The first driver was convinced that Zelaya was tricked into signing the Tegucigalpa San Jose Accord because he believed that he had been told that he would be returned on November 5 to the presidency and the Congress was just a formality. I do not believe that someone who is supposed to be intelligent enough to be president is able to be tricked into signing an agreement that says something very different from what he is claiming he was promised. This is a convenient excuse and more propaganda to lead the ignorant into believing he was duped. Before I got out of the car I turned to him and said…you know why voting is important? He looked perplexed at my question and said no. I looked straight at him and said in the US, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and women fought for more than 100 years to have the right to vote and in Honduras for just 27 years has the community had the right to vote and to ignore that struggle is to spit in our ancestors faces and stomp on their graves for that struggle. He was silent and thanked me and said that he would consider my thoughts and decide on whether he would vote or not. Will he? I do not know…but I hope he will take my words to heart because I meant every single one of them. His attitude had indeed changed from the moment in which I had entered his car to the moment I left it at the rally.
When I had enough of the rally because it was really very crowded and very hot at the same time I decided to not wait for the buses to leave and deal with the crowds which I hate. So I went and found another taxi. This time I stepped into a totally different attitude. This driver was indeed going to vote and felt like Liberals were divided for a long time to come and that their division had handed the presidency to Lobo on a silver cake platter. He said they may as well inaugurate him after seeing the campaign rally there is little doubt he will win. I was impressed with his observation and asked what his thoughts were on the situation in the country. He was very pronounced in his opinions and still like others held the opinion that none of the presidents or hopefuls has ever really cared about Honduras. He felt it would take a group of Americans or Americans and Europeans running the country for at least 8 years to change attitudes and the direction of the country. He said we need people like you who know what justice is about. I considered his thoughts…and sympathized with them. He said look I am not educated and never was, I am poor or lower middle class like most of the country and our only hope is a government that will lead for the people and not for a handful of people who tag along for personal benefit. I felt that was a dead on target point. Impressive for an uneducated taxi driver. However, his next statement would take me by surprise. Evidently in recent days he had been robbed, the robbers stuffed him in the trunk of the car and he is sure if he had not pulled the emergency release and escaped they would have killed him. He was so suddenly angry at this that he said that they need a president who will either kick out or do away with all of the gangs, thugs, robbers, and general undesirables in the country. He said Hondurans are a hard working people, but those of us who do not want to work ruin it for everyone that does want to work and do something for themselves. While I found his words to disturb me I found it even more unsettling that I found myself agreeing with him as to truth in his thoughts. I disagree with doing away with undesirables as attractive as that might seem. However, there does need to be a strong stance taken in reference to the undesirables in this country.
What I do know about this entire experience separate from my experience at the rally itself was that people from identical backgrounds have taken entirely different positions on this crisis and I hope that in the long run it is for the positive and not the negative of Honduras.
One thing is clear and that is that Manuel Zelaya was able to divide Hondurans irregardless of identical backgrounds and that division will take many years to heal if it were not for the peaceful nature of Hondurans I am afraid that this country would have been mired in a civil war at this point and I am thankful for their peaceful nature because it may take them further than other countries without the need to hurt over those they have lost before the crisis is resolved.
photos courtesy of La Prensa of campaign closing rallies in San Pedro Sula.