monthly news magazine for
Roatan, Utila & Guanaja

November, 2004 Vol.2 No. 13
Calendar Style
feature story / editorial / local news / business

words and photos by Thomas Tomczyk


Bay Islands' skies buzz with sound of new jets flying to national and International destinations.

Once 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 CANATURH-Bay Islands.
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 said.

This 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 international connections.
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," she said.

Hyde 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 said.
Attracting 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 arrival.

Areopostal 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 Island.
"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.

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TO VOTE, OR NOT TO VOTE by Thomas Tomczyk

I 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.

The 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 again.
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.

In 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 did.
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 machine upgrade.
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.

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Brutal Murder of an American

American builder shot at his home, an American retiree charged with the crime

Tom 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," said Davis.
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 Bight.

A 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."
For 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 cells.
On 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.


Brad 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 children.
There 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 construction companies.

Bay 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 grass.
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.

B.I.V.: 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 rainy season?
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 the run-off?
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.

Arsenal Storms into Play-offs

Only 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.
Arsenal 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.
The 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.

by Jaime Johnston

As 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%."

Arsenal and Maraton players fight to gain control of the ball

As 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.

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They 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.

The 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.
Six 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."

Daisy 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.

Read past issues of
Bay Islands VOICE

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May 8

Vol2 No. 2

Vol2 No. 3

Vol2 No. 11

Vol2 No. 12