May 4, 2008


Dario Banegas hit the nail on the head again with a couple of cartoons in Saturday's La Prensa. The one above shows the fat-cat corrupto riding on the back of the poor man. You don't need a translation for 'corruptolandia,' do you?

I often wonder if Dario is in danger because of his cartoons.

'ENEEmistades' is a play on words of the acronym ENEE and the Spanish word enemistades, which means enmity, or a feeling of deep-seated hostility. In this cartoon, Rixi Moncarda, the fifth minister of energy in two years, is bashing the poor guy with a club labeled "Tarifazo," representing the increase in tariffs.

La ENEE, the national electric company, raised rates 11% on May 1. That increase follows a 10% increase in January 2008. The company is going bankrupt and pressure was put on the Honduran government by the International Monetary Fund to raise rates.

As we found out last year during Operation Scissors, however, at least part of the problem is that many of the rich and corrupt DO NOT pay for their electricity. Operation Scissors started out with a bang, but quickly and quietly folded when they began stepping on the toes of the "important" people.

Luxury hotels, malls, country clubs, banks, gas stations,
heads of political parties, the pillars of society, even the president of the electric billing service company owed hundreds of millions of lempiras! They just don't pay! And while La ENEE crews go around cutting the precious power lines of the poor families who have maybe one light bulb and a radio, these corruptos go on their merry way with no worries.

In addition to that, the company is riddled with all the usual accusations of abuse of authority, bad administration, nepotism, theft, billing fraud, crooked contracts, and every other kind of corruption you can think of.

I don't mind paying whatever it costs to provide my electric service. I wouldn't even mind paying to subsidize the poor IF (Hah!) there was a fair was to see that the deserving received help. The fact is, though, that the poor and middle class are subsidizing the rich and corrupt! How crazy is that?

Thank you for your help, IMF.
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