Feb 13

Banks in Honduras

A list of banks in Honduras, with links to their respective websites:

Private Banks

State Banks

Banco BGA was acquired by HSBC; and Banco Uno, Banco Cuscatlan and Banco de Honduras were absorbed by Citigroup, becoming Banco Citibank de Honduras. BAC | Credomatic and BAMER merged, becoming BAC | Bamer. BAC | Bamer changed its name to BAC | Honduras.

Banco Central de Honduras (Honduras Central Bank) is the body that conducts the country’s monetary policy. BANADESA means National Bank of Agricultural Development. Banhprovi and RAP are second level financial institutions of the State.

Feb 12

Honduras and the MILITARY COUP in Egypt

United States is supporting the recent MILITARY COUP in Egypt, when not long ago it condemned Honduras for a nonexistent COUP.

Vice President Omar Suleiman announced yesterday on Egypt state television that President Hosni Mubarak handed the power to the Military Supreme Council.

A Coup happens when State institutions are dissolved, Parliament is dissolved , the judiciary is dissolved, and a Military Junta seizes power. In Honduras there was NO military coup or civilian-military coup. We had an interim civilian administration, which produced an orderly transition to the new administration we have now. But we were unjustly condemned, and we are still being condemned.

CNN in Espanol is talking about a “revolution in Egypt.” Perhaps this way it sounds more romantic and acceptable, but at the end of the day: What is the difference between a revolution and a COUP? It is basically the same: a rupture of the constitutional order.

If it’s about popular support, the interim regime enjoyed a wide support in Honduras, both from the people and the State institutions.

We must keep an open mind, sometimes COUPS are necessary. There are good coups and bad coups. With a COUP D’ETAT against Adolf Hitler many lives could have been saved. This COUP in Egypt may be the beginning of a new era of freedom for the Egyptian people, that’s our hope, but in Honduras there was NO Coup d’Etat.

Dictator Hugo Chavez is supporting the MILITARY COUP in Egypt. Manuel Zelaya is also supporting the coup. Both are known for their failed attempts at COUPS in their countries. They are COUPSTERS that support MILITARY COUPS when it better suits them.

The day before his ouster, on Saturday June 27, 2009, Manuel Zelaya made reference to the French Revolution to justify his projected COUP, which would dissolve the other branches of government and extend his term in office illegally; but he could not achieve this because the State of Honduras, in a movement of self-defense, removed him from office.

Hugo Chavez in 1992, was responsible for a failed MILITARY COUP attempt that killed innocent people. And yet, the failed COUPSTER believes he has the moral right to condemn a coup that never existed in Honduras.

These are the ironies and contradictions of international politics.

Feb 03

Vigin of Suyapa is GOLPISTA (coupster), according to David Romero Ellner

In Globo TV, the journalist David Romero Ellner, who has served time in prison for raping his own daughter, said today that “the Virgin of Suyapa is GOLPISTA (coupster), they have made her GOLPISTA (coupster), for holding the title of Captain of the Armed Forces”.

Romero Ellner has been a major supporter of Manuel Zelaya, who sought to perpetuate in office through a manipulated opinion poll.

“If the Virgin of Suyapa was so miraculous as they say, she should have caused the temple to fall upon dictator Micheletti, when he paid a visit to her”, said the social communicator.

Today an early morning celebration was held at the Shrine of Suyapa in honor of the Virgin, attended by thousands of people.

February 3 marks the day dedicated to that image, to which many Honduran Catholics regard as the PATRON SAINT OF HONDURAS .

The worship of the little image of Suyapa began in the XVII century, and the military has claimed her as their captain decades before the supposed COUP D’ETAT.

Feb 03

One year of the Lobo Administration

Current President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo
President Porfirio Lobo

Lets check the achievements of the Porfirio Lobo Administration: Honduras managed to stabilize its economy after the consequences of the 2009 political crisis. It achieved recognition from many nations, after the erroneous perception of a COUP D’ETAT. This is a very important step.

The Lobo administration had a good start in 2011, boosting major development projects, such as Charter Cities, hydropower projects located by the Patuca river, and the Jicatuyo and Llanitos hydroelectric projects. He also inaugurated the Wind Energy Project of Cerro de Hula.

But the way the Lobo administration has been handling the political issues seems to be mistaking. After getting from Congress an amnesty decree for political crimes supposedly committed by both sides of the 2009 conflict, President Lobo has been stubborn in his intent to get for Mr. Manuel Zelaya an state of total impunity in all the charges levelled against him. This interference in the affairs of the judiciary makes him look bad among those in Honduras that wish for greater respect for the law. I am of the opinion that the main cause of the political crisis of 2009 was the open disrespect of Mr. Zelaya for the legal order, and President Lobo seems unable to apply that lesson to himself.

The stubbornness with which President Porfirio Lobo brings up the subject of re-election produces anxiety to a section of the population. It is believed in Honduras that Zelaya’s illegal attempts to allow re-election were the cause of his overthrown. One would think that an issue that causes so much tension would be abandoned, but that’s not what President Lobo thinks. So much for peace an reconciliation.

The amendments to the article 5 of the Constitution, allowing for the people the possibility to be consulted on the issue of re-election makes many people nervous. Some people wonders if President Lobo is following the steps of Zelaya, who in his eagerness to promote the “fourth ballot box” was forcefully removed from office.

Porfirio Lobo says the Honduran people gave him a clear mandate at the ballot boxes, to fight for peace and reconciliation. But President Lobo has a strange idea of what reconciliation means. He believes, apparently, that reconciliation involves passing over the legal system and the separation of branches, in his attempt to favor the side of Zelaya. Lobo believes he can appease the groups that support Zelaya, but the reactions of these groups, both nationally and internationally, show the opposite. This complacency with the inflexible Zelayistas makes him look weak in the eyes of many Hondurans.

More worrisome is the fact that he has given the National Agrarian Institute in the hands of the Zelayista Cesar Ham, who apparently has used his position to aggravate the agrarian conflict in the Bajo Aguan instead of solving it. But President Lobo refuses to dismiss this minister, because of his distorted idea of the “national reconciliation” concept, that he identifies as a distribution of government positions.

President Lobo is also criticized for creating the new Secretariat of Human Rights in times of economic crisis, when the State can not afford to create more bureaucracy. But President Lobo did it, because he believes this new ministry will appease the human right agencies which have echoed the slanders against Honduras in this issue.

An action much criticized by the public opinion was the removal of Mr. Federico Alvarez’ citizenship. Mr. Alvarez is a naturalized Honduran of Costa Rican origin, who was notable for his criticism against the Lobo Administration in La Tribuna newspaper. Public opinion has interpreted this action as an attack against freedom of expression. The government argues that Mr. Federico Alvarez didn’t have his documentation of naturalization in order.

Despite his clear preference in favor of those who sympathize with former President Zelaya, and his denigration of those who oppose him, President Porfirio Lobo likes to define himself as a moderate politician, far from the extremes of Left and Right. But the truth is that, despite coming from a historically conservative party like the National Party, President Lobo has a clear leftist tendency, which leaves the old guard of the National Party somewhat perplexed.

Hopefully in 2011, President Lobo will focus on development projects for the country, relegating the Zelaya issue. Too much has been done to appease Honduras’ enemies.

Jan 30

Successful Business Women in Honduras

A short list of leading female entrepreneurs in Honduras.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Flores. Representative of Honduras in the United Nations Organization (UN) and successful entrepreneur.

Aline Flores. Chairwoman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Tegucigalpa and Vice Chairwoman of Corporacion Flores.

Juliette Handal. Pharmaceutical entrepreneur and Coordinator of the Patriotic Coalition.

Jackelyne Flefil. CEO of the Cell Phone Company, Tigo.

Adda Molina. Digicel’s Marketing Manager.

Ana María Kafaty. TV Programme Planning Manager of Televicentro and visionary entrepreneur.

Sandra Gianinni. First Vice Chairwoman of Corporate Banking of Ficohsa Financial Group.

Josefina Perez. Sales and Marketing Officer of Emisoras Unidas.

Mey-Lang Hung. Corporate Affairs Officer of Walmart of Mexico and Central America in Honduras.

Maria Selman. CEO of Banco del País.

Vilma Morales. Chairwoman of the National Commission for Banking and Insurance. She was also the first Chairwoman of the Supreme Court.

Claudia Discua. Corporate Image Manager of Ficohsa Financial Group.

Successful women in Fashion Business.

Nelly Raudales. CEO of chain hair salon Esther, the largest one in the capital city.

Jacqueline D’Vicente.CEO of Jacqueline’s Boutique, in Choluteca.

Gladys Cuestas. Fashion Designer, President of Couture Mod ‘Art

Marcia Lagos. CEO of Boutique Da’lila and Da’lila Accessories.

Source: Revista Cheque. January 2011. Issue # 170.

Jan 23

The myth of Honduras’ Independence Day

Honduran national emblem

Many Hondurans believe that Honduras’ Independence Day is on September 15, 1821. In fact, September 15th is a Honduran national holiday, and this date is at the foot of the national emblem surrounded by the Legend: Republic of Honduras, Free, Sovereign and Independent.

However, this is not correct.

Honduras did not come to life as an independent country, but as State that was part of the Central American Federation.

Another group of more informed Hondurans would tell us that September 15, 1821 is the date on which Central America proclaimed its independence from Spain, but this is also mistaken.

The famous “Declaration of Independence” of September 15, 1821 doesn’t even establish the Independence of Central America, but postpones the decision on this issue, delegating it to a Congress that that would meet in March 1822. That Congress never met.

In fact, the Bill of Independence of September 15, 1821 was just an aristocratic maneuver made to prevent an Independence with revolutionary scopes. The Bill of September 15th sought to maintain the colonial regime, with the same authorities that now wouldn’t be accountable before Spain.

Independence was only taken into consideration by the local elite of Spanish descent as measure of last resort to “prevent the terrible consequences that would follow in case the people itself proclaims it” as says the same declaration drafted -but not signed— by Jose Cecilio del Valle, considered as a national hero in Honduras.

This exposes the falsity of the claim found in the Honduran national anthem, the lyrics of which were written by Augusto C. Coello. A stanza of said anthem compares what happened on 15 September 1821 with the French Revolution.

The truth is that September 15, 1821 is not a glorious date of national liberation, but a date on which the expectations of the Patriots were betrayed and democracy was trampled, because the aristocracy immediately maneuvered to attach Central America to Iturbide’s Mexican Empire, in order to maintain their privileges threatened by a democratic and republican revolution. This annexation was declared on January 5, 1822.

The annexation bill to Mexico was drafted —and this time signed— by Jose Cecilio del Valle, which is held as a great hero in Honduras. And yet it was under the influence of Valle on the Mexican Congress that Central America won its independence from Mexico, Independence that was proclaimed officially on July 1, 1823 by the Central American Constituent Assembly.

The Constituent Assembly decided that the system of government of Central America would be republican and federal, granting autonomy to each of the five States that comprised it: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Under this Constitution Manuel Jose Arce was elected as Central America’s first president on March 5, 1824, and on 16 September, 1824 Dionisio de Herrera was elected as the first Chief of State of Honduras.

But the Central American Federation was unable to consolidate under the strong opposition of conservatives, who wanted to preserve the oppressive system of privileges of the Spanish Colonization.

Upon Gen. Francisco Morazan fell the task of fighting against the anti-democratic reaction, which found a strong ally in Catholic obscurantism, but the proportion of forces didn’t favored him, and Morazan had to pay with his life the audacity to dream with the Great Central American Motherland. Morazan was executed by firing squad on September 15, 1842 in Costa Rica.

With the death of Morazan the conservative reaction triumphed, and the dream of a Central American Federation was truncated. But Honduras had already been declared independent of the Central American Federation on October 26, 1838. This date was of no glory to Honduras, it was a historical setback that sunk the Honduran government in a strong anti-Morazanic reaction in the hands of president Francisco Ferrera.

The democratic and republican ideal just begun timidly on 1876 in Honduras in the so called “Liberal Reform”, led by president Marco Aurelio Soto and his minister and advisor Ramon Rosa.

Then followed fifty years of fratricidal wars, ending in the 16-year dictatorship of Tiburcio Carias Andino. Carias ruled from 1933 to 1949.

Carias finally manages to put an end to civil wars and insurgent movements, with the downside of a high social cost, for the brutal repression that was unleashed against the enemies of the regime.

Carias administration’s repression achieved the consolidation of the Honduran State, but this consolidation was accompanied by subordination of the interests of Honduras to the U.S banana companies. The influence of the United States never allowed the Honduran State to be truly independent.

Gradually the Honduran people have been conquering more and more spaces of democratic freedom, but the cancer of internal corruption and the dependence on foreign aid is still an affront to the national dignity.

Honduras Independence, therefore, is not an epic event that happened in the past, as taught in Honduran formal education, but it is something that Honduras has been achieving with difficulty, and it’s still a project to be carried out.

If you want to know more about Honduran and Central American history you can order the book Understanding Central America: Global Forces, Rebellion, and Change on Amazon.

Source for this article: “Evolución histórica de Honduras”, by Longino Becerra. Baktun Editorial.

Jan 17

Romer’s Charter Cities in Honduras

Paul Romer is an economist at Stanford University known for his contributions to the economic theory of growth. After writing several articles in the late 80’s, Paul Romer left academic research to pursue his own business, and now he focuses his energies on promoting his Charter Cities project.

After a trip to the United States, President Lobo and Congress President, Juan Hernandez, went back to Honduras, very excited, supporting the Romer’s ideas. And no wonder. This is a golden opportunity for Honduras development.

The essential idea of Romer’s charter city model is simple. Development is not based on technology itself, nor knowledge, but on good rules expressed in laws and customs that allow to channel the creative energy of people. The cause of the underdevelopment of countries like Honduras is bad laws that do not encourage the necessary investment to boost the country.

So the obvious solution is to change laws, to change the rules of the game, and everything else will follow.

However, it’s not so simple. Profound changes generate enormous resistance from vested interests and popular demands.

Romer’s solution is to create a city from scratch in an uninhabited area, and to provide it of good standards from the beginning, good laws that encourage investment and creativity. This way authoritarian temptations are avoided, the government need not impose anything by force, and no one will be forced to go to a charter city.

Romer likes to put the example of the electricity problem of Guinea, where young people have to study under the street lights at night, because they don’t have electricity in their homes. This is because poor government policies, a rule that sets such a low price for electricity that makes the company loose money for each additional unit sold, so there is no incentive to connect more users. When the president of Guinea tried to change this situation, he had to retreat under the pressure from businesses and consumers accustomed to payinv low fees. In contrast, mobile phone companies do not have this restriction, so there are young people without electricity in their homes who do have cell phones.

The solution to this dilemma is to give more options to people and leaders, and the Charter City is the model that allows us to give more options to both. Instead of attacking head-on the resistance to change, we simply evade it.

A lot of people worry that the charter cities will be handing territory to foreign powers or private investors, however, such is not necessary in the model proposed by Romer. Following the example of the city of Shenzhen in China, Honduras itself could put the new rules for the Charter City, even when others put the money. However, having a strong country or a company sponsoring us can bring more credibility to the project, a credibility that the country may not have by itself.

The issue of national sovereignty is very sensitive, and must be handled with care, remembering that the ultimate goal of the State is the human person as stated by the doctrine of Christian Humanism touted by president Lobo. We must not close our minds against a project that could benefit thousands of compatriots in the name of a misunderstood patriotism. The true patriots seek to benefit their country, and this is certainly a unique opportunity to raise the quality of life of many Hondurans.

Some people want the Charter City to apply the same laws as the rest of the territory, to preserve legality and not sully the national sovereignty. But this makes no sense. The purpose of the charter cities is to provide better rules, regulations or laws than those already being applied in the rest of the country. If the rules of the game are not changed there will be no way to attract massive foreign investment and boost national development. If Honduran laws and government system were the best there would be no need to create charter cities.

The conception of the Honduran government of Charter Cities is explained here.

Sep 24

Roatan, Morat and Barbareta

By: Jesus Aguilar Paz

These three islands correspond to the Honduran Archipelago, which is in the Bay Islands province, formerly known as Guanajos.

The names of these three islands, according to legend, are not of indigenous or Spanish origin, but of English one. (Although Guanajos is indeed of indigenous origin). This is explained by the encroachment made by England in time of the wars of Spain. We know so well that some nations owe their greatness to these Americas, which through Spain, sent their cold hard cash through the purchase of goods the Mother Country did not produce, due to the lack of foresight of her rulers and also due to detestable piracy.

But we are investigating the origin of the mentioned names, so lets proceed.

The first pirates who seized the main island, after removing the colonial guards, were welcomed by some animals worthy of these usurpers, by rodents: rats. Impressed by this event the pirates exclaimed: Rat-land!, whence came the name of Roatan.

Of course, they soon did not fit on this island, and according to the piratical custom of that nation, of occupying the entire land, they soon headed North for the following small island. There appeared again to welcome them several flocks of rats, so the hardened adventurers, frightened, cried: More-rats!, so the island was christened with this name, i.e., Morat.

Not satisfied, as we have stated, said Adventurers wanted to occupy more land, so the Englishmen pirates went to take the next island, which was Barbareta.

Here the previous rule did not fail, and the pirates’ congeners, the rodents, came out ready to receive them, but in huge quantity. The pirates, who were once painted so justly by his own countryman, dean Jonathan Swift, in his Gulliver’s Travels, amazed by such plague, cried out: Barbar-rats!, i.e., lot of rats, which was the name of said island: Barbareta.

Tired of seeing so many mice, these pirates discontinued their usurper raid, but not because their dominant megalomania was cured, as evidenced by history, for they needed to be removed from the islands by cannon shots, according to Mariscal Matias de Galvez.

As it is widely known, they felt the urge to take again these islands indisputably owned by Honduras, but this last time General Guardiola was the one who pulled them out … by hat blows!

Taken from the book “Canasta Folklórica Hondureña”, by Eduardo Sandoval. JES Ediciones.