August 10, 2014

One of my favorite comment exchanges

Someone just posted a comment on an old article about typical Honduran food and skimming through the comments, I ran across this old exchange that made me laugh (again).

Anonymous Nina posted a comment, Saturday, November 5 2011, 1:01 PM

this isn't helping me at all!!!!! i Hate this website!!!!!!

La Gringa, reply to Anonymous Nina, Saturday, November 5, 2011 1:49 PM

Why doesn't it help?!!!!! Do you have a homework assignment?!!!!!

Anonymous Nina reply to La Gringa, Sunday, November 6, 2011 1:25 PM

i cant find what im looking for... and yeesss i have a homework assignment due Tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bllaaaahh!!!!!!!!

La Gringa, reply to anonymous nina, Sunday, November 6, 2011 1:50 PM

Should have started earlier like your mom always says!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What do you need?

Unfortunately, Anonymous Nina didn't reply so I don't know what she was looking for. I would have tried to help her! I just couldn't resist giving her a little bit of a hard time. If her question was about typical Honduran food, it was a shame that she didn't take the time to read through the 60 comments in which many Hondurans offered their insights about many other typical foods that I didn't include in the article. I think it is time to expand on that article!

Honduran comida tipica (typical food)

For a very good blog written by a Catracha with lots of Honduran recipes, most of which are in both Spanish and English, check out Cocina Hondureña y Mas.

August 6, 2014

Extorting the lifeblood out of Honduras

"For not wanting to give up his house"
Photo:  El Tiempo, Honduras

Extortion is a massive problem in Honduras. It's sucking the life out of businesses, transportation providers, entrepreneurs, neighborhoods, even schools and churches. Yes, even schools and churches in some areas have to pay extortion. Teachers and children are extorted daily in some schools. One 11-year-old was killed recently after his young extortioners graduated from charging him 10 lempiras a day at school to kidnapping him. Lots of kids quit school because it's too dangerous for them to go. Gangs pressure boys as young as 10 years old to join and girls are pressured to become 'girlfriends' or prostitutes.

If you are like I was, you probably have a hard time understanding what this extortion is. I used to think of extortion like blackmail – person-A did something and person-B extorts money to keep the secret – or protection payments – business owner pays a gang to protect his business against robberies by the same gangs that are doing the extortion. Especially confusing was how anyone could be extorted by telephone. This extortion is different; it boils down to 'You have something; I want it. Pay or die'. Anyone who has anything may be required to give up part or all of it to the extortionists. The extortion demand may be made in person, by someone hired to carry a note, or by telephone.

I was in a doctor's office when the doctor left to take a telephone call. She was very upset when she came back and I asked what was wrong. "Extortionists!", she said. "They've been calling me for weeks, saying I have to pay or they will kill my sons. They know their names and where they go to school! We want to get out of this damn country! We are trying to emigrate to Europe. We have friends there." "Did you report it to the police?", I asked. "Yes. The police do nothing."

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