Mar 04

Minors traveling need parental permission in Honduras

Do you need permission from a parent to leave Honduras if you are under the age of 21?

Yes, you do.

If you are under the age of 21 you are a minor according to the Honduran law.

In order to travel outside the country you will need a written consent from your parents or legal guardians. This will be on your passport.

Check the Passport Law [es].

Mar 04

U.S. banks with branches in Honduras

Are there any U.S. banks with branches in Honduras?

There is only one U.S. bank in Honduras: Citibank, which in Honduras is known as Banco Citi, or Banco Citibank de Honduras, the official name.

This does not mean, however, that you will save in international wire transfers through Citibank. You won’t.

Try instead the usual ways of sending money, or see this article:

How to send money to Honduras from the United States

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.

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.

Mar 01

Divided Resistance

The resistance is clearly divided. This is what the last weekend’s assembly (02/26-27/11) has shown.

The National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP) against the coup d’Etat has been abandoned by the so-called Liberal Resistance or Liberals in Resistace, the Democratic Unification Party and the resistant faction of the Innovation Party (PINU), and the only group remaining is a conglomerate of union organizations previously known as Bloque Popular (Popular Block).

This Popular Block group in its intolerance has discriminated against other groups that denounced the alleged coup, including indigenous, feminist and homosexual associations.

Former president Manuel Zelaya was confirmed in the position of coordinator. He instructed the FNRP to not form a political party. However, the FNRP aims to control power, and for this it needs to draw on other resources outside the electoral contest, such as to destabilize the government in order to give an effective coup d’Etat.

It was to be expected that a group that clings to the past as a reason to exist will lose its relevance. Insisting on the coup issue will not bring any improvement to the country. Having successfully carried out the 2009 elections the “resistance” against the coup seems no longer relevant.

With his decision to evade the electoral struggle and his discrimination against the liberal resistance, Zelaya confirms his de facto separation of the Liberal Party that installed him in office. You can not ask a political party to not participate in elections because it loses its raison d’etre.

In addition, his denunciation of the coup is compromised, given his support of Hugo Chavez regime, who is pleased to support the Libya’s genocide perpetrated by dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The alleged human rights violations in Honduras during the alleged coup are nothing compared to the “socialist” carnage of the African dictator in Libya, who has hired mercenaries to massacre his own people.

If the FNRP was really popular, the strategy to conquer power could not be more simple: to form a political party, winning the elections, and once in office to change the system from within, turning it into a populist dictatorship, making the Constituent Assembly in which they so much insist.

But it seems they don’t really believe that popular support will translate into votes for them, so they rely more on insurgency and violence.

And as an excuse for not participating in elections they put conditions: the return of ex-President Zelaya with total impunity, the installment of the Constituent Assembly and the dismantling of the Supreme Court and the Military Forces. When the logical course of action would be to do all these things after seizing power and not before.

Any political force that wants to develop its own agenda needs to first come to power. This is a basic principle of political activity.

But before they assume control of the country they need to explain to the people what is their real agenda, what are the changes they want to do, what exactly they want to change in the Constitution. They must explain these things so that people know what to expect when voting for them.

But they are unable to do so, or do not want to, because in the end the Constituent Assembly is just an empty slogan made to disguise a clumsy populist dictatorship.

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 25

How to send money to Honduras from the United States

In this post I will explain the different ways to send money from the U.S. to Honduras —or from another point of view— how people in Honduras can receive money from people in the United States.

MoneyGram and Western Union

MoneyGram and Western Union are the most recognized companies in Honduras in the remittance business. All they will ask you to do is to fill a form with the basic information needed to make the transaction and an ID. They will give you a ten-digit reference number, which you then will communicate to the person receiving the remittance. The recipient of the remittance must also present an ID card. It is very important to write correctly the recipient’s full name, as it appears on the ID card.

Send money via Xoom

Xoom offers a convenient and reliable way to send money to Honduras via Internet. Xoom can be up to 80% cheaper than Western Union and MoneyGram. The money transfer is done quickly and without the need to pick up the money at any company’s office. Recipients in Honduras can receive the money directly into their bank accounts of BAC | Honduras, Banco Ficohsa and Banco Citi; they can also show up to collect the money at Banco Atlantida and Banadesa, and various kiosks located in the supermarkets Despensa Familiar, Hiper Paiz, Maxi and Farmacia Siman. Check Xoom’s website.

Wire Transfer from a U.S. bank

You can try to send a wire transfer from your U.S. bank to the recipient’s bank in Honduras. Ask your U.S. bank if this is possible, and how much they charge. You can use the Wells Fargo bank to wire money to a Ficohsa account in Honduras. Ficohsa is a Honduran bank with branches in the U.S., but they need an American bank to wire money to Honduras.

Send a U.S. debit card to Honduras

It is possible to make cash withdrawals from ATMs in Honduras with U.S. debit cards. The card can be sent to Honduras with a reliable shipping company. The  ATMCash company provides you with a convenient method to do this. Ask your U.S. bank about the charges associated with the use of your debit card in Honduras. It’s cheaper and more convenient to use a debit card than a credit card.

Send a U.S. check to Honduras

You can send a check in dollars to Honduras via regular mail. Once the recipient receives the U.S. check in Honduras she/he can deposit it in a Honduran dollar account. To withdraw money from the Honduran dollar account you will have to wait from three to four weeks, so
this is the most time consuming option. Banco Ficohsa has the funds available in just 15 business days. Honduran banks charge no fees for this service.

For safety reasons you will want  to make the check on behalf of the recipient, using the recipient’s name exactly as it appears in his/her ID card. Instead of sending it by regular mail it is faster and safer to use a shipping company.

Another option for cashing a U.S. check in Honduras is to use the services of a money exchange house, such as COINSA.

¿Sending money via Paypal?

Sending money via Paypal is a popular way to make international transfers in the Internet. Unfortunately, people in Honduras cannot receive money via Paypal, they can only send it. The closest thing to Paypal in Honduras is Xoom. The alternative for online businesses in Honduras is 2Checkout.

Other money transfer companies

There is a large number of remittance companies that send money to Honduras associated with Honduran banks, such as:

Dolex, Uniteller, Bancomer Transfer Service, Pacific Receive Networks, etc.

The reason for the emergence of so many money transfer companies is the phenomenon of Outsourcing.

Check the list of Banks in Honduras and the information that each of their websites have on remittances.

Ask the recipient which way of sending money is more convenient for both of you.

If you wish to send your remittance online, directly to the recipient’s bank account, quickly and conveniently, you may want to use the Xoom’s service.

Gift Certificates

Instead of sending money to Honduras you have the option of buying gift certificates, as the ones offered by Supermercados La Colonia, Tiendas Carrion, or Amazon.com, so the person may be able to spend this certificates on whatever she/he likes, within a wide range of products.

Feb 24

Honduras bans smoking

There’s a new anti-smoking law in Honduras that bans smoking, not only in public places, but even at home.

The law prohibits any kind of advertising for any kind tobacco-related products, even of fake cigars.

“The law is clear and we will comply with it,” said Rony Portillo, head of the Institute to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

Actually the law is not so clear.

The law does not explicitly ban people from smoking in their own homes, but allows non smoking people to complain before the authorities for being exposed to secondhand smoke in their own houses.

In open spaces, the law bans people from smoking near anyone within a space of 2 meters (6 feet).

The anti-smoking law leaves open the possibility of enclosed public places exclusively destined to smokers, but in practice its unlikely this will be allowed, judging by the public statements of the authorities and the media.

Article 28 of the law states: “Minors… wont be allowed in places where smoking is permitted”.

These seems to imply that in some public places smoking will be permitted.

Minors are people under the age of 21 according to the Honduran law. At the age of 18 in Honduras, young people are considered “citizens” but not adults endowed with full legal rights.

The ironic thing is that this law becomes enforceable just a few days after a tobacco festival sponsored by the government; the First Humo Jaguar Festival will be the last, as this new anti-tobacco law prohibits any kind of publicity favorable to any kind of tobacco-related product.

The production of Havana cigars is a important source of jobs in the Honduran cities of Copan and Danli. These cigars are mostly destined to exportation, and alternative sources of income for the employees of the tobacco industry are not ready available. Some people fear these jobs will be affected by this radical law.

This anti-tobacco law can be consulted at the IHADFA website [es].

Feb 23

Honduras’ Blogs List — English-language Blogs

A brief lists of Honduras-related English-language blogs.

Check the Honduras Blogs website for more.

For a list of Honduran Spanish-language blogs see this list.

Personal Blogs

Resistance Blogs

Family Blogs

Missionary Blogs

Peace Corps and Volunteers

News

Business Blog

Art Blog

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.