Editorial

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The Story of Exodus

Jul 23, 2014

The Story of Exodus

Once upon a time, there was a great and powerful country to the north. The country was having problems with foreigners who had illegally crossed its borders and formed gangs to defend themselves against local, more established gangs. The foreign gangs were, at first, not well organized, but they learned from their local enemies and were soon competing for turf and a piece of the action. They became every bit as violent and street savvy as the locals -- so much so that their host... Read more

The Green Card: Still the Main Stimulus

Jul 21, 2014

The Green Card: Still the Main Stimulus

In all the debate regarding unaccompanied kids showing up at the US border expecting to enter and eventually receive legal status, there is much blaming and finger pointing, but one fact largely missing in the discussion is a historical perspective. One of the main reasons children and adults are making the trip in growing numbers is they believe, based on history, they will eventually receive legal status. The fact is people have come illegally during the past decades and received legal status, regardless of who... Read more

The Movements to Change Honduras

Jul 18, 2014

The Movements to Change Honduras

During the past five years, there have been three major movements underway to change Honduras. The first one is political, seeking to "refound" the country by rewriting the Constitution and having the government redistribute wealth, resources, and power to those who traditionally have had very little of these... In other words, more than half of the country's population which lives in poverty and has little means to improve its lot in life. The second is business-oriented, seeking to stimulate economic growth by attracting investors to... Read more

A Healing Place in a Hurting Country

Jul 17, 2014

A Healing Place in a Hurting Country

If you were to ask me where my favorite place in the world is to visit, I would reflect for only a couple of seconds and say Copán Ruinas -- a little town of about 8,000 people tucked away in the mountains of northwestern Honduras. I first traveled there (actually, I'm there now as I'm writing) in 2003 to see about staging a conference for the thousands of volunteer groups that work in Honduras. I sensed Copán was a special place almost from the moment I arrived on... Read more

A Nation of Refugees

Jul 10, 2014

A Nation of Refugees

Honduras, brace yourself for what could be your worst public relations nightmare in recent memory. The coup? Peanuts. All that "murder capital" of the world stuff? Cakewalk. The tens of thousands of unaccompanied Honduran child migrants (along with children from El Salvador and Guatemala) who have been detained in Texas and Arizona has put new light on all that unpleasantness having to do with the violence fueled by the growth of drug trafficking and gang activity. It's becoming increasingly clear that the illegal immigration problem... Read more

Culture

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Pillaging Paradise

Jul 21, 2014

Pillaging Paradise

The people here speak of a tree, a buhuco, that will make any man who touches it lose his way. The day we came to Punta Sal  we took a ride on a boat out with the people of the village we were staying in, going out to look for a man lost in the forest there. The whole community coming out to find one of their own, because there is no one else to find him. There are no roads out to the point, only boats... Read more

Tortillas are Good for Prima Donnas

Jul 17, 2014

Tortillas are Good for Prima Donnas

I made tortillas for dinner tonight, and as always was transported by the smell and sound and rhythm of the process back to primitive cook stoves in Honduras. Making good tortillas is an art. The masa has to be just right -- too moist and they stick to everything, too dry and they get crumbly and crinkly. I use an aluminum tortilladora, or press, with pieces of wax paper, which makes perfect discs. I’ve also pressed them with pieces of plastic bag between the bottoms of two cooking pans... Read more

Fighting Homophobia in Honduras

Jul 04, 2014

Fighting Homophobia in Honduras

On Saturday June 7, thousands of proud members of the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex) community gathered in Washington, DC for the 39th annual Capital Pride Parade. Accompanied by countless family and friends, three or four religious extremists expressing their dismay, and of course, the DC police squad ensuring the safety of all participants, the event was a smashing success. The parade included fabulous drag queens dressed in extravagant dresses, Capital Pride heroes such as Reverend Dean Snyder, and -- for the first... Read more

Racism in Honduras: Not Only in Soccer

Jun 30, 2014

In 2011, a number of incidents surrounding soccer and racism grabbed international headlines (most notably the  John Terry-Anton Ferdinand and Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra affairs). Outside of the limelight of most of the international press, Afro-Honduran players voiced their own charges to end racial discrimination. Osman Chávez, then a starting center back for los Catrachos (as the Honduran national team is sometimes called) and many of his teammates decided to boycott the national media as part of a campaign called “journalism without discrimination.” Racist comments on newspaper webpages appeared regularly, which disparaged him and many... Read more

Book Review: Enrique's Journey

Jun 18, 2014

Book Review: Enrique's Journey

My daughter was studying immigration as part of her US history class, and a major assignment was to research her family’s history and create a scrapbook that reflected her own “immigration story”. Bypassing the more modern immigration of her Honduran father, she focused on my German grandfather who had emigrated from England during World War I (... 1915 wasn’t exactly a great time to be a German in London). We had the opportunity to visit Ellis Island with her, so she could see how he had entered the... Read more




"The kids featured are faced with working long hours in a trash dump collecting anything that they can find to make money. The conditions of the dump are very bad and kids are often injured and/or killed."

Opinion

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Marshall Plan for the Northern Triangle?

Jul 22, 2014

Marshall Plan for the Northern Triangle?

There are two general views on how best to address the illegal immigration crisis the United States is facing on its southern border, notably as it relates to the tens of thousands of child migrants who have been arriving in the US from the "Northern Triangle" countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras during the past few months. The first one focuses on securing the US border with Mexico by completing construction of a wall along the full stretch. The wall that currently exists covers only 700 of the total 2,000 miles of the frontier. This view also calls for dramatically increasing the number of border guards and aerial drones, and even calling up elements of the US armed forces to help keep watch. Governor... Read more

Drugs, Violence and Immigration: Think Twice America

Jul 09, 2014

Drugs, Violence and Immigration: Think Twice America

General John F. Kelly, who is the commander of US Southern Command (Southcom) in Miami, wrote a long article which was published yesterday in the Army Times, Military Times, and Navy Times. The piece is titled "Central America Drug War a Dire Threat to US National Security". It's a long one which focuses on the strategic threat posed by the illegal drug trade in Central America and the violence, death and destruction it has fueled in the region. Gen. Kelly does not touch very much on the issue of illegal immigration from Central America to the United States, or specifically about the recent wave of tens of thousands of unaccompanied child migrants. Read more

Hammering Away at Illegal Immigration

Jul 06, 2014

Hammering Away at Illegal Immigration

Renowned American psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." In a nutshell, that pretty much sums up US immigration policy, specifically with regard to illegal immigration, and notably as it is being applied to the latest wave of migrants arriving from Central America. The Obama administration's answer to the problem is to send 'em back home where they belong. Sure enough, it's the hammer approach... the same general tactic the US government often uses to try and deal with complex foreign policy issues whenever US political leaders and the American people become exasperated at their inability to find solutions. Read more

Great, Another Tone Deaf Honduran President

Jun 30, 2014

Great, Another Tone Deaf Honduran President

It's difficult not to sympathize with United States Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske's implied criticism of President Juan Orlando Hernández's decision to opt out of the meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden and the Presidents of El Salvador and Guatemala on June 20 in Guatemala City to discuss the crisis involving the mass migration of Central American children to the US. President Hernández chose to remain in Brazil to watch the World Cup soccer match between the Honduras and Ecuador national teams, rather than attend the meeting. Instead, he sent a representative. Read more

Mr. Biden's Disingenuous Mission

Jun 17, 2014

Mr. Biden's Disingenuous Mission

United States Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Central America (specifically Guatemala City) later this week to meet with the region's leaders to develop a coordinated response to the current flood of illegal immigration of Central American children to the US. Mr. Biden also wants to make clear that the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which seeks to avoid deporting the children of parents who took them to the US illegally in previous years, does not apply to new arrivals. He will attempt to correct any misconceptions there may be about DACA. There's concern in the US that it is DACA, which took effect in 2012, that is fueling the problem. Read more

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National

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Honduras, Guatemala Report Major Drops in Homicide Rate

Jul 17, 2014

Authorities in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras and Guatemala have announced drops in their homicide rates of over 20 and 10 points, respectively. What has been responsible for these reported reductions in violence, and are they sustainable? According to Honduran Security Minister Arturo Corrales, homicides dropped from 84 per 100,000 residents in 2012 -- a rate the United Nations pegged at an even higher 90.4 per 100,000 -- to 60 per 100,000 by June 2014, reported La Tribuna. Numbers from Honduran violence reduction force Fusina show 2,634 murders between January and mid-June this year, compared to 3,245 in the same period last year, reported La Prensa. Read more

UN: Violence Against Women in Honduras "Widespread" and "Systematic"

Jul 10, 2014

An independent United Nations human rights expert has urged the government of Honduras to address the culture of widespread impunity for crimes against women and girls, while also noting that incidents of violence against women appear to be on the rise in the Central American nation. “In Honduras, violence against women is widespread and systematic and it impacts women and girls in numerous ways,” the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, said in a statement delivered on Monday following an eight-day mission to the country. Read more

Security Forces Evict Campesinos from Paso Aguán Estate

Jul 08, 2014

Honduran security forces mounted a major operation on July 3 to remove hundreds of campesinos from an estate they had occupied in a dispute over land in the Lower Aguán River Valley in the northern department of Colón. One of the occupiers, Pedro Avila, was shot dead in the operation and two were wounded, according to Santos Torres, who heads the campesinos’ organization, the Gregorio Chávez Collective. Some 400 families were “violently evicted” and “repressed with tear gas and live ammunition,” the campesinos charged in a statement, and at least 20 people were detained. The operation was carried out by... Read more

National Migration Institute Created by Presidential Decree

Jul 06, 2014

Honduras has created a new National Migration Institute after firing all personnel from the directorate formerly in charge of migratory affairs for allegedly facilitating human trafficking, showing unusual government resolve to root out official corruption and collaboration with organized crime. The new institute, which President Juan Orlando Hernández created via a presidential decree, will work as an independent body that coordinates with the National Investigation and Intelligence Unit. It will be responsible for formulating migration policies, enforcing existing legislation regarding migration, and taking measures to control immigration, according to the decree. Read more

Indigenous, Tribal Lands Hit Hard by Illegal Drug Trade

Jul 01, 2014

Recent reports have identified indigenous groups in Honduras as some of the most affected by the expansion of drug trafficking operations, illustrating the debilitating effects criminal migration and weak law enforcement have on one of the region's most vulnerable populations. Drug trafficking groups in Honduras are taking over tribal lands and clearing them to make clandestine landing strips for drug flights, cutting off indigenous access to areas used to obtain food and sustain a traditional lifestyle, reported Al Jazeera. Tribal leaders interviewed by Al Jazeera  said there were at least 39 operational landing strips on their land, some of which received two to... Read more

Radio Progreso Journalist Accused of Sedition for Doing Her Job

Jun 25, 2014

Albertina Manueles Pérez, correspondent for Radio Progreso, is facing prosecution for broadcasting a communiqué in which an indigenous community refuses to recognize a mayor whose election they claim was fraudulent. Pérez has been ordered to appear in the Intibucá department court. The communiqué that gave rise to the case against her was issued by residents of San Francisco Opalaca, a town in western Honduras whose majority is made up of members of the Lenca indigenous community. They denied recognition to José Socorro Sánchez of the National Party of Honduras, officially deemed the winner of the vote, held during national elections... Read more

Reporters Without Borders Encourages Honduras to Step Up Efforts to Combat Impunity

Jun 20, 2014

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the life sentences that a Tegucigalpa court passed on June 11 on three men for radio presenter Alfredo Villatoro’s abduction and murder in 2012. While the sentences constitute an advance in the fight against impunity, RWB is urging the authorities to establish effective measures to protect journalists. The three men -- Marvin Alonso Gómez and two brothers, Osman Fernando and Edgar Francisco Osorio Argujo -- were convicted on March 24 of “aggravated abduction.” Kidnapped from his home on May 9, 2012, Villatoro was found dead near Tegucigalpa eight days later. Read more

CID/Gallup Poll Shows Support for Hernández "Iron Fist" Policies

Jun 18, 2014

President Juan Orlando Hernández garnered a 66 percent approval rating in a CID/Gallup poll published in Honduras on May 27, indicating significant public support for a president whose election in late 2013 raised international concern regarding his hard-line stance on crime. When asked to name President Hernández's accomplishments in the first 100 days of his administration, 26 percent of respondents mentioned crime reduction, 10 percent listed creating Honduras' special Military Police of Public Order (PMOP) and 7 percent cited generating new jobs and helping small businesses, reported La Prensa. Mr. Hernández designed the military police -- which became operational last year -- during his time in Congress. Read more

Extortion Gangs Undergo Leadership Crisis

Jun 13, 2014

Police in Honduras say moves to block cell phone signals in prisons have weakened the control of the incarcerated heads of extortion gangs, leading to increased violence as gangs fragment and mid-level operators compete for control of the market. Officials from the anti-extortion unit of the Honduran police told El Heraldo  that many gang leaders had lost control of their subordinates on the outside as they had been isolated by the shutting down of phone signals in jails. According to the police, lower-level gang members have been running their own unauthorized extortion operations and withholding money from leaders. This has led to... Read more

President Hernández Shops for Business in Washington

Jun 13, 2014

On June 12, President Juan Orlando Hernández arrived for his first visit to Washington, DC since his election in January. This morning, we attended his speech at the United States Chamber of Commerce, entitled “Honduras: Prospects for Economic and Social Change.” The Central American leader addressed strategies for economic development and the promotion of rule of law in Honduras. Given the audience, Hernández’s speech brought few surprises. The President focused on the importance of private investment for Honduran economic development. He struck a tone of reassurance, attempting to convince the businesspeople in attendance that his administration’s policies provide a favorable investment... Read more


 

International

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Blowback on the US Border: America's Child Refugee Crisis

Jul 19, 2014

Blowback on the US Border: America's Child Refugee Crisis

After three years of relative silence, the US press has finally “discovered”the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors piling up on the US border. Although the coverage often began with moving stories of the hardships these young migrants faced, it soon turned ugly. For right-wing pundits and politicians, the “humanitarian crisis” has become a crackdown on kids. The dominant narrative has been that foolish parents, perhaps duped by scheming criminal bands, are sending hapless children... Read more

Central America Drug War a Dire Threat to US National Security

Jul 09, 2014

Central America Drug War a Dire Threat to US National Security

After observing the transnational organized crime network for 19 months as commander of US Southern Command, I see the only viable approach is to work as closely as we can with as many nations in the region. Our vision is of an economically integrated region that offers reasons for its people to build their futures at home instead of risking the dangerous and ultimately futile journey north. A region that offers economic opportunity, effective democratic... Read more

US Remilitarization of Central America and Mexico

Jul 07, 2014

US Remilitarization of Central America and Mexico

During his brief visit to Costa Rica in May 2013, President Barack Obama appeared eager to downplay the US regional security agenda, emphasizing instead trade relations, energy cooperation, and youth programs. “So much of the focus ends up being on security,” he complained during a joint press conference with his Costa Rican counterpart Laura Chinchilla. “But we also have to recognize that problems like narco-trafficking arise in part when a country is vulnerable because of... Read more

Volunteerism

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Honduras Child Alliance: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Through Education

Jul 18, 2014

Honduras Child Alliance: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Through Education

When Eve Horowitz began visiting Honduras in 1992, she initially considered sponsoring Honduran children in need as a learning experience for her own two children. But at she became more aware of the social issues facing poverty-stricken children in Honduras, her consideration became a much larger mission. It evolved into the Honduras Child Alliance (HCA), a diverse and collaborative, volunteer-based organization collectively working to make lives better for impoverished children in Honduras. United by a love... Read more

Copán Ruinas Will Host 15th Sustainable Honduras Conference

Jun 13, 2014

Copán Ruinas Will Host 15th Sustainable Honduras Conference

I’m writing this on the bus from San Pedro Sula to Copán Ruinas on a hot afternoon, having just flown in from the United States. My plan is to spend a few days in Copán Ruinas to work with my colleague Sandra Guerra on finalizing some of the logistics for the 15th Sustainable Honduras Conference taking place there on September 24-26. Some of you may be familiar with the annual Conference on Honduras? Well, earlier this... Read more

El Hogar Offers ‘Hardest Cases’ Chance for a New Life

Apr 29, 2014

For the past 35 years El Hogar has served Honduras’ toughest cases, boys and girls, some of whom have been abused, neglected and abandoned. “There are some that don’t have families, some we know for sure whose parents have passed away, and there have been children who have been left completely orphaned,” said Claudia de Castro, El Hogar’s director. With a staff of 80 people and three campuses, El Hogar has the capacity for up... Read more

Money & Investment

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Iberdrola Ingeniería and Gamesa Will Build San Marcos Wind Farm

Jul 21, 2014

Iberdrola Ingeniería and Gamesa have entered into an agreement with Honduras-based Grupo Terra to build the San Marcos wind farm in a turnkey project to cost €62 million. The new 50-megawatt wind farm will be located in the municipality of San Marcos de Colón, 140 kilometers south of Tegucigalpa and close to the border with Nicaragua. It will consist of 25 Gamesa G90 turbines with a unit capacity of 2 megawatts each and a hub height of 70 meters with a rotor diameter of 90 meters. The wind farm will generate enough electricity to supply the needs of 100,000... Read more

EU will Donate €750,000 for Coffee Farmers Hurt by Roya Fungus

Jul 02, 2014

The European Union (EU) will donate €750,000 (US$1 million) to the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua to assist farmers affected by the coffee rust, or "roya" fungus, that has infected coffee crops in the region. The humanitarian aid will be distributed to approximately 20,000 people in the form of cash, food, and technical support. Distribution will be overseen by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Oxfam of the United Kingdom. Read more

Hernández Government Seeks US$500 Million IMF Credit Deal

Jun 13, 2014

The Honduran government is betting that an accord with the International Monetary Fund will unlock US$500 million to help the country boost growth in an economy plagued by one of the world’s highest levels of violence. “I think that we are in better conditions than ever to reach an agreement,” President Juan Orlando Hernández told reporters in Washington today. “The sovereign bonds already reflect a different attitude from the market toward Honduras.” Honduran bonds have returned about 18 percent this year, the most about 60 emerging market economies tracked by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBIG index. 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. .


 

Travel

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Lifting Up Copán Ruinas to the World

Jul 22, 2014

Lifting Up Copán Ruinas to the World

It takes just over three hours to drive from San Pedro Sula to the historic town of Copán Ruinas (near the world famous Maya ruins of Copán). Yesterday, I drove back from Copán Ruinas to San Pedro Sula's Ramón Villeda Morales airport and made it in 3 hours and 10 minutes. Spectacular drive. A bit slow going in the winding mountains, as our busito only had four cylinders, but we made up for it bigtime... Read more

The World of the Lenca

Jul 19, 2014

The World of the Lenca

One of the first things that springs to mind when you speak of Honduras is the Mayas, even though, to the surprise of many, the Mayas are not the predominant indigenous group in the country, it is actually the Lencas who hold that position. The Lencas are a pre-Hispanic culture that developed in Honduras in the first century before Christ, a civilization that accomplished major advances in architecture, gold craftsmanship and agriculture, a people who have resisted and endured... Read more

'Blown Away' by Copán Ruinas

Jul 18, 2014

'Blown Away' by Copán Ruinas

I awoke early last Sunday morning and stepped out onto the porch of my room at Casa de Café -- a wonderful little bed & breakfast in Copán Ruinas, Honduras. I happened to run into a woman from the United States who had arrived in town late the previous evening. She introduced herself as Ruth, and I observed that she was immensely enjoying the breeze, the view of the mountains, and the symphony of tropical birds. It... Read more

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