Jun 25

President Zelaya dismisses General Romeo Vasquez

In a radio and television chain, last night President Manuel Zelaya dismissed the head of the Joint Staff, Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, for refusing to accompany with Armed Forces’ logistics the public opinion poll of Sunday, which has been declared illegal by the judiciary, because it seeks to subvert the constitutional order.

He also accepted the resignation of Defense Minister Edmundo Orellana.

Immediately resigned in solidarity commanders of Force Army, Navy and Air Force.

However, today the Supreme Court reversed the dismissal of the chief of the Joint Staff, so General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez continues in office.

Also material brought by a Venezuelan plane for next Sunday consultation was seized by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Today Congress met to reject the illegal removal of Romeo Vasquez. This dismissal was illegal because nobody can be fired for refusing to comply with an illegal order.

The political crisis provoked by the President who insists on conducting an illegal “survey” is being undermined by legal institutions and by Armed Forces’ obedience to the Constitution of the Republic.

May 28

Earthquake in the Atlantic Coast of Honduras

It is reported that an earthquake of 7.1 degrees on the Richter scale occurred in the Atlantic Coast of Honduras. Damages were reported in Roatán, La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, La Lima, Colón and Morazán. There are at least four dead persons.

However, according to statements to the “Frente a Frente” show of Channel Five, Mauricio Burgos, head of the National Standing Committee of Contingencies, COPECO, the damage is much lower than expected in an earthquake of this magnitude, so the Preliminary data of 7.1 degrees on the Richter scale is likely to be revised down soon.

See notes from El Proceso Digital and El Heraldo.

Related post

Earthquake was of 7.3 degrees

May 23

Signs of State Terrorism in Honduras

The authorities of the Public Ministry are concerned about the allegation that there exist clear signs of State terrorism.

The expert on security issues, Mario Berrios, warned that the threats, kidnappings, assassinations, and in the coming days, monitoring of persons’ activities, and even detonations are clear signs of a policy of state terrorism and left terrorism.

This week, the president of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, is reportedly facing threats of death.

Same complaint made the Principal Prosecutor, Rosa Miranda, who asked before the Administrative Court to suspend the June survey. She warned that she has received threatening calls.

The judge of this court, Jorge Zelaya, also reported being subjected to threats, like the principal prosecutor, Luis Rubí.

In the case of Micheletti, Miranda and Rubi, they have showed their position on the illegality of the June survey, the fourth ballot box, stating that they are on the side of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law.

As regards to judge Zelaya, he admitted the application filed by the MP against the Decree PCM-005-2009 and the next week he must decide whether or not to suspend the contested measure, ie the survey.

Micheletti even lost confidence in the officials of the Ministry of Security who guard him. He holds the Executive branch responsible for any damage to his body that may happen to him.

Same distrust displayed the National Commissioner of Human Rights, Ramón Custodio.

Similar threats have denounced journalists of various media outlets who have manifested against the destruction of the current Constitution. In recent months, two journalists have been kidnapped, Bernardo Rivera and Andres Torres, whose whereabouts are still unknown.

“I would give him much credit, even when it may not be accurate at the extent that he does, but I give much credit, not only to what he states, but to public complaints made by many public officials and journalists, that is, that this scenario is being presented in Honduras for a while, not just yesterday, and leads to believe that we have signs, signs of terrorism in Honduras,” said Mario Berríos.

Taken from El Heraldo.

May 16

Kidnapping of journalist Andres Torres Junior

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS

The veteran journalist Andres Torres Junior, who works for the HRN radio station, was kidnapped this afternoon [yesterday] by several subjects.

Unofficial versions indicate that the journalist was leaving the City Hall’s facilities located at the residential zone 21 de Octubre at the capital city, when he was intercepted by several subjects.

At least two men boarded their vehicle and forced the driver to follow another vehicle.

When transiting in front of the residential zone El Sitio, where there are always police roadblocks which curiously were not today [yesterday], he was forced to enter the neighborhood where he was taken from his car to enter the one lead by the hijackers.

A relative said that along with Mr. Andres Torres was also taken captive his driver, whose name was not given.

Police authorities confirmed the kidnapping of the journalist, but not of the driver. The vehicle was found by police at the place where the exchange was made.

A closure of the city was immediately ordered but his whereabouts are still not known.

The family begged the captors to surrender him immediately because he has serious health problems.

Taken from El Heraldo

May 13

Quarrels for ALBA’s funds

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS

The funds of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) have become a bone of contention between agricultural workers and government.

The Executive wanted to impose Rafael Alegria as representative of the countrymen before the board of the so called Conialba, organization overseeing the donations of Alba, in a meeting held last night, but the nomination was rejected.

The National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (CNC) refused to support the Executive’s appointment to representative of Conialba to Alegria because it does not consider him to be from the “grassroots of the agricultural workers” and therefore withdrew from the meeting which was held at the National Bank of Agricultural Development (BANADESA).

“We were surprised by the imposition of someone who does not represent the interests of agricultural workers, I’m talking about Rafael Alegría,” said Daysi Ibarra, president of CNC.

For that reason, Ibarra left the assembly. The candidate who was going to propose this entity was Santos Chirinos.

The country has received at least 25 million dollars through the Venezuelan initiative.

Alegria, who advocates government projects, is a member of Via Campesina, but this entity does not belong to the CNC or any other.

The CNC, the Confederation of Agricultural Women Workers (CMC) and the Coordinating Council of Agricultural Workers Organizations’ (COCOCH) representations are to be included in the Conialba as stipulated by the Executive.

Taken from El Heraldo.

May 13

President of Taiwan will go to Belize instead

The president of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, has chosen Belize as destination instead of Honduras, as planned from the beginning, during his trip to Central America.

In a press release from the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry was informed that the decision not to come to Honduras is because the country will hold the 39th Assembly of the OAS.

President Ma will also visite El Salvador, where he will attend the inauguration of President-elect, Mauricio Funes.

Taiwan announced the suspension last week of the investment of the Taiwan Power Company in Patuca III hydroelectric project, estimated at 300 million dollars.

The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry clarified that the suspension of the trip had no connection with the decision of the Taiwan Power Company.

It was reported that President Ma will come to Honduras on a second trip planned for next July, when attending the inauguration of the president of Panama, Roberto Martinelli.

Taken from El Heraldo.

May 05

Pepe Lobo now supports the fourth ballot box

In a surprising outcome, and after having kicked in the Convention of the National Party a carton box representing the fourth ballot box, Pepe Lobo, the candidate of this party, said that he now supports the consultation to amend the Constitution.

What’s eating Pepe now?

Apparently, this confirms my claim a few years ago that Pepe Lobo is an opportunistic hypocrite. However, I think we should not be so hard on him. What politician is not a hypocrite or opportunistic?

And, as the saying goes, to err is human, to forgive is divine. Sectarian critiques of the Liberal Party against Pepe Lobo are blind critiques.

The same happened to the National Party when it declared to be in a “humanist center” Some liberals bother when the National Party takes away their flags. But if they were really sincere, they should welcome this approach from their sister party to the “progressive ideas”. We must leave this stubborn dogmatism that prevailed in the past and make a debate of ideas, not a futile clash of political colors.

For my part I continue to oppose the fourth ballot box, because I think it has a clear intent of perpetuation in power. I don’t know what Mel Zelaya offered to Pepe, but I am still not convinced. By the winds blowing from the south, it is easy to see that these changes may lead to an increase in authoritarianism, which would be regrettable.

It is repeatead that people should be consulted. And who can be against that?

But the thing is that people is only consulted when it suits certain interests. This government is the least inclined to consult people. People were not consulted, for example, if they agree with Honduras joining ALBA, or even knew what the ALBA was all about.

And when the government launched ALBA, Hugo Chavez came to insult anyone who did not agree with their way of seeing things. Such attitudes do not seem very democratic. In a functional democracy, the people need to be properly informed of the decisions of government. The Transparency Law, which would promote greater openness in government activities, proved to be just a paper exercise.

The style of this government is more of enforcing its decisions. It is easy to foresee that at the end they will attempt to impose a constitution based on their clumsy whims. People will not be consulted to see what kind of constitution they want, just whether or not they want a new constitution.

More correct would be to try to draft a constitution and then let the people decide if they support it or not, but if the query is made before, it would be like handing a blank check to the ruling class who would then be able to commit all sorts of abuses.

But even in the most favorable scenario, the consultation process and the drafting of a new constitution is something that would take a long time, such a fundamental change to the nation can not be taken lightly, it would require a series of studies, and to perform many debates. Such things can not be done in a hurry, as the Executive pretends.

The haste with which the Executive wants to make things produces justified suspicion.

May 02

They don’t want fast food or bilingual schools

There are people who are active in leftist groups that have somewhat quirky and chauvinistic ideas .

And there are people in these groups who claim to defend the interests of workers who are haunted with these ideas.

It is customary that on Workers’ Day, some of these people engage in painting bizarre graffiti slogans on fast foods’ facilities.

Today I saw in Dunkin Donuts downtown this legend: “Long live baleadas! Transnationals Out!”

This ideology is very poorly designed. To destroy private enterprise can not benefit workers, just the opposite.

If people want to eat baleadas, nothing prevents them. No need to ban fast food franchises from abroad.

It is true the tax exemption of such franchises in Honduras is wrong. But to suspend these privileges is not easy, because that would result in millions in lawsuits and a bad image for Honduras, which is thought to have no “legal security”.

Moreover, yesterday I received a comment from a supporter of the fourth ballot box, which appears to favor a dictatorship of Mel which would ban fast food franchises, soap operas and bilingual schools.

The stuff of bilingual schools appear to be a gross manifestation of anti-Americanism. Apparently they hate bilingual schools because they are thought to bring the pernicious gringo culture. I find this rather pathetic.

Instead of attacking international franchises I suggest to focus on helping small business entrepreneurs who want to establish food enterprises.

There is nothing wrong in learning English, on the contrary, it is an advantage in these times of globalization, and to master this language does not mean to become unconditional admirers of American culture, with all the vices it may have.

May 02

Get a fixed wireless Hondutel phone

Getting a Hondutel landline is a true odyssey. This has been true for years.

The advantage of having a Hondutel landline is cheaper phone service. There is nothing like calling from a fixed Hondutel phone line to another fixed Hondutel phone line. Other phone companies are sub-set providers.

The solution is to have a wireless prepaid phone, this can be obtained at Hondutel’s offices.

This is the best option in terms of fixed telephony. What happens is that not everyone knows it, because Hondutel does not promote this service.

Apr 29

Honduras’ (lack of) culture

Carlos Molina wrote a post criticizing the bad habits of the Honduran people and the deplorable state of cities in Honduras.

He believes that if we had been conquered by Dutchs or Germans instead of Spaniards, another would be our luck. But having been conquered by the Spaniards we have inherited their “culture of destruction”.

Therefore, we are irresponsible, lazy, untidy, unpunctual, liars, dirty, polluters, crooks and corrupt.

Carlos Molina shared the opinion of Cesar Indiano in his book “The Bible of the Donkey” that “we live in a country of shit.”

But Molina contradicts himself when he recognized that in Latin America there are more advanced cultures, but these were also conquered by the Spaniards.

This reminds me of when in a presentation in a college class I commented that “We Hondurans are lazy.” And the teacher asked: “Do you considere yourself lazy?.” And I said: “No”. “So do not generalize and don’t say that all Hondurans are lazy.” And I admitted that the teacher was right. Such generalizations are wrong.

There are many theories that attempt to explain underdevelopment, but none is completely satisfactory. Instead of worrying for our supposed cultural incapacity, we must project ourselves to the future, thinking about the kind of people we want to be, and taking steps to get there.

If we want change, we must be optimistic and hope for the best. Bad opinions of ourselvest turn against us and prevent us from improving, thinking it makes no sense to make an effort, because the fight is lost in advance. These beliefs about the Honduran identity become self-fulfilling. We need to break the vicious cycle of pessimism.