Apr 05

Open letter of Juan Ramon Mata Ballesteros

The following appeared today as a paid ad in La Tribuna newspaper:

23 YEARS

Today April 5, marks 23 years of the surrender of my life by the then rulers of my country to the U.S. authorities, violating all my rights, ignoring even the smallest legal proceedings. I was a victim of the vilest KIDNAPPING!

When I was kidnapped my lawyers filed a demand for Habeas Corpus before the government of the United States. In the resolution of such plaint it was clear that Honduras did not present any protest to the U.S. government. This was indeed a tacit consent to this irregular procedure.

It has been 23 years, struggling every day to “recover my rights”, something rather painful, since rights are acquired by birth and inalienable. But this is my sad reality!

I was carried to three trials, being illegally sentenced and condemned. These convictions were based on rigged testimonies and whimsical conjectures of the prosecutors. The punishment imposed on me surpasses any penalty applied in my country.

Then there’s my status within the prison system, years go by and I can not be included in any program to alleviate my permanence on this place. Just now my lawyer has filed a demand, in order to see if it is is possible to change this situation. I ask for no privileges, just to be treated according to the rights pertaining to my time served in prison and my conduct.

On this sad anniversary, 23 years!, it would be proper and fair, for the respect every citizen deserves and the rights granted by the Constitution, that the appropriate officials should comply with the law, concerning the enforcement of the rights of the citizens, no matter who is the citizen affected.

On reflection, it gives me great hope to see that the country struggles constantly to remain within a democratic system. Therefore I do not lose faith that someday, sometime, I will be compensated for the abuses suffered, and I will be able to return to my homeland, next to my family, in the last days of my life.

I ask God to put his hands full of goodness in our country and that Hondurans may live as brothers and sisters, living in peace, putting an end to violence and bringing back harmony. That tolerance and respect for life may prevail!

Juan Ramon Mata del Pozo

Mar 03

Rising violence in Honduras

Violence in Honduras has reached alarming levels.

Newspapers crime sections are full of dead people.

Violence is experienced in all levels of society, without distinction of gender or age, but the public cares more when high profile people die, such as representatives, businesspeople, lawyers, journalists and religious figures. The death of an important figure is worth a hundred strangers’.

Honduras is one of the blacklisted countries with great drug trafficking influence .

The government is shooting in the dark with its policies, you can tell it has lost control of the public safety issue.

In order to fight crime a series of flawed measures are being proposed, such as to take the military out to the streets to combat criminals, when this is not the role of the military (this is already happening).

To combat the practice of paid assassinations some propose the prohibition of more than one person in a motorcycle. Many attacks have been carried out by two people on a motorcycle: while one drives, the other fires. This will affect many people for whom buying a car is a luxury, they get punished for the crime of a tiny minority.

Some people have proposed the United States should build a military base in La Moskitia to fight drug trafficking, and some are talking again about the death penalty issue. (There is no death penalty in Honduras).

This situation of generalized violence is exploited by malicious groups of human rights activists, that are denouncing the killing of women and homosexuals, as if there was a systematic campaign by the government to damage these groups. There is a talk of femicides, a word that has no precise meaning, used to harm the country’s image.

All this violence, in my opinion, is evidence of the failure of the Honduran socio-economic system in particular, and of the capitalist system in general.

Feb 14

Tragic Plane Crash near Tegucigalpa

Fourteen people died today in a plane crash near Tegucigalpa. This happened in the municipality of Santa Ana, to a kilometer of the village of Las Mesitas, in the highway that goes to the south of Honduras. Shortly before nine in the morning the airship was given for loss, the last location detected by the radar was the vicinity of Cerro de Hula.

At first it was reported that Cesar Ham, minister of the Agrarian National Institute, and Mario Canahuati, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, went in that airplane, but those versions were discredited. The two public figures had plans to take that airplane, but for different reasons they didn’t do it. Mario Canahuati said he could not take the plane because it was packed when he got there, so he took another airship; and Cesar Ham said he could not take the airplane because some matters delayed him, making him arrive late.

Among the dead people was the union leader, Israel Salinas and the vice minister of Soptravi, Rodolfo Rovelo. Some recognized businessmen also passed away and three citizens of American origin.

The airplane, a Let 410, twin turboprop of Czech origin, utilized in routes of short connection, belonged to the Central American Airways airline.

“We were given green light to fly to Tegucigalpa, the pilot was experienced, he used to fly in these conditions”, said Gustavo Castañeda, manager of Central American Airways.

The CEO of Civil Aeronatics, Manuel Enríquez Cáceres, believes the accident was caused by human error. “We could say that 95 percent of these accidents are human errors and a small amount is due to weather factors, and also to the airship”, he explained.

For his part, colonel Roberto Mendoza Garay thinks the accident was due to scarce visibility. “The investigation will probably say that once they did the instrumental descent toward Tegucigalpa, the pilots decided to change from an instrumental approximation to a visual one”, he said.

The airplane did not possess a black box, which will complicate the investigation.

List of the deceased

  • Jhon Peter
  • James Howel
  • Tom Chuck Slynn
  • Joaquín Fernández
  • Leda Cabrera
  • Julio Alvarenga
  • Israel Salinas (Union leader)
  • Carlos Chain (Businessman)
  • Alejandra Figueroa Cerna (Praf Official)
  • Rodolfo Rovelo (Viceminister of Soptravi)
  • Sara Villacorta

Crew

  • Captain Oscar Anderson
  • Captain Eduardo Fach

Rep. Marvin Ponce, of the Zelayista Democratic Unification Party, tried to use the tragedy for political means: “We believe it is time to think of a high-level political decision, the Tegucigalpa airport must take another destination.” An accident near the Toncontin airport on May 30, 2008 was used by former President Zelaya as an excuse to close the Toncontin airport, with the goal of evicting the U.S. military occupying the Palmerola military base in Comayagua. Subsequent investigation revealed the cause of that accident was human error.

Jan 21

Patuca hydroelectric power projects speed up

The Honduran National Congress approved on Monday, January, 17 a decree for the construction of the hydroelectric power plants of Patuca II, Patuca IIA and Patuca III, in Olancho, and Los Llanitos and Jicatuyo in Santa Barbara.

It is expected that in three years Patuca III or Piedras Amarillas will be generating its first 104 megawatts of power, and then will begin the construction of Patuca II or Valencia and Patuca IIA or Tarrosa.

After the President makes a declaration of the areas to be expropriated, they will pass to the State ownership, with full rights.

An Appraisal Committee, composed of different state institutions, will determine the fair price to pay to the rightful owners of the land.

On February, 1 will begin the construction of the first phase of Patuca III, and it is expected that by January 2014 it will begin to generate electric power.

The Patuca III access road will be passing by Jamastran, department of El Paraiso.

The Patuca hydroelectric power project comprises three eastern departments: Olancho, El Paraiso and Colon. The projects will be funded by Mainland China, after Taiwan declined to do it last year.

These hydroelectric projects were pending from the administration of Manuel Zelaya, who could not carry them out.

It is projected that the three dams on the Patuca River will be completed in nine years, generating 524 megawatts of power.

With these hydropower projects Honduras will stop depending on thermal energy, thereby also getting cheaper energy.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (SERNA) determined that Patuca hydroelectric projects will not cause environmental damage in the Platano River Bioshphere, as that river does not even go near to that protected zone. Patuca projects have an environmental license expended by the Zelaya administration, however, in order to dispel any doubt, it has been subjected to an audit by the World Bank.

At first it was thought that this Patuca III hydroelectric power plant would take five years to build, but now with the help of the Continental Chinese the projected time has been reduced to three years.

For projects Los Llanitos and Jicatuyo a source of financing has not yet being identified, but the government is working on it.

Jan 20

Charter Cities are on their way in Honduras

Yesterday in Honduras were approved some changes to the Political Constitution by the National Congress, in order to clear the way for the establishment of Charter Cities in Honduras. This changes need to be ratified by the Congress after the 25th of this month.

The Honduran National Congress’ website explains what is the Honduras’ government conception of the Charter Cities, and its application to the Honduran reality:

What is a Model City or Charter City?

A Model City, or Charter City, as Americans call it, is a small territorial area of a particular country, with its own regulations and rapid economic development. In Honduras it is intended for the National Congress to approve that a small portion of the national territory may be selected with the intent of creating a center of progress and well-being, unique in the Latin-American region.

This city will have its own administration, depending on the National Government, that is, it will have a governor of Honduran nationality who will direct or administer that area or zone of the territory, who will be appointed by the President of the Republic then in office.

This kind of governor will have similar functions to that of a mayor in a municipality and therefore any issue raised will be resolved or judged by the local authority, either through a board or through any other means designated by the National Government.

In legal aspects the Judicial Branch will be able to intervene through certain judges with special characteristics, who are going to have their residence in the area in question. Tax collection will be internal, since these territories are established as free trade zones.

Education in these areas will be 100 percent bilingual. The English language is to be preferred, but other options are German, French or any European or Asian language.

In this way, and from this point of view, there would be no dismemberment of the national territory, because sovereignty is inviolable, as the Constitution says, but what would indeed exist is the participation of national and foreign investors attending this territory in order to express their intents regarding the behavior of its administration.

For the information of the people in general, this issue is being discussed and negotiated with the five political parties represented in the Legislative Branch, and with business and industry sectors of the country, since it is expected that this project will provide the nation a development never seen before, and as an example we can refer to what happens in Mainland China, where 16 zones of this nature already exist, as it was the case for many years with Hong Kong City.

In Honduras, various places of the national geography are being mentioned to build such city, as for example the Valley of Agalta in Olancho or some regions in the department of Colon, among others, which are almost uninhabited, almost pristine zones, that do not have any production, but in order to achieve this objective it is necessary and important to have the assistance of all country sectors.

Jul 06

Outrage for Zelayista feast at American Embassy

Manuel Zelaya was overthrown for seeking to repeal the Constitution, change the form of government and perpetuate himself in office.

Héctor Zelaya talking at the U.S. Embassy

Héctor Zelaya Castro, son of former president, celebrated another year of U.S. independence.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

The presence of several former ministers, and even Hector Zelaya Castro, son of Manuel Zelaya, came like a complete shock upon the members of the so called Resistance Front.

In debates through e-mail networks, the resistance members consider outrageous that while Zelaya denounced that the U.S. planned and executed the “coup”, officials of his administration close to him, and even his son, went to talk with U.S. officials and Honduran businessmen.

At the party of Friday July 2 in honor of the 234 anniversary of independence, were present the Zelayistas Raul Valladares, Aristides Mejia, Milton Jiménez, Edmundo Orellana, Rodil Rivera, Marlon Brevé and Carlos Aguilar.

During the Zelaya administration these figures supported the illegal project of the fourth ballot box (cuarta urna), which was intended to repeal the current political constitution and change the form of government. Héctor Zelaya was smiling, holding hands with his wife.

Source: El Heraldo.
Jul 05

President of Honduras criticizes the Catholic Church

President Porfirio Lobo

Bishop Andino admitted that he was not invited to the celebration of the 234 years of independence of the United States, where political figures related to former President Manuel Zelaya Rosales were indeed invited.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

The president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa criticized the Catholic Church for asking impartiality from the Truth Commission in order to achieve its goal of national reconciliation.

Lobo referred to the words of Archbishop Darwin Andino in his Sunday homily, when the later said that the reconciliation must be based on justice and truth, not lies.

The president replied that “I think the most important is for each one to ask himself, as President Kennedy said at the time, do not ask what your country can do for you, ask yourself what are you doing for your country.”

Lobo made the remarks in the context of an event for children held at the Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (Unitec).

The Truth Commission was formed by the government of Honduras to clarify the events that happened before, during and after the events of June 28, 2009.

Members of the committee shall submit a report and the only thing that Catholic Church is asking is for it to be fair and objective.

On Monday, the Catholic leader also referred to the impunity enjoyed by some protagonists of the political crisis in Honduras.

Bishop Andino admitted that he was not invited to the celebration of the 234 years of independence of the United States, where political figures related to former President Manuel Zelaya Rosales were indeed invited.

Source: El Heraldo