June 30, 2011

Take a ride with me

This is a little video from our last trip to San Pedro Sula. It was taken on the north coast highway, heading west, during the last 5-10 minutes before the Rio Arizona, between La Ceiba and Tela.

I'm posting this for the Hondurans who miss seeing the beautiful scenery of their homeland and for others who may not have seen the highway before. It's really quite nice!

If you live on the north coast of Honduras, you'll probably find the video boring. But every time I post one of my highway videos on YouTube, I received many thanks from Hondurans living in other countries and requests for more, so here you go! You can find more of my Honduras videos on my channel at YouTube (lagringalaceiba).

(Click map to enlarge)

If you aren't familiar with the location of Arizona, Atlántida, Honduras, the above map shows it roughly halfway between La Ceiba and San Pedro as the bird flies. The highway (the thin grey line) does not follow a bird's flight, it follows the base of the mountains, avoiding them at all costs. This map also smooths out all the little twists and turns in the road of which there are many. It is a beautiful drive during the day, but very dangerous at night for those who don't know the road.

The highway is the only way to get from here (La Ceiba) to there (San Pedro). There are no shortcuts or back roads because the entire north coast is divided by hundreds of small creeks and rivers flowing from the mountains in the south to the ocean in the north. The trip generally takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, though our return trip home took about 4 hours because we ran into a heavy tropical storm in which we couldn't see 10 feet in front of the car. We arrived home to find that not a drop of rain had fallen in La Ceiba.

As many times as we've made the drive, I never get tired of watching the scenery. A little bachata music in the background makes it all that much better.

June 28, 2011

UCD: Open letter to President Lobo, June 22, 2011

The following is an unofficial translation of an open letter to Honduran President Pepe Lobo from the Unión Cívica Democrática (UCD). The original letter in Spanish can be found on the UCD website. You can find out a little more about the organization on Wikipedia (in English or en español). My comments will be in the following article.


Tegucigalpa, MDC, June 22, 2011


TO THE PRESIDENT Porfirio Lobo Sosa

Esteemed Mr. President,

On behalf of the Civic Democratic Union, we are pleased to send to you, set forth publicly, our concerns about the way that you are leading our country.

Above all, we are worried about your attitude and the language that is used increasingly when referring to people that are not of the left, to businessmen of the country, and to all those professionals who with their efforts have dreamed of a destiny for our homeland community.

We do not understand how a person who has made national reconciliation the main purpose of government can maintain a confrontational stance, belittling and insulting those you call the "right". And we worry greatly that you say that there are powerful "recalcitrant" groups who oppose every reform in the interests of our Honduras. Even more, you represent that you feel "threatened" by these groups. By not identifying them by name, you offend all of us.

If you want to promote reforms that promote the generation of investment, employment and wealth, if you intend to end corruption in government, if you aim to strengthen social programs, education and health sectors, so abandoned and neglected, if you seek to reduce poverty decisively, with more action and fewer speeches, if your desire is to achieve a better democracy, more participation, with more independent branches of government and with stronger institutions, with the definitive establishment of the rule of law, if your purpose is that public resources are managed with honesty, prudence and efficiency, do not think that there is anyone on the "right" who is not willing to support you strongly.

What can not be supported is the ambiguity and the unknown. Calls for constitutional reform without knowing the content. Populist stances, the pronouncements known to be failed doctrines and ideologies that have only brought misery and backwardness to countries where they are implanted. Contempt for the laws. Disregard for the Supreme Court. Intolerance and despotism. The cast of others without accountability.

Mr President, all, absolutely all are Hondurans with equal rights. Even those who do not agree with your decisions. And you are the president of all and should be of all.

Everyone has a right to know what direction you are taking your Government: The direction offered in "Honduras is Open for Business" or the direction revealed by the report of Chargé d'Affaires of Venezuela (that you recognized as 90% true).

Mr. President, the members of the Civic Democratic Union are not your enemy. Like you, we want the best for our country. And our contribution to that end is our permanent demand that what prevails in Honduras is democracy, the law, respect, honesty and order, and in that context, a better future will be brought to children of all citizens, with the firm conviction that a country with no respect for law and with a majority of its citizens in a situation of exclusion and poverty is not viable.


Unión Cívica Democrática


See the next article for my comments.

Comments on the UCD Open Letter to President Lobo

Poll: Honduras on the wrong pathConfidence: Lobo does what is best for the country?
Cid-Gallup poll taken between June 14 and 20, 2011

Always: 6%
Almost always: 33%
Almost never: 46%

Never: 15%

No response: 1%

UCD made some good points in their open letter to Honduran President Lobo. We cannot figure out where this country is headed or who is directing the journey. In the June Cid-Gallup poll, 78% of Hondurans believe that the country is on the wrong path. On the one hand, we have a huge 'Honduras is open for business' event, making promises of investor security and ease of doing business. On the other hand, we have government condoned invasions and expropriation of business and private property, huge new tax packages, more violent crime than ever, and a general belittling of businessmen as if they are the enemy.

Where are jobs to come from if not from businesses? The government cannot hire every Honduran, though they certainly try their best with a hugely over-bloated bureaucracy that spends so much on salaries that there is nothing left for programs.

President Lobo and several members of his administration have made broad accusations to the media that slander and discredit large groups of people. Besides promoting division in the country, this "dirties" everyone in that class and does nothing to address the real problems (whether criminal or ethical) that he vaguely implies. Lobo has done that many times, including making wild comments that the 'elite' want to/are/will plan a coup against him.

No, I'm not suggesting that corruption, tax evasion or illegal acts should be swept under the rug — just the opposite. Rather than making vague statements to the media, and using disrespectful terms like "fat cows", "crybabies", and "los ricos" (the rich), which only serve to divide, not reconcile the population, I think that these public officials with access to official documentation have a duty to file formal denuncias and ensure that legal action is taken against corrupt government officials and businessmen. But in Honduras, no one is ever held accountable for their actions, and that feeds the general perception that everyone in Honduras is corrupt.

Lobo's inaugural day statement which received the most applause — and the one I feel most foolish for believing — was "No more corruption! Corruptos are going to go to jail, period!" During this year and a half of his administration, there has been no evidence of that at all, not even a baby step in that direction. What we have seen is Lobo pressuring the courts and the congress to ensure that certain corruptos do not receive justice and that laws are ignored when it is convenient.

Poll: Corruption in HondurasFrom the Cid-Gallup poll, 42% believe there is more corruption in this government, 42% believe it is the same, and only 13% believe there is less corruption.

We have also seen President Lobo passing the buck to underlings instead of taking a public stand on alleged corrupt acts, like the recent diplomatic scandals (one in which a diplomat transported US $450,000 in cash from Mexico to Panama). No, the President does not run the Ministerio Público or the courts — or at least he isn't supposed to — but a strong statement from the president about diplomats that he himself has appointed would be welcomed by the population who want to see some real action taken against these officials, not just removal from their positions. When the worst anyone needs to worry about is a slim possibility of being fired, but still being allowed to keep their illegal gains and no chance of criminal charges, that makes corruption a win-win prospect.

It isn't just Lobo who promotes division in the country by smearing broad groups of people. There seems to be an epidemic in his administration. Minister of Finance William Chong Wong has made frequent claims that many large businesses do not pay taxes and that large law firms are involved in falsifying documents. So? Isn't it the government's job to ensure that taxpayers pay what they owe and that appropriate action is taken against tax evaders? Hundreds of small businesses are closed every month for tax evasion and paperwork irregularities. Why aren't the big businesses treated the same way?

Director of the DEI, José Oswaldo Guillén claims that corruption among port authorities results in under-valuation of imported vehicles with the cost to the government of L. 400 million in lost taxes. If that is so, isn't it his job to report these crimes and press for criminal action against those who committed fraud and falsified government documents? Why isn't criminal action taken against government employees who accept bribes and commit fraud?

President of the Congress Juan Orlando Hernández claimed that many congressmen violated the law regarding tax exemption of their personal imported vehicles, sometimes using the same exemption three or four times and sometimes using forged documents. But he did nothing to expose the individual congressmen or to propose legal action against them, instead merely implying that many in congress were guilty without naming names.

These aren't new accusations. Most of these claims have been made for years and in prior administrations. In my mind, if officials have evidence of all of these crimes and do nothing, that makes them accomplices to the corruption.

Poll: Pepe Lobo approval ratingSo what is the general public to think? That all government officials, all congressmen, and all businessmen are guilty of corruption and that no one will ever do anything about it. It's no surprise that citizens have no respect for their government or the laws. That is not good for the country. If the population were to see real action on the corruption front, applied equally to members of all political parties and all individuals regardless of their economic status or personal connections, Hondurans might start believing in their government again. (Poll: tendencies in the opinion of Lobo's performance.)

During Pepe Lobo's 2009 presidential campaign, he refused to give his opinions on even the most basic issues, such as "Who is the president of Honduras?", consistently stating that he needed a 'gran dialogo nacional' (grand national dialogue) first. Now he says that he was given a mandate and that he can't be bothered with getting public opinion. He is publicly dismissive of opinions coming from anyone who he considers of the "right". Lobo gives the impression that 'reconciliation' to him means kowtowing to the radical FNRP, the teacher unions, and the international community while ignoring the views and the serious issues of the rest of people of Honduras.

President Lobo has made some popular decisions which have been cheered by most of the population — but unfortunately, he invariably seems to backtrack on those decisions in the interests of reconciliation. One example is his position that "a day not worked is a day not paid" for the teachers. The Ministry of Education began deducting for "strike days" from the teachers' paychecks. In an emergency proclamation it was declared that teachers who did not return to work by a certain day would be suspended without pay and some were.

But now it has been announced that the suspensions will be reversed and that all teachers would be paid for all days whether worked or not. Apparently this was a negotiation concession, but rather than having the intended effect, the union leaders immediately remarked to the media "what a weak president we have", and teachers in several schools went on strike again! Lobo's threats will never be taken seriously again and teacher unions will continue to hold the children of Honduras hostage, because they know they can win.

June 19, 2011

Free electricity

electric wiring in La Ceiba, HondurasWires crossed

In Sunday's La Prensa, I happened to see one of those little one paragraph sidebar news items that don't seem to be included in the on line version.
Complaints in La ENEE
This week it was known that the Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (la ENEE) has lost L. 12 million for the effect of a "borrador electrónico" (electronic erasure) or for having billed large consumers at zero in the northwest zone. To deduce responsibilities, an audit will be initiated tomorrow.

Let me look into my crystal ball and see into the future.........

Here we go: The audit will find nothing amiss. The system doesn't allow determination of who makes what entries into it. It was a mere accident, a fluke, and no one will be held responsible. Of course, it wouldn't be fair to charge these companies when they have already been billed at zero. So, in the interest of peace and reconciliation, we'll just let it go. In fact, to ensure no claims of political persecution, maybe we'll just spin those meters backward a bit. No further mention will be made in the newspapers.

They could estimate these bills by charging a 3-month average like they do for mere mortals like us. With some help, they might even calculate the average correctly, unlike they did for us.

La ENEE actually temporarily changed out our meter once during one of their inspections because they thought we weren't paying enough — even though at the time, we thought our bill was plenty high! Maybe compared to the neighbors who use a lot of A/C, it seemed low to them. Who knows why they do crazy things. I was sure that we would get screwed somehow, and we were.

After they returned to re-install our original meter — which, of course, had not been tampered with and was working correctly — they 'averaged' our last 3 months bills to arrive at the current month's bill. From a prior article, Electrocuted by La ENEE:

The only problem was that our prior three months bills were something like L.1,400, L.1,800, and L.1,500 and SEMEH calculated the 'average' as L.2,800. The clerk could not understand why El Jefe was too stupid to understand the averaging concept. Math? Who needs it? If it came from the computer, it must be right. Logic and a little math tutoring got him nowhere with the clerk and that was the end of the discussion − case closed.
When you know all the corrupt and wasteful crap that goes on with La ENEE like the article above and the stuff that came out during Operación Tijeras (and I'm sure that the public doesn't even know the half of what goes on) and when the consumer has personally been "electrocuted " as many have, it begins to be easier to understand why many folks aren't interested in doing their share to conserve energy or are even willing to cheat on their bills if they can.

I'm not saying it is right or that I approve because I don't. I'm just saying that it is understandable that people think "What's the point of being honest?" when the whole system is against the 'little guy'. But in the end, La ENEE will go on as it always has and we all pay for all the waste and corruption in the form of higher bills, bad service, and power outages.

June 12, 2011

How much electricity does your stuff use?

battery backupSo much juice!

"Shaving the electric bill" brought on quite a few reader comments which you might enjoy checking out (click the link to read the comments).

Based on the interest from readers, I looked up a website that I've consulted in the past. If you would like to learn more about shaving your electric costs and you are not a 'science guy' (like I am definitely not), you might enjoy this website:

How much electricity does my stuff use?

This page includes an interactive calculator in which you can input the type of device, your kwh rate (with some limitations), the number of hours you use the item per day and the number of days you use it per month. The calculator will show you the estimated cost per month and per year.

This is one of the better calculators I've found, since some items are used 24-hours per day (refrigerator), some may be used only on a few days of the month (washer, dryer), and some may be used only for a limited number of minutes or hours each day (microwave, stove, lights, computer, etc.). Mr. Electricity says that his calculators factor in the start-up usage, which is often much higher, as well as the normal running usage. Of course, these are estimates, but enlightening nonetheless.

Determining your kwh (kilowatt hour) rate is easy. If it isn't printed on the bill, just take your total electric costs (don't include extra charges such a public lighting) and divide by the usage, which should be listed on the bill in kwh. On La ENEE's bill it is listed as 'CONSUMO KWH' and the total electric cost is 'COSTO DE ENERGIA CNSUMIDA' plus 'AJUSTE POR COMBUSTIBLE'. For comparison purposes, my cost last month after our big ajuste is US $0.17 per kwh (L. 3.21). In February when our usage was below the magic 500 kwh/month level and before the latest increase, the cost was US $0.15 per kwh (L.2.81).

I delved into some of the other pages based on Patty's perplexing problem of high meter readings for no readily apparent reason. Provided that no one is stealing electricity from her meter (a not so infrequent possibility in Honduras), it may be that inadequate wiring plays a part. I think that this is a frequent problem in Honduras in which in order to 'save money', electricians use undersized wiring. I know that we had constant disagreements with our electrician. Even though we were paying for the materials, he seemed intent on using the smallest and cheapest wires, breakers, etc. That is something to keep in mind if you are building a house in Honduras.

I'm posting some other links from that site that I found interesting:

Electricity myths

Why is my bill so high? — includes some toubleshooting tips that might help you to pinpoint the problem.

Refrigerators — very interesting in that he says that the difference in usage between refrigerators built before 2001 and newer ones is huge. It is also possible that usage between refrigerators built for US standards could be very different from from those made for Central America.

Gas vs. electric was surprising in that Mr. Electricity shows that there isn't as much difference as I thought there was. Of course, as he says, it really depends on your particular cost of gas and electric. We don't have piped in natural gas here in Honduras, so gas appliances run on LPG tanks, like the ones used for outdoor grills, or larger ones in the back yard. I know the cost of gas has gone up, too, but I have no idea how to compare the two.

The website also discusses specific appliances in more detail, solar power, CFL vs. LED light bulbs, and several other topics. I like it because it is written in a non-technical manner easy to understand. I hope you enjoy it.

I'm sure there are other informative websites, so if you know of any others, please feel free to include the link in the comments. I'll read them!

June 11, 2011

Dealing with the Honduran government

(Video in Spanish with English subtitles)

This video will give you a taste of what it is like to deal with the Honduran government. Hee-larious! I'm not sure what country this is from, but while this has a happy ending (oops, I shouldn't have given it away), these guys were wusses compared to Honduras.

In the end, no matter how many hoops you've jumped through, no matter how well prepared you are, no matter how much time you've allotted to your tramite, they always have the trump card (the system is down, come back mañana; we are out of paper, come back mañana; the only person in the entire world who is authorized to sign your document is a) in San Pedro (substitute any city you are not currently in), b) out to lunch, or c) on vacation, come back next week.

I have to say that I've experienced that look of disappointment and even annoyance when I've arrived at the window with all my paperwork in order. Even worse, don't dare to bring something to read while you are waiting — it's highly frowned upon.

Just expect it and get used to it. You have no control over it. ;-)

June 10, 2011

Shaving the electric bill

CFL bulb

With the cost of electricity rising so much, we've taken measures to reduce our usage. We hardly ever use air conditioning and try to be conscious of turning off lights and fans when we aren't in the room.

Several years ago we installed a timer on our hot water heater. Amazingly, we found that we had enough hot water for washing dishes and taking the chill off the showers by only running the heater for less than 30 minutes per day. It's hot enough here most of the time that the tank keeps the water hot for the day. We saw an immediate decrease of L.200-300 per month, quickly paying for the cost of the timer.

A couple of years ago, El Jefe installed two daylight sensors for our outdoor lights and changed the bulbs to CFLs. He also had to rewire the circuits so that the sensors didn't affect other outlets, so it wasn't a simple job but it had a good effect on the electric bill which by now has probably more than paid for the cost of the sensors, which weren't cheap here in La Ceiba. Plus it also solved the problem of forgetting to turn on or off the outdoor lights.

Last month there was a 10% increase in the fuel adjustment portion for a total of about 22%, so this month we've hardly used the clothes dryer at all.

Thermos coffee makerWe also replaced many more of the light bulbs that we use most often and for the longest periods with CFL's with much smaller wattage. We don't have all the fancy bulb options that are available in the US, but we do what we can. I'm not crazy about these CFL's, but I can live with the delay.

We drink a lot of coffee, all morning long, and I never realized how much electricity is used by coffee makers. Our old coffee maker was exhibiting signs of imminent demise, so the last time we went to San Pedro, we bought a Cuisinart thermos-type coffee maker. Rather than having a burner under the carafe, it just has a thermos carafe so that other than the clock, it only uses energy for the 10 minutes that the water is heating. I didn't really pick it out for that reason, it was just that the others were even more expensive or not what we wanted.

small freezerWe also bought a small freezer at the same time, because I was tired of having to basically unload the side-by-side freezer every time I needed to find something among the mass of frozen packages. The energy tag reported that the freezer used around US $115 per year but I thought some of that usage would be offset by not having to leave the refrigerator freezer open so long so frequently.

Honduran television and newspapers are full of ads with information about conserving electricity and the cost of individual appliances, because basically the government-owned La ENEE loses money on every kilowatt it sells. Another huge problem is the stealing of electricity and corruption in which those with the right connections just don't pay for electricity. As we saw in the past, some of these are politicians and huge prominent businesses, including luxury hotels.

So, anyway, we've successfully done our part to reduce our energy usage and have gradually brought our bill down from around 800-900 kwh per month a few years ago to around 500-600 kwh now. We felt pretty good about that. But since TIH (this is Honduras), our lower bills resulted in a La ENEE crew coming out twice in the past six months (and four times in the past few years) to "review" our meter and hopefully catch us stealing electricity, like the 10,000 El Progreso users they estimate are stealing electricity.

I try not to be insulted, remembering that lots of people do tamper with their meters or hook up directly, but I can't help but think that their time might be better spent elsewhere with some of the big users. Does a 50-100 kwh reduction from one month to the next really justify sending an inspection crew out when there are huge consumers who pay nothing? This sort of lack of focus always leaves me shaking my head.

This time the crew only consisted of three employees instead of five like the last time. One texted on his cell phone the entire 30 or so minutes they were here. The second one laid down on the sidewalk in the shade for a quick nap and the third one reviewed the meter, which, of course, still had the official seal from the last time they checked it. Oh, and they normally leave the truck running the whole time they are here, I suppose to avoid losing the A/C coolness.

I was going to snap a picture but was too worried of retaliation. After all, we can't get our electricity anyplace else.


I wrote a follow-up on this article: How much electricity does your stuff use?
and be sure to check out the reader comments below.

June 9, 2011

Some days I envy ...

La Prensa Honduras headlines 06-08-11

Some days I envy people who don't read Spanish.

June 6, 2011


Hondurans in exileAll roads lead elsewhere

I've been doing some thinking about 'exile' lately. I live in Honduras and don't plan to move back to the USA, but I have to admit that it is nice to believe that I have that option if things become worse in Honduras.

Much has been made about former president Manuel Zelaya's self-imposed exile from his homeland. We've seen thousands of articles claiming that Zelaya was forced out of Honduras (in his pajamas, no less!) at gunpoint and not allowed to return for two years because of political persecution and death threats.

The military was sent to arrest then-president Zelaya for breaking the law and violating the constitution and flagrantly ignoring court orders. Witnesses who lived nearby and heard the commotion have claimed that Zelaya was dressed normally and a soldier was carrying his suitcase when Zelaya left.

Personally, I believe that on the morning of June 28, 2009, Zelaya begged the military to take him to Costa Rica rather than facing the shame of arrest and the horror of a Honduran prison. That just sounds to me more probable and more like the Zelaya I knew. Working that through the chain of command would explain the long delay before his arrival in Costa Rica. But we'll probably never know the whole truth. We do know that President Pepe Lobo has been inviting Mel Zelaya to come back for the past year and a half.

What about the other 'exiles'?

We constantly hear that every Honduran anywhere in the world has the right to return to Honduras without fear and that Zelaya is no different. The Blogicito has a lot of expatriate Honduran readers from all over the world and I've gotten to know some of them through their emails, blogs, and Facebook.

It occurs to me that there are more than a million Hondurans living in exile, some 10-15% of Hondurans live outside the country. Some are very successful doctors, lawyers, engineers, economists, architects, teachers, businessmen and businesswomen. Many have left because of lack of educational or economic opportunities in Honduras. Many others are blue collar workers, but have made a success of their lives and provide a decent life for their families while at the same time sending money regularly to their families back home — as much as US $2.5 billion in total per year.

Maybe now that the most famous of all the exiles has returned to Honduras, the government will have the time to start working on the many serious problems that prevent the other million-plus from returning. Honduras desperately needs educated and hard working citizens who have had a vision of the world from outside of Honduras, where nothing ever seems to change. Honduras needs more of those citizens who can clearly see that when you keep doing the same thing, you'll keep getting the same results, something that none of the Honduran administrations seem able to comprehend.

Real examples

Many of these citizens of the world have much to offer and would like to come back to their home. One doctor has considered it but found that to be licensed in Honduras, she would have to commit to work one year public service at no salary, which she cannot afford to do. Additionally, she's very concerned about the crime situation and does not want to spend the rest of her life living in fear behind bars and walls. This exile will visit occasionally but probably will not return here to live.

Another exile who is an agricultural economist desperately wanted to come back to help his fellow countrymen and share what he had learned. He offered to work for a modest salary but the only thing that was of interest to his potential employers was who were his political connections. He had none and was not offered a job. So what does he do now? He travels literally all over the world advising other countries how to improve their agricultural programs. This exile's knowledge and expertise is greatly appreciated everywhere except his homeland.

Another friend who has left Honduras is a skilled computer programmer. He is also a brilliant writer, in both English and Spanish, but he left after a series of jobs in which his pay was delayed for months or not received at all for political or economic reasons. He suffered six muggings in his last year in Honduras and several of his middle-class family members were also crime victims.

A Harvard graduate came back, thinking that he could make a difference in the government. His family had the connections, so he got a job. Much to his disappointment, nobody wanted to hear his development ideas. They put him to work on political campaigns. How to get more votes and win the next election was as far ahead as the powers-that-be wanted to think. After closely escaping being a kidnap victim, this exile left and said that he would never return to live here.

I've heard from many other Honduran expatriates. Most live ordinary but productive and successful lives in the US, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, Korea, France, and elsewhere. What's the difference? In those countries, there are educational and job opportunities that only a few can have here in Honduras.

Lately, I've heard more Hondurans talking about emigrating to other countries. Two of them are a successful professional couple who have received several "Express Extortions" in which they are told over the phone that if they don't pay money, one of their children will be killed. They are fed up with the crime situation and don't want to live in fear.

I've also heard from many American wives of Hondurans who have or will become exiles from their country in order to move here to Honduras with their husbands. Some move to Honduras with excitement and a little fear, but hoping to make a life here permanently. Many more move here to bide the time until their husbands can return to their country, knowing that their children will have a much brighter future anywhere than in Honduras.

No, the military did not deposit these people in other countries, nor did they flee from arrest warrants, but they are exiles none the less, driven away by lack of opportunity, lack of social and legal justice, and fear of crime.

June 2, 2011

Mel Zelaya interview translated to English

Here is a special treat for those of you who don't get Honduran TV and/or don't speak Spanish. This is an interview of Mel Zelaya last Sunday, the day after his return to Honduras, by Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow!, translated word by word to English. If you've never heard Zelaya, I highly recommend that you watch this to get a flavor for what he is all about.

And here is part two of the interview:

This interview was much more tightly controlled, in the US style, than most of Zelaya's interviews on Honduran or Venezuelan television in which he allowed to ramble on and on for hours. The interview came to an abrupt end to Ms. Goodman's surprise when apparently Zelaya received an important phone call. Probably only the "Commandante" could draw Mel away from the cameras.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

June 1, 2011

Two betrayals of Honduras

The betrayal of Honduras
By José R. Cárdenas Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 11:34 AM

"The Associated Press dispatch from Honduras this past weekend opens thus:
"The return of ousted former President Manuel Zelaya from exile Saturday brings Honduras' nearly two-year political crisis to an end and hope to one of the poorest nations in the Americas."
"Sure. And if you believed that, you'd believe Fidel Castro is going to call for free and fair elections in Cuba next week.

"Only the willfully deluded or the dangerously naïve would believe that the return of the disgraced former president means anything more than increased civic disturbances, more violence, and more chaos in one of Latin America's poorest countries.

"Why? Because that is the way Hugo Chavez wants it.

"The Venezuelan autocrat has bankrolled the two-year exile of his puppet Zelaya, as well the international campaign to force the oligarch-turned-populist's return to Honduras. Chavez has never gotten over the fact that Zelaya's attempt to replicate the Chavez model in Honduras was cut short by his impeachment by the Honduran Congress and his removal from office by order of the country's Supreme Court for violating the country's Constitution and other illegal acts. (Zelaya's apologists insist on characterizing what transpired as a "military coup.")"

Read the rest of this excellent article at Foreign Policy.


Needs no translation

Speaking of betrayals, at this moment I am reading that the Organization of American States (OAS) session to discuss the re-admittance of Honduras back to the arms of the OAS — which was supposed to be a slam-dunk with the exception of Ecuador — is now being delayed for two hours because Hugo Chávez is making a last minute demand that the Honduran 'golpistas' be brought to justice.

So much for the 'gentlemen's agreement'. There are no gentlemen involved here!
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