story / editorial
/ local news
words and photos by Thomas Tomczyk
Islands' skies buzz with sound of new jets flying to national
and International destinations.
a major United States airline is attracted to a new destination,
other major airlines don't tend to ignore that fact. Such is the
case with Roatan. Interest by other airlines has increased, following
the February announcement by Continental Airlines to fly nonstop
between Houston and Roatan starting June 12. Two months following
the announcement, representatives from two of the six largest US
airlines set foot on Roatan to begin exploring the viability of
flying to the island.
Just because representatives of US Airways and American Airlines
have gone to the length of coming to Roatan in April doesn't mean
the two major airlines will automatically select the island as a
new destination. Airlines start with a list of 10-15 possible new
destinations and then narrow those down based on information gathered.
The reason these major airlines are interested in Roatan is, in
large part, a reflection of the island's ability to successfully
grow as a cruise ship destination. "Within the last five years,
I have seen a huge increase in tourism here," said Collette
Hyde, former manager of the Roatan airport. "The exposure comes
from the cruise ships. As the island keeps growing, there is a need
for more flights." At least one local business owner agreed.
"The cruise ship industry is bringing us so many repeat customers
that the airlines began to notice," said Romeo Silvestri of
All the attention is not based entirely upon the cruise ships that
dock here regularly. "US Airways said to me that they have
the ability to see what all the US carriers are doing, but since
there's not a US airline flying here, it's unknown territory,"
Hyde said. "Now with Continental, they [US Airways and other
airlines] will be able to watch the passenger flow." According
to Hyde, many airline carriers adopt a "copy cat" method
for deciding on new destinations, following in the footsteps of
other carriers if success is achieved.
Carriers take time to decide a new destination. The process typically
takes between 18 months to five years. For example, according to
Hyde, Continental requested passenger statistics from Roatan's airport
in December, 2002. Airlines begin with exploratory meetings. Representatives
visit the region to obtain facts, check the status of the airport
and talk to key business owners and community leaders. According
to Hyde, the airport is ready to handle major airlines. The airport
is ranked "Category 7," meaning its runway can handle
the Triple-7, one of the largest commercial aircrafts, Hyde said.
The key is the local fire department because the category is based
to a large extent on the number of fire department personnel.
The Roatan airport is also undergoing changes. The airport plans
to expand to allow new office areas and increase counter space.
According to Hyde, the approximate Lps. 1,000,000 project will be
funded by Inter Airports, the concession that signed a 20-year contract
in 2001 with the Roatan airport.
Roatan has a ways to go before the arrival of more big name airlines
to join Continental. According to Ricardo Martinez, president of
the former Sol Air, now called Air Honduras, the biggest drawback
now facing Roatan in attracting more carriers is room capacity.
"We need four or five-star hotels in Roatan first," Martinez
boom in Roatan's airline interest has been steady since the first
days of air transit on the island. The beginning was simple, but
exemplified the spirit of Roatan's first aviation days. In 1964,
LANSA (Lineas Aereas Nacionales S.A.) started service between Roatan
and La Ceiba using a three-seater Cessna 180. A one-way ticket back
then was 12 Lempiras and 82 centavos. The company was begun by an
American, Bill Earle. "At first, we had to move horses and
cows so the airplane could find a place to land," said Mr.
Sam Grant, Roatan sales agent for LANSA for over 24 years. "Sometimes,
we had to start the engine by hand, when the battery was dead."
LANSA concentrated on flights within Honduras and eventually, in
1988, was put out of business by Isleña.
When Roatan's Jose Manuel Galvez airport was paved in 1982, SAHSA
(Servicio Aerio Hondureño S.A.) began operating the island's
first international routes. A 737 flew three weekly flights to the
US: New Orleans, Houston and Miami. In 1995, TACA took over SAHSA's
Atlantic, an airline begun in 1999 by a Peruvian, Louis Arevalo,
has seen its passenger traffic grow leaps and bounds. "When
we had eight passengers on a flight in 2002, that was a lot,"
said Mr. Mario Siguenza, Atlantic's ticket agent on Roatan. Siguenza
started as a SAHSA office hand in 1970 and worked for the company
until 1989. Siguenza then worked for 13 years as a SOSA manager
and, in 2002, went to Atlantic.
In 2003, Atlantic flew 34,650 passengers between Roatan and the
mainland. Now, the airline has purchased two Boeing 737's to begin
flights from San Pedro to Cancun, Mexico, to San Jose, Costa Rica
and to Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Now flying at 98% seat capacity, Continental decided to upgrade
their Roatan-Houston planes to 737-800's, and, starting November
8, will offer two Saturday flights between the two cities. With
the addition of Roatan, Continental now services all the top-10
dive destinations in the Caribbean on a scheduled or charter basis.
Continental joined TACA and Air Honduras as the other two airline
carriers operating direct flights between the Bay Islands and the
US. Alitalia (Euroair) is the single European carrier to fly directly
to Roatan, but European connections thru Cayman Islands, Guatemala
City and Costa Rica are an alternative for European travelers trying
to avoid the expensive and bureaucratic transit through the US.
The Italian airline flies on Fridays from Milan to Roatan. The return
flight of the 330 Airbus stops in Cancun before landing in Milan.
TACA offers direct flights on the Airbus 320 with room for 150 passengers
from Houston and Miami to Roatan. The Houston flight arrives Saturday
and departs the same day. On Sunday, the airline operates a flight
to and from Miami. Business is good. "The TACA flights are
full," Hyde said. The question now looming before TACA is how
much business will Continental lure away from its Houston flight.
According to Hyde, TACA should remain solid overall because the
airline provides US tourists with other options. TACA owns Isleña,
an airline company that flies between Roatan and the mainland. TACA
flies daily to San Pedro Sula and, from there, travelers catch a
connecting flight on Isleña to Roatan without having to re-check
their baggage. "That's one of the benefits of flying with TACA,"
concurred. She likened the relationship between airline carriers
and hotels as a 'Catch-22.' "Major airlines are tied directly
to hotel capacity, but to bring in an airline in you need hotel
rooms. Yet to attract hotels, you need major airlines," she
airline carriers to a new region doesn't solely depend on the number
of rooms. The quality of the rooms and number of private houses
also factors into the equation. Airlines want to know how many flights
are presently offered and the number of passengers arriving and
departing. According to Hyde, 33,484 passengers departed from the
Roatan airport destined directly for an international airport in
2003. So far this year, 10,507 passengers have done the same. She
explained the actual numbers of passengers departing the country
from Roatan is more difficult to record because many travelers first
go to San Pedro Sula before departing Honduras on an airline.
Further research is conducted by the carriers to determine whether
the economy within the region is growing. This is done by investigating
the types of construction projects underway, as well as past projects
completed. Construction cost estimates provide valuable information.
Airlines also research whether the region has a marketing plan and
a central tourism association. Development potential plays a huge
factor and profitability must be feasible. Many airline companies
seek cooperative marketing, such as when local businesses guarantee
a certain number of seats per flight.
Because Roatan is not a well-known hotspot, it is both blessed and
cursed. The fact that it is hard to reach increases its allure to
a growing tourist population interested in such travel destinations.
"You can go to Europe for the same price as going to Roatan,
but Roatan is relatively undiscovered - yet, it still has all the
accommodations that you could want," Hyde said, "Americans
want to rough it, but they want to rough it with air conditioning."
While the island retains the off-the-beaten-track ambience, it also
struggles for that same reason because it will take more time for
airline companies to explore the viability of making it a new destination.
The process is lengthened because answers to questions are harder
to find. Roatan Mayor Jerry Hynds recently explained to US Airways
representatives that the difficulty in securing reliable data on
the island has become a problem because of rapid changes. "It
has all changed so much in the last two years," he said. For
example, many have tried to guess the population of the island,
but the numbers vary considerably.
Another obstacle in Roatan attracting more international airlines
and flights lies with the island's poor infrastructure. In case
of an accident, the airlines depend on trained fire and rescue units
and easily accessible hospital facilities. Roatan hospital lacks
the bed capacity to handle a major airline accident. But, according
to Rosa Silvestri de Morris of the Bay Islands Chamber of Commerce,
a new 50 bed Hospital in Dixon Cove is being planned.
Another question that Roatan faces in the attempt to spark additional
interest is explaining the history of TAN SAHSA, an airline carrier
that once offered flights between Roatan and Houston. Apparently,
the airline's failure to continue its service was not due to the
lack of people wanting to fly to Roatan. According to an Associated
Press report, TAN SAHSA ceased services in 1992 and filed for bankruptcy
after an aircraft crash near Tegucigalpa killed 130 people. The
history leaves a black mark on because whenever an airline leaves
a destination, it is a warning to other airlines and can injure
the reputation of a destination.
Despite such hardships, Roatan has an ace up its sleeve in the game
to attract airline carriers. The Caribbean is a new hotspot for
vacationing tourists. The region has been relatively stable in the
last five years, and that, in turn, has provided the area with a
growing number of tourists trying to avoid regions affected by wars
and terrorists. Plus, the Caribbean market did not suffer as the
result of 9/11. That has helped paved the way for Continental's
of Venezuela took over Sol Air in July and renamed it Air Honduras.
Air Honduras does not directly compete directly with Continental.
That fact alone has made the smaller carrier look forward to the
arrival of the major airline at the Roatan airport. "I think
it [Continental] will be very good for our country," said Martinez.
He failed to add that if Continental is successful, it could lead
to more business for the smaller carrier because word would spread
about the island. In other words: free advertising.
Air Honduras offers service between Miami and Roatan on a 737 with
130 passenger capacity. The flight departs Miami on Friday and returns
on Saturday. According to Hyde, the flights are normally about half
full. "It's hard for a startup airline," she said. Air
Honduras has had many schedule changes. "That's the biggest
complaint that I have heard from passengers." Air Honduras,
in its incarnation as Sol Air, had to cancel flights. The carrier's
flight between Dallas and Roatan was canceled in September 2003.
According to Martinez, Sol Air canceled the Dallas flight because
of a pending agreement with Anthony's Key, CocoView and Fantasy
Island. The three resorts were helping support the company through
cooperative marketing and guaranteed seats, but the agreement could
not be reached based on the amount of support requested. "Without
support, we couldn't continue," Martinez said.
The cancellation left several local business owners somewhat bitter.
"We had to reroute people when the flight was canceled,"
said Samir Galindo, manager of Anthony's Key Resort. "It was
a big expense," said Galindo, as roughly 80 people had to find
alternative flights to Roatan. The resort had guaranteed Sol Air
between 25-30 seats per flight to help share costs. "Pretty
much all we can say is that Sol Air ended up canceling because they
said that they couldn't get enough people on the flight. I am pretty
sure they were embarrassed about the whole thing." According
to Galindo, Sol Air's future plans had a negative impact. "I
really think Sol Air's forecast wasn't so good. They put a lot of
money into going to other places. They took on too much. Sol Air
wanted to go to Nicaragua and El Salvador."
However, with the arrival of Continental, more interest in Roatan
has followed. Tour operators from Spain were scheduled to hold a
mini-fair to determine the present resort status on the island in
April. It was canceled and rescheduled, but the fact that it was
to be held is an indication that the interest in Roatan is not exclusive
to the US; Europe is also keeping an eye on Roatan.
At the beginning on 2004, CANATURH-BI and local government members
met with three representatives of United Airlines to discuss the
possibility of opening a direct flight between the US and Roatan.
Also American Airlines is considering non-stop service to Roatan
from their hub in Dallas-Fort Worth. They are considering two days
per week (one weekend day, one weekday, with morning departure from
DFW, return service to DFW in the afternoon.) Now a Canadian carrier,
Air Transat, is considering a weekly charter between Toronto and
Roatan, with the majority of the passengers destined for Fantasy
"We are excited," Hyde said. "Any time a new carrier
comes to a new destination, especially an American airline, there
will be a lot more business, a lot more movement. Americans are
very loyal to their own flight carriers and to what they know. Brands
to them are very important. Most Americans also feel pretty secure
about the [aircraft] maintenance conducted by the US-based airline
carriers," Hyde said. Despite these facts, the bottom line
is money. "Everybody looks for a bargain, and everybody wants
the most convenient connection times," Hyde said. Perhaps the
best news to reach the ears of customers about the interest sparked
in Roatan by major airlines is the possibility for flights here
to become more affordable.
story / editorial
/ local news
______________back to top
TO VOTE, OR NOT TO VOTE by Thomas Tomczyk
will not be voting in the US presidential elections. Fear of 'the
wrong candidate' just isn't enough to get me to a polling station.
common opinion is that the 50% of Americans that don't vote abstain
because they are lazy or just don't care. Well America, the truth
is different; many of them don't vote because they feel disenfranchised
and unrepresented by either party. They just don't see the point
of choosing between two left-over presidential candidates.
Out of the 200 million eligible voters, only 51% voted in the last
presidential elections. Perhaps if the frequency of voters fell
to 30% the system would come under scrutiny. The security threat
of 9/11 was significant enough to study and revamp the structure
of the US security agencies; the only way that the US could look
at analyzing and changing its election system is if a big jolt happened
If I had one wish, it would be that the 2004 elections be even more
chaotic and burlesque than they were four years ago. The quagmire
of 1876 and 2004 is just a matter of time.
The 214-year-old democracy is exactly that: ancient and out of date.
Constitutional amendments have taken of the excluded voter majority:
men without property, then black men, and, even later, women got
their voting rights. But there are basic flaws in distributing the
votes and this continues to be overlooked.
The winner-takes-all election system hasn't changed in the US since
the 1700's. This Anglo-Saxon election system has been abandoned
by most commonwealth countries. Australia, South Africa and New
Zealand have switched to the proportional voting and run-off elections.
Maurice Duverger, a French sociologist, in the 1950's discovered
a principle which asserts that a first-past-the-post election system
naturally leads to a two-part system. There will never be a viable
third party if this system is not changed.
The lack of run-off elections in the US has made that country a
dictatorship of two parties. The voters are paralyzed by the possibility
of voting their conscience and having another a candidate "steal
an election." For many voters participation in the US presidential
elections are based not on choice, but on fear.
The electoral votes of each state are won by one candidate. Only
two states have decided to proportionally split the Electoral College
vote: Nebraska and Maine. Colorado put the matter on this year's
ballot. The proportional splitting of electoral collage votes is
key if the US is to become a de facto democracy.
2000, the machines were accused of hindering the American democratic
process. The government's solution: a better voting machine was
to rescue the democratic due process in the US. There were many
voices to improve the voting machines, as if technology was to rescue
the American democracy. I don't remember a single discussion about
the wisdom or implications of giving all 25 electoral votes to one
candidate with less then 50% of the Florida vote. I know of no other
democracy that would allow an election robbery, as the Americans
While Americans are willing to die for Iraqi democracy, they preferred
to stay at home and watch themselves being robbed of their rights
in 2000. I lost all remaining respect for gun-owning Americans as
they let themselves be robbed in daylight and in slow motion by
the Supreme Court. Where were they and their democracy-defending
firearms when the Supreme Court overturned Florida court rulings
and made a travesty of democratic process?
Paradoxically, the Afghanis and Iraqis who apparently care less
about their democracy than the Americans, who are willing to die
for theirs, cared enough to have run-off elections, not winner-takes-all
elections set up. What Afghanistan and Iraq now have, America hasn't
managed to achieve.
Fortunately for Republicans and Democrats, few Americans know, and
even fewer understand their election system. Americans would have
a revolution if they had to choose between only two types of beer
at the store, yet they don't even fathom the idea of being able
to choose between more than two presidential candidates. The introduction
of instant run-off or proportional voting would spell the end of
the two-party rule and potentially undermine their very existence.
That is not what either party wants, and they would go to great
lengths to ignore the issue of election reform, reducing it to voting
Some people try to excuse this as "not a perfect system, but
the best system we can have." I say: "The system is flawed
beyond the point that makes it undemocratic." The system is
so flawed that it reminds me of a Roatan taxi. Just because it is
rolling on four wheels, is it still a car? Well, not really.
story / editorial
/ local news
Murder of an American
builder shot at his home, an American retiree charged with the
Matulas, 62, a builder/developer who spent over 20 years on Roatan,
was shot at his Milton Bight home. After hours of surgery, he
died at Jackie Wood Medical Clinic.
On the rainy, dark and thunderous morning of Monday, October 4,
Matulas was shot while watching TV. Around 5:30am, an assailant
fired a single pistol shot through the screen window. The bullet
entered the base of Matulas' skull and exited through the nose/mouth
causing major internal damage.
Matulas turned off the television set, took his umbrella, daily
planner, locked the front door and walked out. He then walked
150 yards to the house of his neighbor, Bob Kable.
"We heard a shot and twenty minutes later Tom came in,"
said Kable. Bleeding heavily and unable to speak, Matulas handwrote
a note which read: 'I was sitting in my chair. I got struck by
lightning in the back of my head.' Kable drove Matulas to Jackie
Wood Medical Clinic.
On October 8, Don Davis, 73, an American retiree and Roatan resident
for five years, was taken into custody. "Heads up, 17 guys
with machine guns in my yard and my dogs were going crazy,"
Two local women waiting at a bus stop placed Davis in the vicinity
at the time of the crime. For the past five years, Matulas and
Davis were involved in a dispute over a 38-acre property in Milton
bullet and shell casing found on the crime scene are presumed
to be 9mm (prior to forensic examination) and don't match any
of the three firearms Davis claims to own: a .38 revolver, .25
automatic and .32 automatic. "I don't know what happened.
I wasn't there. I'm a night person and I never get up before 8am,"
said Davis, "He [Matulas] was a good neighbor. We weren't
social friends. We had mutual interests."
two weeks, Davis has been confined to the premises of the Roatan
police station, but he has not been placed in the any of the jail's
October 22, Davis was arraigned in front of a Roatan judge and
will remain under house arrest until the trial. An American Embassy
consul was present during the proceedings.
Matulas' home was burglarized several times prior to his murder.
In August, two armed men broke into his home, blindfolded, tied-up
and robbed him of several thousand dollars. Matulas took no apparent
precautions after these incidents. He had no watchman, no guard
dog. He didn't own a fire arm.
"Tom was a guy that ranted and raved, but never had a gun,"
said Douglas Thorkelson, a friend of the victim. "Tom had
a very small world that he lived in. He was quiet. You either
liked him or you didn't."
Matulas has been involved in purchasing and selling land and the
construction of several homes on Roatan. "He didn't listen
to anybody. It went from petty theft to robbery, assault, armed
robbery and this," said Kable.
Matulas' body has been flown to the US and a family member arrived
on Roatan to take care of personal matters.
OF THE NINTH
Warren, 43, comes from Southern California where, for 11 years,
he had a career as a motivational speaker. "I realized that
attitude is everything and I got tired of being broke," said
Warren. In 1999, he participated in several mission trips bringing
help to children in Kosovo, Ukraine and Russia. After two diving
trips and a honeymoon on Roatan, Warren decided to come permanently
to the island. In 2000, he founded "Child Sponsorship International,"
a non-profit orphanage in Sandy Bay. The Warrens sold just about
everything to fund their dream project, "We kept our wedding
rings and an '89 Mustang."
On a 2.5 acre site, the organization built a 16,000 sq. ft. housing
and school compound. The facility will eventually house 25 orphaned
are now five staff members who all pay to have the opportunity
to work at the orphanage.."
On a 2.5 acre site, the organization built a 16,000 sq. ft. housing
and school compound. The facility will eventually house 25 orphaned
children. There are now five staff members who all pay to have
the opportunity to work at the orphanage.
The orphanage offers 67 sponsorships at the Methodist Bilingual
School in Coxen Hole and three at the Luisa Trudle Secretary's
School. At the same time, the non-profit organization is involved
in distributing clothes to 400 Roatan families and offering free
dental and health care to local children during visits of volunteer
dental and medical professionals.
In the process of creating an orphanage, Warren undertook the
project that now looks like one of the larger construction projects
the Bay Islands have ever seen. He decided to construct an island
field of dreams: a baseball field that would serve as a place
to play little league ball, to learn social skills and create
order in the lives of orphans and local kids. Comparable in scale
with the Corosal garbage dump, sewage treatment plant and cruise
ship dock, the 400' "professional quality" baseball
field had to deal with steep terrain, long rainy seasons and already-overworked
Islands VOICE: So, what did you do with the money
Bill Gates' wife gave you?
Brad Warren: I'm still looking for it. [smiling]
We have so many bank accounts that we are still looking
for it. But, seriously, two years ago someone told me Bill
Gates was here on his boat and wrote us a check for a million
dollars. I'm still looking for it.
B.I.V.: How do you support the orphanage?
B.W.: It's all private donors: Christians and even
non-Christians that believe in our work that the Lord is
doing here. They are through one-time donations, fundraisers.
B.I.V.: What kind of revenue did you - "Child
Sponsorship International"- have in 2003?
B.W.: Cash - $250,000. That's not counting supplies,
medicines, etc. In the total project, we probably invested
around a million dollars. (
) That [26' high, 200'
long retaining] wall right there to-date cost us $124,000
already and we're not finished. This is just in the concrete
work. Mayor Jerry Hynds asked us for a baseball field. And
we're going to construct a professional quality baseball
field. Left field line is 315', right field is 295', center
is about 400'. We're talking high grade Bermuda baseball
B.I.V.: How soon will the field be finished?
B.W.: We have the rainy season coming and we can't
plant the seed right now, or it would get washed off. I
would like to be able to plant in March. We have a guy,
one of our supporters, coming in who designs baseball fields
for a living to make sure everything is just perfect. (
We're meeting with Minnesota Twins in November. (
We've got the little league association that wants to get
behind us and they will sanction a team for us.
One of the more evident side effects of building the field
was the run-off water from the two rain seasons onto the
nearby beach and reef. Is this going to happen again this
B.W.: No, because the field now is graded, leveled.
We have invested $175,000 for concrete walls to stop run-off.
B.I.V.: Did you have neighbors talk to you about
B.W.: Yes. We did absolutely everything that we could.
Bulldozers would break on us. There were equipment problems.
I've spent thousands of dollars to erect temporary walls
to limit run-off. Every time it would rain, my stomach would
get sick. We did the best that we could.
B.I.V.: How do you find the kids for the orphanage?
B.W.: We are registered with INFA, the governing
body for orphanages in Honduras. They make us aware of the
need. They are mostly from Roatan, except for a special-needs
girl from Tela. She was a special situation. We've heard
about a girl with Down 's syndrome living in a chicken coop
and it was very clear we needed to do something about that.
) Our focus here is to provide a loving Christian
home for kids to be raised in. We want them to get a good
solid foundation in character, Christ and education, so
they can go ahead and, as a young adult, give back to the
country that they are from. They can run for mayor; they
can run for president, be a doctor, be a school teacher.
We don't classify ourselves as an institution, we're a home.
Storms into Play-offs
minutes into the second half, Marathon's Orlin Soliz scored from
right field to tie the game. The goal revived Marathon, who had
played a lifeless first half. After the goal, two players, including
Arsenal midfielder Steven Martinez, were ejected after rough play.
As Arsenal's sharp offense faded, Marathon gained momentum and scored
a go-ahead goal. Kevin Sambula kicked in a soft shot which rolled
through the fingers of Arsenal goaltender, Benito Moreila; Marathon
now led 2-1. "It was hard for the team to lose Steven because
he is a fundamental player for us," said Miguel Mariano who
was a substitution for Arsenal in the second half, "But, we
knew we had to win or we were done, so we kept going."
It was Mariano who then tied the game with an Arsenal goal through
traffic in front of Marathon's net.
came alive and followed the goal with a charged offense and several
scrambled attempts to score the winning goal.
Their tenacity paid off in the form of a second penalty shot, again
taken by Carlos Martinez. The crowd celebrated even before the ball
sailed past Marathon's goaltender; Martinez scored to put Arsenal
ahead 3-2. Fans climbed up and rattled the field's fences; team
members jumped and ran length of the field.
band wildly pounded their drums; the crowd erupted in cheers. Television
and radio commentators were left to direct their microphones toward
the stands, letting the celebratory audio of the Coxen Hole field
tell the story to their audience. The festivities continued as time
was called and center field was stormed by crowds of fans and the
over-emotional Marathon coach. The party began - Arsenal had become
the first Bay Islands team to enter the Division II playoffs.
"Our late substitutions were definitely important to this game.
One of them scored the tie goal and the other forced the final penalty
shot," said Norales, who now looks ahead to their next match-up.
According to Norales, Arsenal will face Villo Nueva to begin the
2004 playoffs and will play two games in order to classify themselves
within their division. Norales cites players' conditioning as key
to success in the postseason.
Arsenal, only in their second year in Division II, finished the
season in second place, only one point behind Social de Sol. "To
be in the playoffs after only two years is very important to us.
It brings exposure to the team; all of our effort is reflected in
our record," said Arsenal owner Leland Woods.
French Cay faced America Marathon on October 24, hundreds of fans
from across Roatan came to support their team's quest to make island
history. It came down to this one final game for Arsenal. A loss
would mean an end to their season; a victory would secure the team
their first playoff berth in Division II.
Arsenal hosted the San Juan Pueblo team in Coxen Hole in the last
game of the regular season. Both teams were playing to keep their
seasons alive. However, a victory for America Marathon was only
half of their struggle; even if they could beat Arsenal, they still
needed a division rival to lose their game on the mainland in order
to advance. Both previous meetings between the two teams had resulted
in Arsenal victory. "We knew that, physically and mentally,
this would be a tough game," said Arsenal coach Pascual Norales,
"We knew we had to force ourselves to play more than 100%."
and Maraton players fight to gain control of the ball
the match began, the bleachers were crowded with Arsenal followers
and the drums of a fan band sounded across the field. Arsenal opened
with a quick pace and sharp passing, but failed to capitalize on
their scoring opportunities. Midway through the first half, Arsenal
was awarded a penalty shot. Captain Carlos Martinez took the shot,
netting the ball past Marathon's goaltender for the first goal of
the game. Fans rewarded his efforts with cheers and chants of "Otra
vez", as Arsenal took a 1-0 lead.
story / editorial
/ local news
Call Me "La Jugera" by Thomas Tomczyk
Sometimes a monopoly can taste sweet, and, as
far as Bay Islands go, there is no sweeter tasting monopoly than
the sugar cane juice stand in Dixon Cove.
key to the business' success is the metal juice squeezer bought
seven years ago for Lps. 7,000. Simplicity has been another key
to their success. "La jugera" is not dependent on RECO;
there isn't a building to take care of. Simple blue canvas keeps
the rain and sun away. Even the bees seem to be cooperating, as
they swarm around the juice squeezer and discarded cane. "The
bees don't bite her. The bees love her," said James Allen,
a customer from West End.
days a week, Gonzales rolls in her manual juice squeezer and brings
out her cooler to open for business at 8am. Before it can be squeezed,
each cane is cleaned and scraped with a long knife. The grass plant
is then cut into one-meter long pieces.
The sugar cane is squeezed by pushing it through a metal roller
machine. One squeeze forces the sweet juice out and into a metal
bucket covered with cotton cloth to filter dirt. The golden-colored
juice is then poured into transparent bags that are tied around
a drinking straw. One sugar cane stick = one bag of juice.
Gonzalez buys her 1,400 plastic straws and plastic bags at Warrens
in Coxen Hole. It is critical to keep the sugar cane juice at low
temperature. "La jugera" buys seven bags of ice every
day to keep the juice cool.
Manuel de Jesus Garcia, 22, is the business' other employee. He
spends the day cleaning the sugar cane and, twice daily, he pushes
a wheelbarrow 400 meters from the cane storage area to the juice
stand. Each morning, two buckets of squeezed sugar cane are picked-up
by the trash truck.
There is a taxi stopping to buy juice every five minutes. Sometimes
the driver expects a drive-in service. He just stops the vehicle
on the road and Daisy braves the traffic to bring them a bag of
the 350 ml, Lps. 7 juice bag.
The stand can sell as many as 170 bags of juice drinks during hot
summer days and, when it is cold and rainy, sales slump to 70. Most
customers are regulars and Gonzalez admits that islanders "do
love sugar cane juice."
Gonzales, 30, and her husband Ramon Rodas are the owners of the
landmark roadside juice stand in Dixon Cove, Roatan. Gonzales
was born in Petoa and moved to Roatan nine years ago. She has
been at her Dixon Cove street side location for almost a year;
before that, she sold sugar cane juice further up the highway
for three years.
"I feel good working. I like doing this," said Gonzales.
Every Tuesday, she picks up the 700 sugar canes needed for her
week's business from a La Ceiba transport boat.