Saturday, December 05, 2009

20 Days Till Christmas: Christmas In Honduras

We have 20 days till Christmas and I will be celebrating my second Christmas here.  Christmas in Honduras is very different from Christmas in the United States.  We have no concept of Thanksgiving as a marker here so you start seeing Christmas things in October here.  However, Christmas is not near as commercialized as it is in the United States.

I was having a very difficult time getting in the Christmas mood this year, but one of my neighbor´s 22 year old daughters has been bugging the snot out of me about when I am going to put up my lights and tree for Christmas...well today I caved and she won and I put up the lights and tree.  I have a poinsetta decorated white Christmas tree...with red poinsettas all over it and gold balls with poinsetta Christmas lights that have two settings.  I also have garland lights for the house that I put on the second story railing.  She was so pleased with me...she calls me ´suegra´to bug me because she says she is going to steal my 19 almost 20 year old soldier son when he come shere and that they are going to run away and get married...(she is joking of course, but anything to tease me).

I suppose the more I look at the lights the more I will get in the mood...

In Honduras tamales at every house during Christmas...you go from house to house to house...drink grape wine(it is really good), eat tamales, eat pork leg that has been baked, the kids set off tremendous amounts of fireworks...and yes there are Christmas gifts and new clothing, but not to the level of the states..most kids get one or two gifts and new clothing here..no one really gives mounds of gifts like the states.  I really enjoy Christmas here because it is not just family, but friends as well. I love the house to house to house stuff and while the firecrackers give me a headache the kids have fun...So grab a bottle of grape wine, a bottle of fresh made rompopo, tamales, fireworks and Christmas is ready...

75 Days in the Brazilian Embassy: Now What?

Zelaya has been in the Brazilian embassy for 75 days today after he snuck in on September 21 and found that he had to exile in the Brazilian embassy to avoid capture by the military.

Now the elections have passed and Pepe Lobo is the next president and he will take office on January 27, 2010 as required by the Honduran Constitution.  The world is recognizing the electoral process and one by one turning their backs on Zelaya.  The next country is Brazil...they are considering recognizing the election results since the elections were clearly fair and transparent.  If they recognize the elections what happens to Zelaya? How much longer can he continue inside that embassy prison cell he created for himself?  He has been abandoned by everyone but his family and Rasel Tomé.

He was abandoned by Tamayo for what was rumored to be domestic violence that occurred between Zelaya and his wife Xiomara.  Tamayo apparently got in the middle to stop him from hurting her and an argument broke out.  Tamayo used the excuse that his sister needed him in El Salvador, but he hasn´t been to El Salvador in 26 years until now...so it is highly unlikely that his story was true...apparently Zelaya beat Xiomara so badly she had to be hospitalized and it was more than Tamayo could deal with so he left the embassy and faced deportation instead. 

Zelaya clearly is suffering from mental problems that probably have been compounded by the situation he has found himself in.  I am sure he never dreamed that the embassy would become his prison.  He miscalculated how much following he had and it was too late when he realized that the Resistance could not carry him back to the presidency and that the Civil War he dreamed about had not occurred.

Now that elections have passed even the Resistance has recognized that Lobo will be the president come January and they accept the results of the elections...their goal they say is the Constitutional Assembly...of course that will not happen, but how bad has it really gotten when his following abandoned him outright and were clear they no longer were calling for Zelaya´s restitution since his term would end on January 27 anyway.  People are starting to come to their senses now.

So what is this man going to do? He cannot continue in the embassy.  The sensible thing would be to ask for asylum and get a way out of the country without being arrested or turn himself in and face the music that awaits him.  The military feels so safe about the situation that they retired barricades that had been at the embassy for over 2 months.  They are still guarding the embassy to arrest him if he comes out, but there is no danger of the embassy coming under siege now.

The real question is if Brazil recognizes Lobo, will they make Zelaya make a choice on what he is going to do? His days are numbered regardless.  The Brazilians need their embassy and he has got to decide what his destiny is....I suspect that the Zelaya property in Catacamas will soon have a for sale sign hanging on the gate...and Zelaya will be an asylee in another country...I cannot picture him facing the music.

The real thing to celebrate is that elections were so peaceful and that the crisis is all but ended.  No one will stop holding their breath though until he is out of the embassy and Lobo is sworn in as president of Honduras. 

Now the doors are open to the future for Honduras and what Hondurans do with it will depend on them..this can easily make Honduras a first world country even as small as they are...will they jump at the chance or remain on the sidelines is the real question.