Jan 22

Honduras is an Island in a Parallel Universe

There have been reports of people who claim to remember the death of Nelson Mandela in detail. This allegedly happened in the early 1980s when Mandela was in prison.

Several people commented on this phenomenon in the web site The Mandela Effect.

For example, Perry Wayne says:

Both my wife and I remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison. Included in this memory are the funeral snippets on TV and a legal flap over book rights involving his Widow.

Colleen says:

I also remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison and was quite amazed when he was elected president of South Africa. Last night I watched the movie, Invictus, and kept wondering where or when was I? I clearly remember the announcement of his death and was amazed that more people around me were not moved by the sadness of it. I also remember vaguely some controversy about his “estate”.

There are a few things that do not match my memories of this universe. Such as Honduras. I remember it as an island in the Caribbean, not a country in Central America.

Besides Mandela’s death, there are people who claim to remember reports of the death of preacher Billy Graham.

Geographic information is also reported differently, as the U.S. having 52 states (it actually has only 50), New Zealand was in a different geographical location, and Honduras was an island.

Another commenter writes:

I also remember New Zealand being located to the northwest (odd, because most everyone who remembers an alternate position seems to recall it being to the northeast) of Australia and Australia being located further south and smaller. Also, I remember in school having to memorize and be tested on all the countries of North & South America. Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala were islands in relatively the same location; smaller and differently shaped but similar. Though its entirely possible I’m remembering that incorrectly as geography was never my forte.

What explains these experiences? Some people argue the existence of parallel universes, and that somehow these universes events seep into ours. The concept of parallel universes is used in physics and philosophy.

A parallel universe could be related to ours, or arise from ours, and may contain different versions of the events that occurred. For example, it is possible that in a universe parallel to our own, the coup d’Etat of 2009 never happened in Honduras.

Jan 21

How to watch Netflix in Honduras

Netflix is a service that allows you to watch movies and series online via streaming technology, which is similar to Youtube.

In Honduras you can access this service through the website netflix.com. You just need a credit or debit card able to make international transactions.

Netflix offers the option of getting a free month of service, you just need to subscribe, but you have to leave your card data.

You can cancel the subscription before the end of the month to avoid being charged.

I tested the service, and honestly I was left somewhat disappointed by the lack of content.

They have some old Mexican television programming, such as soap operas. But I really don’t want to subscribe to Netflix just to watch Mexican soap operas.

The problem is that Netflix does not have permission to stream certain content outside the United States, which may leave you with a narrow selection of movies and series. U.S. Netflix has more content and more variety than its Latin American counterpart.

Fortunately there are some tricks to get around this geographic restriction.

There is a popular application: Hotspot Shield, that you can download from their website. Once installed you can see the American Netflix just like you were in America.

Besides Hotspot Shield there are other similar applications like Unblock Us and Unotelly that for a small monthly fee provides you with access to Netflix U.S. Through VPN or DNS modifications. These latter have the advantage that they can be used in Linux.

But a simple and convenient method is to install an extension for Firefox and Google Chrome browsers: Media Hint. Once you install this addon you can begin to watch the American Netflix without further modifications. This extension also allows you to watch Hulu and Hulu Plus, which are similar to Netflix.

The only problem is that Netflix does not allow you to use a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu, because Netflix uses Silverlight software, which is not available on open source operating systems because of licensing issues.

But there there is also a solution for this.

Even with these new services, some prefer to continue using piracy to view their favorite content, but the advantage is that services like Netflix allows immediate access via the streaming service.

For those of you who have moral qualms that prevent you from using pirated content, let me remind you that to work around the geographical restrictions of these services is essentially the same as watching pirated content, because you are making use of services for which access you have no permission; it doesn’t matter if you’re paying.

Jan 14

Review of the Book "Wealth For All" (Riqueza Para Todos)

Carlos Sabillón has the solution to end poverty in Honduras in just four years, as he claims in his book “Wealth for All” (“Riqueza Para Todos”).

This economist says that the key to national wealth is to obtain fast rates of economic growth that would wipe unemployment and poverty in record time through a simple management of macroeconomic policy .

Carlos Sabillón has dedicated his life to a quest for the formula that would take Honduras out of poverty, and having collected several college degrees and doctorates, and learning several languages, all with the goal of solving this pressing problem, he believes he has now been able to find the formula for economic growth.

Sabillón calls his doctrine “manufacturism” because, according to his study of world economic history, all developed countries have in common the manufacturing sector as engine of development.

Sabillón debunks and discredits the mainstream academic economic theories on development, both of left and right leanings, and refutes with statistics the clichés of economic policy usually applied in Honduras and Latin America, and demonstrates convincingly that only fast economic growth is the answer to the problems of unemployment, health, education and crime.

Sabillón believes that the only ones to be blamed for the poverty of Honduras are the politicians who have ruled the country, which have been corrupt and ignorant in economic matters. He rejects the idea that Hondurans have a cultural inclination towards laziness, or that being a small country dooms the nation to eternal underdevelopment. Sabillón is fond of quoting the examples of countries such as Luxembourg, Switzerland, Singapore and Qatar, which are smaller than Honduras, but have achieved impressive rates of economic growth.

In his opinion, what Honduras needs is a wise and honest leader who would guide it towards development.

Many of the problems of Honduras can be solved with economic growth, so this issue should be of general interest, however, many Hondurans adopt a pessimistic attitude about the future of their country, thinking that economic issues are very complicated, and that there is no hope for the country; that is why Sabillón appeals in his book to the interests of various sectors, even of those who are not interested in economic issues.

He argues that economic growth can reduce crime and increase the space and time for recreation, allowing more opportunities to find a romantic partner. For those who live the passion for soccer, the national sport, Sabillón says that economic growth would allow Honduras to host the FIFA World Cup, and even become a soccer super power. For those who care about human rights and the rights of women, Sabillón argues with figures, showing that human rights are more respected in countries with higher economic growth.

Sabillón has great faith in the ability of science to solve human problems, without falling into the trap of atheism, as do many others inclined to science. His inclination was always been toward the social sciences, although he is wary of the economic theories accepted in mainstream academic circles.

His focus on economic growth as the solution to social problems could give the impression of a crude economicism, but in fact he is quite the opposite. He does not believe that each person should seek only his own good, and that as a result the market system would magically produce an optimal level of social welfare. His own life bears witness of selfless service to humanity. He does not believe that money is the most important thing in life, but to serve others; and is science, not money, the thing that has improved the standards of living of Humankind.

This book consist of a series of articles independent of each other, all with the common theme of economic development focused on Honduras. At the end of the book he tells the story of his life, recounting his heroic quest for the solution to poverty through economic science.

My Criticism

I sympathize with Sabillón’s criticism towards the academic establishment of Economics, but I think that his book does not explain his doctrine of “manufacturism”, not even in an sketchy way. He keeps repeating that the manufacturing sector is the key to development, but does not explain what government policies should be applied to stimulate the manufacture, producing those amazing growth rates of 30% annually, that he promises.

His articles stimulate the curiosity and desire to learn more about the doctrine of manufacturism, but that curiosity is never fully satisfied. Nor any references can be found to a further development of the theory, although Sabillón says he has discussed his ideas with many experts in the field of economic growth, and has defeated them intellectually.

Throughout the book one can understand that Sabillón believes he is the best person to lead Honduras towards prosperity, because only he has the knowledge to produce economic growth at an accelerated rate, and only he has dedicated his life to seek the solution to the problems of Honduras. This statement may sound disturbing, for its lack of modesty, but that should be no reason to discard it. Sabillón tried to run for an independent presidential candidacy in Honduras, but failed for some reason.

Some parts of his biographical recount seem hard to believe, like when he says that after completing his studies in Economics he was offered a job that was about visiting luxury hotels.

In general, Sabillón seems to show a tendency towards narcissism, i.e., he seems to hold an exaggerated conception of his own importance, but it is easy to see that if his claims are true the implications are enormous.

The theory that the manufacturing sector is the most important seems to suggest that the government should concentrate the social investment in this sector at the expense of other areas such as health and education. This notion would surely be rejected by people on the Left. Also a government incursion as an entrepreneur in the field of manufacture may be rejected by right-wing sectors.

Jan 11

Touristic Images of Honduras

This is a video about Honduras touristic images, particularly on Utila and La Ceiba.

In Utila, Bay Islands, we can observe the underwater landscape, a strange sea monster and a seahorse. Also images of the Carnival in La Ceiba. A waterfall in Pico Bonito in La Ceiba. The practice of extreme sports like canopy and rafting. The background music is based on the song “Corazón” (“Heart”) of Rodolfo Bonilla.

This video can be found on a DVD of the series of Sabor Catracho (Honduran Flavor) from MC Productions Inc.

Jun 09

It was a Coup indeed, I take it back

I admit now that I was wrong, and that what happened on June 28, 2009 in Honduras was a coup d’Etat.

In this blog I have defended the thesis that in June 28, 2009 there was a constitutional succession in Honduras, and that Roberto Micheletti was a legitimate President. Although I initially said it was a coup, then I backed down, but I always kept expressing my doubts.

This is an issue that has been spinning round in my head, and I realize that my utter contempt for the figure of Zelaya led me to support a de facto regime in my country.

This is an issue I had in the back of my mind, but the new revelations of Wikileaks have made me see the Honduran crisis in a new perspective.

I do not know how reliable Wikileaks is, I argue that we should not believe something just because a cable published by Wikileaks says it, but the alleged reports of Ambassador Hugo Llorens make much sense to me.

It seems that there was no arrest warrant against Zelaya, the warrant was fabricated after the fact by the coup makers. The military simply decided to oust Zelaya and abort the referendum that was to take place that day. They had no authority to do so. It was a clear act of abuse of authority.

This argument of “necessity” of the military collapses, according to which they justified the expulsion of Zelaya under the guise of saving lives. How are lives going to be saved through a coup? It’s absurd.

The Zelaya’s resignation letter was an obvious forgery, a clumsy move of the coup makers. Congress was not authorized to remove a president, despite the twisted interpretation of a legal report of the US Library of Congress.

Article 239 of the Constitution has been used repeatedly to justify the coup. It was said that Zelaya was promoting the presidential reelection, so he was automatically dismissed from the presidency, so that when the military kidnapped Zelaya he was no longer president.

However, even if this is true, the Constitution also holds the principle of presumption of innocence. Every Honduran has the right to due process, but this right was denied to Zelaya when he was removed from the country. Therefore, Micheletti committed the crime of usurpation of functions and abuse of authority. Roberto Micheletti served as a de facto president, the legitimate president was still Zelaya.

Roberto Micheletti is not a hero who saved the country from falling into the clutches of communism. Roberto Micheletti grossly violated the Constitution while pretending to save it. There is no justification for the coup, none whatsoever.

It was said that Zelaya had planned to dissolve the Congress and the Supreme Court, and to immediately convene a National Constituent Assembly. This was the justification for the coup of Roberto Micheletti. To prove this they cite the decree PCM-020-2009, but that decree refers to the installation of a fourth ballot box in the November 2009 elections, it does not speak of immediately convening a Constituent Assembly. Micheletti therefore lied to justify the coup and probably conspired with the military to execute the coup. There was no imminent threat to justify such a serious crime.

I apologize to my readers for having supported a coup. I am not a follower of Zelaya, and never will be, but I maintain that the perpetrators of the coup and those who supported the coup also owe apologies to the people of Honduras.

Jun 08

Honduras’ Coup is left with no excuse, reveals Wikileaks

There was no arrest warrant for Manuel Zelaya the day of the coup, according to a Wikileaks cable attributed to Ambassador Hugo Llorens.

While there have been claims that the Supreme Court issued a warrant for Zelaya’s arrest, the president of the Supreme Court has told us that this is not true. The only warrant we are aware of is one issued either late on June 25 or early on June 26 by a lower court ordering the seizure of polling material.

If this is true, the arrest warrant against Zelaya was made after the fact to justify the coup d’Etat.

If this statement is true, there would be no justification for the coup. The argument of “necessity” of the military collapses .

They argue they removed Zelaya out of the country in order to save lives, because the other option would be to lock him in jail, which would have caused violent riots and loss of human lives.

But if there is no arrest warrant, Zelaya’s kidnapping is clearly just a case of military abuse, there is nothing to justify it. There’s no doubt that this is a coup.

The same cable refers to the excuse used to justify the coup:

It appears that the Attorney General, the military conspired with Micheletti and other leaders of Congress to remove Zelaya based on their fear that he planned to convene a Constituent Assembly immediately after the June 28 poll. They base their claim that he would have done so on the publication in the legal gazette on June 25 of the decree calling for the poll. Micheletti’s supporters say that publication calls for the convening of the Constituent Assembly. However, this is patently false, the publication simply states: “Are you in agreement that in the general elections of 2009, there be a fourth urn in which the people decide the convocation of a National Constituent Assembly.”

There was no reason to believe that Zelaya was about to dissolve the Congress and the Supreme Court, and to convene a National Constituent Assembly that day. There was no justification for a coup d’Etat.

Could it be possible that Micheletti and his entourage were involved in a coup for misreading a decree?

The coup leaders point to the title of the survey in the decree PCM-020-2009: “Public Opinion Poll Call for a National Constituent Assembly.” This implies, according to them, that the call for a Constituent Assembly would have been performed on the same day. But that title should be interpreted in context: again, the question in the survey refers to a fourth ballot box in the elections of November 2009.

It is inconceivable that Micheletti and his advisers were so stupid to misunderstand this decree in such a clumsy way, and to sincerely believe that this warranted a coup. I suspect Micheletti just wanted an excuse to be a de facto president.

May 31

Fun Facts about Manuel Zelaya

  1. His full name is Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, but in Honduras he is known as “Mel Zelaya.” The name Jose is omitted because it is extremely common.
  2. The father and grandfather of Manuel Zelaya had the same name: Jose Manuel Zelaya.
  3. In Olancho, the grandfather of Manuel Zelaya was known as “Melon”, the father as “Mel” and he himself as “Melito.”
  4. Manuel Zelaya’s father was a rightist that sympathized with military regimes, he lend his ranch for the murder of a group of farmers (Los Horcones’ Massacre). He spent some time in jail and was released following a pardon from the National Constituent Assembly of 1980.
  5. Manuel Zelaya claims to be a rancher, but in fact he and his father were engaged in wood cutting, he was a logger.
  6. Manuel Zelaya says he is from Catacamas, Olancho, but the thruth is he is from Lepaguare, Olancho.
  7. Olancho is a Honduras’ region which some people compare with the American Old West, but which has influence of the Mexican folklore.
  8. Mel’s favorite music are the rancheras, he learned to play guitar in his youth. He has made of his mustache, stetson hat and cowboy boots part of his identity.
  9. Zelaya began to study civil engineering, but soon quit. He never finished college.
  10. Zelaya married a second-degree cousin: Xiomara Castro. It was an arranged marriage. His father in law has a woman’s name: Irene.
  11. Zelaya began his political career as a Liberal Party member, a party with a somewhat conservative tendency. Zelaya was never known as a leftist politician until he was in office.
  12. Zelaya, as Liberal Party representative in the 80′s, objected to the continuist intents of President Roberto Suazo Cordova, and expressed solidarity with the drug trafficker Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros when he was illegally expelled from the country.
  13. Zelaya failed in his first attempt to get the Liberal Party’s presidential nomination. The internal movement which he presided was known as Movimiento de Esperanza Liberal (Liberal Hope Movement: MEL).
  14. Mel told La Tribuna newspaper that he would like to reincarnate in a foal from Olancho.
  15. Zelaya, being president, went to town fairs, and paraded on his horse, which he named “Coffee”.
  16. Zelaya is fond of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
  17. Micheletti Relation: Before beginning his administration he lobbied to get his friend Roberto Micheletti as president of the Congress (Speaker of the House). Micheletti was the one who put the presidential sash on Mel on the inauguration ceremony. Zelaya also supported Micheletti in his intent to win the presidential nomination for the Liberal Party.
  18. Zelaya appeared on CNN en Español eating melon in his attempt to deny phytosanitary problems.
  19. Being President, Zelaya appointed himself as manager of the National Electricity Company for a short time.
  20. Zelaya had under military leadership the National Electricity Company for a short time.
  21. Zelaya was known for his outlandish behavior during his administration: he sang with his guitar at political meetings, he dedicated songs to his critics, he summoned cabinet meetings late at night, he flew on a F5 plane for fun, he sang with the Tigres del Norte, and nearly drown when he dived in his wetsuit into the sea.
  22. Hugo Chavez baptized Zelaya as “cowboy commander” in the ALBA signing ceremony in Tegucigalpa.
  23. Zelaya ordered to look after a donkey in the presidential palace to later gave it to an Indian chief. He named the donkey as “Palmerolo”, in reference to the Palmerola airport in Comayagua.
  24. Zelaya ordered the military to build the new Palmerola airport .
  25. Zelaya forgot the Lord’s Prayer while praying in public for a kidnapped journalist.
  26. The media said Zelaya was taken out in pajamas in the coup, but in the videos he can be seen wearing a white t-shirt with a V-shaped neck upon a gray t-shirt. The military said he went out with his normal clothing.
  27. Before the coup, in the frequent national chains of radio and TV, Zelaya gave the impression of being high.
  28. During the coup, it was said that Zelaya had signed a letter resigning from the presidency for mental health problems. Zelaya denied he ever resigned.
  29. Zelaya told Obama that if he was willing, he could make him return to the presidency in five minutes. Obama replied that “he could not push a button to reinstate Zelaya.”
  30. After the coup they discovered statues of Zelaya that he himself asked to be made.
  31. At a meeting of the UN Mel referred to the prime minister of Spain as “Felipe Rodriguez Zapatero”, when his real name is Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
  32. On a visit to Mexico, Zelaya hinted that the legitimate president of Mexico was Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, but then he tried to deny it. After being received as head of state, he left Mexico in shame.
  33. A few months after the coup, Zelaya entered undercover in Honduras, taking refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, hoping to start a popular uprising that would reinstate him, but he couldn’t make it, for lack of popular support. The president elected after the coup, Porfirio Lobo, decided to end his confinement through a safe-conduct.
  34. During his confinement in the Brazilian embassy, Zelaya came to imagine that he was attacked with toxic gas, and that Israeli technology was used to torture him psychologically with high frequency vibrations.
  35. In his exile in the Dominican Republic the stay costs were borne by the host government. Zelaya spent his days playing guitar, playing chess and surfing the Internet.
May 29

The return of Manuel Zelaya is positive

Contrary to what was feared, there were no reported acts of vandalism and no clashes with the police.

Manuel Zelaya speech comes with a new, more conciliatory tone. Zelaya recognizes the government of Porfirio Lobo as legitimate, and supports the Honduras’ return to the OAS.

This represents a diametrical change with respect to the previous extremist rhetoric of Zelaya and the so called “resistance.”

I do not understand the hysterical reactions of white shirts, upset by Zelaya’s return.

Zelaya has embraced the Cartagena Agreement, which respects the laws of the State of Honduras.

The downside, in my opinion, are the distinguished foreigners who participated in this political event openly supporting Manuel Zelaya, who no longer represents the State of Honduras. This blatant interference in the internal affairs of Honduras is reprehensible.

May 27

Who won with the Cartagena Agreement

It seems obvious to me that Pepe Lobo is the great winner with the Cartagena Agreement, because this time he did not have to compromise on anything, and got what he wanted: the return of Honduras to the OAS.

Everything that Lobo promised was already fulfilled by the Honduras government.

All of this was accomplished through the mediation of President Hugo Chavez, confirming the influence of Chavez on Mel: the influence of a boss on his subordinate.

This agreement involves a change of strategy for President Chavez: there is a tacit recognition of the Lobo administration and a downplaying of the figure of Zelaya.

Chavez may prefer to negotiate with Lobo, who has the real power in Honduras, over Zelaya, who has repeatedly failed in his attempts to storm the power in Honduras, or perhaps, because of the riots in Africa, the Chavista dictatorship prefers to take a more cautious attitude.

May 26

Mel Zelaya is coming, who is afraid of Zelaya?

Mel Zelaya did a lousy administration, but gained international notoriety for being the victim of an alleged coup d’Etat. That is enough to attract a group of followers who hope to receive him as a messiah on Saturday, May 28 in Honduras, while Hondurans that do not sympathize with Zelaya see with displeasure his coming. How can a person that has done so much damage to his country be received with great fanfare?

Mel’s followers may say the “coupsters” are the ones that damaged the country. They forget, conveniently, all the mistakes of Zelaya, and the constant challenges to the Honduran institutions.

It is feared that Zelaya’s reception may become violent. The scenes of vandalism starred by Zelayistas amid the political crisis of 2009 are still fresh in the mind.

But Zelaya is no longer president and he doesn’t pretend to be. The Cartagena Agreement implies a recognition of the legitimacy of the State of Honduras. Zelaya can no longer pretend to storm the presidential palace with a mob carrying him on shoulders. Mel Zelaya has no superpowers to punish the “coupsters”.

But still, people are afraid of Zelaya.

In my opinion, it is good that Mel is coming to Honduras. There is nothing to fear. With his coming the drama of the “coup d’Etat” will lose its hype. A cycle ends, and the myth of the political persecution of Zelaya collapses.

This is what many countries have called for: the return of Mel Zelaya, and now they have it, there are no more excuses to discriminate against Honduras and to continue the attempts to intervene in its internal affairs.

Former President Zelaya will cause some turmoil with his coming, at first, but then he will no longer be a novelty, but will always keep some leadership among his unconditional followers.