Big Updates

1: Honest Honduran News has hit 600 members, as of yesterday. I’m super excited to see what the future holds as I continue developing an excellent community of people who truly want to see what Honduras is actually like, and not just read what big English publications think matters the most, or would make the most money.

2: I am now a leader at Honduras News, which isn’t the same as Honest Honduran News. I write daily and am their youngest writer!

3: Honduras Weekly is now pretty fairly known and acknowledged to be dead. The editor has basically retired from the “Honduras” scene, especially as it relates to journalism.

What this really signals, that both Honduras News and Honduras Weekly fundamentally changed over the course of the past few weeks, is that it is time for another leader to step up and step into the spotlight. I don’t know if that’s me or not, but because of my role in making sure there was constant coverage of events in Honduras, in English, I was able to get a group to 600 in the space of 5 months. With this my group has gotten more than 25% of the audience of Honduras Weekly’s Facebook group. It’s awesome that the group has grown so much in such a short time. I believe by the time a year rolls around, we might well be bigger than Honduras Weekly, which would be a tremendous achievement.

My mission is to ensure that as many people as possible have access to information about Honduras. And that means promoting Honduras in languages that aren’t Spanish. I want to work to make what goes in Honduras part of the “common knowledge” that people living in the same country all collectively know. I wanna make conversations about Honduras a common occurrence.

I’ve suddenly become a leader with actual “authority”, and a bit of influence, and it feels odd. It feels odd to suddenly realize how few competitors there are. And just how many (because it is many. At least two thousand.) people want to know what is going on.

Just like Honduras This Week, Honduras News, and Honduras Weekly, Honest Honduran News will become successful. I’ve no doubt that I can be successful in this task, even if it is extremely challenging to do so.

From Honduras This Week, to Honduras News, to Honduras Weekly, to Honest Honduran News, in the past 16 years the men and women responsible for providing consistent coverage of events in Honduras, in English have constantly changed. But for now, I hope you’ll join me as I strive to become a reasonable and rational leader, and someone who works tirelessly to  make sure the place I greatly admire has accurate coverage in the media.

I’d love to know what you think! Remember to stay informed and to stay positive.

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Big Updates

Feels Good Man.

Intriguing title right? Well it is an honest one. Today my newsgroup surpassed 350 members. Nearly as many people as there are in a year. And closer, and closer, to 400. It surpassed the 350 threshold, which was one it was stepping on for about 2 days, which to me, the administrator, is a lengthy amount of time, because of someone who added his friends. I sent this person a thank you message, and his response reminds me of why I do what it is that I do.

He is an Islander. A man who lives outside of mainland Honduras, but still is a Honduran citizen, he was born and raised on Roatan, one of the most visited vacation islands in the world. I messaged him, thanking him for adding his friends which is something I try to do whenever someone invites their friends to my group, and his response really made me happy.

He said he barely knows any Spanish. There’s a stereotype that everyone in Honduras knows Spanish, which plenty of people know is untrue. Islanders, especially those who live on Roatan, do not particularly need to know Spanish, in their day to day lives. Some schools even teach in English, or in very rare cases in the Indigenous language belonging to the people who live near the school. I created Honest Honduran News for people in Honduras who don’t know Spanish, or aren’t fluent in it. I’d like for Honest Honduran News to potentially become the Honduran version of Telemundo or Univision. But obviously in English.

He even said that he’s learned a lot through my translations and the fact that I use Honduran sources as well as English ones which happen to post about Honduras. He enjoys the things that I post, and my opinion articles, because I’ve taken time out of my day to create accessible, and normally reliable (I once posted a story that was entirely fictional, created on purpose to stir up anger, by another country, about a protest in Honduras that in the untrue story went awry when police came and fired tear gas. To be fair, reports occurred in the next two weeks of “controlled” opposition that went into the protests and almost set off tear gas, and then the week later, some rogue individuals beat up protesters who were on a hunger strike, and then a month later police got violent with protesters in the capital, who were trying to get “to close” to the presidential house), content. That right there… is why I do what I do. I aim to educate. I aim to inform people about things going on throughout the country.

Yesterday I posted an original article I wrote for Journalister, about coverage of Honduran events in English media, and I got compliments. This has been a fantastic past 48 hours. Thanks to the efforts of people who enjoy Honest Honduran News, we’ve managed to add 6 people in the past 45 minutes. At this rate we might just hit 365 before classes start on Monday. And that is… nothing short of amazing.

My motivation is the creation of a legitimate multimedia group that reliably, and consistently produces news related content in English, in Honduras. And tiny achievements like this, keep me going. They are a gigantic motivator for me to push harder, translate better, recruit more, and do even better each day I can. I am… feeling great guys.

Feels Good Man.

Honduran Excellence and why it matters.

I want #Honduranexcellence to trend. And there is a reason I want it to trend. Honduras is becoming a more trendy topic, it’s becoming more and more popular to talk about Honduras in a remarkably limited sense. The people of Honduras are actively and openly marching against corruption quite regularly, every week. But that isn’t what I think #Honduranexcellence should be about. I think Honduran Excellence should be about exceptional Hondurans, who live in all corners of the world, whose work transcends Honduras, and is recognized globally. These are individuals like Luis Bogran a Honduran working for N.A.S.A., Skarleth Chincilla a student studying agricultural engineering whose research project earned heavy praised in the USA, Luis Orellana who is working on a device to help the blind gain a bit of independence when it comes to travelling, Madeleine Rodriguez and her fight against dengue. These individuals are fantastic young people who were raised in Honduras and studied in Honduras. Honduran excellence isn’t just a tribute to Honduran young people, it’s a tribute to Honduran education, and to Honduran compassion.

Honduras is far more than just corruption scandals and murder rates, and Hondurans know this, and educated English speakers know this, but #Honduranexcellence is meant to show the world the potential within Honduras. Honduran Excellence is meant to shine a magnifying glass on a place of brightness, that many mistakenly believe to be dark. But I believe in Honduran Excellence. I spend time translating articles by Honduran sources trust me, there is plenty to be optimistic about. But if we can make Honduran excellence more popular more people will believe me.

I hope I can contribute to the popularity of Honduran Excellence, by discussing these individuals in English. I hope that one day language won’t be a barrier to actually critically examining Honduras, and having an interest in the nation.

Honduran Excellence and why it matters.

Municipal Corruption in Honduras

Santa Barbara, a city in Honduras is currently in really bad shape. Or it will be. The government isn’t looking kindly at the city, after it was revealed that the previous mayor Thelma Iris Lopez spent 11 million of the 14.5 million lempiras that she was given, to make sure the city had all of the money it needed to fulfill it’s most vital needs, on undocumented things, but most decidedly NOT on what they were meant for. It’s also worth noting that she spent this money in roughly 25 days. How absurd is that?

Juan Alvarado, her successor as mayor of Santa Barbara, was stunned to find that he couldn’t come up with the funds for everything. He was also unable to pay back the transfer when he was supposed, which angered the government which now seems to be considering not sending Santa Barbara much needed funds.

This is a terrible example of governmental corruption in Honduras. Mrs. Lopez basically embezzled the money, money worth over half a million US dollars. However another article published today by La Prensa, says that the total embezzlement of funds by municipalities surpasses 520,000,000 lempiras, an amount totaling over 23 MILLION US DOLLARS. This is from the past 5 years, from 2010-2015. That is an absolutely terrifying amount. If we pretend that the amount of dollars embezzled each year is equal, then that’d amount to over 4 million dollars a year. That is… a tremendous amount of money, wasted.

The article in La Prensa talks about the actual amount per year (in Lempiras obviously), and it comes too 41.9 million in 2010, 142.6 million in 2011, 135.6 in 2012, 94.1 million in 2013, and 106.5 in 2014.

This is the sort of corruption Honduras faces. This is the sort of wasteful government that Hondurans flee from each year, and is exactly what Hondurans are currently protesting against. Imagine how the world would react, if facts like this were readily known and talked about.

Sources: http://www.laprensa.hn/honduras/861177-410/honduras-exalcaldesa-gast%C3%B3-l11-millones-en-25-d%C3%ADas

http://www.laprensa.hn/honduras/861063-410/malversaci%C3%B3n-en-alcald%C3%ADas-sobrepasa-los-l520-millones

Municipal Corruption in Honduras

The thin line between paranoia and memory.

As a historian, and observer of present events in Honduras, the brand new agreement between president Park of South Korea and president Hernandez of Honduras sends off some warning signals in my head. Gonna give some background as to these “warning signals”.

In 2010 in La Tejera, Rio Blanco a concession for a dam, was granted without the permission of the residents of the community. This concession marked the beginning of a long-term struggle which may or may not be on-going. The reason why I say “may or may not” is because there is a subtle… “media blackout” concerning contemporary events in La Tejera. Not many articles are being written, or have been written, about the struggles which the Lenca in the area face. Also worth noting: the primary articles I’ve seen on the topic are in English, not in Spanish. This is fascinating but also similar to trends related to other issues of national interest particularly when they are related to Indigenous people/Indigenous resistance. This is the case with the Garifuna in Trujillo, and the Garifuna who resisted charter city installation in lands that have historically and contemporaneously been settled by the Garifuna themselves. The latest article I’ve seen was in March, and it showed that the struggle was ongoing, with leaders of the indigenous community facing investigation by police and threats by private individuals.

An interesting occurrence in this instance was that the U.S. ambassador in 2013 made a statement concerning the residents of Intibuca and how they’ve peacefully but adamantly resisted. In 2013, on human rights day (which is December 10th), Mrs. Kubiske attempted to demonize the residents of Intibuca stating:

Human rights are an entitlement to justice. Signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of other agreements recognized that a person who cannot get justice under the law may feel compelled to take matters into his own hands. This is not right, but we see this happening today in Honduras.

  • In Intibuca, some indigenous communities who feel they have not been adequately consulted regarding development on their land set up roadblocks to try to prevent future development.”

In 2010 a struggle for land ownership in the beautiful community of Trujillo kept on occurring between a private Canadian, his allies who include but aren’t limited too: former president Lobo, some Canadian governmental agencies/funds (at least one specific example is the “Canadian Shield Fund”), and local authorities, and his opponents: the local Garifuna community who own some of the land he wants to turn into state of the art luxury hotels and resorts. This is another quiet struggle of which people haven’t been made very aware.

In both cases there was justification, and support from foreign governments.

In both cases there have been instances of bullying, and some form of violence be it physical, political, or economic.

I have stated on other networks that I am quietly optimistic as to nature and execution of the agreement that president Park and president Hernandez reached concerning energy. I am honest when it comes my statements. However I also know that the South Korean government was one of the governments that was and seemingly is eager to see the implementation of charter cities in Honduras, an issue that has been notoriously debated, and one with a background of violence.

So it is in moments like this that I find myself wondering as to what is the thin line between paranoia, and memory. Because I feel like I am crossing it, on some level.

I’d LOVE to see your feedback on this article that I wrote! I hope you enjoyed it, and that piqued your interest on the writing that I do. Have a great day everyone!

The thin line between paranoia and memory.

Honest Honduran News

A repost from Tumblr, but one I think will be liked on here.

Gonna write something “not cool” first.

“Not Cool”: I’m sorry for posting so much about Honest Honduran News on here. But Honest Honduran News is my dream. It’s my ambition. I am dedicated to helping Honduras, the place I consider home, and if I am using my skills to the maximum of their potential that means I have to do something wherein I can make full use of my skills as someone who is bilingual, who writes regularly, who has the skills of a young historian, and as a young man who just wants to see the world learn. But I am “grinding”. I am “honing my craft”. Each day I translate articles originally written in Spanish, to English, so that people who want to learn about Honduras and don’t speak Spanish get that chance. Each day I learn more and more about the place I call home. Each day I work to ensure that Honest Honduran News gets a bit more name recognition. Each day I silently hope that someone sees my network and thinks, even in passing, “that’s cool. I hope that guy gets lucky and people decide to help him out”. I know it is probably annoying to see so much “Honduras” on your dashboards, but you have to understand that I see so much ignorance when it comes to my home. I see a lot of people not knowing why San Pedro Sula is so dangerous. I see so many unaware of the 2009 coup. Or of Miguel Facusse’s violence towards the people in the Bajo Aguan. Or people not knowing that abortion in Honduras is a crime with a heavy sentence. I see people celebrating Roatan, and people loving Copan, but only a few people wanting to help out the Lenca, or aware of Randy Jorgensen’s pressure on Afro-Honduran communities to sell or give up their land for his touristic resorts. And I am working on changing that. I am doing my best to build up an excellent network.

Wanna know something cool? My Facebook network “Honest Honduran News” grows every day. It is creeping up on 300 members.

And here’s the cooler part: I want to become the owner of the first viable multimedia network in Honduras that operates primarily in English. And this is actually something that could happen. The reason why this could happen is because of the MASSIVE growth the group has experienced it’s entire existence. Each day more and more people join. And the OVERWHELMING majority of those people live in Honduras. Specifically the Islands, because those are the touristic locations, and those are the locations wherein many people who work in the tourism/hospitality industries and of those individuals hundreds, maybe even thousands speak English as a first language and some don’t even speak Spanish, at all.

Here’s the coolest part (in my mind at least): You can help out. You can join my network. You can work with me, helping me find articles (no matter what the language), for me to post to my network. You can join the network. We can work to help the world learn. We can work to end ignorance, and apathy, regardless of the language. We can work together to help Honduras become a better place, a place with more investment, more opportunities, more education. Let’s work together! And let’s learn together. 🙂

Check out the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HonestHonduranNews/

Honest Honduran News

A Translation of an Honest Amazing Article on Juan Orlando and the Protests rocking the country

Going to translate an excellent article by Alexandria Hidalgo. I’d love your thoughts!

Mr. President:

I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for the outraged citizens of Honduras. I don’t want to be misinterpreted/misunderstood as someone who is against the National Party. I, like many citizens, am outraged and am not against a particular political institution but rather the corruption which imperils our way of life and our government.

Unlike the citizens who attend the marches that you promote, the outraged citizens are not defined by a political party, as a matter of fact I have excellent friends who are supporters of the National Party who also feel outraged and support our non-partisan marches. And for that I thank you Mr. President, because your actions have united the citizens, we don’t just belong to X or Y political party or even no political party.

I thank you for your domestic version of the CICIH in which you galvanized even more people into joining our movement. I thank your advisers for the false declarations aimed at peaceful protests which resulted in even more eyes opening and made us more alert. The outraged citizens now work towards a culture of peace and tolerance, Mr. President.

This is no longer a youth movement, now this is a movement of the citizens in the middle class with diverse ways of thinking but who have maintained a common goal which has caused us to understand each other and integrate. Mr. President the middle class has emerged in defense of the victims of the IHSS and in defense of our very nation. We have appeared in the name of justice and in the name of truth. We want results. We want the IHSS.

Thank you Mr. President because thanks to your coordination with the media and your attempts to hide the truth from us through your campaigns you have made us experts at jumping fences (unsure of this part), you have made us stronger, have made the world listen to us through our efforts to block you, you have helped us find a sense of purpose, complete with values and identities.

Thank you Mr. President because through your perception games and lack of moral values you have shown us, we the Citizens are more conscious of familial values. You, without meaning too, have contributed to large brushstrokes to the regeneration of the social tissue (social consciousness). Who’d have guessed? Thanks to you we have built trust and confidence among ourselves, so that when we fail we know who we hurt.

Thanks to your attempts to ignore and discredit us we have grown into a movement that can check and correct itself. You yourself with your “fall whoever may” campaign cannot get what we have. This appeared through Outraged Citizens. Thanks to your constant ignoring of us, of our wishes, we know that reciprocity doesn’t exist between the two of us, the citizens and the government.

Mr. President, I am very grateful to you because you have united the citizens. Our cohesion becomes greater as you make statements concerning the situation, as our protests go on longer and longer, more and more citizens join us. I am especially surprised by your ability to refuse to give credit to the public outcry.

I am also grateful to your negativity, because it gives consciousness to more people. I am going to clarify some ideas from the general public, even though you likely already know about them.

Question: Is it difficult to establish the CICIH in Honduras?

Answer: Nope, there’s four steps.
1: Hernandez appeals to the UN to help establish the CICIH.
2: The UN and the Honduran government convene to establish the terms of the CICIH. There’s already a simple model, the one in Guatemala (the CICIG)
3: Ban Ki Moon and Hernandez sign the CICIH into existence.
4: The Congress ratifies the agreement.

Question: How much would a CICIH cost?

Answer: In Honduras, nothing. It is financed by international donations.

Question: Why does the CICIH matter so much?

Answer: Because the CICIH is a solution to our institutional weakness. The IHSS scandal isn’t the illness itself, rather it is a symptom of the illness. The Illness is impunity. A CICIH is a proven weapon/medicine that can deal blows to administrative impunity, in the highest levels of a nation and inspire the people of the nation to unite and combat corruption.

Source: http://www.tiempo.hn/amobi/Items/view/38907

That was an amazing article! I personally think it’s the best I’ve translated to date! What an inspiring read, by an excellent writer! Let’s work to combat corruption together, by remaining aware and spreading awareness through our social media accounts! It is only one small way we can combat corruption and impunity, but by remaining aware, we can fight laziness within ourselves and inspire others to not surrender to temptation.

Together we can inspire positive change 🙂 Stay Informed and Stay Positive!

A Translation of an Honest Amazing Article on Juan Orlando and the Protests rocking the country