Mar 04

The Haunted Hill – Danli Legend


San Cristobal hill in the background.

By Lidia Maria de Calix

Many years ago Danli was just a small village, whose inhabitants engaged in agriculture and small livestock. At that time no car had yet entered the town, people used to made their trips by mule or on foot.

They say that by that time something very strange happened on the hill of San Cristobal, northern guardian of this city. The villagers heard at all hours of the day the crowing of a cock and saw clothes hanging on the hill every day. Such was the curiosity of the people that they once arranged a trip to meet the family who lived there, they wanted to befriend them.

Upon arriving there they were surprised to find only pines, rocks and an uninhabited cave. When they were returning to Danli they continued seeing and hearing the same things.

When this town was visited by the revered and admired priest Manuel de Jesús Subirana the people of Danli told him what happened and he witnessed the events; and thinking it was a thing of the devil he decided to go and bless the hill with a group of residents.

Upon arriving at the base of the hill, the priest began his blessing, and when he was approaching the middle of the hill (place of the strange event) they say the hill began to grow, and as the people and the priest went on, the hill grew further and further, so they could never reach the site they wanted to bless.

It is said that this hill will explode with tongues of fire in the future, trying to destroy the population, but at the same time, the rock of Apagüitz, Southern guardian of Danli, will burst in water, which will offset the fury of the San Cristobal hill.

Taken from the book “Danlí en el recuerdo”, by Dario Gonzalez Caceres.

Feb 28

The age of consent in Honduras

The age of consent is the age at which people can have sex permitted by law. It is understood that sex should be voluntary, without coercion, because otherwise it would qualified as rape or sexual abuse.

The Honduran law does not explicitly define an age of consent, although some authors, making analogies with other legal systems, consider the age of consent in Honduras to be of 15 years old.

The age of majority in Honduras is reached at the age of 21. At the age of 18 young people are considered “citizens” and have the right to obtain their identity card and cast their votes, but do not enjoy the full exercise of their rights.

Minors can only marry with parental permission. The minimum age for marriage is of 17 for women, and 18 for men.

Having sex with a woman between 15 and 17 years old abusing a position of trust, hierarchy or authority is considered estupro (corruption of a minor). The law does not cover the crime of estupro in the case of male victims, and no mention is made of homosexual relations.

Some people interpret that if there is no abuse of trust, hierarchy or authority (estupro), and no incest, no crime is committed. So the Honduran law would allow consensual sex at the age of 15. This means sex with minors is allowed in Honduras.

In the case of estupro or abduction of a woman over the age of 14 but under the age of 18, the offender will be free if he marries the girl.

The Honduran Code of Childhood and Adolescence prohibits the recruitment of people under the age of 18 for the making of pornographic scenes.

References
Penal Code
Family Code
Code of Childhood and Adolescence.

Feb 11

Saint Valentine’s Day in Honduras

Feliz Dia de San Valentin 36" Heart Shaped Mylar Balloon

In Honduras, the Day of Love and Friendship —also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or Lover’s Day— is celebrated on February 14th, and it’s mostly a celebration driven by commercial advertising.

Officially, Friendship Day is on February 23, but apparently no one remembers that date, the commercial celebration is preferred.

February 14 is celebrated as a special day for couples; friends are also remembered, but not with the same emphasis. The greeting “Happy Saint Valentine’s day” or “Happy Love and Friendship Day”, can be directed at anyone, since it is understood that everyone is loved by someone, or loves someone, whether she/he is a relative, friend or partner.

There is no well defined tradition, but under the influence of advertising romantic partners exchange gifts, or the man in the relationship is expected to do the giving. Some couples seek a special environment to celebrate the occasion, like restaurants, clubs, hotels, motels, etc. The Love and Friendship Day is celebrated with more enthusiasm in larger cities, since big cities produce more business advertising.

The advantage of the celebration of Saint Valentine’s day in Honduras, is that by calling it “Love and Friendship Day”, people without a romantic partner do not feel so marginalized in the celebration, as it happens in other countries.

Ideas for the celebration

Since this time Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, we can use the preceding weekend to mark the occasion, going to somewhere romantic. The small resort town of Valle De Angeles, near Tegucigalpa, may be a good option. In the city of Danli there is a park named Parque del Amor (Love Park), because some couples used to visit the place to cuddle under a tree.

If you’re not sure what to give, a gift certificate may be your best choice, like the ones offered by Tiendas Carrión, Mendels or Amazon.

Feb 06

The calculation of prestaciones laborales (compensations) in Honduras.

Honduras Business Law Handbook

When an employee is unjustly laid-off in Honduras, she/he has a right to compensations (prestaciones laborales).

These compensations consist of: preaviso (notice), auxilio de cesantía (severance pay), vacations, décimo tercer mes or aguinaldo (13 month pay) and decimocuarto mes or catorceavo (14th month pay).

The employee becomes entitled to these compensations if he/she is fired unfairly, with the employer’s responsibility, and in other cases stipulated by law.

Preaviso (notice) is the time period given by the employer to the worker for she/he to to find another placement. If this notice is not given, the employer must pay the equivalent in cash for every day.

The Auxilio de Cesantía (severance pay). It’s the right that corresponds to the employee when he/she has been unfairly dismissed. The amount in cash should be equivalent to one month for every year or work.

Decimotercer mes or aguinaldo (13th month pay). It’s a complementary annual salary. The employee has a right to a 13th full month salary in December. This right he/she acquires for every year of work.

Decimocuarto mes or catorceavo (14th month pay). It’s complementary annual salary. Since 1995 the Honduran employee has a right to a 14th salary for every year of work. It is paid in June.

Vacations are the days of rest from work earned by the employee for every year of labor.

The web site Ley Laboral (Labor Law) provides us with a calculator of  prestaciones (compensations) that allows us to estimate the amount of our compensations for the most common cases.

For specific cases, it is recommended to visit the nearest office of the Secretaría del Trabajo (Secretariat of Labor). Here they will give us the official calculation of the prestaciones (compensations).

The Ley Laboral website has a section in English language about legal labor matters in Honduras.

For further illustration, please consult the Labor Code [es], especially in Chapter VIII Title II, on Termination of Employment Contract and Chapter III Title IV, on Vacations. In addition, the Law of Seventh Day and 13th month pay [es], and the Decree and Regulations for the 14th month pay. [es].

If you want to know more about Honduran Labor Law check the book Honduras Business Law Handbook at Amazon.

Jan 28

Honduran Public Holidays and Commemorative Days

Honduran heroes and national symbols

These are the public holidays in Honduras:

Days off in Honduras
January 1 New Year’s Day
September 15 Independence Day
Holy Week Movable Feasts (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday)
April 14 Day of The Americas (Pan American Day)
May 1 Workers’ Day (Labor Day)
October 3 Soldier’s Day (Francisco Morazan’s Birthday)
October 12 Hispanic Day or Discovery of the Americas (Columbus Day)
October 21 Armed Forces’ Day
December 25 Christmas Day

There are a couple of days that are not days off for the people in general, but in which school and college students do not attend classes:

June 11 Student’s Day (Jose Trinidad Reyes’ Birthday)
September 10 Children’s Day
September 17 Teacher’s Day

The Children’s Day is a day off only in primary schools, and the Student’s Day only in high schools. It is common for high school students to take the rest of the week off, the “Student’s Week”. Even more common is that, besides Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, students take the rest of the week off, the Holy Week.

Public holidays are not always granted as stated above, sometimes there are long weekends intended “to promote domestic tourism.” The problem is the government never plans these changes with anticipation and when in doubt people cannot make plans in advance.

Also commemorated as a special days are:

January 6 Three Wise Men Day or Epiphany Day
January 25 National Women’s Day
February 3 Day of the Virgin of Suyapa
February 14 Day of Love and Friendship (Valentine’s Day)
February 23 Friendship Day
March 8 International Women’s Day
March 19 Father’s Day
April 23 Spanish Language Day
Second Sunday of May Mothers Day
May 30 National Tree Day or Pine Day
June 28 Scarlet Macaw and White-tailed Deer Day (National Animals)
July 14 Honduran Day (Honduran Heritage Day, Hondurenity Day)
July 14 Bastille Day
July 14 Educator’s Day (Ramon Rosa’s Birthday)
July 20 Lempira Day (Indigenous’ Day)
August 3 Race Flag Day (Bandera de la Raza day)
September 1 National Flag Day
Last Sunday of September Bible Day
September 28 Delivery of the Independence Documents
September 29 Tegucigalpa Anniversary Day
October 9 Jose Dionisio de Herrera’s Birthday
October 13 Inter-American Culture Day
Last Saturday of October Thanksgiving Day
October 28 National Youth Day
November 1-2 Day of the Dead
November 22 Jose Cecilio del Valle’s Birthday
December 24 Christmas Eve
December 31 New Year’s Eve

Days of advocacy for different causes:

March 22 World Water Day
April 7 World Health Day
April 12 Day of the Black Ethnicity in Honduras
April 22 World Earth Day
Last Friday of April Day of Solidarity with the Handicapped
May 17 International Day Against Homophobia
May 31 Anti-Smoking Day, World Day against Drugs
June 5 World Environment Day
June 17 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
4th Friday of July School Snack Day
Last Week of August National Family Week
Last Sunday of August Grandparents’ Day
September 8 International Literacy Day
September 16 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
October 1 Senior Citizen’s Day
First Saturday of October Inter-American Water Day
October 13 International Day for Disaster Reduction
October 16 World Food Day
October 24 Human Rights Day
October 24 United Nations Day
October 24 Day for the Defense of the Constitution
October 25 Breast Cancer Day
December 1 World AIDS Day
December 5 International Volunteer Day

Days of celebration for union-based organizations and professional people:

March 14 Sportsman’s Day
April 26 Secretary’s Day
April 30 Lawyer’s Day
April 30 Photographer’s Day
May 12 Nurse’s Day
May 15 Agronomist’s Day
May 17 Accountant’s Day
May 25 Journalist’s Day
April 30 Photographer’s Day
June 24 Graphic Arts Day
July 14 Educator’s Day
July 16 Civil Engineer’s Day
July 28 Street Sweeper’s Day
August 13 Volunteeer First Aid Assistant’s Day
September 4 National Day of the Honduran Red Cross
September 7 Taxi Driver’s Day
October 27 Doctor’s Day
October 31 Fireman’s Day
November 9 Psychologist’s Day
November 11 Dentist’s Day
November 22 Economist’s Day
November 30 Composer’s Day
December 1 Radio Announcer’s Day
Jan 27

The creation of Honduran Women’s Day

January 25 marks the Honduran Women’s Day, celebrated in memory of a historic date in which a major political conquest was achieved by the female population of Honduras, whose political rights were recognized through Decree No. 29 of 1955.

Through this presidential decree, approved by the administration of Julio Lozano Diaz, Honduran women could enjoy their political rights and get recognized their right to vote and to participate in the political activity of the country, thus going beyond the domestic space to an electoral and public arena.

The first time Honduran women participated in national elections was in the period from 1957 to 1963 when Ramon Villeda Morales was elected. Some limitations established at that time were for example, that only women who could read had the right to vote, despite most women were illiterate at the time.

Another negative aspect was the limited participation in elected offices. Unfortunately at present, although there is the Law of Equal Opportunities, women today, like yesterday, are still voting for male candidates, denying opportunities to many capable and honest women.

Women must conquer those political spaces by means of struggle and organized strategy. These spaces are not be accepted as gifts that presuppose gratitude and submission, but as gains achieved by their own efforts.

The women’s movement for their rights

Women’s movements in Honduras date from early last century. They are subsisting and expanding every day, despite the divisions, weaknesses and difficulties they face permanently.

From the 20′s comes the first women’s organization known as “Women’s Cultural Society” directed by Graciela Garcia and other known leaders who fought tenaciously for the vindication of Honduran women.

This movement promoted various cultural activities, contributed to the organization of workers and maintained the struggle against the 16-year dictatorship of Tiburcio Carias Andino.

The decade of the 50′s saw the begining of the Federation of Honduran Women’s Associations, inspired by the international suffrage movement. They fought together with other women for political rights, in the pursuit of achievements in the legal arena, leaving unresoveld the achievement of full citizenship.

It is from that time that our country witnessed the creation of a series of structures that had the primary purpose of giving protection to women and to assert their rights.

Interestingly, seven decades after these major battles and achievements, women are still demanding the same rights, in maquiladoras and other fields.

The historical contribution of the women organizations that have worked in the promotion and protection of the rights of Honduran women should be recognized and made visible, because here in Honduras, as in Central America and most of Latin America, the contribution of women in our history have been obscured.

Female activism

Among the women’s organizations that make efforts to assert the rights and achievements of women we could cite: Movement of Women for Peace “Visitacion Padilla”, Feminist Collective of University Women, Center for Women’s Rights CDM, Center for Women Studies-Honduras CEM-H, Honduran Association of Rural Women, Black Women Link, Association of Honduran Rural Women, Women’s Movement of the Lopez Arellano Residential Zone MUMUCLA, and Coordinator Block of Southern Women, among other valuable organizations.

Source: Vida Laboral, Edition #13.
Taken from La Tribuna, of January 25, 2011.

Jan 19

Banana novel: Prision Verde (Green Prison) summary

This novel is certainly one of the most popular in Honduras, not for the perfection of the author’s literary art, but for his courageous denunciation of Honduran workers exploitation by the U.S. banana companies.

The author, Ramon Amaya Amador, worked for some time in the banana plantations sprinkling poison. When he practiced journalism he denounced the workers exploitation he witnessed by first hand, and for that reason he won the antipathy of the dictatorial regime of Tiburcio Carias Andino —a tyrant who defended the interests of the banana companies— so he had to leave the country in exile.

Ramon Amaya Amador used his banana field experience in the writing of this novel. The author’s purpose, rather than making a literary contribution, was to create a political consciousness able to produce social changes, improving the living conditions of Honduran workers.

According to writer Armando Garcia, the book Prision Verde “has been the most persecuted in the country. For a long time it was an evidentiary exhibit for imprisonment. The old men of my town still lower their voices to the mere mention of its name. Many times it was buried in the solitude of the yards after the Coup d’Etat.” (Armando Garcia, 1997).

Banana fields are described in the novel as a “green prison” because of the mysterious attraction they exerted on workers who live there, who despite being exploited and abused, felt the urge to stay working in the plantations despite all difficulties.

Amaya Amador began his story in the atmosphere of one of the companies’ offices, in which a “gringo boss” —Mr. Still— was trying to convince the landowner Luncho Lopez to sell his land to the banana company. In his attempt he was helped by two Lopez’s friends: Sierra and Cantillano, who had already sold their land, and tried to influence their friend to do the same, but he refused stubbornly.

After the meeting with the landlords, enters Mr. Martin Samayoa looking like homeless after wasting the money given to him by the Company for his land, hoping that Mr. Still would give him a job as a foreman, but Still despised him and sent him to find work as a laborer. Discouraged by the snub and with no money, Samayoa was lucky to meet worker Maximo Lujan, who took him to live in his house —a miserable crowded place where he lived with another plantation workers— and also got him a job sprinkling poison.

The foreman of the company, which gave the job to Samayoa, and for which Maximo Lujan also worked, was a Honduran who spoke with gringo accent, because his servility was so pathetic he wanted to imitate his gringo bosses, attitude which earned him the contempt and ridicule of those who worked for him, although for obvious reasons they did not dare to tell him that in his face.

In each book’s episode there is always some injustice done by the Company that causes outrage among plantation workers. But not everyone has the same awareness of their situation, some people have become accustomed to oppression, they see it as something normal in the world and do not complain. But Maximo Lujan’s group is becoming increasingly socially conscious. Contrary to proponents of indiscriminate violence as a response to oppression —like old Lucio Pardo- Lujan proposes that working class’ victory lies in its ability to organize, and that until they have created their own political party and brought down the dictatorship there cannot be a substantial improvement in the lives of plantation workers.

Lujan reads worker newspapers, he reads them out loud in the social gatherings at night with his comrades, those newspapers confirm his revolutionary beliefs and offer him new perspectives. The death of a comrade —Don Braulio— who also sprinkled venom— caused indignation to workers, it made them think. Facing the dead body of his comrade, who died from tuberculosis in the middle of work, Lujan says, “This man was one of the many deceived and exploited. He put his life force in the plantations, first with the desire to make a fortune and then by the need to earn a crust. He was eaten by the banana plantation! He died standing with the hose in his hand, serving the foreign masters.”

On traditional political parties: the National Party and the Liberal Party, Lujan says, “They have the same essence: oligarchy; they suffer the same disease: demagogy, and they serve the same master: the Banana Companies” … “In politics we need something different than traditional caudillismo, different than cronyism, than the paternalism of personages. We need to translate the aspirations of the working masses into a political ideal, and we need to translate this ideal into a real workers’ party, a real revolutionary party. We must not believe in idol-men. Our history is full of their promises.”

Women are also victims of the banana companies’ capitalist oppression. Poverty forces many female plantation workers to engage in prostitution. Gringotized Captain Benitez rapes and impregnates Catuca Pardo —a Lujan’s group’ woman— abandoning the resultant baby. A gringo boss —Mr. Jones— falls in love for Juana —another woman of Lujan’s group— but as she has a husband she rejects his advances. Given this situation, another gringo boss decides to send someone to
kill the husband, clearing the way for his comrade. After time, Juana makes a deal of regular sex with the gringo in love, in exchange for some money and a job as a poison sprinkler. She did this in order to help Catuca’s son. Juana never knew who killed her husband. Americanized Captain Benitez was also involved in this murder.

Estanio Parraga —the banana company lawyer— convinces landowner Luncho Lopez to work as a banana independent producer, coming to terms with the company. Luncho Lopez is excited with his new role as a banana entrepreneur, but the company does not give him the agreed supplies and this causes him to fall into ruin. At that point he realizes the company deceived him to make him fall into bankruptcy and force him to sell his property. But Lopez still stubbornly refuses to sell. Given this negative, the National Party’s government intervenes and threatens to take away his land by force. Luncho Lopez dies of sadness, because he had been a great defender of the nationalist dictatorship. In that moment he realized the stateless attitude of government authorities.

The other landowners, Cantillano and Sierra, also end up in ruin after being cheated in business by Estanio Parraga, who besides being the company’s lawyer was also a representative in Congress. Sierra and Cantillano ended up looking for jobs as laborers in the company, sharing the same misfortune that first felt upon Martin Samayoa.

Workers’ situation worsened with the rising prices of grocery store products, owned by the same banana company. The government collects taxes on workers in order to build schools and hospitals, yet they do not receive any of these services. And they are not allowed to protest and form unions.

When a crane driver died in an accident, a gringo boss gets mad at the deceased for spoiling the machine worth thousands of dollars, shouting angrily: “I’d rather have a hundred of these bastards dead!”. This causes great indignation to workers, who are fed up with humiliations, so they decide to strike. And they appoint Maximum Lujan as director of the strike, who accepts the charge,
even when he thinks the strike has been made prematurely.

Lujan was right. What happens next confirms it. The strike was quickly suppressed by the military. Lujan’s comrades are taken as prisoners, and he is killed and buried beneath a banana tree.

The old Lucio Pardo, in revenge for Lujan’s death —to whom he loved as his own kid— produced the derailment of a rail-car with important company people on board: a gringo boss —Mr. Foxer— two foremen: Encarnación Benítez and Carlos Palomo, and the Colonel who killed Lujan. They all die in the accident.

The gringo bosses wanted to give and exemplary punishment, and used torture to make Lucio and his friends confess, to no avail. But the ex-landowners, Sierra and Cantillano, are not so strong, they confess under torture a crime they didn’t commit. They were about to kill Sierra and Cantillano when Lucio Pardo, in order to free the innocent, appears before their torturers to confess he was the author of the attack. Lucio Pardo dies hanged by the military.

The novel closes with the friends remembering Maximo Lujan and his legacy: “The green prison is not only darkness. Maximo lit here the first revolutionary torch. Hundreds of siblings are now responsible for keeping it upright.”

Buy the book Prision Verde here on Amazon.

Jan 16

Indigenous Pech who believe in Aliens

Pech believe their ancestors had communication with Aliens.

This race, which once occupied part of the municipality of Catacamas, retains its own language and cultural elements, their average height is 1.65 m, they have strongly built bodies, clear brown skin, slightly oval face, straight hair and very thin and sparse mustache and beard.

They maintain the ancestral authority of a chief, although in recent years they have downgraded him to the level of a mentor, for his moral strength, because now communities are managed by tribal councils.

Even when the chief exercised absolute power, I was able to observe in a Pech community how the highiest tribal authority reached decisions through consensus. It happened in La Danta, Culmi, in 1971, when I asked him about whether or not to launch a development project, the chief then observed one by one the faces of a dozen people who were under his command. His aides did not speak, but he interpreted their countenance and answered according to the majority criterion.

Until that year they still held an entrenched community life: They had forests, crops; beekeeping, poultry and swine farms, all in common. This ancient practice has been weakening, but by then, when a couple married or decided to cohabit, the entire community built their house.

The Pech are one of the rare native cultures in the world who believed in the existence of extraterrestrial life, as revealed in recent years, but with a lot of reservation, by tribal elders to young leaders.

Each tribe had a special personage, called “Wata”, who was the repository of ancient wisdom. He selected his successor, who also had to keep secret all this knowledge.

Even when the tribe had its chief —as it is still the case in Nueva Subirana— he consulted many issues with the wise man. In practice there was one authority in charge of earthly activities and one in charge of spiritual matters: the “Wata”.

This important figure had supernatural powers and such wisdom that he could predict events and cure diseases with rites, plants and animal substances, according to tradition.

Although it seems unlikely, the Pech hold the belief that the “Wata” had communication with spirits from other planets, as revealed in recent years by elders of Santa Maria del Carbon, according to the testimony of the head of the Federation of Pech Tribes of Honduras (FETRIPH), Carlos Alberto Lopez Catalan.

There is even a particular story in the Pech tradition about a space odyssey of a “Wata”.

“Before this era, an alien visited a Pech community and revealed that in the ‘Seventh Planet’ lived another “Wata”. The people got together and asked their spiritual leader to visit this beautiful place in order to be convinced of the existence of the alien “Wata”. After a dangerous odyssey, the Indigenous leader met his rival, confronted him, was defeated, but with the help of a goddess could return alive to Earth according to Indigenous mythology.

The “Wata” dominated nature but ceased to exist after the Spanish conquest, which tried to destroy their culture and abolished Pech religion converting them to another faith, said Lopez Catalan.

Faithful to their tradition, the leader said that the Pech still believe there are “humans on other planets” but “powerful governments don’t want this to be known in order not to worry Mankind, because a possible conquest of Earth cannot be ruled out”, according to his thinking.

Taken from the book “Catacamas: Del ayer al año 2000” by Winston Irias Calix.

Jan 15

The story of Chief Lempira

Chief Lempira

Lempira was an important leader of the Indigenous resistance against Spanish domination. His area of operations was a vast and rough territory in the southern half of what is now the Lempira department in Honduras.

The chronicler Antonio de Herrera described Lempira, whose name means ‘Lord of the Mountains’, as “of medium height, thick back and thick limbs, brave, courageous and intelligent. He never had more than two women and died at the age of around 38 to 40 years old.”

In 1537, after the death of Chief Entepica, to whom Lempira served as lieutenant, Lempira called a meeting of around 200 peoples with the purpose to fight together against the Spaniards; among them was the Cares tribe, traditional enemy of the Cerquin Tribe, to which Lempira belonged.

Lempira persuaded 30.000 men to fight for their freedom, and offered to be the captain who would lead them to victory, promising to face the greatest dangers, because he considered to be unacceptable for so many bold men to be subdued by a few foreigners.

The warriors were positioned in high and fortified places called “Peñoles” (Rocky Hills) by the Spaniards, having there the entire community provisioned with abundant supplies.

The main Rocky Hills of the Indian alliance were the Gualapa hill, the Congolon peak, Coyocutena hill, the Cerquin Rock, the El Broquel and Gualasapa hills.

But the most important entrenchment was undoubtedly the Cerquin Rock, lead by Lempira himself. The Spanish governor of the province, Francisco Montejo, understood that if he wanted to advance the process of conquest he needed to seize the fortress, for which mission he appointed Captain Alonso Caceres, who with his men besieged the Rocky Hill during six months, but the Indians, who were with their wives and children well stocked with food, bravely resisted the siege, causing Spaniard casualties with their arrows, arrows which had sharp stone tips.

Seeing the brave indigenous resistance, captain Alonso Caceres decided to take the fortress by treachery. He had a soldier to approach with his horse a rock where Lempira stood, and while Caceres was making peace proposals to him, another soldier riding on the rump shot him with his musket. The ploy was fulfilled to the letter, and at the death of the Indian captain, the large force that accompanied him scattered through the mountains, and shortly after surrendered to the Spaniards.

Chronicler Herrera narrates the treachery episode: “Captain Caceres ordered a soldier to be on a horse, so close as to have good aim with the musket, and to speak to him, admonishing him to admit the friendship being offered, and that another soldier on the rump of a horse would shot him with the musket. With these instructions the soldier talked to him and said his advice and persuasions, and the chief replied that ‘The war is not going to tire the soldiers nor frighten them, and that the one who can the most will overcome’ and saying other arrogant words, of more than an Indian, the soldier on the rump pointed at him when he saw the opportunity, and struck him in the forehead, even when he wore a very gallant and crested shako.”

Tradition says that Lempira fell at the site of Piedra Parada, near the Congolon Peak, although there is another place known as Piedra Parada close to Erandique, but field investigations lead to think the Indian hero died at Cerquin Rock.

The Honduran historian Mario Felipe Martinez has cast doubts on Antonio de Herrera’s version of Lempira’s death, after discovering in the General Archive of the Indies a certificate presented in 1558 before the Spanish authorities in Mexico by the soldier Rodrigo Ruiz.

The document is very important, because it confirms the real existence of Lempira —of whom some Hondurans of low patriotic fiber consider to be a legend— the name of the chief (referred to as El Empira), the description of the war and its stage.

The purpose of the soldier Rodrigo Ruiz in writing this certificate was to impress the Spanish authorities in order to obtain a pension for the last years of his life. There Rodrigo proudly tells the tale of his one-to-one battle with Lempira, armed only with his sword and shield, carrying his head as a trophy and receiving in his way out many injuries by the Indians, injuries that almost killed him.

Although Rodrigo supports his statement with the report of several witnesses —some supposedly were present- you can not trust the testimony of some friends of war ready to help his friend in a deed of twenty years ago.

For his part, Bishop Cristobal de Pedraza, who was noted for his defense of the Indians- in a date as fresh as the May 18, 1539 reports from Gracias to the King and Queen of Spain that in order to beat Lempira ‘some industry’ was necessary, ie, not a one-to-one combat, as Ruiz says.

Source: Evolución Histórica de Honduras. Longino Becerra. (2009) Editorial Baktún.

Sep 10

Celebration of Children’s Day in Honduras

On 10 September is Children’s Day in Honduras.

The children go to school, not to classes, but just to be celebrated with music, candy and games.

Breaking the piñata is a popular game in this day.

Some parents also buy toys for their children, so the Children’s Day in Honduras is like a second Christmas for them.

Private and public partnerships also celebrate children in this special day.