October 6, 2009

Corruption is the key

Corrupto: "What a shame that this country doesn't have wheels
to carry it to Switzerland and deposit it in my name!

Cartoon: Dario Benagas,
La Prensa, Honduras


One of the things that the San José Accord asks for is amnesty for political crimes of Zelaya and his cabinet and department heads and a delay to any criminal prosecutions until after January 2010.

Do you know that Honduran politicians used to have immunity for any and all crimes? It took many years to get that changed so that all men are equal under the law (if not so much in practice), so that politicians are not considered untouchable no matter what they do.

Under the prior laws, a president or congressman could walk down the street and shoot someone in the head and be granted immunity from prosecution. Not only theoretically 'could' but actually DID! I know that it happened at least once and probably more than once that a politician was 'excused' from murder.

It was only about five years ago that that law was changed. Please don't ask Honduras to go backward to those days. I can't imagine the effort it took to get those laws changed by the very same politicians who were being protected − and no doubt there was extreme pressure from the US and other international organizations as well.


Honduras has been ranked one of the most corrupt countries in this hemispere. Granting amnesty to criminals who have blatantly misused their government positions only works to institutionalize corruption, not democracy.

Similarly, the current investigations and criminal charges against corrupt politicians should be celebrated as a move − finally! − in the right direction, not dismissed as politically motivated. If Honduras can ever convict these corruptos, it may put the fear of God or the fear of the people into future politicians.

Honduras needs to be moving in the opposite direction − toward holding their elected and appointed government officials more responsible, not less.

La Gringa's views

A lot of new readers have come to the Blogicito and based on my opinion of the current political crisis, a few have made many erroneous assumptions about me personally.

A look deeper into the Blogicito would dispel those beliefs and maybe even prevent some of the ridiculous accusations but I'm not surprised that they don't look. I've been blogging for more than 3 years and have posted over 1,000 articles.

I agree with members of various civic groups who feel very strongly that Mel Zelaya and any of his ministers who were also corrupt must answer for their crimes. No, they certainly are not the first corruptos, but they are a good place to start, especially if they have to make financial restitution to the country and that money can be used for education and health care.

It may be naive of me, but I believe that this could be a turning point for corruption in Honduras. I'm not foolish enough to believe that it is the end of corruption! But, you have to start somewhere, don't you? Zelaya can't just be forgiven and allowed to enjoy the fruits of his crimes (in 77 bank accounts around the world [Google translation]). I think doing so would be the end of hope for Hondurans. After all, if 100 days of valiantly standing up to the entire world doesn't result in punishment for the corrupt, what possibility is there for the future?

If you are curious about my opinions on corruption, take a look at the corruption articles in the "Corruption topic". These two articles below may give an overview of depth of the problem.

Oink, oink!

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

This article is longer and just as dismal:

Will Honduras ever rise out of poverty?

The reader comments on these articles are interesting, too. That was back in the day when people could disagree without name calling and threats. There are many more corruption articles here.

At times over the years, I have been so depressed about the hopelessness of Honduras that I've just had to put it aside, quit reading the newspapers, and withdraw from the reality − which I think is what many Hondurans have done for many decades. "There is nothing I can do about it" has been a common attitude of people I talk to.

However, I still don't believe that socialism is the answer. I think it merely substitutes one corrupt oligarchy for another corrupt oligarchy, while in the process reducing freedoms and hope. From what I've read, I'm not convinced that the poor are any better off under socialism in, say Venezuela, despite the vast amounts of oil money available to the government, which in theory, should be enough to end poverty.

I've seen a new empowerment among Honduran social groups and individuals, and for once, powerful groups are standing up to say loudly and strongly that corruption must be punished. That gives me hope because I believe that institutionalized corruption is the major cause of the continued poverty in Honduras.
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