story / editorial
The Dark Side of Lobster by
Kate Zana Burton
populations, falling profits, and a discarded workforce
off the boat, a young Miskito diver displays his treasure
that come to be known as 'red gold.' The industry has very
strict guidelines about the size of lobster that can be
exported out of Honduras and if the body doesn't measure
at least five and a half inches from neck to tail, it won't
be accepted by the processing plant. Often the boat captains
allow the men to take home any lobsters that don't make
lobster industry has taken a serious blow this past year.
As demand from the United States has dropped, Honduran lobster
prices have plummeted from 340 Lps. a pound to a meager
190 Lps. in the last six months alone. As the season finally
comes to a close after eight months of trawling the banks
off the north coast of La Mosquitia, Shawn Hyde, the managing
director of Mariscos Hybur, one of Roatan's three processing
plants, has time to reflect on one of the worst seasons
in the past two decades. "There certainly was a crisis
last year with the demand dropping right off in the States.
I've only done thirty per cent of what I would normally
do in a season."
For people living off lobster, falling prices are only part
of the problem. Over the past decade the lobster population
in Honduran waters has been steadily decreasing. Lobster
boat owners have been struggling to even cover the costs
of sending their boats out for the twelve day trips out
to the lobster banks.
Duane McNab, a lobster dive boat owner from Oak Ridge decided
to bring his boat in to dock even before the season ended
on February 28. "I literally made $1,000 on the last
trip after all the costs were covered. It's not worth it
for me, so I didn't do any trips after October." McNab's
boat has been sitting in dock for the past five months.
Lobster fishing is Honduras is at a breakpoint. Neither
boat owners, nor parking plants have been making money and
the boat captains have been feeling growing pressure to
bring in even more lobster to compensate for the fall in
The effects of this now vulnerable industry are not only
limited to the Bay Islands. The lobster industry impact
stretches right across the northern coast of Honduras and
is especially important in La Mosquitia.
The Miskito lobster divers have taken the hardest hit, for
they now make only 40 lempira a pound for the product they
harvest, an almost a 50% drop.
is lowered into the water by his workmate, a doryman -- the
canoe man who accompanies each diver on the lobster fishing
banks. For patients who suffer bends, swimming therapy is
encouraged to increase blood circulation and muscle use. On
Roatan, a doctor can direct the therapy, but once he returns
back to La Mosktia, Savallo will likely be without further
the 2008-2009 season, 67 Honduran lobster boats used Miskito
divers to bring up their catch. Some boat owners prefer lobster
diving to trapping, even though trapping is the safer alternative.
According to Hyde, ninety percent of Roatan dive boats have
switched to lobster traps, and Hyde says "it is more
profitable in the long run to be trapping lobsters."
Outfitting the boats with traps is a significant investment.
Lobster diving in Honduras functions in the gray area on international
fishing laws. The Honduran government and international organizations
have been trying for years to phase out diving for lobster
and offer employment alternatives to La Mosquitia divers.
The industry employs around 3,400 divers from the Honduran
coast. Without the money brought in from diving, the families
and communities have few alternatives for income. In La Mosquitia,
unemployment is rife and for many of the residents of the
isolated villages sparsely dotted along the coastal lagoons,
living from the sea is just about all they know.
Commercial lobster diving is not the safe recreational diving
Bay Islanders are used to seeing. Unlike recreational divers,
who don't typically dive more often than three times a day
to depths of perhaps 90 feet, the Miskito divers routinely
dive up to 14 times a day to depths of anywhere between 90
and a 140 feet. The lobsters found in the safety of the shallows
have long disappeared.
The impact of these repetitive dives is devastating. The diver's
bodies become super saturated with nitrogen which turns into
bubbles during their numerous ascents, causing decompression
sickness, more commonly known as the bends. Left untreated,
the bends can lead to injury, paralysis and, in severe cases,
According to AMBHLI (Association of Disabled Divers in La
Mosquitia), since 1986, 360 men have lost their lives as a
direct result of industrial lobster diving, and over 1600
have been left disabled or paralyzed. Unable to work, many
lose their families and homes, and are left to fend for themselves,
relying on sporadic volunteer donations from churches or neighbors.
divers step off the 'lancha' that has brought them to
land from the mother boat. After twelve days at sea living
in cramped bunks, these Miskito divers have returned without
major injury. For every known case of decompression sickness,
there are many other undocumented cases. Type I bends
causes mainly pain that can be confused as muscular stress
from lifting heavy tanks. Sometimes the divers don't want
to admit to being injured as it could hinder their chances
of being allowed to dive with the same boat again.
disabled ex lobster diver looks on from his bed. He has spent
almost 20 years lying on his stomach and has difficulty clearing
story / editorial
/ local new s
______________back to top
by Thomas Tomczyk
can we communicate across language lines if we don't have
words that match our feelings?
is sometime the problem in the Bay Islands. Here, we live
in a society that is divided linguistically and culturally.
One major gap between us is our inability to describe ourselves
in universal terms that have the same meaning in English,
Honduran-Spanish, and Garifuna.
One day, speaking in Spanish, I found myself trying to explain
to a Honduran-islander what motivated the people to enrich
themselves at the cost of damaging the environment, a collective
patrimony of this society. I found myself looking for a
word that best described this... and I could not find it.
I was looking for the Spanish equivalent for "greed."
(Greed: A selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed
or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other
possessions.) My Honduran friend didn't understand my attempt
at describing the concept either. It was as if the concept
of "greed" didn't exist for him.
greed, fear and conformity are three elements of human psychology
that dictate all human behavior. Fear- "miedo,"
and conformity- "conformidad" exists in the fairly
common Spanish- Honduran vocabulary. The closest word sometime
used by Honduran-Spanish to greed is "avaricia,"
better translated as avarice, or "jodeoso," better
translated as stingy.
The fact that such an important concept doest exist in one
word, but has to be described, is particularly disturbing
as greed is all around us. The reason for the current world
financial crisis can be described with two words: unchallenged
greed. In Honduras, like in most societies, people are driven
by greed and conformity. They desire material things: new
cars, 600 dollar cell phones, super fast boats. They surround
themselves with material things as a mark of their status
and success. As long as these things were not stolen, the
society justifies them.
Living on this island people use different vocabularies
and words to describe their reality and challenges around
them. Their failure to communicate comes from both a lack
of words and lack of effort. On Roatan, there are English
speakers who after decades living here don't know but a
few words of Spanish. There are Spanish speakers who after
20 years on the islands don't speak a word of English.
These societies live parallel lives, unable to breach the
boundaries of relating to each other beyond a superficial
"need something" basis. Needs of water, medical
attention, work, are often the limits of conversations between
them. Without a common language, or a common vocabulary,
different linguistic groups on Bay Islands are unable to
at length discuss their aspirations.
A person unable to name his ailment is unable to correct
it. A society that doesn't live in an understanding of basic
mechanisms that drive it is not in tune with itself. That
society cannot understand itself, nor make changes, corrections
to its own condition.
George Orwell's book '1984' the main character is employed
in the 'Ministry of Truth.' He works for the state creating
'newspeak', editing words out and substituting them with
simple terms, removing all shades of meaning from language.
Concepts that the State decided should no longer be used
are erased from books and old newspapers. Words such as
science, democracy, empathy are erased from conscious
and immediate vocabulary. For citizens of the State these
emotions still exist, but cannot be easily described and
a growing number of emotions can only be described by
a collection of words creating a language whose vocabulary
becomes smaller every year.
The premise of this policy was that people that have no
words to describe how they feel cannot aspire to rebel
against their condition, they can't even describe what
is missing from their lives. Concepts without specific
words to describe them don't exist in the immediate psyche
of a person.
story / editorial
/ local news
Powers Up by Jay Chub
Power Provides Tangible Benefits while Fostering Good-Will and Partnerships
In 2004, a group of local electricians invited representatives of
NECA's Mexican chapter to Roatan to share their experience in meeting
the demands of the rapidly growing market in Mexico. With backing
and support from the Mexican group and guidance from NECA's international
office, ACEH was founded and chartered as a NECA chapter in 2006.
Since then, the group has committed to an ambitious agenda of activities
including a formal training program, travel to international conferences,
and local volunteer projects.
do projects like this one to educate ourselves, promote our skills
to developers, and to benefit the community", says Connor.
"Our first project involved a wiring upgrade for an orphanage
in La Ceiba after an electrical fire killed a child." The group
then re-wired the day care center in Coxen Hole, and the French
Harbour public health clinic in addition to helping with Clinica
Esperanza in Sandy Bay.
"Most of the electrical work that has been done on the island
was done by unqualified people lacking knowledge and the right equipment",
says Connor. "But through our relationship with NECA we're
now being trained to work to internationally recognized standards.
Connor says that developers often underestimate the skills of local
contractors when planning projects. "We hope to show them what
we're capable of," he says.
"We're amped up about this!" says professor David Riley
of Pennsylvania State University. Riley brought his group of engineering
students to Roatan for the week to participate in the preparation
and installation of the solar system equipment. He agrees with Connor
about the professionalism of these local contractors. "I'm
impressed; this is no hodge-podge installation," he says.
According to Riley, adequate preparation and locally available support
for the installation is the key to its success. "Most projects
don't prepare well. They rush in, build things and leave. With ACEH
providing on going support, the project can stay local". Thorough
knowledge of local conditions emerges as a key theme in Riley's
view. "For example, Vegas Electric's experience working on
Roatan convinced us that we needed marine grade mountings. Without
that kind of knowledge the installation just wouldn't hold up."
Professor Riley says the project is great for his students. "As
teachers we spend so much time trying to get students excited. Coming
to Roatan excited them, it was so popular that we had to turn people
away". The students each paid over $2,000 for travel and expenses
and were treated to daily tours of the island with ACEH members.
"It's a great project for students to learn from, it helps
them connect to sustainable industries of the future" says
Over 30 local and international electrical contractors gathered
at Infinity Bay in early March for the annual "Cross-Border
Meeting" sponsored by NECA's ELECTRI-International foundation.
Three full days of meetings and field trips were scheduled to share
information, discuss future activities, and glean experience from
the Sandy Bay Solar project. Charles George of Vegas Electric and
ACEH says the conference is a powerful tool for developing the local
industry. "Twelve local contractors attended the activities
and they had a chance to exchange ideas with some of the most successful
electrical contractors in the US. The relationships that we develop
here will provide us guidance, mentoring, and a vision for improving
our skills and the services we offer our customers."
Orvil Anthony of San Antonio, Texas manages a division of Fisk Electric,
one of the top ten US electrical contracting firms. He first attended
a cross border conference five years ago and since then has made
exchange with Central American countries part of his company's business
model. "We take the best from what we see and apply it to our
business; then we help address any shortfalls we find in local businesses.
Our company now exchanges project managers between Guadalajara and
our home offices. There's friendship, learning, we even refer customers
If Anthony is any barometer, Roatan can expect more projects benefiting
the community in the future. "This is an exciting time. It's
our largest cross border meeting so far, and the school is the first
tangible project to come out of them. We're hoping for 4 or 5 projects
like this every year".
install solar panels on Sandy Bay Alternative School's roof.
residents recently witnessed a bee hive of activity as a 2.5 kW grid-tied
solar system, likely to be first in Honduras, was installed and commissioned
at the Sandy Bay Alternative School. This project, a collaborative
effort between the Association of Honduran Electrical Contractors
(ACEH), engineering students from Penn State University (PSU), and
the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), demonstrates
the potential for a motivated private sector to play a leadership
roll in community development.
The seed for this project was planted during the 2008 El Salvador
meeting of NECA's ELECTRI-International members. A brief conversation
between PSU's Dr. David Riley and ACEH president Charles George
led to further discussions and the ultimate fruition of the project.
"Last October, some of us attended the NECA convention in Chicago
and that's where members of the Penn State student chapter presented
their project proposal", explains ACEH member Wally Connor.
Completion of this project and commissioning of the system was timed
to coincide with NECA's annual "Cross Border" conference
held at Infinity Bay.
Fifteen thousand dollars for materials was granted to the student
chapter by the US based NECA, and over 500 hours of labor and $2,000
of materials was donated by the Roatan based ACEH members to upgrade
wiring in the school building. Eddy Zelaya, field supervisor for
Vegas Electric, coordinated the activities of the Penn State students
and ACEH members involved in the project. According to George, a
US certified solar system installer who provided the design and
equipment specifications, Vegas Electric has been involved in renewable
energy projects on Roatan since 1993.
The school expects to offset as much as 75% of their yearly energy
costs. "With power costs so high in Roatan, we've been spending
money on electricity bills that will now be going to more teachers
and books," says Miriam Hanson, school director. Hanson says
the project will be used to teach the practical value of solar power
in addition to saving dollars for the school. "The Penn State
students also came into the school and did some sessions about fossil
fuels. With all the kids knowing that our lights are now powered
by the sun, this really teaches our kids to recognize and care for
the resources we have."
"Now we're alternative not only in our education philosophy
but in energy too. We always try to promote alternative solutions
to global problems and this project teaches kids about building
international partnerships and inspires a spirit of inquiry."
Retiree Shot in Corozal
prominent Saskatoon architect is likely to be a quadriplegic
Retired architect Roger Walls, 71, from Saskatoon, Canada,
was shot on his nine-acre Corozal property on February 27.
A worker clearing Walls' land found him unresponsive in the
driver's seat of his red Mitsubishi Montero.
The worker contacted Corozal resident Elmer Bustillo, who
drove Walls to the Coxen Hole public hospital. Bustillo says
that Walls was still conscious but unable to speak due to
a gunshot wound in the neck. Reports state that legal and
personal documents were stolen from Walls, but Bustillo says
that Walls was found with around 18-19 thousand Lempiras in
Walls was flown to San Pedro Sula where a .45-calibre bullet
was removed from his spine. On March 7 Walls was transported
via air ambulance to Florida and then Saskatoon where he remains
in stable condition at an intensive care unit. Walls lost
two vertebra in his spine and is likely to be a quadriplegic.
According to Vic Walls, Roger's brother, he is improving on
Walls lived on his sail boat "Wandering Spirit"
in French Harbour since 2003. He was constructing a home on
his property in Tres Flores and had purchased several other
properties on the island. According to Julio Benitez, Bay
Islands Chief of Police, no arrests have been made.
As reported by Canadian press and according to Vic Walls,
Roger's brother, the main suspect in the shooting is a woman
who is reportedly one of three people who owes Walls money.
Over the last six years, Walls has purchased several distressed
properties on Roatan and has lent large quantities of money
to several people. Vic Walls has offered to pay for any willing
Honduran official's expenses of flying to Canada in order
to take depositions that would help in solving the case.
New Nonprofit Gets Going
25 KMI board members, guests, donors and their spouses flew
in to Roatan on a private jet on to attend a March 6 invitation-only
dinner and auction at Infinity Bay. The participants bid on
items ranging from $8,000 Diamonds International jewelry pieces
to $250,000 Lawson Rock condominiums, with part of the profits
going to KMI.
On March 7, KMI organized a community day at Gumbalimba Park,
with tickets sold to businesses then given away to local families
and children. Over 60 volunteers managed ticketing, cooking
and serving food. "I found out about KMI at the Flowers
Bay kids' party and I feel good helping", said Lisa, one
of the local volunteers. Around 200 attendees were treated to
a helicopter rides and country and western music by a Willie
Nelson tribute artist.
A week later KMI introduced the master plans for its project
to a small group of visitors, including US ambassador Hugo Lorens.
The girl's home site is next to Springfield Condominiums, whose
owner Kerwin Woods has donated a 25 year lease on land to house
It isn't always easy for KMI to work on the island. Since Child
Sponsorship International, a Sandy Bay orphanage nonprofit,
disintegrated in 2007 and is under investigation for abuse of
children and mis-use of funds, some Roatanians are skeptical
and a bit suspicious of any new nonprofits coming to the island.
"We've had to let people know that we're serious and can
be trusted", said Lenox. "We'll be posting all of
our accounts online for everyone to see as soon as we find the
KMI's CEO Joe King, a Washington lobbyist now living in Texas,
says the group has paid all its expenses out of member's personal
funds, or money raised in the US. "Every dollar raised
here (on Roatan) will stay here," King said, and Lenox
confirmed that the group won't be recouping its setup costs
from funds raised on Roatan.
Nelson tribute artist and fans.
Matter International (KMI), a faith-based US non-profit beginning
work in Roatan held three March events to raise funds and awareness
of their planned Lighthouse Home for Girls. This shelter for
girls at risk of violence and abuse is planned to be constructed
on donated land near the Springfield Condominium development
in Los Fuertes. KMI directors promise to work closely with local
community groups, churches and Honduran law-enforcement agencies.
Collin Fullilove, project director, and fellow project coordinator
Courtney Lenox, wrote the proposal for the home six months ago.
Since then the group has partnered with a range of Roatan businesses
and leaders, secured a land donation in Los Fuertes and, according
to Fullilove, has raised around $30,000 in donations.
Lorenz Meets Constituents
On March 12, US ambassador Hugo Lorenz met with US citizens
at a town hall at Coral Cay. "If we [US] can't effect
change in Mexico and Central America, we have real problems,"
told Lorenz about 30 Americans that came to meet him and ask
questions. US embassy estimates that 70,000 US citizens live
in Honduras, and 3,000 of them in the Bay Islands.
Ambassador discussed the US aid program to Honduras that began
in the 1940s and, according to Ambassador Lorenz, in 2008
amounts to $50 million spent on development projects. One
of the chief projects US is funding is the widening of the
CA5 highway from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa, and the direct
highway from San Pedro Sula to Tela.
"We don't really care if the government is left, right
or center as long as they are democratic," told the group
Ambassador Lorenz. "You have the most independent supreme
court in the country's history."
Care Comes Second as Nurses Strike by
Cruz says that many patients who would otherwise be treated
as outpatients come to the emergency ward during a strike.
"I'm obligated by oath to attend to anyone who comes,
whether there's blood or not. I'm seeing patients with colds
and coughs mixed in with potentially fatal wounds and conditions."
Gusman, 29, works as an auxiliary nurse, trained for maternity
and emergency care. Ms Gusman is one of the nurses working
in the emergency ward during the strike. "We keep working,
because the others don't have the training and knowledge",
she says. Ms Gusman sees big rises in the maternity and emergency
sections during strikes. "Our patient load goes up something
like 70%". But Gusman supports the cause of her fellow
workers. "We have the rights to do this, but we need
to reclaim them. I work harder to support striking nurses.
I don't mind. I'm used to it". Instead Ms Gusman's greatest
fear of strikes is that she may end up in one. "Gracias
Dios I'm working instead of waiting, and I'm never bored".
Argentina Alvarado spends her days waiting at the hospital
during the strike. Ms Alvarado works as a receptionist at
the hospital and agrees about the boredom. "It's boring
to be here, but it's a just cause because without these new
conditions we can't survive". Her friend Orchid Connor
is an auxiliary nurse who trained two and a half years for
her profession. "I would rather work and use my skills,
but we need to strike. I even come here on days off to support
When Trochez began work at the Roatan Hospital 15 years ago
when he says his salary was just 425 Lps. a month. He now
leads the fight to raise salaries of Roatan Hospital staff
to 15,000 Lps. For three years Trochez has served as president
of Chapter 49 of Sitramedys, the national Honduran medical
workers union. Trochez is a man clearly in charge. He takes
in the width of the room in a few large and easy strides,
crossing to chat with one or another striking worker. The
real negotiation happens in Tegucigalpa, where meetings with
the President's office and union executives resolve each strike
So the scene at Roatan hospital is one of inaction. Trochez
sums up the day's plans: "We have meetings, sit down
and do nothing until we get what we want." When asked
whether it's fair that striking workers are paid full wages
and meal benefits, Trochez's answer is clear: "Yes. It's
the only way. It's not our problem, it's the state's problem."
In a country struggling to meet basic medical needs, a culture
of negotiation through confrontation is the standard. Pressure
has taken priority over planning as striking gets results
for more than just workers' salaries. "If we're waiting
on an order of medicine to arrive we might strike to get it
here faster. If a doctor is moved away without a replacement
we'll strike. Unfortunately strikes are the only thing the
government takes seriously", says Trochez.
Trochez confirmed that although the strike runs for 24 hours
a day on the mainland, in Roatan the strike has a 'working
hours' focus. "We don't like to be on strike, we know
that it's the poorest people who suffer most because they
can't afford private medical care," said Trochez.
In eight Honduran departments 68 hospitals were on strike
in March. While the government may reach a compromise a chance
of the protests taking place again is likely. Trochez says
that the strikes are all for the same reason: to pressure
the government to follow through on commitments made during
Director Lastenia Cruz in front of an empty hospital hallway.
residents seeking medical treatment during the nurses' strike
at Roatan's public hospital were turned away by a simple yellow
and green union flag hanging on the hospital's entrance. After
the fourth strike in just six months, everybody knows what the
flag means: yet again, the nurses are on strike.
The national strike began on February 27, and at Roatan Hospital
involved over 140 staff: 43 auxiliary nurses, and cooks, guards,
statisticians, receptionists, pharmacists and laundry workers.
To at least offer emergency services, the Roatan Hospital director
Lastenia Cruz ran a skeleton staff of 14 licensed nurses supporting
the hospital's 12 doctors, who did not join the strike.
"We are canceling about 10 planned surgeries daily",
said Cruz. "We do two or three urgent surgeries daily.
There are no outpatient consultations, and people who were treated
before the strike can't return for their checkups."
The aim of the strike was to secure better work conditions,
more medicines, and better pay. "It's their [hospital worker's]
right to strike. They have the right to be paid and even fed
while they strike. If they blocked me from entering the Hospital
I would have to respect that," said Cruz who has become
accustomed to running the hospital under strike conditions.
"We operate in almost a permanent state of strike."
According to Cruz, Roatan hospital came to a halt in September,
October and November of 2008. "We're on an island, so people
are affected heavily when the hospital is hit by a strike",
says Director Cruz. "It's not like the mainland where people
have lots of clinics."
Dr Oscar Avila Cruz of Roatan Hospital stands in a deserted
corridor with eyes blackened by obvious fatigue. The corridor
joins the emergency and maternity wards and "is normally
packed with patients", says Dr Cruz. "Some days you
can barely pass by." But today just two patients sit on
long, well-worn benches that could easily hold 20 or more.
As Dr Cruz leaves the hospital after a long shift to pick up
his daughter from school, two patients call from behind curtains
and he stops to treat them. He doesn't know much about the strike,
and seems too busy or exhausted to care. "I'm not that
interested, I don't know what they're fighting for. I just hope
it's resolved soon", he says.
story / editorial
to the Bargain Island
direct regular flights should connect Roatan to Belize, Cayman Islands,
Madrid, Toronto as well as San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa
continues to offer two weekend flights between Atlanta and Roatan.
Continental also helps to fill the gap left by TACA with its five
flights to Houston and one to Newark, operating once on Thursday,
Friday, Sunday and three times on Saturday. According to Roatan
Airport manager Shawna Ebanks, Spirit Airways, currently operating
between Ft. Lauderdale and San Pedro Sula, is not likely to expand
its operations with a Fort Lauderdale to Roatan route.
Sky Service Airline has permanently settled on its direct Toronto
to Roatan route on Fridays. West Jet also operates a charter flight
between Toronto and La Ceiba once a week.
Flying from Roatan directly to Europe is becoming more of an option.
Blue Panorama charter continues to shuttle Italian holidaymakers
between Milan in Italy and Roatan. Another flight from Italy's capital
Rome is being contemplated for later this year. In May, Libero Jet,
a Spanish charter airline, is scheduled to begin direct flights
between Roatan and Madrid on Tuesdays.
Regionally, Cayman Airways is in the process of acquiring a license
for a direct flight between Cayman Islands and either Roatan or
La Ceiba. Mayan Air should begin a connection between Placencia,
Belize and Roatan on Mondays and Fridays in April. The Belize hub
should offer Roatanians connections with Miami and even Europe and
diversify the tourist connections across the region.
Improvements are even happening with national connections between
Roatan and mainland Honduras. Direct flights between Roatan and
San Pedro Sula as well as Tegucigalpa are in the works.
Rollins Air, which flew in the Bay Islands in the 1990s, has been
resurrected and is flying a Russian Yak plane between La Ceiba and
Tegucigalpa. Rollins Air has flown a couple of charter flights to
Roatan already. Central American Airways (CAA) already has a lucrative
monopoly on the business route from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa
and is looking to purchase another plane that will allow it to service
the Bay Islands.
According to Ms Ebanks an obstacle for airlines in accurately assessing
the potential of the Roatan market is that the absence of accurate
numbers of hotel rooms available on the island. According to Jorge
Marinakis, president of the National Chamber of Commerce, American
Airlines awaits construction of a 100-bed hospital on Roatan before
they will consider coming to Roatan.
Roatan Airport worker helps to bring a luggage cart from a plane to
the end of last year showed a slump in flights coming to Roatan, this
spring looks quite different. Airlines are falling over each other
to connect booming Roatan with other regional and US destinations.
In a worldwide recession, when money is scarce, Honduras is seen as
a bargain tourist destination and airline companies are taking notice.
In December 2008, Atlantic Airlines in Honduras went bankrupt and
TACA suspended their Roatan connections with Miami. Things didn't
look good for passengers trying to fly to the Bay Islands. One hundred
Cayman Islanders were stranded in La Ceiba when Atlantic discontinued
its La Ceiba to Grand Cayman flights. The bankrupt airline left dozens
of employees unpaid and passengers holding worthless ticket vouchers.
Since then things have improved quite a bit. Connections from Roatan
to the US are varied and frequent, with the notable exception being
Miami. TACA flew its last international flights between Roatan, Miami
and El Salvador in December 2008. For the first time in seven years
Roatan is without a direct connection to Miami, a major hub for Central