Editorial

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ZEDEs and the Road to Prosperity

Mar 24, 2015

ZEDEs and the Road to Prosperity

Why isn’t Honduras prosperous? Why do more than 100,000 Hondurans leave each year and risk their lives to get to the United States, where most of them will become illegal immigrants with no rights? Conversely, why is China becoming prosperous so rapidly? In the past 20 years hundreds of millions of Chinese have escaped poverty. Averages urban wages in China today are more than five times what they were 20 years ago. What can be done to ensure that working-class Hondurans earn five times as much 20 years from now?   The Chinese Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were key to this burst in prosperity.... Read more

The Law of Secrets

Feb 25, 2015

The Law of Secrets

The Honduran government has been quietly barring public access to official security documents and budgets, while closing spaces for protest, dissent, and the press. A key part of this effort is the “Law for the Classification of Public Documents related to Security and National Defense” (Ley para la Clasificación de Documentos Públicos Relacionados con la Seguridad y la Defensa Nacional). Passed in a marathon congressional session just before President Hernández took office in January 2014, the legislation has become better known in the country as the Official Secrets Act or the Law of Secrets. Read more

Why is Colombia Smuggling Coca Base to Honduras?

Jan 14, 2015

Why is Colombia Smuggling Coca Base to Honduras?

The police in Honduras report they seized 645 kilos of coca base in several containers that originated in Colombia, prompting the question as to why smugglers are moving the raw material rather than crystallized cocaine into Central America. The reason is that it makes good business sense. The Honduran newspaper El Tiempo  reported that customs agents found the coca base in a shipment of wood that passed through the port city of Puerto Cortés.    Read more

Culture

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What an Extortion Call Sounds Like

Mar 24, 2015

What an Extortion Call Sounds Like

A chilling phone call highlights some of the techniques that criminals in Honduras use to extort their victims, underscoring the ways in which extortion gangs take advantage of the country's precarious security situation to instill fear. In the recording of an extortion call obtained by the Honduran media, a man who identifies himself as "Mafia," the leader of a gang with the same name, demands that the owners of a bus company pay him around US$4,760 and a weekly "war tax."   "If not," the criminal states, "we are going to have it out with the owners of the buses and we're going to burn them alive." Read more

The Dying Coconut Trees

Jan 15, 2015

The Dying Coconut Trees

Several years before Hurricane Mitch hit the Honduran North Coast in 1998, Lethal Yellowing coconut disease began affecting Honduran coconut palms, first in the Bay Islands. Just before Hurricane Mitch it had begun doing serious damage of the coconut trees on Honduras’s North Coast, first in the area of the Garifunas and then in the Honduran Mosquitia. Hurricane Mitch made the problem worse on the coast and carrying the disease into Olancho where it also affected the Coyol Palm, used to make wine, and all the way to the Southern Coast of Honduras where dead coconut trees were seen at... Read more

Art and Cultural Exhibits as Catalysts of Curiosity

Sep 24, 2014

Art and Cultural Exhibits as Catalysts of Curiosity

Art promotion plays an important role in the dissemination of ideas, encouraging curiosity and motivating individuals to cultivate their interests, largely awakened when exposed to educational exhibits, conferences, workshops and seminars. I remember the day I started my relationship with this wonderful world of curiosity, and it was precisely when I as a freshman in high school in San Pedro Sula, when I was fourteen years old. Every year, my school held an “Expression Week”, whereby all students prepared and presented different projects in each of the school subjects. Read more

Opinion

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Drugs are Like Candy in San Pedro Sula

Mar 24, 2015

Drugs are Like Candy in San Pedro Sula

The Honduran daily newspaper La Prensa recently published an article about buying drugs in San Pedro Sula titled "Buying Drugs is Like Buying Candy in San Pedro Sula" (roughly translated). According to the article, drug cartels and suppliers have managed to build up an internal structure which assists with transportation of drugs, enabling it to become a part of an internal economy within the city. Part of the "network" is made up of taxi drivers, hot dog salesmen, bars, nightclubs and even... Read more

The Wealthiest of Hondurans

Jan 15, 2015

The Wealthiest of Hondurans

Despite Honduras being horrifically unequal (or perhaps because of this) in terms of income distribution, three of Central America's 12 richest millionaires are Honduran. According to Forbes magazine, the following three Hondurans are multi-millionaires: Jaime Rosenthal Oliva, Miguel Facussé Barjum, and Mohamad Yusuf Amdani Bai. Mr. Amdani Bai, who is fifth on the list, is the head of a group called the Karim Group, based in Pakistan, specializing in textile production and real estate. Mr. Rosenthal is number six, and he is the... Read more

Socialism Instead of Neoliberalism?

Sep 06, 2014

Socialism Instead of Neoliberalism?

The Libre Party wants to move Honduras away from an economic model based on neoliberal capitalism and toward one based on socialism. For more than two-thirds of the people in the country who struggle to survive on $3 or less per day, this is probably a good idea because the primary outgrowth of such a move (if implemented competently and without generating excessive civil turmoil -- both very big "ifs") would be the redistribution of power, wealth, and control over... Read more

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International

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The Myth of Measles Eradication

Feb 25, 2015

The Myth of Measles Eradication

There’s a popular refrain that goes like this: “Measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, but it has recently made a comeback because of declining vaccination rates.” Now, just how do we know that measles was eradicated in 2000? Well, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says so, of course. Here’s exactly what the CDC says on its website, in response to the question, “Has measles been eliminated from the United States?”: Read more

The Measles Hysteria in the United States

Feb 19, 2015

The Measles Hysteria in the United States

The hysteria being fueled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pharmaceutical industry insiders like Dr. Paul Offit, and the media over the current measles “epidemic” in the United States is akin to the hysteria about ISIS. Every day, stories in the newspapers and magazines, and on TV and radio programs, give the impression that ISIS and “radical Islamic terrorism” (… there, I said it… happy?) in general is the most dangerous security threat since Nazi... Read more

A Canal Dividing Nicaragua

Jan 13, 2015

A Canal Dividing Nicaragua

The proposal to build a trans-oceanic canal across Nicaragua seems mostly like the scenario for a slightly implausible summer blockbuster movie. The movie would have it all. Powerful business forces, environmental risks, social upheaval and conflict and even global intrigue -- Chinese interests are behind the project. And lots and lots of mystery. I can see Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie racing from Caribbean villages in Nicaragua to skyscrapers in Hong Kong in a race to... Read more

National

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Police at US Embassy in Tegucigalpa Implicated in US$1.3 Million Theft

Feb 21, 2015

Honduras has announced the suspension of 21 elite police agents assigned to the US Embassy for their implication in the theft of US$1.3 million during an operation against drug traffickers, demonstrating the continued challenges the country faces in combating organized crime and widespread corruption. According to La Tribuna, members of the specialized Honduran police force known as the “Tigers” (based on the Spanish acronym for Special Response Team and Intelligence Troop Law), allegedly buried the US$1.3 million in 19 sacks following an operation in October 2014 against the Valles criminal organization in the... Read more

Report: Honduras Solves 1% of Homicide Cases

Jan 14, 2015

A new study conducted by the Alliance for Peace and Justice (APJ), a Honduran NGO, revealed that only one percent of homicide cases in Honduras' three major cities ever resulted in convictions, underscoring the rampant impunity fostered by the country's dysfunctional criminal justice system. The study examined 566 homicide cases in the cities of San Pedro Sula, Comayagua and Tegucigalpa, and found that only one percent resulted in convictions, reported Revistazo.  Read more

Honduras Militarizing Prison System

Sep 24, 2014

Around 300 army reserve soldiers are being trained to serve as prison guards in Honduras, a measure that could improve security, but is unlikely to provide a lasting solution to high levels of overcrowding and violence in the country's penitentiary system. On September 16, President Juan Orlando Hernández inaugurated the first course to train members of the army reserve to serve as prison guards, reported Proceso Digital.  Read more

Volunteerism

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Art for Humanity Collects Donations for Needy in Honduras

Mar 25, 2015

Art for Humanity Collects Donations for Needy in Honduras

When Glen Evans befriended the group of Honduran day laborers who were repairing his Alexandria home in the wake of a house fire 15 years ago, he never imagined the friendships would transform his life far beyond the renovation. As Evans came to know the recent immigrants over a period of weeks and months, he was struck by the lack of communication they had with their families and friends at home. “This was before there... Read more

Cornell University Students Teach, Learn Valuable Lessons on Trip to Honduras

Feb 20, 2015

Cornell University Students Teach, Learn Valuable Lessons on Trip to Honduras

For nine Cornell students and two mentors, memories of this winter break include two different kinds of lessons: English and math lessons they gave to 50 elementary school children in Honduras and a humbling lesson they received about what it really takes to be content. The students visited the country Jan. 12-19 with the nonprofit group Mayor Potencial, founded by Nancy Bell ‘09, a Honduran native who is the undergraduate minor coordinator at the Dyson School in... Read more

Sustainability Begins With Practical Empowerment

Jan 13, 2015

Sustainability Begins With Practical Empowerment

What I'm proposing may seem radical -- teach people how to help themselves rather than continuing to rely on the kindness of others. Our efforts in Honduras over the last twelve years prove this approach works and is sustainable. It gives people a sense of pride and self-reliance. As more groups use this plan the results could be transformational. These lessons have been applied not only in Honduras but in poverty stricken areas within the... Read more

Money & Investment

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Foreign Direct Investment in Honduras

Mar 25, 2015

Since before the original Liberal Reform in the late 19th century in Honduras, the Honduran elite has tried to woo foreign investors to go to Honduras and invest there. Even before the era of bananas, the elite tried changing Honduran laws to make investments in rubber and coffee attractive to foreigners who were encouraged to relocate to Honduras through favorable policies like free land and rapid Honduran citizenship. An early attempt  boost to the original growth of San Pedro Sula was the relocating of about 200 white Confederate families from the US South after the US Civil... Read more

Bond Sale of US$250 Million Placed

Jan 13, 2015

Honduras has finally succeeded in placing US$250 million in bonds to be used to help pay down its debt to private energy providers, but first it had to sweeten the offering. As of July, 2014, Honduras had a debt of US$355 million with private power producers. The country's state energy company, Empresa Nacional de Energia Electrica (ENEE) pays private companies for power generation. That's not to say it doesn't generate power as well, but it generates far less that the country uses.  It must therefore buy power from the Central American power grid, or pay private companies to generate the... Read more

Yingli Solar Will Supply Panels to Pavana Solar Park in Choluteca

Sep 25, 2014

Yingli Solar of Baoding, China announced it will supply more than 24 megawatts of solar panels for the Pavana Solar Park, which will be the largest solar farm in Honduras. Located in the city of Choluteca, the Pavana Solar power plant will feature close to 80,000 YGE 72 Cell Series modules. The facility is expected to be operational during the first quarter of next year and will generate approximately 40,000 megawatt-hours annually. “We are thrilled to contribute to Honduras’ largest solar project to date, which will help the country reach its goal of meeting sixty percent of domestic electricity demand... Read more


Honduras Weekly  seeks to promote a thoughtful, civil, and balanced exchange about news, events, and people in Honduras (mostly). The idea is to be receptive to everyone's opinions, regardless of philosophical lean. Our underlying assumption is that truth is not usually absolute. In the end, we can always agree to disagree. Meanwhile, we'd like to listen to as many people as may come our way, and encourage a conversation. We are a privately-owned, independent Honduran newspaper, with no government connections (national or foreign). We are solely responsible to our readers. Honduras Weekly  is updated daily in English, with an emphasis on stories we sense have the greatest overall impact on Honduras each week. Write to us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
—Marco Cáceres, Editor


 

Travel

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Crossing at Guasaule

Mar 25, 2015

Crossing at Guasaule

I crossed back into Nicaragua from Honduras this past weekend at dusty, dry Guasaule, on my way back home to León after a work trip. Crossing a Central American border by bus is often a mysterious, confusing process that involves everyone getting out of the bus in a big herd and wandering to and from various unmarked buildings. So it was kind of nice to see the familiar face of Carmen the Cashew Girl as I descended the... Read more

Comayagua Cathedral's Famous Old Clock

Sep 10, 2014

Comayagua Cathedral's Famous Old Clock

Having and quantifying time is a subject that has fascinated man for eons. If we think about it we remember that the first solar clocks were used by many civilizations around the world, soon to be followed by sand and then shortly after, the almost perfect mechanical marvels that functioned with gears and weights. Knowing those mechanisms is not just interesting, but also allows one to judge the ingenuity of man over thousands of years.... Read more

Life in Copán: World-Class Events and Weekend Getaways

Aug 27, 2014

Life in Copán: World-Class Events and Weekend Getaways

With the recent success of the Globe theater’s production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet  in Copán Ruinas on August 16, the town has once again shown itself to be a unique stage for social, educational and cultural events. More than 500 people turned out to see the London-based troup’es round-the-world tour to celebrate the Bard’s 450th birthday. Copán Ruinas’ old Fort (“El Cuartel”) was turned into a professional stage complete with lighting and sound system, comfy seating,... Read more

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