December 3, 2007

Oink, oink!

Buen Provecho!

Bon appetit!
La Prensa, Honduras

Cartoonist Banegas hit the nail on the head with this one.

No country is untouched by corruption, but in general the bridges get built, homes have water and electricity, the schools teach, the government doesn't let people starve, at least not 45% of the population.

Corrupt police, district attorneys, and judges blatantly let drug traffickers, child abusers, money launderers, and murderers go free to wreak more havoc on the public in return for a 'bite.' No one has any shame!

Corruptos clear cut the mountains, jeopardizing water supplies, while other corruptos stick a few bucks in their pockets and look the other way. The water in most of the country is already unfit for drinking, often contaminated by big companies. What will happen when even that supply is no longer there?

The education system is a joke. Public school students barely learn to read and write. They learn by rote memorization what the government wants them to know, but never to think for themselves or to problem solve. Civic pride is ingrained by the teachers, resulting in a whole generation of people who have so much false pride in their country that they can't admit to the problems and certainly don't have the ability to do anything about them. They have been taught that it is not appropriate to question those things or to blame them on 1998 Hurricane Mitch.

Hondurans believe that their country is a democracy. Hah! If you are afraid of retaliation, up to and including murder, for speaking your mind, writing a newspaper article, or reporting a crime to the authorities, can you really be living in a democracy? If you are as afraid of the police as you are the criminals, can you ever feel free? If your ONLY allowed role in government is to vote for one or the other of the preselected corrupt candidates, but never to have the right to provide input or hold them accountable for what they do after elected, or even the ability to find out what it is that they are doing, is that a democracy? Not in my opinion.

We joke about slipping a cop a hundred lempiras to avoid paying a ticket or another 'mordita' (bite) to go to the head of the line. Not good things, but they pale in comparison to what the fat cats do and get away with in the most blatant ways.

Meanwhile, the World Bank swallows the fake statistics showing improvement, pats them on the back and meekly suggests that perhaps there could be some tiny improvement − and gives them another US $400 million for incidentals − all in the most politically correct manner.

Why should you care?

Because those of you taxpaying citizens of the U.S., Canada, France, Sweden, Germany, Japan, UK, etc., etc., etc., are funding the corruption with your government's aid money. Think about it, there isn't enough income from all the poor and middle class in Honduras to fill the corrupto's troughs. It's coming out of your pocket.

If it wasn't for international aid, government officials might have incentive to fix some of the country's problems. As it stands now, it is much easier and certainly more profitable to continue with the status quo. After all, who is going to do anything about it?

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