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!

Preparing for a Bad Hurricane Season

Americans aren´t very adept at floods and hurricanes unless they live in areas prone to that.  I dealt with Hurricane Mitch here in Honduras in 98, going through my first hurricane ever and of course my first earthquake last year on May 28 was also here...interesting how both things that terrify me happened to me here! I am not scared of tornadoes and know on instinct how to act because I grew up in tornado alley...but hurricanes, wind, and things that shake the ground and my house? Fahgitaboutit! At least with a tornado I could hide in our storm shelter and felt when one was coming before it happened...earthquake...well no warning except the crazy chickens around here going bananas at the wrong hours...

Our first serious rain happened a few days ago and as you know it flooded part of our neighborhood and I came out unscathed...but I am worried about a hard rain that lasts longer than 90 minutes or a hurricane..ouch! They said our drain system isn´t ready and there is no money to prepare we are on our own.(Welcome to Honduras!)

Neighbors have been gathering all the rocks that were brought with the last flood and the sand in burlap bags...I was curious as to this movement till my neighbor brought me some bags and told me to get sand while I could...I asked why...she explained to me that putting them bags in front of your entry doors and the gates keeps the water out...ok that makes off I go gathering rocks and in a bucket to haul where we can build a fence that will direct the water away from the house..what a perfect excuse for making a small garden! and the burlap bags of sand to keep out water.

Most houses in San Pedro Sula are concrete block houses which is a good thing.  When the floods come we can simply move everything to our second story..our house floors are tile, our walls concrete...not much that water can do to either of them...or even sand and mud brought in from husband is bringing a pressure washer to clean the house if needed after such a situation.  So now I have about 4 sand bags to place in front of the doors, not enough btw, but I suppose it will work..and rocks in a hand built wall to keep the water directed away from the house...behind that wall I took advantage that it is also planting season...and I planted three ´mar pacifica´flower bushes...they look amazing! The mar pacifica in English is known as the hibiscus rose.  One of them is yellow, then a pink one and a red single leaf tree one that I love...and I also took advantage and planted a persia lime tree, guava tree, and a pomegranate, and then also a mandarin I have been rather busy.  Now let´s keep my fingers crossed and hope I don´t kill the poor things...I have been doing pretty good with these plants in containers for about a year and decided to transfer them since this is the best month to do that...not to mention the amazing shade they will provide...oh and I planted a palm tree, but it is a slow growing ornamental one so it will never be really huge. 

When they mentioned 18 storms and the first bad rain hit I was about ready to pack and head back to good ol Georgia where all I worry about is tornadoes on occasion and sometimes there is flooding but not serious usually.  I have had time to think about it though and I am determined that I won´t let the storms run me out of my dream home...yeah my dream home in the middle of Honduras! Me and it are attached at the hip and I am determined...the first time I walked into this house it was an absolute MESS! I bought it from a bank auction as it was a foreclosure..and there were no windows, the second story was incomplete, there were no iron bars, no gate, no doors, no woodwork, no bathrooms completed, no kitchen completed, the house was an absolute horror...but when I walked in with the banker, my eyes hit the stairs and I looked at him and said this is it...he about fainted! I fell in love with the stairs..yeah no kidding! Since then we have added ceder and mahogany wood to the interiors such as doors, cabinets, etc..and we have put in ceramic tile, finished the bathrooms and tiled them and placed modern appliances in the house..the baths are still a bit small but I have been discussing that with my husband and we have plans for enlarging the baths..We have decided to do something else after the horrible electric bills we have been getting from the ENEE electric company demons..yeah demons...I am convinced there is a demon in our meter that accelerates it to charge us more! So guess what...I am cutting them off! We are going to go SOLAR in the very near future...I can´t wait to see the ENEE meter reader´s face when he shows up at my house and I have solar panels on the house and a solar air condition system...all for less than 20 we will be sort of off grid...I wonder how they will try to fix that? Can we roast the meter demons and make them ultra crispy chickens? I have spent a good portion of the week also cruising the internet checking out solar packages...because we will also be adding it on the house we are going to build in the mountains of Olancho since there is no electric there and it is off grid..and I am not about to live without electricity even for a weekend..yeah I am a spoiled American! but here we have mosquitos as big as the state of Texas and it is hot, humid and you get sticky by even looking outside so I need air and I need a fan at the very least as well as having things like refrigerated coca cola! I thought I was the spoiled one..till my husband went up in the mountains thinking he was going for the weekend...the first time he went after we bought the property...things change and he is more American than Honduran now...and he didn´t make it till sundown before he was headed back to Juticalpa to a nice cozy hotel room where I was waiting! I laughed and said I thought you were a rough tough Olanchano that could handle it...he looked at me and replied, it was hot and the mosquitos kept biting me! I was amused...anyhow I have been gloating and thinking about how I will be able to hand ENEE their pink slip for the past week...maybe more people should do that and they might think about how they are treating their customers more often...or more likely since it is government ran they might make solar panels illegal!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Start of Hurricane Season

Well in Honduras folks it is considered winter.  What that means really is hurricane season, because we don't really have a winter per se.  Today a storm moved in that was reminded me of flashfloods in Texas.

At about three this afternoon the sky started getting dark and well darker, I didn't pay much attention other than to think that maybe we would finally get some rain, but the sky has been fooling us for days...yeah who was I kidding..then the raindrops started pounding so I skitted home quickly and as I got there the clouds burst open and the rain started hammering down. I got inside and went to get on the computer, poof the lights went out, oh well I will sit here for a few minutes I thought and wait...about thirty minutes later they came back on and poof out they went again for about an hour...but before the hour was out, I had broom in hand chasing the water OUT of the house.  All of my neighbors were flooded and only I was only got to the door though thank goodness! So off I went with my broom to help my neighbors chase the water out of their houses and they were really flooded...oh boy...this is going to be a long hurricane season....tomorrow I will post some of the I sit here it is still raining just not as hard..I will have to make a mental note to never pray for rain again during hurricane season!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teachers, the Docente Law and Parents!

For the past five years teachers have been so incorrigible they are almost impossible to deal with.  Granted some teachers are in the classroom giving class.  I was impressed to see one of the schools in our neighborhood giving classes, but as usual for them they always do.  They were there during the time after Zelaya was removed and never missed a beat, to this moment even with the possible rewrite of the docente law they are still there educating children.  These are examples for what teachers should be.  The school is la Espinoza and deserve our applause at their dedication to the children.

On the other hand we have the children and secondary children that are losing their education due to teachers like the ones that are in the Resistance movement.  These teachers stay in the streets and have failed for the past five years to finish even one term of 200 days of classes.  They demand their pay even when not working, burn tires in the streets, and today hit parents that were protesting against striking teachers...the motive demanding that these terrorist teachers give classes.  I was shocked beyond comprehension that MEN who are teachers and have the nerve to call themselves professors, went over to the hunger striking parents that were pacific and hit them and tried to attack them.  The parents were WOMEN.  What kind of man hits a woman? Do these teachers think only they have the right to protest? Or do they believe in protecting everyone´s right to protest? 

I dare one teacher to explain to me why you deserve to have the Docente law in effect? Why do you deserve it when you do not educate the children of Honduras complying with the promise to protect the most vunerable citizens of all, children.  I want to see the law removed and for Pepe to find his ´huevos´and tell each and every one of you that if you are not in class by Monday morning that he will replace you period.  That each teacher that is not in their classroom will be removed and a replacement will be hired, even if they have to hire temporary teachers like the bachilleres that were hired during I believe the Maduro administration.  I bet that will wake you up to what your responsibility is.  I want him to tell you that you can have the Docente law back when you prove you deserve it by giving at least three years of dedication to our children, meaning you don´t miss a single day of class even if you have to give classes under a friggin tree.  Not one day or you go back to square one.

I am so tired of this nonsense and it is incredible for me that as serious as the situation is for Honduras that teachers have the gall to not teach children.  If they want to strike FINE, but do it AFTER CLASS!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Son and Afghanistan

Well most of you know that my son is in the National Guard and has been training to go to Afghanistan.  He has marching orders for July 9, 2010.  I am terrified for him.  I don´t quite know how to act right now.  I can´t really sleep well and I am scared for him beyond all belief.  He is my oldest son and the fear grows inside me as each day passes.  I never thought I would find myself in a battle of my patriotic feelings for my country, the US and the pride that he went into the service and my downright fear for him being sent to this war that I have long ago lost belief in.  I at first believed in this war, but long ago it lost meaning for me.  I understand that we had tragic events in 2001 and at that time it was the right thing to go after Bin Laden, but I am not sure what is right or wrong anymore now that it is nine years later and we are still there. 

I ask readers who have children there, or children who went or are just following along to please pray for him and his safe return. I know that prayer in numbers works.  I have placed some pictures of him here that are both military and non military so that you can see the me he is still just a kid even at almost 20...that you are praying for.  May our voices be heard...

The History of a De facto President and Two Real Military Coups

Many international communities and even people inside Honduras, that are too young to remember who Oswaldo Enrique Lopez Arellano is call what happened on June 28, 2009 a military coup.  What happened that day was anything but a military coup.  I am going to concentrate on the life of the late Oswaldo Lopez Arellano.

Today Oswaldo Lopez Arellano passed away during surgery for prostate cancer.  He was born June 30, 1921 and passed away today May 16, 2010 at the age of 89.  He first attained power through a coup in 1963 ruling until 1971 and then again from 1972 to 1975.  The current constitution was written in 1982. 

Oswaldo Lopez was fluent in English and had attended an affluent school in Tegucigalpa known as the American school.  At the age of 18 like most young Honduran men he joined the military.  He then became a pilot in the Honduran Air Force.  Lopez eventually became a Coronel and then became a General. He married and had five children. 

Lopez also served in the interim presidency briefly during a 1957 coup, but resigned after elections were held.  He actually served as a de facto president after a coup that removed Ramon Villeda Morales. Villeda was a Liberal president that wanted to oversee the democratization of Honduras and was elected by the General Assembly(not free elections).  Just ten days before an election that would have reelected Villeda, a then very popular president, Lopez committed a coup de tat against Villeda and removed him to Costa Rica.  Villeda relocated to New York and died there in 1971. San Pedro Sula´s international airport is named after him.  His son was in the truth commission that defended Micheletti in Costa Rica this past year.

Looking back at 1956 and the first Military Junta.  Julio Lozano Diaz was removed by a military junta October 21, 1956. During this administration for a brief period Lopez was named as part of the military junta.

Military General Lopez took control after a coup October 3, 1963 and remained in control until June 5, 1965 during a very unstable political era. On June 6, 1965 he was elected president by the Constitutional Assembly(remember what I said about Americans not understanding the word Constitutional Assembly? Well here you have it, the assembly names the president, he isn´t elected and the entire constitution is rewritten to his and his supporters liking, not to the liking of the public, during this time all rights are suspended). 

Not everything about Lopez Arellano´s government was bad, in fact there were quite a few good things that came out of his government.  However, Lopez was a populist president, not a liberal or nationalist president. 

Among improvements that occurred during his government are:

Improvements to the roads of the litoral Atlantic, North and Occidental areas.
Construction of marketplaces, centers and subcenters of health, public office buildings, school rooms
Creation of the Technical Center Honduran-German
Completion of the Hospital in Tegucigalpa known as School Hospital.
Founding of Workers Bank
Founding of National school of Forest Sciences in Siguatapeque, National School of Agriculture, and others.
Decree of a law guarantee of education, retirement for elderly, magestrate pensions
Creation of the Anthropology and History institute, and agricutural reform.
Creation of the Port Entry
Finished the Second level of the hydroelectric plant at Yajoa Rio Lindo

Lopez was in control during the war between El Salvador and Honduras known as the Soccer War. (Football is what Hispanics call it). 

The war was a little more complicated than that.  During this period about 300,000 Salvadorans lived in Honduras, most of them in Honduras illegally.  Most of the Salvadorans had come in search of fresh lands to cultivate.  Lopez initiated a massive deportation campaign of Salvadorans and turn over those lands to Hondurans. There was also a huge problem at the border between both countries and border disputes were at a boiling point.

On July 14, 1969 Honduras was invaded by the National Guard of El Salvador. They bombed several sections of Honduras including Tegucigalpa, Choluteca, Juticalpa, Sta Rosa de Copan, and Catacamas.  For a short time El Salvador managed to take control of Ocotepeque, San Marcos de Ocotepeque, and a few other bordering towns like Goascaran, Alianza, La Virtud, and Aramancina.  The attack was reported to the Organization of American States. Eventually the agression was propelled and El Salvador was pushed back into its borders and the Treaty of Lima was signed.  In it though, Arellano agreed to allow elections in Honduras.

On July 4, 1972 Lopez again created a coup against the government. This time removed was Dr Ramon Ernesto Cruz. During this period he took a reformist line. He also affirmed his divorce from the traditional red (liberal) and blue (nationalist) parties. 

One of his first acts was to contain the invasions by campesinos into public and private property.  During this period he created the organization INFOP (institute of Professional Formation by decree 10.) This organization was created to improve the quality of workers and their education to the benefit of the businesses in Honduras.

Lopez also was in control during the famous Bananagate.  Most Americans recognize the Bananagate term in fact, it is from this act that Banana republic became a term against countries like Honduras. In 1974, Standard Fruit Company and the government came head to head.  Lopez raised the price of tariffs on Standard Fruit and Standard Fruit did not wait to react...they came full force with their economic strength, they began the destruction of 100 thousand boxes of bananas a week and reduced exports. Eventually the government relented and reduced the export tariff also in effect was the bribe that was paid to the government to reduce that tariff.  Standard Fruit Company paid 2.5 million in exchange for the removal of tariffs. The day after all of this came to a head Lopez Arellano was destituted from his charge as president and General Juan Alberto Melgar Castro took his place.

However, before Bananagate brought down Lopez he was faced with Hurricane Fifi on the 14th of September 1974 Hurricane Fifi came ashore. This hurricane devastated extensive zones of Honduras and caused the death of at least 10,000 people especially in Choloma a suburban area of San Pedro Sula. The neighborhood where I live was completely under water during Hurricane Fifi, but was not flooded during Hurricane Mitch of 1998. During Fifi almost 40% of exported products were completely destroyed and over 15,000k2 were destroyed.  Eventually it took 600 million dollars to rebuild the infrastructure in Honduras and two years for agricultural exports to be replaced.

Manuel Zelaya Running Around Like a Stuck Pig

Manuel Zelaya is back to traveling everywhere again trying to get support to make Pepe give him amnesty for his crimes. He is complaining that he should not only receive immunity from prosecution, but that he should also be allowed to hold a political position in Honduras and move politics including a Constitutional Assembly. 

Americans mostly do not understand what a Constitutional Assembly is, because they have never faced one in their lifetime.  It is a complete rewrite of the Constitution in which every guarantee is suspended for a period of two years and there are no elections.  During the time of Lopez Orellano when the Constitutional rewrite occurred here and a military coup in 1963 there were 3,000 deaths. A bit of irony is that Lopez Orellano died today from Prostate Cancer, but I will discuss his life and the politics surrounding him in another article later today, since I am depending on my father in law to give me vivid details since he lived the two coups that occurred then.

What is interesting is that Zelaya has traveled to Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc to try to get support for his plan of reconciliation.  What he has failed to understand is the entire world understands he is no longer president and that Pepe Lobo is the Constitutionally elected president of Honduras.  He also has failed miserably in understanding the laws of his own country.  In Honduras, due to abuse, several years ago all immunity for political leaders was suspended.  No political leader has any immunity from prosecution for common crimes they commit.  They can receive via Congressional decree immunity for political crimes, this has already occurred for Zelaya.  He insists that he is innocent, so if he is innocent why doesn´t he just come face the music as his ministers have done?

He claims that he will suffer persecution and not receive a fair trial, but to date only 1 is actually convicted and he is out while he appeals, the others are out on bail while they defend themselves of the charges they face.  So how is it that he is not going to receive fair treatment if all of his ministers have received fair treatment? What does he base this accusation on? Pepe is not affiliated with the former interim government and he was elected.  He has no reason to offer Zelaya anything other than a fair trial...he isn´t going to lose his presidential spot, there is nothing at stake here. If Zelaya wants to return he can at any time return, he must however face trial...just like any other citizen in Honduras that is accused of a crime. 

Zelaya is accustomed to being able to buy his way out of trouble.  Many wealthy citizens are able to attain this via ´mordidas´that they give to officials.  Normal citizens are not able to obtain this type of escape which is nothing but corruption anyway.  For once a rich man understands what it is like to be treated like a normal citizen and evidently he doesn´t like it.  His father killed a priest, nuns, and several environmental protesters in Olancho and was liberated of his crimes along with a powerful general in the military, he thought this would be the case with him too...but he was sadly mistaken.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Docente Law May be Unconstitutional!

The Docente is a controversial law that has protected teachers and unions when they go on strike from any recourse by judges, the government, etc to make them go back to class and teach.  It seems they use the docente law to strike for almost any reason even political and still be paid for not working. 

In the last six years the teachers have not completed their 200 days of class in even a single year.  The last year was so bad that the school year was basically cancelled and students were automatically promoted without adequate instruction to go to the next grade.  The reason for their strike was purely political.  They had been receiving their pay, the argument was not about their contract as their rights were being protected by the new government, it was simply about politics.

The teachers have once again decided to strike and once again make students pay the price.  Their reason this time is that the government has removed 10 department heads from their positions.  These department heads were removed for violations of their contract and even corruption they committed

I can only hope and pray that the Supreme court does throw out this law as an unconstitutional violation of children's guarantee of an education via the Constitution.  The largest guarantee that Honduras can have of sucess in the future is if they educate their children.  They can pave all of the streets in the world, build modern buildings, invest in fighting poverty, but if they don't guarantee and insist on the education of the children of Honduras there is no future in this country and the cycle of third world status will never end.
Teacher strike in 2009

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Using LPG gas tanks to power Stoves

In Honduras people do not have natural gas that is piped into the house like in the US.  Here we have stoves that are LPG or propane gas.  We connect them to a tank that is filled by either Tropigas or Ecogas and then the gas stove is used to cook on.  Almost all homes use this type of cooking unless they live in the mountains and then they usually use a wood burning stove that is made out of clay or adobe.  Most homes do not use electric stoves for a few reasons including that they do not get to an adequate heat to cook tortillas properly and the food tastes different(no it really isn't in their head it is different) and electricity is very expensive in Honduras.  I use air conditioning which is clearly a luxury and last month my electric bill was L2133.43 which is about $113.  I know the people in the states are thinking that this doesn't sound expensive, but try paying that kind of an electric bill when the person is earning minimum wage in Honduras which is L5500 (I make more so I can obviously afford more). As I just pointed out 5500 is minimum wage, that is about $291. 

Today an LPG tank exploded in a restaurant and injured several people.  These tanks are clearly dangerous to have and people have been killed or injured when these tanks explode.  I am guilty as charged of having such a stove myself.  The US is fortunate to have a large enough natural gas supply that these tanks are not needed, but steps need to be taken to make either electricity affordable for these countries where income is so low or to make these tanks safer. 

One thing we are looking at is making our home partially solar and our main focus being on water being heated and air conditioning.  If this project comes to fructation I will speak amply about it here or if someone that reads this has had any success with any electric saving projects let me know here and I will be glad to listen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

$2 million found Drug purchase suspected, Zelaya?

Three people were captured today in San Pedro Sula with $2 million in their posession. Our city for the past few months has been literally under siege with the violence that is encompassing it and today this capture which was so ironic. 

Many here have accused Zelaya of being involved in narcotics trafficking that comes straight from FARC and Chavez. Now today in this bust was a man by the name of Carlos David Padilla Rosales, of Catacamas, Olancho.  Now most Americans wouldn't see the significance of that...but Olanchanos do.  This man is family of Manuel Zelaya Rosales.  The Rosales'in Olancho are all related to Zelaya....and Zelaya's family on his mother's side. Dollars in Honduras and the US are tracked, hopefully they investigate this one to the very end.

If it doesn't mysteriously disappear that is 38 million lempiras that he state can use to recover economically.

After the bust the other day in that they discovered that Zelaya had been building a fully operational clandestine airport in Catacamas, Olancho in the former controversial base( where my husband was stationed from 1986 till 1992) in el Aguacate. This project had been ongoing since 2007 and is almost finished and was constructed in a clandestine fashion.  Why would a president do such a thing without the proper authority to do so unless the use for this airport was an illicit one? The Aeronautics division had to be involved and yet he never informed them or consulted them of the project nor did he get permission for the funds used from Congress.  Theft, misappropriation of funds, ursurpation of power anyone?  We have it in spades here...but one positive thing, they removed the first group of campesinos from Bajo Aguan and apparently there were no injuries or deaths as previously expected would hats off for this administration finally doing the right thing...not giving in to terrorists and thieves.

Updates for Worryworts

Ok I have received emails from some folks around that are worried because they haven't seen me and with the violence and things going on got worried.  I am alive everyone,  just apparently behind on my job. A few things have happened and on May 2 my dear neighbor and friend of 10 years passed away and it was very difficult, he suffered from liver cancer and he really suffered these past few months.  The actions of the hospital convinced me that the US would be making a fatal error if they embark on national health care.  We have it, my neighbor who had not been a drinker, but had been affected by Hep B years ago, bled to death, because they did not have an ability to do an endoscopy to discover if he could be fixed internally.  Later we found that would have been impossible as his hepatic vein ruptured, but knowing that would have made acceptance of what happened easier.  I really miss him, he was close to my father's age and gave fantastic advice and told stories that kept me on the edge of my seat with interest...RIP don Felipe.  He would have turned 62 on May 3 the day after he passed.

Threats have gotten to me as well.  I received a few of them, but I guess I am a glutton for punishment,  I won't back down.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Update: An Arrest Has Been Made

An arrest has been made in the murder of Georgino.  A 21 year old taxi driver, Fredy Omar Ayala Dubon has been arrested based on evidence at the crime scene and he was in possession of the cell phone chip for Georgino´s phone.  The phone has not been found. 

Early reports say that the taxi driver drove the shooter to the scene, but it is too soon to know if Fredy Ayala was the driver or the murderer.

The FBI from the US and Spain as well as Colombia are assisting with the investigation as well as the investigations of the other murders of reporters this month.

Wanted For Murder of Georgino, 6th Reporter Murdered in a Month

In one month we have had six reporters murdered and the last one was murdered leaving his job.  however, there were witnesses and there is a 250,000 lempira reward for information leading to arrest of this person.

Georgino Orellana, was a wonderful person, ballet teacher, university professor, and a reporter.  The murder of this man was so senseless and has caused so much pain in the population.  Now that we need the human rights groups they are no where to be found, but after events in June 2009 they were all over the place and making judgement calls, but now that there are real violations going on...what did the UN do? Call for Honduras to invalidate the anti gang law...have they lost their minds?

If you have seen this person or know who this person is please contact the police at the 2st station in San Pedro Sula.

Facuseé Says No Deal on Bajo Aguan and I Don´t Blame Him

A few days ago the government announced that they had come to an agreement on Bajo Aguan with MUCA and the invaders to the properties there.  They forgot one little very important detail...discussing the agreement with the owner of the property,  Miguel Facuseé. 

MUCA wants the property that is to the right that borders with Toccoa, but Facuseé said that property is not for sale.  He will not allow that to be a part of the agreement because he does not want the invaders to border with his neigbhors for fear that they will also try to  invade his neighbors´ properties.  I don´t blame him I wouldn´t let that deal go either.  He also is a bit miffed that not one of them is facing charges for the murders of the security guards that have been killed, robberies that have happened in the area, and for the invasions themselves for ursurping land that is privately and legally owned.
Facuseé also pointed out that his workers in that area total 4,000 and they need to be consulted about whether they want new bosses or not, he has continued paying them even though they haven´t been able to work since December and this land will benefit just 3,000 members of MUCA, but at present employees 4,000.  This deal should ahve never happened.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Update on Bajo Aguan Conflict

Today the military was dispatched to Bajo Aguan with a possible order to remove trespassers from the plantations that they invaded by force leaving thousands unemployed and leading to announcements by Standard Fruit of the closing of their plantations. 

It is imperitive that the government take control of the situation regarding invasions to protect investments in Honduras for exportation purposes and to protect the employment of thousands of Hondurans that depend on these companies every day.

The National Resistance Front that caused so much chaos after Zelaya was removed is now trying to sieze properties in Bajo Aguan and complaining about the possible removal of these invadors.  If they want property they can buy it just like the rest of us do.

They invaded the property of Miguel Facusse at first in May 2009 and then extended their invasion to over 4,000 hectacres of land that they are demanding be given to them FREE.  In fact, in reality their demand is for 14,000 hectacres of land free of charge. 

The government needs to act swiftly and NOT negotiate.  You do not negotiate with criminals and terrorists.  Each and every time someone´s property is invaded, whether it is government or private it needs to result in not only removal but incarceration of the individuals for violation of human rights and trespassing as well as violating a private property using terroristic actions.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Conflict in Bajo Aguan, Colon

The ongoing conflict in Bajo Aguan has been complicated.  I had not completely understood what was going on there and wanted to refrain from writing about it on my blog until I understood the situation a little better and what was behind it.  The inequality between rich and poor sometimes is more than apparent so I wanted to give both sides the benefit of the doubt before making judgement or opinions.

Some of what I have read has suggested that the area of Bajo Aguan is a very high conflict area and has been for quite a few years.  Landowners and sharecroppers are at each other's necks and have been for years.

Over the past few months share croppers have decided to invade private owned lands that are production areas for African palm oil.  Their reason is that they think that the land should belong to them instead of to the owners.  This in spite of the fact that over three thousand Hondurans depend on employment at these production sites. 

In the latest conflict six deaths have occurred.  The share croppers are demanding over 20,000 hectacres of land be GIVEN to them free of charge. 

The private owners of this land are Miguel Facusse and two other owners.  This land was bought by Facusse and the other business owners in the 90's from this same group of share croppers.  The land had already been ceded to them by the government once, free of charge...and three years later they SOLD it to him.

Pepe Lobo has offered the sharecroppers that he will give them 6,000 hectacres to be divided up among 3000 sharecroppers which adds up to 2 hectacres per sharecropper for nice the government give someone something for being a violent terrorist...yet these people have the nerve to reject the offer and still insist on their way....

My opinion is they sold the land for the price they one forced them to sell.  When they sold they have no right to go back and complain about the sell and demand the property back, especially after the property has been heavily invested into by the owner.

If you invade someone's house you are a criminal and a burgler...why should the owner of the house be forced to give you his house just because you decide it is unfair he has a house and you do not.  A person does not get something by stealing should work for it.  I understand they are poor and the government should extend to them low interest loans to buy property that is low cost and in control of the state.  That should never be permission to accept invasions to private land though regardless of how much land the person owns.

The government is not going to avoid conflict by giving in.  What they will have to do to put a stop to these types of armed conflicts is when someone invades someone's property send the military or the police and arrest them...put them in jail like the criminals they are.  You do not negotiate with terrorists, you do not negotiate with burglers you put them in jail. 

These types of things do not happen in the first world because the first world would never put up with a thief or burgler invading someone's private home and saying that they demand it be given to them.  The burgler would be arrested by the police and prosecuted in a court for the theft.

Pepe should call their bluff on this one and send in the military.  I do not believe he has the guts to do it, but if he did I would think it perfectly acceptable....after all these 'campesinos' already sold the property and a few of them aren't old enough to actually be making any claims to this property.  One of the invaders was only 22 years was he old enough to make claim in the 90's....I highly doubt he even knows the first thing about farming or caring for property.  In order to take claim they should have to reimburse the government for the cost of the land and they should have to submit documentation that they are a agricultural engineer...if not no don't give land that is agricultural to someone who hasn't the foggiest notion how to run that land and you don't give it to them for free.  I suspect in another 5 years they will be selling their land again and we will be facing another day the government will wake up and get tired of this game.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Fruit Punch Honduran Style

I tried this recipe the other day to make fruit was!

Apples sliced in thin slices
sugar cane cut up in long strips, raisins, dried plums*prunes*, chamomile, guayaba cut up, pineapple sliced, ripe plantain*just a little* sliced thin, tamarind, cinnamon sticks, jamaica flowers and about two cups of natural sugar as well as 3 to 4 liters of water, bring to boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes or more till the water is heavy and rich with can serve either hot or cold..if fresh fruits aren't available use dry fruits...the chamomile should be either steamed in a strainer or a tea bag and removed...I loved it...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Deserved Hat´s Off to Our Mayor Juan Carlos Zúñiga

Our mayor has had guts that most other administrations have not had.  He is doing a fabulous job with what he has to work with.  Our city is bankrupt or actually worse than bankrupt...but when he went in he cut the payroll from 5,000 to 2,500 and that might make a bunch of people mad, but how do you continue with a bankrupt government and no way to make payroll? You lay off the folks you do not need.

There was some controversy that went his way that wasn´t deserved.  He was accused of favoring family for the printing of the toll booth tickets contract, which is illegal...but they aren´t family.  He already submitted to the court without a court date...he appeared at 8 am sharp with documents in hand to show he had nothing to do with who was awarded the contract and that he is not related to the people who won the contract even though they have the same last name.  He submitted birth certificates and made clear that he was running a transparent government.  He also invited USAID to review all of the procedures undertaken in his administration to show that it is a clean transparent one.

You would think that this would make people happy with the Dr Zúñiga (for those who read my blog and do not know him he is a cardiac surgeon and former director of Catarino Rivas Hospital and was fired by Zelaya for not supporting his reform project.  However, apparently some people are less than happy as he just placed a formal complaint for receiving death threats.

Rixi Moncada Still Believes She is A High Government Official

In Rixi Mocada´s court hearing she presented a half baked argument that her judicial proceeding cannot be heard in a reglar judicial court, because she is the CEO of the Rixi, News flash! You stopped being the CEO of ENEE on June 28,2009 and there was an election in November and a new president inaugurated and a new ENEE official named after January 27, 2010 you are not any are unemployed chicky and the same justice the peons get you will get...not good enough? Too friggin BAD!

There can be one of two things wrong either this woman is that mentally ill that she really believes she is the CEO still or she is just pretending so that she can see how much she gets away with.  Whatever it is I hope she spends a long time in prison.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Dominicans Disgusted With Zelaya

Looks like President Fernandez of the DR really screwed up with this one...he agreed to let Zelaya stay in his country for awhile till he figured out what he wanted to do.  The people there are up in arms wondering who is paying for Zelaya´s house and stay there.  I wonder that myself. 

Then yesterday he started running his mouth about Honduras and how the international community should reject the government and punish us .  Zelaya what precisely for? For removing your corrupt butt from office? For electing a new president in the most voted elections in history...ones that weren´t corrupt like your election was...what a monumental mistake that was made with your election..we should have thrown you out on your ear 4 years ago.  When are you going to get aren´t the president in don´t call the shots.  Lobo doesn´t answer to you, he answers to the people of aren´t here so keep your mouth shut and do everyone a favor and stop embarrassing your family, yourself and the people of Honduras as well as the people of the Dominican Republic.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Breaking News: Chavez´ Vice President Just Resigned!!!

He is saying for personal reasons and Chavez accepted his resignation..I think the fallout has begun and Chavez is about to be couped by the public instead of the military...Ramon Carrizalez was also the defense minister..uh oh!

Chavez Defeated By the Little Mouse That Roared

Chavez has been driving the US nuts for quite a few years now and with his oil he beat his chest obnoxiously much to the dislike of many Americans and others who had lost a taste for him. In June, Hondurans stood up to one of his buddies, Zelaya and he has been hiding like a coward in the Brazilian embassy since causing much grief for the Brazilian president Lula de Silva.

Chavez threatened Micheletti with an invasion and Micheletti said ´bring it on... I have 7 million Hondurans eagerly waiting for you to arrive Chavez backed down and complained that it was a US backed coup. He was wrong. It wasn’t a coup at all or well yeah it was. It was a coup against ALBA and his idiocy. We couped Chavez from afar...and without touching him.

Since he messed with us his world has crashed down. He is facing 60% inflation, had to devalue his money, and cannot figure out how to get his drug trafficking through Honduras...since June 28 Honduras has been nicknamed things like the little country that could..the Mouse that Roared...etc.

We stood up for our democratic form of government and the constitution and threw out a certain dictator that loved Chavez to boot..And dared Chavez to set foot here...he didn’t dare.

Now he threatened economic chaos on Honduras that he almost succeeded at but the private sector came together to defend the country economically to prevent fall out...and they held strong. Now the table has been turned and he is the one fighting off economic chaos, his electric company is crashing...70% of Venezuela is about to lose power, and 60% inflation. And money worth nothing...well he is about to be ripped limb from limb by Venezuelans. The US just has to sit back and watch the the process all of Latin America has taken a sharp turn right. So apparently what is happening here also infected Massachusetts with Brown’s victory. The voters are fed up folks. You better listen.

Chile swung right for the first time since Pinochet was removed from office. Brazil has lost its left lean as Silva is trying to recover his image for sympathizing with one of the worst dictators in the region, Hugo Chavez. ALBA has come crashing down and with it the dream of a monetary unit that would outweigh the US dollar and collapse the US economy. Had Honduras bowed to Chavez the outcome could have been a fall out that no one could have stopped instead he is reeling and most likely screeches like a mad man if anyone utters the word ´Honduras´.

A word of advice to evil socialist dictators…no hay más macho que el pueblo Catracho!