authorities.  
Zelaya said that the justice system is a failure in Honduras and accused it of taking the country into chaos and 
accused them of promoting a war against resistence groups.

I agree that the justice system is a failure in Honduras, but it isn't because of any promotion of war against any groups in Honduras.  The justice system was just as big a tragedy under Zelaya as it is today..
Zelaya called it a political crime, though no determination has been made as to why he was killed yet or who killed him.
We are peaceful, but also the patience of people has come to an end, said Zelaya

Oh really you are a peaceful people? Shall we take a walk down memory lane as to how peaceful you are? Let's look at some pictures shall we?

Yep really peaceful looking folks there....

The ex president said that his political commission is going to make a decision as soon as possible to plan the actions that they are going to take because of this crime.

Your political commission is going to make a decision about what you are going to do? HAHA! How about sitting down, shutting up, and waiting for the investigation to determine whether this was a business deal that went bad or whether it was political and then discuss it...but who is your commission Zelaya? You and yourself? I certainly don't see too much resistence activity these days.
He said this cannot be left this way and we cannot stay silent 
Why isn't he so vocal about the deaths of all the women in Honduras? No outrage there huh?


Friday, September 02, 2011

Planning On Leaving Honduras

Whether this actually happens or not will depend on a series of events over the next few weeks.  However, I need a change the violence is really getting to me lately and some of the people close to me know I am going through a very painful divorce so I need to be close to friends and my own family which means returning to the US for awhile anyway.

This will be a very difficult move for me and of course I will still keep my blog here on Honduras.  Honduras is as much a part of me as I am a part of Honduras.  I don't really know how I am going to deal with the culture shock of returning to the US after having been here in a 'banana republic' so  I laugh because they call us a banana republic but I really have a hard time picturing it that way.  The divorce though needs to come to a finish in the US I suppose and I need an attorney and to be there to complete that and then do the rest here.  I am really sad that the violence here in San Pedro Sula and no future outlook of it calming down has made me decide I may need a break in the US.  The economy is really rough here lately and it can be felt by everyone which has not helped me in the least.

My only positive outlook is my home is here and the property is in Olancho and I still have those things and my son who is Honduran will return with me to the states but we will be back here and as strong as ever in the near future..if I can avoid it though I will stay in Honduras and maybe just move to a calmer part of Honduras if that actually exists.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Drug War Arrival in Honduras

I have watched in absolute horror as the drug war has developed over the past year here in Honduras.  It seems as if the violence in Mexico has spilled across Central America with wreckless abandon.  Honduras has always had problems with vigilante style justice and high crime rates, but it seems worse than it has been in recent past.

There have been 3,606 homocides this year up to the date of June, of course that number has likely doubled by now.  The drug war has rewarded us with 86 deaths per 100,000 of population sad can that be? I am in shock and don't know whether I want to cry or just sit here dumbfounded at the absolute helpless situation we are finding ourselves in..and Honduras only has received a few million bucks to fight this damn drug war...I think we should tell the ATF that let the arms come across freely to come fight it themselves and leave us out of it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Three New Lion Cubs Born in Yojoa Zoo!

These were images just too cute not to share.  Three lion cubs were born in captivity at Joya Grande Zoo and they are just adorable.

They were born on August 23 at 8 pm with no complications.  At this point they have been seperated from their mother so that they can be cared for by professionals and are being given special milk so that they grow correctly.  They are not presently able to be seen by the public, but will be on display in a few months along with the other animals that are at the zoo.  I look forward to visiting this zoo and seeing these beautiful animals.

Honduran Justice

One thing that is universally complained about in Honduras is the lack of the ability of police to act against criminals.  It seems as if they let them escape without any consquences, even when they know who did the crime.

The latest gaff of the police turned deadly, actually there has been two deadly instances in the past few days...but the first one I am going to discuss is centered in Juticalpa, Olancho and the type of justice merited out there when  the police do not act quickly.  Olancho has a reputation for vigilante justice and this is of course no exception to that rule.

On Monday, a woman was murdered by her son, who is a deaf mute and a drug addict as well as an alcoholic.  Several failures occurred here.  The first being that society did not address the addiction problems as well as the disabilities of this man who was obviously in need of assistance before things got so out of control.  His mother was visiting Honduras for a funeral from the US.  She was terrified of her addicted and disabled son.  She expressed her fears to several neighbors and asked if she could stay with them, all of the neighbors refused.  So the neighbors failed her as well as failing to address the issues the man had. Who are we as a society if we don't protect and help others who need our help?  What happened? Well he cornered her in a room, raped her and murdered his own mother.  He ran obviously and the police did not capture him...a few days later he appeared at the steps of the municipal building hacked to death and castrated in an extremely grotesque fashion.

The second failure is in training the police adequately, again a police officer from Juticalpa, but he was assigned to Tegucigalpa.  He caught a criminal in the capital stealing wood from a woman's house.  However, he wasn't frisked for weapons when they took him into custody and the criminal shot him in the back, killing the officer instantly and escaping arrest.  What causes a police officer to fail to check someone under arrest for weapons? A lack of adequate training and a lack of education and skills.  That failure led to the death of a police officer that was actually acting according to his duty to serve.  The failure of the police led to the death of a man who was disabled and addicted to drugs and society failed his victim by not assisting with the problem that she had in being protected from her own child.

It is sad and I wish it didn't happen in Honduras, but it does, everyday.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Can someone give a holler upstairs and tell someone that they can push the off button on the rain any time now?
I couldn´t leave my home all day and I am dying from cough, fever and all that jazz and really needed to go to work today...but nope the rain couldn´t allow that to I sit here writing this it is stillll raining...good grief.

This is 27th street...anyone up for playing in the rain?

My employee at the new bodega lives in Progreso so I let him go home early today...not like they were doing anything and I never made it to work because the streets were flooded in between me and work and me sick to death got soaked and a good chewing out from everyone.  So far 56 families in his community have been evacuated to safety.

In other news our city has been named the third most violent in the WORLD the world...what happened to the days when Maduro was president?

In San Pedro Sula alone we had 1,018 murders in 2010.  That is 125 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants.
The only places more violent than San Pedro Sula are Kandahar, Afghanistan(good lord) and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.  Ciudad Juarez has 229 deaths per 100,000 and Kandahar has 169.9.

In other news a doctor that was from Barrandillas the community next to ours and where I had taken my son when he was ill or myself has been identified as the body that was found.  He was kidnapped in September and has been missing since.  Everyone called him the doctor from Barrandillas.  His name was Allan Caballero...things won´t be the sympathies to his friends and family.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thinking Like You Are Honduran!

When I was in the states there were so many things that happened here in Honduras that I just didn´t understand..well now that I am here I am beginning to get it and think like a Honduran..and as a result my American friends in the states think that my mind is being afflicted by too many bananas!

In Copan a thief decided to go into a man´s house...the man shot at the thief and the thief shot back.  Both were hurt and fell to the ground.  The thief´s friends waiting outside heard the gunfire and rescued their friend and ran to the clinic with him in their pickup. 

In the meantime neighbors alarmed at the events unfolding ran out to see what was occurring and some rescued the man taking him to the clinic where he expired later.  However, another group launched out in their vehicles guns in hand in hot persuit of the thieves and caught them on a curvy road on the way to the clinic...they opened fire on the thieves killing the one that was already injured and kidnapping the other to likely torture and kill elsewhere..he will appear in some sugar cane field dead as a doornail..and then the driver ran off and no one knows where he is.

I found myself happy that they got these fools...instead of thinking like an American and saying..why didn´t they call the police? Well folks..the police don´t do anything around here..and the only way to deal with them is just like happened in the community...what is unusual is that the community didn´t look the other way and pretend it didn´t involve them..horray for this community..if they keep this up they will not be terrorized by the corruption and crime taking hold of the country..if only more communities acted like this...I know, I know how in the heck can I think like that? Well, I guess I am finally a Honduran and if you really think the police are going to do something you still think like an Honduras if you want justice quite simply you have to do it yourself.

Fire the Teachers

Well the teachers are at it again...on strike.  This sounds like a broken record lately and I am so sick of the strikes.  I propose we actually do what was proposed by ANDI and actually close the schools.

Reagan fired all of the air traffic controllers when they went on strike and it worked I propose we either fire all of the teachers or we close all of the public schools here and make vouchers for those who cannot afford to pay for private school.  It would be cheaper than providing for these broken down schools and these ruffians that want to convince us they are teachers.  Paying tuition in Honduras isn´t that expensive and the education is ok..not perfect by a long shot, but ok and at the very least private schools don´t go on strike every week.

It would cost less than 100 dollars a month per student in Honduras to pay for their private tuition.  How many students are there in the public school systems? What do we spend now? What would be the savings or extra costs?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Talking About Lupus

I want to discuss something that I have sometimes mentioned, but on this blog I have never discussed.  I have Lupus.  A daughter of a neighbor was recently also diagnosed with Lupus, because of similar signs and symptoms to my illness.  Living in Honduras sometimes has its challenges and this is one of those things that proves difficult in Honduras so I have decided to talk about an illness that is very personal to me.

I was diagnosed with Lupus about eight years ago.  It was very difficult for me, because it meant facing the reality that my child bearing days were over and that a miscarriage of twins not only led to the diagnosis of a lifelong illness that took the life of my paternal aunt, but also meant I was infertile after having children during early years.

In Honduras not too many people know what Lupus is or how it is treated nor do they even understand what doctors must see you and how to react to the illness.  Lupus of course is characterized as a very serious autoimmune disorder that manifests in different forms and can be genetic, drug induced, or even unexplained.  In my case it is genetic and in my neighbor´s case it is unexplainable. Her Lupus is more aggressive than mine is.  I have faced extremely difficult boundaries in finding adequate treatment and access to qualified doctors for Lupus and I have to wonder how many people in Honduras go without ever being diagnosed with the disease and instead try to explain it off on other issues, fatigue is most likely related to anemia here as people tend to self medicate.  The pain in joints as either a case of flu or even arthritis.  When hair comes out they think perhaps that it is nervousness(as many ask me when I lose hair if I am a nervous person, and I tell them no I have an autoimmune disorder and they just look at me strange, but rarely ask what I mean.) Those who are close to me have learned a great deal because I get rashes from the sun on my arms and neck, but I try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and I rest during the day for a few hours(my siesta), and I take showers sometimes three times a day to keep myself cooler. 

I have found that even the pharmacists here tend to not quite understand the disorder and usually become interested when I ask for antimalarial medication and corticosteroids at the same time.  The pharmacist up the street has became an expert in knowing and learning the combinations that may help me depending on my symptoms because going to a specialist isn´t always an option here even though I live in a large city.  A nurse comes to give me a shot that understands my illness and checks on me every few days now that I am going through a flare again. 

Fighting Lupus is very difficult and even in the US people often do not understand what the illness is so imagine here where people sometimes still think that illnesses are supernaturally inspired.  I have had people in the US argue that Lupus is a pretend illness(they confuse it for things like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia which both are real illnesses, but sometimes people do not believe it) when you tell them that Lupus can kill you they look at you like you have lost your mind.  Of course more people know now that it is a serious illness compared to ten years ago.  Then some others think that it is a disease that is always fatal, but are often surprised when you tell them that it is an illness where you can live a normal life span if you take care of yourself, but that some people die because of complications from the disorder. 

One positive thing that has came from my facing Lupus was my neighbor´s daughter being alive because of me.  Her Lupus attacked her kidneys.  She also got the rash and had the pains that I suffer and the terrible fatigue that overcomes you.  Her mom came to my house in tears and said...´I don´t know what is wrong with my daughter, help´and I went to talk to her, she told me her symptoms and what she was feeling..and I looked at her mom and told her she needed to go to the hospital. Her daughter was having a flare that involved her kidneys so they started aggressive treatment and diagnosed her daughter with Lupus.  She came home and cried and broke my heart as well to know this young lady of 24 was facing what I face every day of my life.  She said if it weren´t for me they would have just blown it off as not serious or heat rash and anemia.  I told her not to worry that the doctors would care for her and that together we would face the future.  My neighbor lost her hair and I feel for her, but it is coming back slowly and I commented that maybe it would be even more beautiful than before(she had gorgeous hair). 

I have to wonder how many illnesses or disorders in Honduras go undetected because of the lack of information on disorders.  Lupus is very common in Latinos, Native Americans, blacks, and Mediterreanean ethnicities.  It is my hope that information will lead to knowledge.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pepe Lobo Says That Someone is Trying to Remove Him as President

I am not sure how true this is.  I haven´t heard much rumbling in news media here in Honduras like I did before Zelaya was removed.  I find it interesting and clearly he must have some inside information to be making such a statement.

He evidently has some names and is questioning why the Public ministry has not yet started investigating the situation and when they are going to investigate.  I agree this should be investigated. 

According to La Prensa Pepe Lobo has said that he has received written threats to the effect that he is going to be the victim of a coup de tat.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

US Puts Venezuela On Black List of Terrorist Supporting Countries

What this essentially means is a block against selling any military grade material to Venezuela or trading military equipment or military exercises with the country.

The bigger picture here is that this means that the Obama administration considers Chavez a terrorist supporter and that Venezuela supports international terrorism and permits it to exist. 

I personally think that the embargo is too light...there needs to be a full embargo against this zealot!

However, my hats off to the administration this is something they got right.  I imagine a lot of it had to do with the recent videos of a Spanish reporter in Venezuela and the terrorist training camps as well as the Spanish judge making the very forward statement of state sponsered terrorism in Venezuela. 

I don´t normally like to talk about other countries on my Honduran blog, but this time I will make a definate exception considering that Chavez has made us public enemy number 1 in his book.

On other notes ...

Rafael Correa admitted that his country was wrong to deny Pepe Lobo´s plane fly over permission the other day and said that apparently he had not been consulted and that it was a mistake on the part of the aviation leaders in his country.  At least someone admits when they screw up...but I think that he only admitted it because he came under serious criticism by several countries.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pepe Lobo Declares State of Emergency Due to T.S. Agatha

At noon today all airports in Honduras were closed due to the storm and the lack of visibility in the country.  Last night the rains came down very hard though the rain has been light most of the day today we went without electric for about three hours this morning.  Clouds are again building and the temperatures are lower than normal.

Most of the damage done in the territory is in Tegucigalpa, Olancho and Southern Honduras, but San Pedro has it´s share of flooding as well. 

Classes have been suspended for the departments of Choluteca, Valle, Lempira, Santa Bárbara, Ocotepeque, Copán Francisco, Comayagua. En Francisco Morazán, Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Lima y Choloma and Progresso, Yoro.

So far in Guatemala and El Salvador there are 24 deaths registered due to the storm and Honduras has the remnents of the tropical storm over the national territory.

Most of the country is under either a green or yellow alert.  There have been mudslides, heavy rain over the past three days with a continous threat of rain still, the rivers are at maximum capacity.  Since the rains started there have been 4 deaths in Honduras. 

Weather reports are calling for 72 hours more of heavy rainfall in most of Honduras. 

In the capital in one neighborhood the ground opened and gave way destroying at least a dozen houses and leaving several without homes or anything they owned at 4:30 in the morning. 

A bridge has collapsed in the capital of Tegucigalpa and in the department of Olancho three bridges have collapsed.  There is surely more to come in reports and I will add that information here.  This first serious tropical storm brings a gloomy forsight to what the hurricane season may hold for Honduras this year.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Answer To Alternet's Outrageous Lies On Honduras

Welcome to the New Honduras, Where Right-Wing Death Squads Proliferate

By Kari Lydersen, AlterNet

Posted on April 27, 2010, Printed on May 29, 2010

Things are back to normal in Honduras. Yes, things are pretty normal in Honduras.

At least that's the message of right-wing president Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo Sosa and much of the international community.

That is because it is true and Pepe isn’t really a right winger the party is a centre right party not a right wing party…the right wing party would be the Democracia Cristiana party.

Several U.S. and international agencies are in the process of restoring aid to Honduras. U.S. biofuels, mining and other businesses are ramping up for increased investment in the impoverished Central American country. The massive repression of public protests, curfews and censorship that followed last summer's coup d'etat have abated.

And why shouldn’t they restore aid considering that Pepe was elected freely? We already were still receiving fuels…that never stopped, mining was done by private business so that never stopped either as it wouldn’t be very beneficial to US interests to not get the gold would it? Other business never stopped either…business is not government ran here or in the US nor is it controlled nor was Honduras every fully sanctioned because the situation here wasn’t what you try to make it to be and the US knew this that is why it was never declared a military coup…because it wasn’t. Massive repression of public protests? Where and when were any protests that were peaceful repressed? If the protests got violent they were removed from the streets for obvious reasons…no one has a right to be violent while they protest in any country. Yes, there are curfews in the US as well so your point? Censorship? By whom, when and where? There was no censorship....those that were breaking the law were removed from the air, the same as the FCC does to vulgar and racist djs in the US.

But this image ignores a new reality in Honduras: the emergence of what many are calling death squads carrying out targeted assassinations, brutal attacks and threats. They have created an extreme climate of fear for the campesinos (peasants), teachers, union members, journalists and other community leaders involved in the resistance movement that continues to oppose the coup and Lobo's election.

Death squads? You mean the Resistance right?? That after all is who is behind the recent killings in my opinion. Attacks? When and where? Threats? You have got to be kidding me. Targeted assassinations? Who was targeted for assassination? Extreme climate of fear for campesinos? No the only fear they have is that they cannot invade private property and take it from the rightful owner. If they want to own property they have to buy it now…and that is the way it should be.

Dozens were killed in street violence between the June 28 coup and the November 29 election,

Dozens? Only one death according to the final investigations could be even loosely associated with the military and that was even questionable. When you try to tear down the fence of an international airport with threats of violence then you shouldn’t be surprised when you are treated like violent criminals and someone ends up dead, but there was one problem, the police were using rubber bullets and the bullet that killed the man in this instance wasn’t killed by a military or police issue bullet.

with the deaths largely attributed to police, military forces and other coup supporters. Flat lie refer to the above. Please show me even a single death that was directly related to the police, military forces and supporters…the white shirts is the group I was involved with and we did not carry ANY weapons…not even rocks though quite a few times we had rocks thrown at us by the resistance and were fired upon with guns as well. I have photographic proof, where is yours?

Lobo has tried to distance himself from the coup regime, but since the election, at least a dozen people have been killed and others beaten or raped in attacks with clear political hallmarks.

More bullshit. Who was killed, beaten or raped due to the government…you might have some where the resistance and Chavez are involved, but not Pepe Lobo…perhaps if he did what you accuse him of so freely it might calm down some of the crime in the streets.

The victims include a teacher shot in front of his students; a young union leader whose body was found with signs of torture after she disappeared; the daughter of a prominent anti-coup TV reporter shot in her home; five journalists killed in March alone; and a TV reporter killed April 21. In December, well-known gay rights activist Walter Trochez was kidnapped in Tegucigalpa and interrogated about the resistance while being pistol-whipped in the face. He escaped, but was murdered a week later. In February, a woman who was raped after a post-coup protest was kidnapped and terrorized by men including the rapist, who said "Pepe says hi," a clear allusion to the president. And not a single one of these things was attributed to the government. The teacher was killed by THEIVES that were trying to rob students and teachers and he resisted. The journalists interestingly enough almost all have been PRO government, so how is the government killing their allies? What post coup protest and where is the proof that any of this happened? I live here and never heard anything like this and am quite sure it didn’t happen since the rest of your story is full of inaccuracies. I would be akin to insist that Pepe Lobo sue you for libel as there is nothing you can substantiate here and it is absolutely false. He asked for international, US, Spain, and Colombia all to assist with the investigation of the murders of the reporters and other murders that have occurred. How is he involved if he is asking for international assistance with other independent police forces that are known for their ability to solve crimes?

Authorities have largely attributed the murders and attacks to random crime and gang violence.

You have never been to Honduras or you would know this is true…even Tiempo which is not pro government attributes it to random crime and gang violence…which is absolutely the cause.

Street crime has been at epidemic levels in Honduras for years, and has reportedly increased since the coup.

Wrong, crime tripled under Zelaya and had escalated during his term as he was allowing DRUG TRAFFICKING in the country now we have the same situation on our hands that they have in Mexico. Are you going to blame Mexican authorities for the murders that the cartels commit as well?

And a few prominent victims of attacks or threats have been coup supporters.

So that really works against your theory doesn’t it? Especially since it is not just a few victims but almost 75% of victims.

But international rights groups say a trend of violence and threats against community-based resistance leaders is undeniable and part of a highly orchestrated campaign to tamp down the popular resistance movement which continues to call for a new constitutional assembly and a reshaping of Honduran society, including the restoration of worker protections and social policies instituted under deposed president Manuel Zelaya but terminated since the coup. Considering that the major part of the resistance movement are Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and other illegal immigrants the government is right in removing such threats…I assume you are referring to the deportation of illegal immigrants from ALBA countries…and sorry, but they don’t have a right to resist anything in Honduras, if they don’t like the government here they need to go home! Workers protections…workers in Honduras are entitled to a 13th and 14th month salary bonus by law, they also get a separation from employment payment if something happens that they lose their job, so please show me how these protections are less than those in the US? They seem to be more than the protections in the US where you can be fired for any reason and be given nothing more than your last paycheck. Our society doesn’t need reshaped and the people by the majority do not want it reshaped, that is why Pepe was voted for in such large numbers.

"They've pulled away from the mass repression in the streets and gone for individual assassinations," said Victoria Cervantes of the Chicago group La Voz de los de Abajo, who met with resistance groups in Honduras after the coup and the election. "You don't look like a military regime, and it's cheaper than sweeping up people in the streets. But it terrorizes large groups of people, perhaps more effectively than the mass repression."

She met with resistance groups…did she get PROOF instead of just allegations? I can insist that Obama is murdering Hispanics in the US as well, but that doesn’t make it true. This is a woman who lives in Chicago and is out of touch with the reality of what is occurring in Honduras. She can meet with anyone she wants, but she doesn’t live here! My bet is she belongs to the Socialist Workers Party and would gladly hand us to Chavez on a silver platter. Ask the workers in Chavez’ world how their rights are working out…most of them have no rights any longer.

This spring at least one campesino has been murdered and at least four shot in a land struggle in the Bajo Aguan area, where campesinos are trying to reclaim land from wealthy palm plantation owners. Campesinos who occupy and lay claim to unused land have long suffered violence from police and hired guns. Zelaya was largely supportive of such campesino movements, which are legal under agrarian reform laws, but the conflicts have escalated since his ouster.

If you break into someone’s home and onto their private property with a gun in your hand do not be surprised when you get shot and killed…especially when you kill the security guards protecting the property. Reclaim land they sold right? Oh interesting that you left that part out…yes, they were GIVEN the property for FREE in the 90s and they SOLD it to Facusee, now they want to demand it back. This man employees 3000 workers on this one property and he paid his workers during the entire debacle. The land isn’t unused it is valuable land where a working palm oil production was going on…I love how you classify it as unused land. Zelaya was very good at using people for his own gain. Ask him what happened to that land of his that he was going to gift to these same campesinos? He still can give his property away if that is his wish but he has no right to give away other people’s property. These campesinos don’t always just go after wealthy land owners either. They have stolen small plots of land from the very poor as well. I know of someone who lives in a middle class neighborhood and is in the lower income levels that lost 15 acres of land to an invasion and it was land that was passed down from family member to family member and was all he had to live with and now has to work at minimum wage along with his wife just to get by. So much for the wealthy land owner situation. I also am not a wealthy land owner but THREE TIMES this year we have had to chase invaders off our land and our land is not unused either. It is well used and also legally owned by us. No one has the right to steal someone else’s property just because you deem them to be wealthy…and I am far from being ultra wealthy.

In the Bajo Aguan area, locals say, former Colombian paramilitary members have been hired to terrorize campesinos. And Billy Joya, a notorious member of the "Battalion 316" death squad during the 1980s military dictatorship, has reportedly returned to train militias to fight drug traffickers and "guerrillas," which is taken to mean the resistance movement. Post-dictatorship, Joya was charged with illegal detention, torture and murder of opponents. He has since lived in Spain and the U.S., continually pleading his innocence while working as an international businessman and security adviser. A 2006 report by the Mesoamerica Institute for Central America Studies says Joya worked as an adviser to Zelaya’s security secretary Alvaro Romero. Another of Zelaya’s cabinet ministers, Milton Jimenez, was among the six students Joya was charged with illegally detaining and torturing in 1982.

No in the Bajo Aguan area they were removed fairly peacefully because they refused to negotiate with the government for land that was offered to them in a more than fair way. The military, not any Billy Joya removed them.

While the land struggles Joya was hired to fight predate the coup, campesino and resistance leaders say they are integral to the larger struggle over Honduras's political and economic future which has driven the past year's events.

In light of the violence and human rights abuses, Honduran and international rights groups have decried Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's move to restore more than $30 million in aid, including military aid. After the U.S. announced on March 4 that it would fully restore all aid to Honduras, the Inter-American Development Bank agreed to release half a billion dollars suspended since the coup. The International Monetary Fund has committed $160 million in new funding, and the World Bank also recognizes the new government. The Organization of American States is considering re-admitting Honduras, at Clinton's behest. Many Latin American governments have likewise recognized or promised to recognize Lobo's regime. But governments including Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia and Nicaragua still refuse.

Care to take a look at the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua’s human rights abuse record? Oh interesting how you forgot about the abuses in Cuba and dare mention them…what about the abuses in Venezuela? Chavez is a scumbag dictator and with a straight face you call a freely elected government in Honduras a regime.

The restoration of aid, while theoretically a boon to the poor, is crucial for the Lobo administration and business interests that backed the coup as a symbol of legitimacy.

So starve the poor is your theory? Ok either you are for the poor or you are against them.

"The main lobbyists for lightening the sanctions from the U.S., the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank were coming from the business sector," said Alex Main, a policy analyst with the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "They were very worried about the economic effects [of the coup] and since they themselves were involved they had to defend it."

The business sector and the middle class…don’t forget the middle class and even the poor felt that the sanctions were unfair and harming them more than anyone else. The business sector employees the poor, how do you think the poor put food on their table? If it weren’t for the businesses the poor would starve.

Cervantes and Alexy Lanza, a Honduran now living in Chicago, said during October and January visits resistance members told them they want aid withheld regardless of the economic impacts, to avoid legitimizing the coup and elections.

Hondurans living in Chicago have no clue what they are talking about and I bet that Cervantes hasn’t lived in Honduras in at least twenty years. I have never heard of Victoria Cervantes so my bet is she is just a blogger and nothing more. Interestingly enough the only thing I can find is that her blog was founded in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch she said. Hurricane Mitch occurred October 29, 1998. So that means that she was likely already in the US at that time and probably had been in the US for awhile. My husband has been in the US for 17 years. I somehow doubt she has been there less time. If she wants to discuss what is going on in Honduras and complain about Honduran policy she frankly needs to move back to Honduras.

"The resistance is worried about normalization of this new golpe (coup government), where death squads, privatization and intimidation become the new normal," said Lanza.

What they need to do is get back to work and stop worrying about normalization. They have the right to vote and they should have made their voice heard at the ballot box. Death squads? Don’t make me laugh this is pathetic. What does privatization have to do with death squads? The country is capitalist and we don’t want to be China or Venezuela or Cuba. Since your site praises more the faces of Che Guevarra than it does indio Lempira I have to question your loyalties. Are your loyalties to Cuba or the US and Honduras? If your loyalty is to Honduras why are you in the US? If you hate privatization and capitalism why are you benefiting from it by living in the US instead of Cuba? If you are worried about Honduras why aren’t you working for Honduras in Honduras?

Main pointed to Lobo's appointment of former military commander and coup leader Romeo Vasquez Velasquez to head the Hondutel telecommunications agency as a prime example of coup plotters profiting from the new regime. Vasquez has said he will use his authority over telecommunications to do surveillance on drug traffickers and others; many take this to include the resistance. He promised an integrated government there isn’t much that Romeo Vasquez Velasquez can do to harm anyone as director of Hondutel. In fact, he has done a pretty good job of rescuing it from the thievery that occurred under Chimirri who bankrupted the telephone company.

"That's ugly stuff, and it didn't even merit rebuke from the U.S.," said Main. "The U.S. could have crippled Honduras with trade restrictions, the U.S. was in a position to change things in a matter of days, but they chose not to."

Not really, they could not legally restrict trade since that is in the private sector through CAFTA and CAFTA can’t be blocked for political reasons.

Honduras has relatively little trade with countries other than the U.S. and its small Central American neighbors. And its maquiladora sector, producing textiles largely for the U.S. market, has been hard hit by competition from Asian producers and the economic downturn.

Now this is absolutely false, while Honduras does most of its trade with the US it also has trade with Spain, the other Central American countries who threw a fit when we shut down the borders, China, Taiwan, Japan, etc…there is quite a bit of trade with the Asian countries. The most popular vehicle in Honduras is the Toyota and that is not an American car.

Hence the political situation in Honduras would seem to have little impact on the U.S. or regional economies and to be of relatively little interest to other governments. But Honduras's economic and political symbolism has far exceeded its actual economic impact since the coup. All sides see it as a symbol of the tension between an increasingly integrated and powerful Latin American bloc excluding the U.S. and based on the social democratic Bolivarian ideals advanced by Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador…or the previously dominant neoliberal model characterized by the influence of the U.S. and multinational companies.

And who is harmed by trade embargoes? The maquilas which is where the POOR work. So who is hurt? The poor.

"Honduras can be seen as a test case -- people in the State Department are nervous about what they see as the [Venezuelan president Hugo] 'Chavez menace' and the growing left in Latin America," said Adrienne Pine, an assistant anthropology professor at American University and senior research associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA). "Honduras would seem like a weak link easy to pick off. If they can succeed there, similar coups can be carried out in places like Nicaragua and Venezuela."

A weak link and easy to pick off? We didn’t turn out to be so easy to pick off, why? Because Honduras is able to self produce. Honduras has gold, silver, other minerals, even oil yet not explored, they grow enough food to support the country entirely have enough meat products to self sustain so no the country would not be as harmed as you would be much more harmful for US businesses that are invested in Honduras to face a sanction or for the US tax base which includes business here like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wal Mart…yeah I can see the US trying to sanction Wal Mart…lmao.

COHA executive director Larry Birns noted that the symbolism is so important, the U.S. has been willing to alienate powerful trading partner Brazil -- which vehemently opposed the coup -- with its stance. "Washington almost made a calculated decision that Honduras was more important than Brazil, it was a decision which country the U.S. will identify with," said Birns. Brazil is good at internal politics but they suck at external politics. Brazil was following their master Hugo Chavez since they are signed onto ALBA.

Under the brief reign of coup leader Robert Micheletti, the Honduran Congress voted to withdraw from ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, in Spanish) the Latin American trade and support bloc that had provided low cost or free medical care, tractors and other necessities to Honduras. The prime feature of ALBA is the PetroCaribe alliance wherein Venezuela had provided Honduras oil on generous credit terms: 20,000 barrels of crude a day, 40 percent of it paid at just a 1 percent interest rate over 25 years. The Honduran government is still technically party to the PetroCaribe arrangement, but since Venezuela does not recognize the Lobo government, no oil is forthcoming. The Lobo administration has reportedly engaged Zelaya's former UN ambassador, Jorge Arturo Reina, as an ambassador to ALBA to try to restore oil assistance.

Withdrawing from ALBA was a GOOD thing it was costing us more than it was earning us and no we don’t want to be ran by Hugo Chavez or want our military subject to his whims…which include an attack on the US. Generous terms? No it was a long term loan which is not smart. It was the regular price loaned to us with interest over twenty years…that was a disaster waiting to happen. We have had stable oil prices despite all this…why? Most of our oil never came from Chavez. Um no he hasn’t…I have read nothing like this or heard anything like this from Pepe Lobo as he wants no part of ALBA and if he wants to be supported and not end up like Zelaya he would be smart to stay away from selling Honduras out to Chavez.

"Lobo would be happy to keep PetroCaribe and even go into ALBA and get all of the member countries to recognize his administration, but he knows it is impossible for him to do so and not alienate his allies, the Honduran business elites, conservative political groups, the military -- all of whom orchestrated, funded and backed the coup -- and of course the U.S.," said Rodolfo Pastor de Maria y Campos, Zelaya’s deputy chief at the Honduran embassy in Washington through February. He now works with the advocacy group Hondurans for Democracy. "He depends on all of the above to remain president and has been warned to behave if he wishes to prevent being kicked out like Zelaya." It is never smart to go against the people who vote for you is it? A president certainly faces impeachment if they don't obey the law.

Any aid is sorely needed in the country known as Latin American's third poorest after Guyana and Nicaragua. But Hondurans say the economic impact of the coup and subsequent repression paired with the economic effects of stepped-up privatization and neoliberal policies mean increasing poverty, rural migration to already overburdened cities and migration to the U.S. and other countries. Which proves why it isn’t smart to sanction poor countries because those who suffer are invariably the poor…except that the US also has proof now that Zelaya stole funds from USAID that was provided to Honduras.

"There are people leaving daily, much more than before," said Luther Castillo Harry, a doctor in the Atlantic coastal communities of Garifuna, African-descended Hondurans considered indigenous. "Many of them are dying on the way to the U.S."

Actually the economic situation in the US has kept a lot of poor from leaving but there is no more than before and probably less than before leaving to go to the US. In my neighborhood which is middle class no one has left. In the very poor area close to mine very few have left and most have returned in a few months of leaving.

Since government funding was revoked after the coup, Castillo has seen 11 local community clinics with live-in doctors shuttered, and the hospital he runs struggles to secure basic necessities and medications.

Even if this were true it goes to show how it affects the poor to place sanctions, but the problem is it isn’t true. The medical funds and medicines were not stopped and never are during sanctions. Even Iraq received medical assistance.

This is just one example of how conditions for Hondurans living outside the elite business and military class have deteriorated since the coup. A report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research notes that after healthy economic growth under Zelaya, the economy contracted since the coup, and the coup regime's curfew alone cost about $50 million.

Last night I took my son to the public hospital and I went as well…both of us were ill from the rains that had flooded our area. He had an infection that had proliferated in a scratch on his arm and turned into staff and I had a virus and bacterial infection from the flood waters. Both of us received medical attention for the price of 40 lempiras which is less than $3 and the medicine that was available we were given and the rest we received a prescription for and the doctor prescribed the lowest cost medication he could which included something for me for dehydration since I didn’t want to be hydrated via IV. The cost of our medicines was less than $20 total and we had about seven prescriptions between the two of us. We were also seen immediately with no wait. If it had been the US it would have cost us hundreds of dollars plus prescriptions that are very expensive. So much for your theory about lack of medical care.

"Tourism has been crushed, really large sectors of the economy are just not functioning, the whole public sector has just been devastated," said Pine, author of a book about maquiladoras, violence and alcohol in Honduras. "At the height of the massive repression there were almost constant curfews, so people were forced to stay inside their homes and weren’t able to go to work. Many lost jobs, businesses folded, people who survived by selling things on street had no way to maintain themselves."

Tourism has not been crushed…Roatan and Utila were unaffected by the political situation. Maquilas is not tourism that is a factory sector. Roatan and Utila are tourist areas as is Tela, Ceiba and Tegucigalpa. None of it has been hurt. The ex pat community did a fabulous job of making sure that false information did not stand, such as what you want to spread.

Lobo's proposed new budget won't help. It raises taxes but cuts spending on most social, education and health programs, while increasing budgets for the military by 23 percent and expanding subsidies to promote business by 15 percent. Who are you to complain about his budget? Do you pay taxes like I do in Honduras? Remember we have no income tax.

Honduran and international rights groups say the U.S. must reverse course to suspend aid and otherwise pressure the Lobo government to stop human rights abuses and allow the peaceful resistance movement to follow its course, including the call for a popular assembly to vote on drafting a new Honduran constitution. It was exactly this proposal, which, contrary to propaganda would not have extended Zelaya's term, sparked the coup in the first place. Peaceful resistance? ok now I known you have never been to Honduras and certainly not during the past year.  It is illegal to overthrow the constitution.  Yes, Zelaya had every intention of extending his term and that has already been verified.  Furthermore, what Honduras allows or doesn't allow is not the international community's business and a movement that could not even get 200 thousand signatures is not as popular as you want to believe. 

Honduran groups and international groups are still calling for embargoes? Really…the exception may be the resistance but I don’t know of any groups calling for trade embargoes and sanctions on Honduras.

Honduras is one of few Central American countries that has never had a powerful united leftist movement. Hence during the civil wars that wracked the region in the 1980s, Honduras was not at war itself but served as "an unsinkable aircraft carrier" for the U.S., in Birn's words, to carry out its proxy wars. Honduran residents and U.S. analysts say events of the past year may have galvanized a new level of political resistance and coordination in Honduras. Why is it a tragedy that we have never had a powerful leftist movement? Civil wars that wracked the region went on in El Salvador and cost 100,000 lives and in Guatemala lots of lives also were lost as well as Nicaragua…why is it a tragedy that we didn’t have a Civil War in the middle of that chaos?

"Honduras will become a tinder box," said Birns. "That was one of the great things that happened under Zelaya – he set forth a chain of events to create a new country no longer willing to tolerate receiving miserable handouts from society." A possible civil war because of Zelaya is a great thing? How utterly disgusting a thing to say in your opinion a country mired in civil war and lots of civilians killing each other over politics is a wonderful thing. SHAME ON YOU!!!!

Since its days as a banana republic run essentially as a huge plantation for foreign companies, Honduras has been economically enslaved by foreign interests who capitalized on its resources and labor pool giving little in return. Many critics say this pattern was furthered across the region with the adoption of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which was signed by Zelaya and originally shepherded by former president Ricardo Maduro. No it was ratified under Zelaya, but Ricardo Maduro signed the agreement. However, the CAFTA agreement has brought more trade deficits to Honduras than it has helped.

Opponents say CAFTA has already increased poverty, economic inequality and displacement in Central America. I don’t know that it has increased poverty, but it has caused inequality and displacement in Central America as the trade agreement is largely to the favor of the US and not Central America. ALBA and CAFTA both created more deficits which is not a good thing for an already stressed government budget.

"The recent surge in violence in Honduras -- like last year's coup -- has its roots in the country's profound political and economic polarization, brought on by decades of failed trade and economic policies," said Todd Tucker, research director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "Honduran leaders should have long ago cultivated an economic development strategy with substantial yet targeted state involvement and a focus on value-added manufactures and the domestic and regional

market. What Hondurans got instead was a series of governments that did the opposite." Not true. Trade deficits and unequal treatment in the international sector is something Honduras is used to and we don’t blame other Hondurans for that.

Main thinks if the targeted attacks, threats and murders continue without censure from the U.S. or international agencies, the resistance movement faces a dim future.

"They're picking off resistance activists from different sectors," he said. "If they can keep doing it with impunity, I don't see how the resistance can survive."

The resistance movement has all but disappeared. In fact, in the elections the UD came in dead last in the election and they lost seats instead of gained. That is not very positive for their movement and showed how unpopular their movement was with the community at large. They have the ability to participate in the elections just like anyone else…if they want control they need to lobby for that control and campaign just like everyone else…this Victoria Cervantes character would rather see a violent revolution in a country she long ago abandoned for the US and its capitalist society. I would beg to differ with her in that she has nothing to lose if people start killing each other here and she has nothing to gain either. Come preach this crap from her pedestal here in Honduras…other than that she is just another Honduran who left Honduras for life in another country and has no business commenting on Honduras as long as she remains outside.

But Juan Almendares, a Tegucigalpa-based doctor well known internationally for his public health and human rights work over three decades, is confident the resistance will bear fruit. He sees it as the convergence of long-time campesino struggles with a growing awareness of environmentalism, labor rights, LGBT rights and other issues among the Honduran public.

Juan Almendares? The same man who got every one of his degrees from the USA? He has spent his life protesting not doing medicine. He has spent his life teaching at a University and living the life of a wealthy man while fooling the poor with fancy words. An example of how things should be done is Mayor and Doctor Zuñiga who is mayor of San Pedro Sula and was the director of Hospital Catarino Rivas the same hospital I went to with my son last night. This man has done open heart surgery for poor with NO CHARGE and is a cardiologist and surgeon. He is an incredible example and he is a liberal and won the election here. Some are not happy that they lost their jobs after he took office but he looked at who had continued doing their job and who had been not showing up for work(insubordination) and fired those who were insubordinate which is what most jobs do. He didn´t look at political colors for those he would hire either. Zelaya fired him from his director position for refusing to make people sign the assembly agreement in exchange for medical care and if they didn't sign not give them treatment.  I notice you didn't mention those things in your report.  You also don't mention the reporters killed while Zelaya was in office either.  You also fail to mention the murders of gay activists while he was in office and the murders of more than a few woman.

"The resistance is the most beautiful experience of my life," he said. "It's transformative. The spirit of the people has been released. This is a pre-revolutionary process, with solidarity and unity. It's a new pueblo, a new people."

Burning cars, throwing rocks at private citizens, attacking children in a church bus, painting with spray paint on monuments and churches as well as private homes is what is beautiful to you?

Kari Lydersen, a regular contributor to AlterNet, also writes for the Washington Post and is an instructor for the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in Chicago.

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Million in Honduras Have No Access to Electricity

In Honduras only 69.1% of the population has access to electricty.  In the city the access is 94.4% while rural areas are only 44% access rate.  Some of the difficulties are that the rural communities are in very remote sections of Honduras.  Unlike in the US there are quite a few off grid areas in Honduras because of the distance from a city and the fact that they are in very mountainous areas.  Another difficulty is income level differences from people that live in urban areas and those who are in rural areas. 

In San Pedro Sula the access to electricity is almost 100%, but in Lempira it is just 26%.  This difference is astounding.  However, there is a solution to the lack of a power grid in these areas.  Alternative off grid sources.  These homes would likely never need more than perhaps the ability to run a few lightbulbs and a room fan at most.  It seems a solution wihtout overbudening the system is to use solar and wind energy in these areas instead of investing in burdening the grid even further.  This would also help the literacy rate as well as income rates for these areas and stimulate growth.  This also would assist Honduras out of the tailspin they seem to be in with the third world status. 

Living in the city makes Honduras seem almost as modern as the US in some ways, but when you go to areas like where we own our property in San Cristobal de Vallecito, Olancho where the electric access is 0% you realize just how vast the difference in modernization there is between one area and another.  We plan on putting in solar off grid power for the house there, but I have to wonder how having such access would help that community prosper.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Honduran Horchata! The real stuff!

Ok most of you know my neighbor died May 2.  His first wife whom I never had the pleasure of meeting died some 20 years ago from cancer.  Their daughter gave me an invaluable recipe of her mother´s that is famous here out of gratitude to me for the love I have demonstrated to them..and I am going to share it here for all of you...the woman´s name was Joyce so I call it Joyce´s Honduran Horchata..

1/2 pound of ayote seeds, ayote is simply a type of pumpkin seed from the cushaw pumpkin...most Hispanic stores have them in the US.

1/2 pound morro seeds which can pretty much also be found in any Hispanic supermarket..

5 mini lempira bags of cinnamon sticks

2 mini lempira bags of all spice(pimienta gorda)

1 pound of miga rice(basically broken rice)

grated lime peel, ice, 1 to 2 kilos of sugar

You can also add peanuts to the mix if you like but she didn´t

Start to toast the ayote seeds till they are slightly crunchy and add the morro seeds to the mix and continue toasting till everything is toasted medium , break up the all spice and add it to the mix, continue toasting, place the rice in water and set for two hours then rinse well, if you are in the states you can add this to a grinder and grind with a small amount of water till it is thick and creamy or if in Honduras take to one of the mill grinders in your area that grind up the nixtamal for tamales or tortillas, tell them to pass it through twice, check it to see if it is grainy or smooth if it is still grainy ask them to pass it a third time..take mix home, add to 3 gallons of bottled water(in Honduras) add sugar to taste and mix...the add lime peel and mix again, crush ice well and add to the mix...serve up this perfect creamy tropical drink on a very hot day!