'Our island' a Bonacca Perspective
by Alfonso Ebanks
whole idea here is to create an environment within the new city
which will attract foreign investors who otherwise would not invest
in the host country due to political instability or other unfavorable
social factors. This new city will be completely autonomous so that
the charter city's investors will be governed by the rules of the
city, not by the laws of the host country. This city will appoint
its own authorities, police force and other civil servants.
approximate size of the piece of land required for this purpose
is around 1,000 square kilometers, which enables the city to build
an international sized airport, power plants for electricity generation
and waterworks installations for the whole city. Within the city
there will be hospitals, schools, commissaries, green areas and
housing for all its workers.
monies to operate the city and maintain the infrastructure will
be derived from the renting of the land, because even though the
investors will be able to build the buildings they need for their
operations, they will never be able to own the land that they build
main point that convinced the Congressmen to approve this project
was the idea that the Charter City would seek the workers they will
need from among the thousands of unemployed Hondurans. However,
Congressmen overlooked the fact that the city is in no way obligated
to hire their workers from this country, especially when more qualified
workers than this country can produce are needed. This of course
will depend on the kind of manufacturing plants and other job sources
they eventually build.
Charter City project could be a great thing for this country; but
it could also be a source for resentment and prejudice by those
not directly reaping the benefits from such a grand endeavor.
people of this country-and especially the powers that be-have for
many years been overly conservative in their attitudes towards change.
The Honduran National Congress and its publicly elected members
have always striven to maintain the status quo. Congress members
have over the decades rejected any proposed investment that could
possibly make a positive change in the lives of the people they
resistance to change has not only been a disease of the politicians
but also of the local businessmen who for some reason see change
as a threat to their commercial enterprises. Well, change is upon
us; it is no longer a wait and see proposition. During the past
few weeks Congress has been busy making changes in the way it conducts
business as well as changes to the country's constitution, which
is supposed to allow the populace to directly decide its future
through referendums and plebiscites.
Congress members have voted almost unanimously to allow foreign
investors to create a Charter City on Honduran soil. Most of us
have never heard of charter cities, and most of those who have heard
about it do not seem to understand exactly what it's all about.
some information which may be useful to those of us who are not
too sure what the National Congress has approved for the benefit
of us Hondurans. A Charter City is a city-scale special zone that
can take many forms. The three most common requirements are that:
(1) the host country is to provide an uninhabited piece of land
for the creation of the city; (2) the source country or countries
are to provide the residents; (3) a country or countries as guarantor
is to insure that the city's charter is respected.
Island Know How
make a barren tree bear fruit, the tree must be whipped with a metal
chain on the first rays of sunlight on the 24th of June (Saint John's
To make a barren lime tree bear, you must place a coral reef rock
in the lowest crutch (forked branch)?
To make a barren papaya tree bear fruit, you must pound a rusty
metal file into the trunk of the tree using a wooden mallet?
To rid a room of table flies you must hang a transparent plastic
bag filled with water in the exact center of the room?
If you ever lift your hand in anger towards your mother, that hand
will wither and dry up?
Sleeping in moonlight can cause facial paralysis?
Peeling an onion will ruin the cutting edge of the knife used?
When you catch cold you cannot shave or cut your hair until it goes
If you extract a tooth you cannot have sex until your gums are healed?
The container from which you drink a purgative (laxative) must be
turned upside down or the medication will not work?
If you take a purge and the medication works you cannot take a shower
for three days afterwards?
If someone with intestinal parasites looks at beaten egg whites,
the eggs will fall (deflate)?
Some people have such strong vision that they can curdle milk with
If you visit a newborn baby you must hold the child in your arms
if the baby is to avoid the effects of the evil eye you may have?
For severe back pain you must get a first-time pregnant girl to
massage your illness away?
For a sprained wrist to mend you must bind it with the elastic from
the panties of a virgin?
Many more of these beliefs exist, and even more outrageous than
Instead of banning the operation of soothsayers and the like, maybe
our politicians should begin with trying to educate the public.
After all, as long as people think the way they do in this country,
there will always be work for fortune tellers and such.
What fertile ground for those famous TV persons, "The Myth
the twentieth of October 2010, Mr. Africo Madrid (Ministro de Gobernacion)
informed the public of a new law that bans the operation of soothsayers,
witches and fortune tellers operating in this country. Can you imagine
a government banning witches in this day and age?
A few days later the governor of the department of Atlantida went
on television and forbade the celebration of Halloween, stating
that it was not part of the Honduran culture and therefore should
not be celebrated in this country.
I have a question for the governor. Did you know that more than
eighty percent of all the citizens of Honduras believe in witchcraft?
This may seem a little exaggerated to many of us, considering the
time in which we find ourselves; but nevertheless, it's true. Many
other beliefs and practices, some associated with witchcraft and
some not, are as prevalent as they are far-fetched. Let's take a
look at a few of them:
you know that
Witches are more powerful on Fridays?
To ward of spells on Fridays you must wear your underwear wrong
Discarded nail clippings, hair left on the floor after a haircut
and especially a discarded tooth are powerful tools that can be
used to cast evil spells on the original owner?
Ordinary table salt, if used with malice, can bring bad luck?
The hot froth (foam) expelled from the unlit end of a burning piece
of firewood can cure bed wetting when applied directly to the navel
of the bed-wetter?
If you cut lettuce with a metal knife the unused portion will become
Men out to Sea
was not so very important in those days, but instead it was person's
natural ability and intelligence that counted. From the hordes of
able body seamen that went to sea from this island, dozens of them
became captains, mates and chief engineers of large shipping concerns
in the USA.
In the 1960s, with the discovery of shrimp banks off the east coast
of Honduras, all this changed. Everybody was getting into the fishing
business and some people did very well. Shrimping provided an opportunity
for young men to stay home and operate the family fishing boats.
Over the last 35 or 40 years many fortunes were made and lost and
now we are almost back to square one. With the fishing industry
"on the way out," money is scarce and our young men are
faced with the same predicament as their grandfathers faced, live
from hand to mouth, or ship out.
Shipping out these days is not as easy as it was back then, now
there are governments involved in these things, and a person needs
beaucoup money to acquire all the paper work that is now needed
to work on ships.
Almost all of our young men are graduating from school and returning
home to a life that offers few opportunities. A lot of these boys
immediately begin taking courses that will help them prepare the
paper work they'll need to get jobs in the offshore oil fields of
Some of them end up in the USA, some in Mexico, others in Africa
and the oil rich nations of the Persian Gulf. The money is as great
as the distance from their families. Still, there are no other choices.
It's back to the sea for the young men of Bonacco.
the middle of the twentieth century almost all island boys had but
one dream and that was to ship out. In those days our school system
on the island of Bonacco only went to the 6th grade and most of
the boys tried to finish it before looking for jobs. Others, however,
left school and went to sea as young as 14 years old.
This early-to-work trend continued for two or three decades, with
older boys opting for merchant marine service in the 1940s and then
for international shipping after the war, others worked the banana
boats that sailed from ports along the Central American coast that
ended up with their cargoes in the USA.
The youth in those days had no alternatives as it was either go
to sea, or live in poverty.
I remember well that every Thursday morning the M/V Kern would arrive
at the Municipal dock bringing mail, groceries, beer and soda. The
boat's captain/owner did double duty as our banker as well.
On the boat's arrival day, the whole town would gather around the
mail office hoping that their father, brother or son had remembered
to send the family a little money. There was never much money coming
in because the salaries on those boats were very low. On a banana
boat a body could earn anywhere from 60 to 125 dollars a month depending
on your position, the captains and chiefs earned more.
Bonacca Rail Company
could pull two or three cars and the railroad could have stops along
the way including picnic areas in the mountains, there could be
restaurant stops, rest stops, picture taking stops and any other
kind of stops that tourist might like. To start, the tourist would
come from the island of Roatan; we could fly them in the morning,
take their money and fly them out in the afternoon. Just in time
to get back on their cruise ship.
day we may have our own cruise ships coming into the harbor and
the railroad would be the main attraction. I don't know of anyplace
in the world that attracts tourist with highways and cars, but now
a narrow gauge railroad that would be a terrific attraction, because
there are millions of people that have never ever been on a real
a single train operation, accidents would be very few and far apart;
the same thing cannot be said for automobiles. In Honduras, every
six hours a person is killed in or by a car. We could have stations
in the main settlements and in areas with population that live outside
of the settlements, we could actually build cabins in the mountains
and the transportation would be provided by the Bonnaco Express.
We will have to build 15 or 20 miles of track, depending on how
far down the south coast we plan to come; we would have to purchase
an engine and at least two cars with observation canopies. The engine
would be diesel driven but with a façade of old steam engines
of years gone by.
cost of laying a railroad without the cost of the land is around
a hundred dollars a foot, so it will take from ten to 15 million
a Sunday afternoon not too many months ago, I was a witness to an
argument that was being carried on by the patrons of a popular foreign
restaurant on the island of Guanaja. The argument was about the
proposed highway on this island. There were those that argued that
the very last thing we needed on this island are cars and there
were those that believed that it would promote tourism and in so
doing would help the economy of the island.
the argument was going no where, someone in an attempt to distract
the arguers jokingly said: "if you people don't want cars then
get a train!" everybody laughed and the argument was over.
not give the argument much thought after that, but later, when I
was alone, the idea of getting a train came back to mind. The more
I thought about the idea the less absurd it sounded and a notion
for cars would cause a lot of damage to the land, hills would have
to be leveled, hollows filled in and rivers dammed up and there
is a great possibility that with our seasonal rains and our vulnerability
to tropical storms and hurricanes the proposed road could be washed
in the sea, creating even more damage by destroying our only claim
to fame, our reefs.
the other hand, train tracks are easier to build and would not cause
too much damage to our beloved island. A train track would require
less than half width of that needed by a road for automobiles. It
would need less leveling and no asphalt pavement, the rails and
the ties would help prevent the erosion of the land because vegetation
would soon fill in the spaces between the ties. When the railroad
construction reaches to where there would be a river, a simple bridge
or trestle would be built and the river would continue to flow.
The shoulders required by a railroad are less that those required
for a highway and this would prevent people from squatting by the
side of the road.
in the Shadow of the Storm
to me that October is a bad month for deep sea fishing events because
it is when the cold fronts start coming of the gulf coast heading
for our latitudes. The organizers are now consulting the people at
IGFA to select another date for the event next year that would not
coincide with any other qualifying event scheduled in the Caribbean.
Island, while well protected, has one very vulnerable point: winds
from the Southwest are very damaging because the sea rises to great
heights in the harbor as there is no protection for the Bonacca
town when the wind and sea come from that direction.
a northerly drift of about one tenth of a degree every three to
four hours we were sure that we would get the full impact of the
storm. We had only one salvation: for the storm to pass us on the
north side of the island, this was important because the heavy winds
of the storm was hanging to the NW and NE quadrants and extending
out around 90 miles while to the south the winds extended out only
a few miles from the center.
only about 60 or 70 miles to go we accepted the fact that is was
headed straight for the island, we boarded up the south and west
side of some of the buildings a got ready for the blow. While watching
the computer screen I mentioned that if only it would pull a little
further to the Northwest we would be spared a lot of wind.
we waited for another update the talk went on about the last storm
that had passed us on the south side and we were all surprised when
the update came in saying that the storm had changed its course
and was now heading WNW, with some quick calculations we determined
that it would be close but on the present course it would pass us
on the north side of the island. We got some wind from the Northwest
then the West and then from the Southwest, but there was very little
damage as the wind came in gushes at about 45 to 55 mph.
and local Guanaja authorities inaugurated their first ever international
fishing tournament on October 21. Thursday will be inscription day
with the actual fishing taking place beginning on Friday the 22.
for good weather they are anxiously checking out the weather situation
on the computers and TV screens. For the last month or so, the Northwest
Caribbean has been in turmoil with tropical depressions and storms
and even Hurricanes so the chances that the weather will clear did
not look so good.
one can control the weather but in an effort to start things off
on the right foot, the organizers contacted the people at IGFA (International
Game Fish Association) and after satisfying the requirement of bill
fish catch and release of that prestigious organization this tournament
is now listed as a world championship qualifying event.
inscription to the tournament went ok, with 21 boats registered
and the tournament got under way on Friday morning. The one day
fishing tournament produced a winner in the largest fish and heaviest
Wahoo- all in the same fish. The lucky winner was Mr. Danny McNab
from Roatan who walked away with $1,300. The second place winner
was Mr. Sidney Haylock from Guanaja, whose prize was a $300 dollar
Marlin Kit. The third place prize was a Marlin Tagging Kit and that
went to Mr. Bob McNab also from Roatan.
Saturday morning the tournament had to be cancelled as Tropical
Storm Richard with 70 mph wind barreled down on the island in latitudes
that would have placed it between the island and the mainland when
it was scheduled to past the island early on Sunday morning. The
cancellation of the tournament was by suggestion and mutual consent
of the registered participants. The organizers conscious the fact
that the participants did not get their money's worth and in complete
agreement with the registered fishermen that the balance due be
applied to a percentage of the dues for the next schedule tournament.
are Looking Up
Indian Chief in full regalia and surrounded by beautiful Indian
princesses in their brightly colored attire came down the river
in a dugout canoe to meet the admiral. The big difference this year
was that the majority of the visitors we had were our own people
that has been dispersed all over the world among then were some
that had not visited us in decades but swears that they won't miss
another Conch Festival. In spite of the large crowds on the beaches
and in the villages and on the narrow streets of our main town,
there were no incidents of violence or other negative occurrences.
People had no time for quarrels because everybody was filled with
the festival spirit and we were surrounded by music and mirthfulness
and people dancing in the streets. The vendors vended and the buyers
people in charge of the festival are right now making plans for
next year and promise a much greater event in 2011. With the price
of lobster up about 40 percent from last year and the very good
possibilities of turning the Conch Festival into a money producing
touristic event, I would venture to say that things are looking
up for the forgotten island in the Bay of Honduras. As July ended
with the crowds gazing skyward as the fireworks soared into evening
sky, I could feel a change in the attitude of my people as the hopes
of all the people of Bonacco soared to a new high as we promised
ourselves to build ourselves a brighter future.
the first of July the lobster season opened with an increase in
the price of this delectable crustacean. This was good news for
the people that depend of this type of fishing for their livelihood.
This means that almost everybody of the island was happy because
we all depend on the money produced by the sale of this cousin to
month of July is also when we Bonakians celebrate our Conch Festival
so the last week of the month was a joyous time for the whole island
with mini-carnivals in the four mayor villages of the of the island.
This is the third consecutive year of this celebration and I believe
we have finally got our stuff together. The first year we celebrated
the whole week culminating in the great event on the beaches of
El Soldado, well this year there were no exception every thing went
great and there was dancing in the streets to the rhythmic beat
of the imported bands. The final event of the beach was very impressive;
the unrehearsed plot performed by our improvised actors recounted
the drama of the Landing of the Great navigator on the very spot
that the event occurred some 508 years ago. The dialogue on the
beach was electronically amplified and every word could be heard
as the Indian braves held the Spaniards on the beach with bows and
arrows until the arrival of their leader.
alleged drug-runners were flying totally blacked out to avoid detection
but the other aircrafts do not have to have their lights turned
off to prevent the smugglers from landing, if that was their intentions.
After about a half an hour of something akin to those old air shows
put on by the barnstorming pilots of years gone by, the airplanes
passed going towards the east and they did not return. When the
aircraft did not pass back, I assumed the smuggler's plane had been
driven off, because once they had been detected there was no use
trying to land because, although the helicopters are slower, they
can get to the landing zone just minutes behind the bad guys.
next morning I was told that the trafficker's aircraft had crashed
into the ocean just off the East End of Guanaja and I thought that
if it is the purpose of the US Coast Guard to drive smugglers aircrafts
into the sea they should have brought in a MH-65C Dolphin Helicopter.
Those babies are fast and carry airborne use of force equipment,
including a M240B 7.62mm machine gun.
day after the supposed crash the weather was not nice. It was very
windy and with rough seas but there have never been so many fishermen
braving the wind and the waves and trying their luck at catching
something. The Honduran Coast Guard were there trying to discourage
the fortune seekers, but they were not having too much luck doing
so. Apparently nobody found any trace of the downed airplane or
its cargo. Some of the fishermen are now saying that they don't
believe that the plane actually crashed instead they think that
the mouse outfoxed the cats and got away. Who knows?
a placid evening in the first week of June the sun had gone down
beyond the western horizon leaving only the threadlike fingers of
cirrostratus clouds illuminated by the failing light. It was the
time of evening when manmade satellites can be seen moving rapidly
across the sky as though weaving their paths between the numberless
stars that crowd the firmament as darkness deepens its hold on the
night. Within a half an hour the moon made her presence known by
lighting up the surrounding clouds with its pale luminescent face.
The hum of a small twin engine airplane was heard in the distance
and not long afterwards the little plane buzzed the tree tops on
the south side of the island of Guanaja.
minutes the heavy roar of much larger aircraft drowned out the sound
of the TV sets tuned to the seven o'clock soap opera. Some of the
people came out of their houses to see what was going on. It was
assumed that the smaller aircraft was a drug runner and the large
craft was a US Coast Guard anti-narcotics airplane. After the first
two aircraft had gone past, two other machines came out of the south
apparently in hot pursuit of the first two, these were the slower-flying
rotary wing aircraft that are called in on these missions whenever
there is a possibility that the drug trafficking aircraft may attempt
a landing. On the second pass over the south side of the island
I went outside and was just in time to see the smaller aircraft
passing overhead. Just seconds behind it and clearly outlined against
the waxing moon I saw the giant C-130 Hercules.
not able to recognize the silhouette of the helicopters because
they passed further north, towards the mountains. All these aircraft
were flying about without lights of any kind and I could not help
but wonder what the results would be if a couple of them collided
over the settlement on the Cay or on some other well populated area.
I cannot figure why the chase aircrafts were flying with all their
light turned off. It is not like they could sneak up on the bad
guys and grab them. On one of those passes the small airplane passed
in front of the two helicopters and from the ground it seems like
it was too close for comfort. I'm almost certain that the pilot
of the small plane did not see the helicopters. This procedure of
flying without lights is potentially dangerous and places at high
risk the lives of the crews and maybe people on the ground when
they fly over populated areas.
inspires poets to write great poems and writers to write great sagas
and novelists to put to paper stories of great passion and tenderness.
power of love can turn a lion into a lamb and a great intellect
into a babbling fool, and it can create wars between tribes and
nations. When someone is in love but their love is unrequited, it
is almost impossible for that person to understand that with all
the love they feel, how can the other person ignore their burning
desire to be loved by that one and only person?
old adage suggests that to forget one love, one must find another.
This sounds very reasonable but in matters of the heart, logic and
old adages don't necessarily come into play. The love that burns
inside a human heart is only for that very special person. In spite
of its life altering effects, love has its downsides. Love cannot
be bought, it cannot be forced on someone, it cannot be demanded
of someone and you cannot hold on to it when it wishes to leave.
So remember love is ecstasy and love is pain. And sometimes, love
is letting go.
these days of high technology the art of charming a potential partner
has come down to a text message on a cell phone. In the distant
past it was all about guitar serenades, bunches of flowers and boxes
of chocolate candy. I often tell this to the kids and someone invariably
says, "Those were romantic times." I remind them that
times can never be romantic, only people can be romantic, because
only people can love from the heart.
the life of a young person crushes and infatuations are common occurrences,
but it is not until they reach teenage years that they fall in love
for real. When I say for real I mean that it is at this age that
young men can summons the courage to tell their enamored how they
feel about them. From this age on, every time one falls in love
it is a love to die for, no matter how many times a month one falls
asked recently by a young person if I could give them a clue as
to when one knows that they are really in love, and I must admit
that as an adviser on matters if the heart I failed terribly but
I tried to explain the subject as best I could.
to them: "To be in love is the greatest feeling in the world,
but it is only great when it's going well. When it's not going well
it is the most painful of all hurts humanity has been made to bear."
a person is in love their spirit soars high above the clouds but
only when they believe that the object of their adoration is returning
Society in Trouble
get me wrong, they are not displaying true courage because one of
the things that does not require very much courage is the ability
to murder an unarmed man. It is my contention that even the most
pious of men will commit crimes if there are no guaranteed punishments
for the act.
this country the delinquents don't have to think twice about committing
a horrible crime because they reason that they will not be caught,
and on the very slim chance they are caught there will not be enough
evidence to convict them, and if they are convicted they will not
be sentenced and if they are sentenced they will not get the maximum
sentence and if they are giving the maximum they will serve only
a small part of it. Even when they are found guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt they can rest assured that their family will avenge their
sentencing by killing the defense lawyer that lost the case and
the judge that handed down the sentence. Believe it or not, this
very unhealthy attitude towards others and this posture towards
life are learned in the home and only when we teach our kids to
respect others will they learn to respect themselves. Then, and
only then, will we cleanse our society of delinquents and cold blooded
seeing these words written somewhere by someone not so famous and
I think that this is what parents should try to teach their kids:
Watch your thoughts, they may turn into words. Watch your words,
they may turn into deeds. Watch your deeds, they can become habits.
Watch your habits, they can form your character. Watch your character,
because it will determine your future.
glance at the nightly news on the local TV network will tell you
that we are living in dangerous times. The sad thing about the news
is that it always mentions the number of people violently killed
but hardly ever says anything about the perpetrators of these crimes
being caught. It seems to me that in our society the value of human
life has gone way down and our police's ability to bring the murderers
to justice has also eroded. I believe that the reason so many murders
are being committed is the simple fact that in this country there
are no sure deterrents to dissuade the delinquents from their dastardly
deeds. Does that sound a lot like Dodge City of old when the man
with the fastest gun made his own law? In this country it is called
"La ley del mas fuerte" and there are signs of this attitude
throughout all levels of our society. It is reflected in the entire
quotidian goings-on of the ordinary citizens, for a good example
of this just take a look at their driving.
first I thought that their complete disregard for the almost universal
traffic laws was due to their ignorance of said laws but I was wrong,
they are acting out their own inbred strain of machismo and this
applies not only to the men it also includes the women. A Honduran
driver will not think twice to block an intersection impeding the
passage of dozens of cars just as long as he gets ahead of the rest.
Even the pedestrian show their true colors when crossing the street,
they will step off the sidewalk at any point along the block and
will walk into fast moving traffic without looking in either direction
and when caught up in the middle of traffic they will not even hasten
their pace to get out of harm's way, they are psychologically prepared
to show courage in the face of danger.
has gone one step further in Arizona Revised Statues title 13 chapter
15 amendment 39 adding section 13-1509 which now reads: Trespassing
by illegal aliens; assessment; exceptions; classification. According
to this statute the police can make an arrest if, in addition to
any violation of federal law, that person is guilty of trespassing
defined as the person being both: Present on any public or private
land in the state of Arizona or in violation of 8 United States
Code Section 1304(e) or 1306(a). Immigrants that are unable to produce
documents showing they are allowed to be in the USA could be jailed
for up to six months and fined $2500.00. Before Arizona passed this
law the police could only inquire as to a person's legal status
if that person was suspected of committing another crime. The Hispanic
community and some non Hispanic liberals that are raising a ruckus
about Arizona SB 1070 must have forgotten that every country in
the world has laws that make it a crime to enter their country without
permission. It seems to me that the argument here is about jurisdiction,
as I see it, it is okay for the border patrol to arrest illegal
immigrants but it is not okay for the Arizona police to do the same.
In all Latin American countries all authorities have the right to
arrest anyone that perpetuates a crime and in Mexico this can be
done by the Federales de Investigation or the Federales Preventiva,
which are agencies of the federal government. There are also immigration
officers and custom officers, state-operated law enforcement officers
and municipal police and they all can arrest anyone that cannot
prove that they are allowed by law to be in Mexico.
When arrested, you go straight to jail.
other countries this crime is even more severely penalized, in Afghanistan
intruders are shot, in North Korea the minimum sentence is 12 years
imprisonment for violating the national sovereignty of that nation.
penalty varies from country to country but there is always a price
to pay and in some countries it is also a crime to leave the country
without permission and if you are caught either going or coming,
you go to jail. Illegal immigrants in the USA are hollering for
their rights, this confuses me because I know that if you enter
my house without my permission you can be assured that you left
your rights at the gate and if I don't kick you out it is a privilege
I'm granting you but you have no rights when you enter into my domain
illegally. I'm thinking of a sign I saw somewhere in the panhandle
of Texas many years ago, it read: Private Property Keep Out. Trespassers
will be shot, survivors will be shot again.
1883 Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet that reflected the attitude of
the American people towards immigrants at the time. Here is an excerpt
from that poem " Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled
masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming
shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me". The
complete poem engraved on a bronze plaque was mounted on the inside
of the statue of liberty in 1903. The attitude of the American people
towards immigrants has changed and this is especially true of the
ever-increasing number of Illegal immigrants that enter the country
state of Arizona has made this attitude official in its senate bill
bill will authorize the police to arrest immigrants that are unable
to show proof that they are authorized to be in the country. It
also penalizes persons that knowingly transport illegal immigrants.
part of the bill is not causing the uproar in the Hispanic community.
The real problem is the unwritten part of the bill that is being
called "racial profiling". This means that the police
will decide to investigate a person's immigration status based on
that person's racial or ethnic characteristics. The Hispanics are
crying foul because in their view they seem to be the ones that
are being singled out, although this should not come as any surprise
to anyone because at last estimate there are over 14 million Hispanics
that are in the USA illegally. It would not make any sense to single
out any other group of people.
Arizona law empowers the police to arrest illegals pursuant to 8
United States Code section 1373(c), which states that an enforcement
officer cannot independently determine the status of an immigrant.
The police must contact the Immigration service before such an arrest
can be made.
A RIGHTEOUS MAN
the third time the same group came around he stood between them
and his goods and refused to budge, when one of the new guys lifted
his rifle as if to shoot him, the headman said to him: Just let's
take what he gives us because this man is fearless, he is made of
iron and shooting him will do no good, we've already done that.
Cousin Peter thanked him and gave him some fowls and said to him:
Jesus Christ is my shield and with Him on my side I fear nothing.
The Sandinista never bothered him gain. Cousin Peter returned to
Bonacco a few years back and took up residence on the old homestead
and ministered in the Mangrove Bight SDA church. He had come back
to where he had been introduced to Christ and now he was ready to
take that journey that we all must take but Peter was prepared to
meet his maker. On a sunny day like so many others in this part
of the world he decided to make a trip to Back Country which was
the sight of the first SDA industrial school in Latin America. parts
of the construction are still there. This school was built back
in late eighteen hundreds by men like his father. He saddled the
mule and being unable to find a proper pair of stirrups he fashioned
a pair from a piece of rope and slung it across the mule's back
in front of the saddle and was off. He did not stay too long in
the little valley and his companion said that he looked distracted
and tired so they returned to Poke Alice, the old family farm. He
sent the boy on to Lil Flat telling him that he would pick some
rose apples and be along shortly. His brother became concerned when
he did not arrive at the appointed time and a few hours later decided
to go in search of Peter. His brother began to worry when the searchers
found the mule grazing by the little river that ran its course at
the foot hills of Lil' Flat. The searchers were on foot so the uphill
trek took some time. They were about half way up when they spotted
something that could be the body of a person in the grass off to
the side of the road. It was Peter and he was dead. The body was
stiff from rigor mortis and this meant that Peter had been dead
for at least four hours. Around his right foot was the piece of
rope he had used for a stirrup. It will never be clear what really
happed to Peter but it is assumed that he fainted or had a heart
attack and fell from the saddle. He was then dragged for a fair
distance by the mule before the rope was pulled completely around
the saddle. What caused him to fall from the mule will always be
a mystery but there is one thing that we can be certain of and that
is, if there's a place set aside for righteous men, Peter Wood has
earned himself a seat in the front row.
father was one of the first persons to heed the call of the fledgling
Seventh Day Adventist religion in this area. From way back in 1892
his father, Richard Wood, labored in the service of the almighty
or at least in the service of Elder Frank Hutchins the original
SDA missionary to Latin America. When he was born it was decided
that he should be called Peter and his father would proudly boast
that this boy would grow up in the ways of the Lord. His father
was firm in his efforts to further his purposeful intent to enter
into the congregation of heaven. In his formative years Peter did
not demonstrate an aptitude or desire to become a religious person
of any import. The seriousness and straight forwardness of his father
could not be seen in his comportment. To a greater extent his behavior
mimicked his mother's side of the family, they were a more carefree
and witty people. He played tricks on his siblings and even on the
adults of the family.
Eventually Cousin Peter came around to the purpose desired by his
father for him. He became an ordained minister in the SDA Religion.
He was not a regular preacher he knew that education was the key
to the future and he worked for the furthering of educational opportunities
of not only the Bonacco children but also for children on the mainland.
He was instrumental in the purchasing of the properties and was
part of the founding of the SDA School in Peña Blanca. It
seems that where ever he went he founded a school. His last efforts
were in Nicaragua where he built and presided over one of the best
schools in that country. The school was later appropriated by the
Nicaraguan government. While living in Nicaragua he became a victim
of the infamous regime of Daniel Ortega. As was their style they
fed themselves by robbing the working people of anything they had
and in some cases of everything they had. During his first encounter
with the Sandinistas, Peter refused to help them help themselves
to his livestock and his refusal earned him a battering with the
butts of the rifles carried by those ruffians. When he was found
he was still unconscious and still bleeding but he was still breathing
and he survived. It was not too long after that that the same groups
of blackguards made their way back to his little farm and began
pillaging his food stuff and this time they were trying put a snare
around the neck of his favorite heifer but Peter placed himself
between them and the little heifer and refused to give her up. He
was again beaten and this time he was shot and dumped into a ditch.
Those ruffians expected him to die in that ditch but Peter survived
that one also.
organization in the past few years has been slowly creeping into
areas outside of its mandate such as taking over the job of the
National Meteorological Service. COPECO are now reporting the weather
and issues weather alerts and all this without having one trained
meteorologist on their payroll. The television news teams are now
consulting COPECO for their weather reports.
In all other countries of the world when there is a marine phenomenon
that could adversely affect local shipping, the weather service
of that country will issue a warning that will notify the mariners
of the severity of the storm, such warnings may be listed as "small
craft warning" or "general shipping warning". COPECO
is the only organization in the world that has the power to close
down a seaport when in their uneducated opinion the vessels could
be in danger. The seaport closings do not apply to foreign ships
that may be in Honduran seaports at the time, it is only the local
coastal freighters and local fishing vessels that must stay home.
We islanders have been sailing these waters for two hundred years,
we know our vessels and we know the sea and we should be given the
weather data and be left to decide whether to sail on not.
When we island people were boarding up our houses and storing water
and food supplies getting ready for Mitch the people of the Tegucigalpa
(the headquarters city of COPECO) were attending a football game
unaware of the approaching monster.
The fact is that the island of Guanaja took the brunt of the storm
yet we lost five souls and on the mainland there were over 8 thousand
COPECO has also invalidated the seismic department of the National
Autonomous University by reporting on seismic activity and pretending
to warn the populace of future seismic events. Since the giant 8.8
earthquake in Chile, COPECO has gone to the airways with advice
on how to build earthquake proof buildings and are right now petitioning
the national congress to pass a law that would require all new buildings
to be earthquake proof, with COPECO issuing permit and inspecting
Somebody has got to stop this organization and remind its commissioner
of its fundamental objective or soon it will be running the schools,
the churches and the maybe whole country.
the 12 of December in 1990 the National Congress of Honduras approved
the decree of law number 9-90E. This same decree derogated the decree
of law number 33 that in 1973 had created the Consejo Permanente
de Emergencia Nacional. It also derogated decree number 202 of 1975
that reformed the 1973 law. On the date mentioned above the Comission
Permanente de Contingencias (COPECO) was born.
This organization like all others designed to be called to action
in the case of a national emergency had but one basic mission, disaster
response. During the chaos left behind by the Hurricane Mitch it
was clear the COPECO was ill prepared for such catastrophic damage
caused by the category five cyclone. USAID came to the assistance
of COPECO and helped the government agency improve their abilities
in the areas of damage assessment and emergency communication. It
has now been over eleven years since the visit of Hurricane Mitch
and COPECO has grown. In my opinion this growth has not been very
beneficial for the country and I believe it has seriously distracted
COPECO from its primary role as an emergency response organization.
COPECO has somehow forgotten or ignores its own bylaws such as Article
5 that states: "The COPECO will have as its fundamental objective
the adoption of policies and measures to address the population,
rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas damaged by the impact
of natural phenomena that affect economic activity and welfare of
the population and plan and develop activities to prevent negative
consequences of such phenomena."
private sector is taking advantage of the very lax government enforcement
of the long established labor laws. A good example is a small business
that employed 4 persons but now has only three because of the change
in the minimum wage. Previously those 4 employees worked a total
of 176 hours a week (the legal limit without extra pay) but now
the remaining three workers are on the job a total of 180 and sometimes
198 hours a week. That's a net gain of 4 to 22 man-hours a week
for the company.
The law requires that if an employee's job can be done efficiently
sitting down then the company must provide a seat for that purpose
but since the wage increase almost all employers have removed all
furniture from their places of business and in one particular business
the owners even removed the water cooler.
With the exception of the banks many cashiers must stand all the
time that they are on the job. The banks however have set precedence
for another grave injustice that has now permeated the small businesses
of this country. As is done in the banks, the cashiers are debited
any amount of money missing from the registers when the books are
balanced at the end of the day.
However, if on any day there is a surplus of money the bank or business
keeps that money and it is not credited towards the amount owed
by the cashier or teller from any previous day's shortage. When
pay day comes around the shortages will be deducted from the pay
check of the employee. In some banks if the amount exceeds one thousand
lempiras it is posted as a loan and interest is added to the amount
of the shortage.
This is robbery and in any other part of the world it would not
be tolerated by the employees but with the scarcity of jobs and
the great need of the people, the workers grumble to themselves
and show up the next day for work, because they know that at least
20 persons will apply for that job should they decide to quit. The
bosses know this and this gives them license to become modern day
slave drivers with complete disregard for the welfare, dignity and
self-esteem of their fellow man.
was only about a year ago that ex-president Manuel Zelaya raised
the minimum wage in Honduras. At the time, a great hullabaloo was
raised by the private sector and with particular notice in the medium
and small businesses. It was said that the increase would cripple
smaller concerns and would cause huge layoffs in the bigger companies.
And some of this did happen but not to the extent that is claimed
by the non-government labor watchers.
Just the idea of the government arbitrarily imposing such a heavy
load on the business community made my heart hurt for them. But
I am no longer sympathetic towards those people.
After some investigation I have come to the conclusion that those
poor suffering businesses are getting the job done with fewer workers
but at a terrible cost to their employees. This is true for all
businesses but it especially applies to service companies like fast
food, pharmacies and photo shops and others that are people to people
In mostly all the businesses I checked, the employees worked as
many as ten hours a day for at least six days a week. Add it up,
that's 60 hours a week and in some cases the employees work as many
as 66 hours a week with no compensation. Some employers do not allow
their employees time for their midday meal. As one supervisor put
it "Nobody needs to sit down to eat."
it relates to the common man, time is merely a measurement that
he uses to schedule future events in the trans-course of his life.
Man has no concept of time and without references he quickly loses
track of all notions of time. Nature has provided man with the references
that he has used for millennia to mark the events in life. He used
the sun to mark the days, the moon to mark the months, and the winters
or summers to mark the years.
All living things depend on time for their birth, growth and, eventually,
their demise. Even though time is not a tangible entity it is the
biggest killer of all. A person that has evaded the many geriatric
diseases that are intent on ending his life will eventually succumb
to time. It is a proven fact that no matter the age of a person
there are no cells in their body that are older than 10 years, yet
they will die and the only thing working against them is the passage
There exist many sayings that refer to time; one of the most popular
is that TIME FLIES. This is only true if you're having a good time.
If you want to prove this saying wrong just have someone hold your
head under water and time will cease to fly, it will begin to crawl.
There are truisms that apply to time like: There is more time than
life. In this statement we try to quantify time as if it is an element
or a fluid yet we measure only the passing of time not the amount
of it. The devices used to measure the passage of time are many
and the study of these devices is called horology. Though there
are many horologists there are none that pretend to study time itself
for it is an elusive nonentity that defies description. The following
quote sums it up pretty well, "Time is nature's way of keeping
everything from happening at once." This quote is attributed
variously to Albert Einstein, John Archibald Wheeler and Woody Allen.
By its very simplicity and its profound implications I sincerely
believe that it was coined by Woody Allen.
word time as described in the Merriam/Webster dictionary has two
main definitions. The first one is: The measured or measurable period
during which an action, process or condition exists or continues.
The second definition is: The non-spatial continuum that is measured
in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present
and into the future. These are beautiful definitions but they do
not come close to describing time as it relates to our every day
Time is the single most important thing in our lives and it ranks
second only to life itself. It may not be in the top ten most-used
words in the English language but it leads by a tremendous margin
in synonyms, which means that it has more meanings that almost any
other word. Modifiers used in front of or behind it can create words
with whole different meanings. Time is not a concrete word therefore
it must be an abstract word and coming up with a non-controversial
definition that can be applied to the fields of religion, philosophy,
and science has long eluded the best of minds. Time has been a major
subject for the aforementioned fields of thought but yet none have
been able to establish a single semantic or grammatical interpretation
New Year's Resolution
biggest challenge is trying to keep my cool on Saturdays when just
about lunch time the Jehovah witnesses show up with their pamphlets
and their sermons. I normally pay the fine for being caught on the
porch by buying their magazines and with a store-bought smile I
endure their preaching. This in itself is a great deed and I resolve
to do my best to continue this practice. Another trying situation
is when people come to our house uninvited and with no previous
warning I must pretend that they are very welcome and make them
feel like I have been waiting on them all along.
I will still send sympathy cards, birthday cards, Christmas cards
and other such things just because it is the thing to do but not
necessarily because I have any sympathy, or any desire to wish anyone
have a Happy Birthday or a Merry Christmas, much less a prosperous
Other things that I resolve to work on is not feeling too much like
a fool when I give money to some "poor" person only to
find out that they used the money on something other than the reason
they gave me to soften my heart. I will try hard not to remind a
person of a good deed I have done for them in the past whenever
they refuse me the tiniest favor. I resolve not to try anymore to
collect outstanding debts that are over 10 years old. I also resolve
not to pay any outstanding debts that are 10 years old.
When it comes to being polite, we all know it is learned human value,
but we also know that we are all hypocrites. Yet in our hypocrisy
we are displaying our humanity and our learned kindness. Other animals
cannot hide their true feelings as well as we can.
So in the word of Sir John Moore, "I will continue to kiss
those that I may want to kill."
is the custom I have been trying to come up with a worthwhile New
Year resolution but I'm unable to think of anything of importance.
I can't resolve to quit smoking or quit drinking beer or biting
my nails because I've already given up those habits.
I have resolved to continue to be hypocritical in order to not hurt
the feelings of others or in order to just to make them feel important
and to maintain their self esteem. I guess all of us are guilty
of these same hypocritical doings. They are very common and most
of us do them every day to the point that these things have become
more like automatic reaction.
Whenever we meet a person on the street in the AM, we are all accustomed
to wishing that person a good morning and a nice day. In some cases
we don't even know the person, but there we go wishing them all
the best. We all know that we could not care less what kind of day
they have. I will continue to tell mothers of newborn babies that
their child is cute even if the baby is ugly as sin. I will keep
on listening to the sad stories of other people and feigning interest,
even sympathy, when deep in my heart I really don't care about their
confining space of the long but very narrow boat was distressing,
and the din of the little ten horse power motor seemed to slow the
hands of my Timex watch. We had been going for about nine hours
and during this time we had not stopped for anything, so I was very
relieved when I heard the sound of the motor boat slowing and then
the sound of gravel and sand crunching under the elongated bow of
the pitpan. I believed this was the end of the line, but this was
only as far as we could go by boat. The rest of the way we were
to go on foot. The coronel had given us a few packages of US Army
K rations so we had some chicken stew, or something very similar
to chicken stew for lunch. After finishing our lunch we started
the trek up the mountain. The walking was hard, but time went by
pretty fast as I stopped looking at my watch and stared looking
into the jungle for jaguars, poisonous snakes, and wild boar which
I had been told abounded in these hills, but I never saw any. We
saw the smoke rising up ahead and heard sounds that seemed like
people singing. As we walked into the clearing of the village we
were all surprised to find the natives in full holiday costumes
and wearing their finest go-to-town clothing. Here it was the middle
of the afternoon and all the villagers were dancing and drinking
. We were invited to join the festivities and without as much as
asking what they were celebrating we joined right in and soon we
were dancing and singing as loud as the rest of the villagers. There
was plenty of food and that was good because those
K-rations weren't all that great. The drink of the day was misla
and I had not tried it before, but I found it pleasant to drink
and I had some even with my food. Misla is an alcoholic concoction
made from cane juice and corn or rice, and you should not be fooled
by its sweet taste, it is much more potent than regular beer. Soon
after that I noticed that I was singing in English. Later that night
I told old Joe to ask the man in charge what it was were celebrating
and all four members of our little expedition were very surprised
when the chief said they were celebrating Kritmes.
Christmas? Today was the 15 day of January. The chief must be drunk
or grossly mistaken, so I prompted old Joe to ask him why he thought
today was Christmas and the chief elaborated: The people of this
village never had a fixed day for Christmas so they celebrated the
whole week. He was then told that Christmas had been celebrated
in the rest of world 20 days ago. The chief said that we must be
in error because the Flor de Pascuas (poinsettias) had not blossomed
until about three days ago, so it had to be Christmas time. We agreed
with him and I gave him my tin can of pine-apple cookies and my
flashlight as Christmas gifts and we danced into the night. The
next day as we set about leaving the village we were bid farewell
by the chief, he had a new name for me; it was Pasa Kaikaya (sky
gazer) and I assumed that old Joe had told him about my work in
the Meteorological Station. The chief told me that I had given him
the most delicious and useful gifts he had ever gotten and that
this would be a Christmas that he would never forget. We were leaving
with no gold, but we had made a lot of new friends and that slight
headache told us that maybe we had celebrated our best Christmas
ever, in the month of January.
sun had passed the zenith as our driver brought the pitpan to shore
on one of the few patches of white beach that we had seen along
the course of this fast flowing river. This was a semi-official
military mission, but there were no military personnel on board
our outboard-powered dugout. The coronel back at home base had heard
rumors of the discovery of gold in some of the villages in the foot-hills
along the upper reaches of the river and had decided to send old
Joe to investigate. Old Joe was an employee of the army and served
as scout, tracker, and adviser in affairs of the natives. Old Joe
was a foreigner, but had been living among the native Miskito Indians
for decades. He served the army well because he was the only person
who had the complete trust of all the natives of all the tribes
in the whole area. No one bought, sold, or traded anything without
the consent of old Joe. So, if there was gold in them there hills
old Joe was the man that could find out where it was. Old Joe and
I had became friends and many afternoons we would sit under the
big wild almond tree at the landing close to his house and we would
chat in English for hours; Old Joe was from Boca Del Toro, an English
speaking town in the republic of Panama. One afternoon he asked
me if I wanted to take a little trip up river, he said we would
be gone for about three or four days. After I queried him on the
dangers and health risks and what not, I made arrangements with
my partner to do my shift at the weather bureau for a few days.
The next morning, at an ungodly hour, he roused me and off we went.
I had packed a few items I thought I might need like extra socks,
canned corned beef, insect repellent (army Issue), a flash light
with extra batteries, and a Colt .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol
with extra rounds. I also carried a water-tight tin can of pineapple
cookies my mother had sent me on the last boat that came from down
of the Gods
banana that we are all familiar with has at most 20 years before
it, too, will have to be replaced. This is because a new strain
of the disease that previously wreaked havoc on the French banana
has evolved. The strain is now devastating the Cavendish cultivar
to the point that it could soon become unviable for large scale
cultivation. Not to worry; many parts of the world have labs working
on this potential problem. These laboratories collect wild banana
plants and their seeds for cross breeding and cloning. There are
collections centers in the US, Germany, and other locations including
La Lima, Honduras. The collection center in La Lima maintains a
collection of 470 cultivars and 100 species of the valuable fruit,
which is actually classified as a berry!
The banana from Latin America is exported primarily to the United
States and Europe. In the United States it is the most popular fruit,
outselling the apple. When ripe, it is aromatic and sweet. It is
also an excellent source of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
It is most popular with athletes as it contains three natural sugars
- glucose, fructose and sucrose - as well as fiber. Research has
shown that just two bananas can provide enough energy for a strenuous
hour and half workout. Other benefits include: controlling blood
sugar, alleviating stomach problems, promoting the production of
hemoglobin, lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of stroke, boosting
brain power, and helping to restore normal bowel movements. Rubbing
the inside of ripe banana peel on insect bites relieves the burning
and itching. Finally, the banana is purported to be the best cure
for a hangover when used in a banana and honey milk shake. Try it!
Before there was any banana export business on the mainland, the
people of these islands made a living by exporting this fruit to
New Orleans and New York. We islanders eat the green banana, and
we call it "bread-kind" to differentiate it from "meat-kind."
I don't know if a body gets any benefits from eating a cooked green
banana, but I know that a "steamed old wife" (local queen
triggerfish dish), baked meat and any kind of coconut dinner would
not be possible without the venerable banana.
By the way, the banana belongs to the genus Musa and the family
Musaceae. The word banana is supposed to have come from the Arabic
word "banan," which means "finger." It should
have been called "alasbaa althhbay," or "golden finger."
Another good name would have been "food of the gods."
one thousand years ago, the sweet potato mysteriously appeared in
the Polynesian Islands in the South Pacific. This tuber is native
to the tropical areas of South America. What makes this transplant
unique is that the species of sweet potato that was found in the
Pacific Islands are of the cultivated variety and can only be propagated
by way of vine cuttings. This negates any theories of seeds transported
by floating on the ocean or by birds. Today the sweet potato is
found all over the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia, and in Papua
New Guinea, it is now the staple diet of its islanders.
Five hundred years after the sweet potato reached Polynesia, the
banana was brought to the Americas by Portuguese sailors. In many
parts of Latin America the banana is still called "guineo,"
which literally means "from Guinea" or "Guinean,"
which might suggest that the Portuguese brought this fruit from
Guinea, West Africa. However, the general consensus is that this
most marvelous fruit originated in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
It took five hundred years to complete the trade of the banana for
the sweet potato but it was worth it and I believe that we got the
better part of the deal.
The banana as we know it is a seedless fruit that has many uses.
The cultivar names do not suggest its intended use for desserts
or cooking. In years past the most prominent type of banana planted
in the local area were the Lakatan, slowly to be replaced by the
Gros Michel cultivar (French banana), which was then phased out
in the 1960s. The Gros Michel was replaced by the Cavendish, which
was considered to produce a higher quality fruit than the other
are Our Friends?
Obama in a speech to the Russian people stated that it was not the
concern of the American people who ran a country and it was most
certainly not their business to dictate policy to any nation. Mr
Obama must have flunked history because had he not flunked he would
have known these answers when asked: Who ran the Spanish out of
Cuba and the Colombians out of Panama? Who was it that placed the
Somoza's in Nicaragua? Who overthrew Arbenz in Guatemala? Why did
so many Americans fight and die to get rid of Adolph Hitler in Germany,
Sadam Husssein in Iraq, and the Taliban in Afghanistan? He would
have known that it was Mr. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then a sub-secretary
of the US Navy, who wrote the constitution of the independent republic
of Haiti. How much more involved in a country's affairs can you
get? The Americans have fought dozens of wars to preserve democracy
and the Honduran people were saving them the trouble of having to
fight another one. We took it upon ourselves to nip in the bud Mr
Zelaya's move to convert Honduras into a leftist, socialist or totalitarian
Where are our friends? The last thing we expected was for the United
States to turn against us. After all, it was Honduras that helped
them fight communism in Guatemala and later in Nicaragua. Honduras
is their second biggest partner in their fight against drug trafficking.
It should be remembered that it is the United States that has a
huge drug problem and every kilo of drugs captured and destroyed
by the authorities of this country is another kilo that will not
be sold on the streets of Washington or New York.
It is not too late for the United States to help us. It seems like
every day things are getting worse in this country with curfews
and rampant gangs of looters and delinquents. I guess Honduras is
no longer important to the United States since the fall of communism
in Europe. The only other reason I can imagine for this harsh treatment
is that Honduras does not have any oil to sell to the United States.
Maybe this cold shoulder is a blessing in disguise. Maybe it is
time for Honduras to tighten its belt and start building this country
into a nation of pride and prosperity, obligated to no one for anything.
We have always been worried about what we say or do, afraid that
someone will stop the aid or the hand outs that we have come to
depend on so much. We have the land and the natural resources. All
we are lacking is the will and the courage to make things work.
We must start to look for other trade partners that will not exact
so much for their friendship. Maybe we have been holding on too
long to the trailing cuff of the pants leg of Uncle Sam. There is
always communist China. They will start building huge stadiums and
the likes for us. All we have to do is denounce Taiwan.
June 28 of this year, the disorderly conduct of the Honduran head
of state was interrupted by orders of the powers that be. The reigning
president Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales was deposed and in his place
the National Congress nominated (by order of succession) Roberto
Michelleti Bain the president of congress. On the day following
the soft coup-d'état, things began to go wrong for all the
people of Honduras. Every nation in the world condemned us without
a trial and threatened the new government. Until this date, almost
three months later, the new government is not recognized as the
legitimate government of Honduras. Not one of those nations bothered
to send investigators or observers to this country to try to get
down to the root causes that prompted the Supreme Court and the
National Congress to replace Mr. Manuel Zelaya.
Mr. Zelaya's failure to get his own candidate appointed to presidency
of the Supreme Court was the beginning of the whole fracas. He used
every trick and every threat in the book to have his candidate approved,
but his efforts were in vain. Had he succeeded there would have
been no legal way to stop him from defrauding the people and nominating
himself king of Honduras. He would have reigned until Mr. Chavez
decided to change him. Of all the countries that are now chastising
us, the United States is the most important to us because of our
long dependency on our trade with the United States. The United
States of America has been the champion and the sword wielder of
democracy since it became a nation so many years ago. However, in
the case of Honduras the new liberal president Obama turned his
back on the people of Honduras and aligned himself with disciples
of the Castro's and the son of the devil himself, Hugo Chavez.
provide the answers to these questions, it would probably take many
years of hard work by physical anthropologists, sociologists and
maybe other learned persons specialized in the human sciences. It
is said that all countries with tropical climates are very slow
in climbing the ladder of development and the reason for this is
that there is no need to work diligently in the spring and summer
in order to be able to survive the winter. A person in the tropics
can survive in the wild quite well with a minimum of equipment;
the land is bountiful. The climate itself does not inspire people
to work very hard. I believe there is also a very basic but important
difference in the colonizing done by the Spaniards and that done
by the English. In most cases the Spanish founded towns leaving
a few Iberian sailors and some livestock. This meant that for the
town to grow the sailors had to obtain women from the local native
The Spanish brought their machismo and native Americans contributed
their natural tendency to conserve energy. This mixture of blood
has not served us well. When the English landed in Massachusetts
they came with bag and baggage including their women, their children
and their livestock. Their venture was a private endeavor and no
government was involved. This is not true for the rest of the settlements
started in the Americas where the Spanish maintained a master-serf
relationship with the peoples of their part of the new world. We
have never outgrown this and as was the custom during the colonial
days we are still unable to refer to someone without placing a handle
in front of their name and using as many last names as the paper
can hold. Not even the media will refer to a person without making
reference to their education level or status of some kind.
In some cases when a person have achieved some degree of success
and does not have a title the media will make one up. For instance
neither of the last two presidents of this country had titles so
the media fixed it. This may not seem like anything drastic, but
it truly reflects our inability to leave the colonial days behind
For us to grow as a people we need to forget the days of subjugation
and lose our adoration for a mother country that has given back
so very little for all the things they took from us. We should leave
our Spanish and Indian egos behind us and learn how to change our
attitudes towards each other and just maybe we could start building
a progressive country, with fairness and respect for other individuals
and honesty in government and then we will begin to see change and
prosperity for all.
the 14th day of August of 1502, Christopher Columbus set foot for
the first time on the mainland of the American continent at a place
called Punta de Caxinas (Punta Castilla). Twenty two years later
Hernan Cortes founded the town of La Natividad (Puerto Cortes) and
in that same year Cristobal de Olid founded the town of Triunfo
de la Cruz (Tela). In 1525 Juan Medina founded the town of Trujillo.
It was not until 1607 that the English founded the Jamestown settlement
and later in 1620 the Mayflower brought a group of English Separatists
to the eastern coast of North America. The second group was called
the Pilgrims and they landed in Massachusetts. Ten years after they
landed they founded a town that would become the city of Boston
and gave start to the greatest and most powerful nation the world
has ever seen - USA. While Spain was the richest country in the
world during America's conquest, all they left behind was a legacy
of language and religion.
I have often wondered as to what went wrong with countries settled
by the Spaniards? While the Spanish had almost a century head start
on the English, their old colonies are still struggling to feed
their people and depend on loans and handouts from the rest of world
that has long since moved into the space age.
After about three hundred years of Spanish rule, Honduras became
an independent nation in 1821 and only about thirty years before
(1788) the British began colonizing Australia with the founding
of what was to become the city of Sydney, starting with the most
unlikely material, convicts. There were several hundred male convicts
and 180 women. So, Trujillo is 105 years older than Boston and San
Pedro Sula is 252 years older than Sidney. What has slowed our advancement?
Where did we go wrong?
rushed over to the Cay and started looking for another voting place
but never found one, apparently the only place that had opened for
business was in El Pichete. The days leading up to Sunday had been
a confusing time for the followers of the president in Guanaja,
mostly because all three biggies of the liberal party were out of
town. The ballot boxes for the referendum were shipped in on SOSA
under the guise of "didactic material" for the Guanaja
public school on the Cay.
The directors of the school were unaware of what the box contained
and delegated the pickup of the shipment to a student. The student
took the material home on Friday and left it on his upstairs front
porch. The student was unaware of what he had until early Sunday,
June 28 when the person from El Pichete came looking for the ballot
boxes. The student was promptly reprimanded for having handled so
carelessly something of such importance. The student replied: "had
I known what was in that package I would have dumped it in the canal."
Sunday had been a bad day for Mr. Zelaya and his followers. The
President was arrested, supposedly for treason and violations of
articles in the constitution of the republic of Honduras.
Maybe he needed arresting but along with him they should have arrested
all those politicians that took his money when this whole Chavista
movement started. Those corrupt congressmen approved the joining
of the ALBA and took the tractors Chavez sent. I can't believe that
they did not know that there were strings attached. It should also
be illegal for the two persons that are in-line for the presidency
to instigate the procedures for deposing the duly elected president.
In this day and age a coup d'état sends a foul smell into
the international community as there are other ways to get rid of
Sunday turned out to be a great day for Mario, around noon when
the winning number was declared to be 05, Mario leaped for joy,
he had the winning number and his prize was over 16,000 lempiras.
was worried. It was Sunday and he did not have enough money to pay
for his contracted lottery. Every Sunday morning he had to come
up with 250 lempiras to pay his lottery seller to guarantee that
she would not sell his favorite number. Mario searched his pockets
again and all the cash he could find was 50 lempiras. He needed
200 more. He ambled down the main road in El Pichete wondering where
he could borrow the money he needed. Half way down the walk he spotted
a group of people in single file as if waiting their turn at something.
After taking a good look at the crowd he thought to himself, someone
must be giving away something. He quickly got into the line and
then asked: "What's going on?" Someone replied: "Some
guy is paying two hundred lempiras cash to each person that puts
their mark on a ballot and places it in the urn." He further
inquired as to the nature of the voting and was told that it had
to do with the 'Cuarta Urna.'
Mario stepped out of line, he was certain that he would have nothing
to do with anything the liberals were scheming. He was a born nationalist.
He checked the line more closely and found many people from his
own party awaiting their turn to vote. He asked one of them why
and the reply was: "Two hundred pesos are two hundred pesos
compadre!" Two hundred lempiras would come in handy today and
if Mario was not able to pay the lottery seller and his number came
up a winner he would lose a lot more than his pride. He asked his
dead father to forgive him and got back into the line.
Mario did not get to vote because before he got to the door of the
building the news broke that the great leader had been arrested
and whisked away to Costa Rica. Confusion descended on the voting
place as the person in charge called his superiors, but got no answer
on his cell phone. Mario knew the person in charge so he walked
over and asked the guy for a loan of 200 lempiras and he assured
the potential lender that when ever they got it straight he would
be willing to vote for the President of all the Hondurans. They
never got it straight because the news that the president had been
deposed was true.
Us or Leave Us Alone
is a law that forbids the freighters from carrying passengers. That
law was passed at the request of the owner of another vessel that
runs both passengers and freight (the owner is a mainlander.) In
another instance, a mainlander bought a freight boat for the coastal
run and he petitioned and got a law passed that forbids other boats
to carry freight no matter if it is was your freight and your boat.
The government went so far as to prohibit fishing boats from picking
up their own lobster traps and other fishing gear because this paraphernalia
was considered freight. I can't see where intent to carry passengers
is in violation of any ordinance or law. The solution was as simple
as to forbid the boarding of the passengers, but instead all the
boats were tied up. Then the official said that the intended passengers
were not on the Zarpe that was turned in during office hours.
For passengers to be listed ahead of sailing time there must be
some sort of reservation system and none of the freighters have
offices in La Ceiba. They can hardly afford the exorbitant amounts
charged for dockage. Honduras is the only country in the world that
requires permits to sail your own vessel within your own borders.
For now, nobody is required to have a permit to travel by car from
anywhere to anywhere in Honduras. The registration of a car can
be paid at any bank, but for a boat you need lawyers and lots of
cash. In this country a permit to operate a boat must be signed
by a minister of the president's cabinet and you must spend money
to get that signature.
This island is going downhill fast and the Honduran government is
pushing us along. Guanaja no longer has a judge, we no longer have
a customs office, the mail service is due to disappear, we are down
to one airline. We are being systematically driven out of business
while others, especially Jamaicans, fish our waters without fear
For almost two hundred years we have plied the seas around us but
now we are being controlled by persons from a landlocked city who
presume to know more that we do about our vessels, our weather and
our ocean. We are now being told when we can sail our vessels on
the seas that our forefathers gave to us as our birthright. We are
being told when, where, and what we can fish and on this island,
fishing is a matter of survival.
We invented conch soup, but we can't dive for conch because those
landlubbers have denied us that right also. If we really want to
make a conch soup we must take an airplane trip and purchase this
island delicacy in the super markets in La Ceiba.
To you bureaucrats in the capital I say: Help us or leave us. We
were doing fine before you 'discovered us.'
a bus ride a few years ago in New England I was surprised to see
a State Trooper's Plymouth pull up next to the driver side of the
bus. The policeman in the passenger seat of the police cruiser signaled
to the bus driver with a ticket receipt book and a pencil. The bus
driver immediately slowed the vehicle to a more legal speed, but
we never stopped. I asked the driver why the policeman had threatened
him out there on the highway. The driver said: "That was not
a threat, he gave me a ticket. I was speeding."
He explained that the police could not stop an interstate carrier
(our bus) on the highway for speeding. He said that what the police
did was to ticket the bus by its license plate number and the bus
company charges the ticket to the driver. "We have a schedule
to keep and not even the police can interfere, unless it's a matter
of life or death."
That incident occurred over 40 years ago and I still remember it
because I was very impressed by that respect for schedules and the
value placed on the passengers' time. I wish I could say the same
for the authorities in this country.
Time seems to be that last thing on the mind of the authorities
in Honduras and that is especially true when it's other people's
time. In this country the people in charge make a special effort
to foul up other people's schedules. It is such a common practice
that nobody expects things to go right. On at least three occasions
in as many months the top brass of the Mercante Marina has seen
the need to refuse to issue sailing orders for our freighters going
between Bonacca and La Ceiba. These freighters are the life line
of this island; they sometime arrive with rotting vegetables and
sour milk - everything is planned around their sailing and returning
on the specified day.
On a few occasions orders came from Tegucigalpa to deny sailing
permits (Zarpes) to our freighter because they (Mercante Marina)
believed the sea to be too rough. The latest reason they came up
with for denying the sailing permits was that one of the captains
of the freighters was intending to carry passengers on his vessels.
Befuddled by this dubious crime the port captain called his boss
in Tegus and was told that he should not issue any permits to any
freighter sailing to Guanaja until further orders.
of the Bees
men have a definite advantage in this argument and that's because
no matter what age a man is, he is still likely to be able to produce
offspring. An older woman will eventually ask, 'What does she have
that I don't?' A truthful answer here would be that the younger
woman has nothing more or better that the other woman, but the reptilian
brain has made known its findings and the older woman lost.
The cerebrum saves the day because it is here that we find love,
fidelity, kindness, compassion and all other human traits. Our love
for, and our sense of, responsibility towards our aging partner
keeps most of us on the straight and narrow but it is a hard battle
as we are fighting against our evolutionary inheritance.
Sometime in the distant past we diverged from the normal path of
mammalian development that uses the sense of smell to become attracted
to the opposite sex. We are now more akin to the birds in that we
are guided more by our eyesight than by anything else when searching
for a mate. Maybe we should not touch but everybody knows that just
looking can't hurt anybody.
In these times of hardship most people are making conscious decisions
not to have many children but this reasoning does not change the
programming created by evolution in the most primitive part of our
brain. This part of the brain is what keeps us breathing, keeps
our heart beating, maintains our body temperature and like functions
of our autonomic nervous system. This system is what enables us
to dodge an oncoming arrow, blinks our eyes when something touches
our eyelids, makes us pull our hand away from a hot surface and
a myriad of other self protection reflexes and all this without
us ever having to think about it.
Imagine if we had to think about everything we did, when it came
to split second decisions of self preservation our serially processing
thinking brain would fall short and our survival would not have
been possible in a world of eat or be eaten. Man and most mammals
with their convoluted brain would not have risen to domination on
this planet if not for the reptilian brain that lies beneath it.
The cerebrum likens us unto God and the brain stem likens us unto
animals, hence the words of Plotinus: Man is midway between God
Joe was peering at his neighbor's young daughter from behind the
curtain of his living room window. He could not help thinking that
she had become a very beautiful young woman. Other thoughts may
have crossed his mind but he would not admit those to anyone. Old
Joe's wife entered the room and caught him spying on the girl; she
became furious and called him a dirty old man. Most people do not
have any idea why older people, men and women alike, admire younger
members of the opposite sex. Hardly anyone has taken the time to
figure out why they find themselves attracted to beautiful people.
To think about it is not the function of the sentient mind.
The main reason for our attraction to good-looking people is that
the parameter for beauty has been set in our minds from the beginning
and beauty implies health. Healthy partners bear healthy and strong
offspring; these offspring have a better chance at surviving.
These logical conclusions are performed by our reptilian brain without
the conscious participation of the host.
reptilian brain is the reason men are not too attracted to older
women. It has nothing to do with being a dirty old man, but that
the primitive part of our brain has passed judgment and older women
beyond the child bearing age are not considered good candidates
of the Bees
A bee hive is composed of one queen, a few hundred drones, and from
twenty to forty thousand workers. The queen has some control of
the hive through the use of pheromones that stimulates behavior
but this is mostly to announce her presence and her health to workers
to discourage the raising of other queens. Bees swarm in order to
create new colonies. During a prime swarm the old queen leaves the
hive with a large group of worker bees. As soon as the swarm is
settled in the new hive the workers raise a new queen but sometimes
there will already be a replacement virgin queen in the swarm. In
a healthy working hive when the old queen dies or becomes infertile
a supersedure occurs and the new queen replaces the old one in the
The new virgin queen fills the air with her pheromones and takes
off on her mating flight; she must attract as many drones as possible.
She can produce eggs without mating but these unfertilized eggs
only produce drones. To produce workers and queens she must mate
with the drones and store enough sperm to last her a lifetime: about
two years. If the queen becomes infertile she will be killed by
the workers and replaced. On some occasions there can be two queens
in a hive and the mother and daughter exist together for a while.
All the workers are females and their particular job is determined
more by their age than by anything else, the last job they have
is the gathering of pollen and nectar and they literally work themselves
to death at it. Every worker bee has a determined job at a determined
age and these jobs range from tending the young, grooming and cleaning
the queen to defending the hive and gathering pollen and nectar.
The older bees can go back to some previous jobs within the hive
whenever it is deemed necessary. Man and his technology have been
able to synthesize many things made by nature, but honey is not
one of those things. aWith the on-site help of David Hyde and the
expert advice of pastor Perry Elwin, we hope this new venture in
apiculture turn out to be a resounding success.
the crying and the gnashing of teeth among the people on this island
that still have something to lose, the year ended in a tiny harmonious
note. That note is the humming of thousand of bees as they go about
the business of making honey, oblivious to all but their instinctual
Little they know of the greatest financial crisis the island has
faced in the last fifty years. It was only a few months ago that
I reported the lack of these tiny industrious insects on this island
but all that has changed now. A few persons on the island including
Bill O'Driscoll and Cathy & Jim Springer were responsible for
contacting pastor Perry Elwin on Roatan and were able to acquire
three or four queens and some workers.
I have reasons to believe that this strain of bees is the same one
carried from here to Roatan by the good pastor just after the Hurricane
Mitch. This is good because this strain is much less aggressive
than the possibly africanized strains available on the mainland.
Bees are believed to have been on this earth for about 100 millions
years but the first documented (cave paintings) instance of man
interactions with bees is about six to eight thousand years. It
is known that the Greeks were keeping bee hives over three thousand
honeybee as we know it came to the Americas with the Europeans and
by the late sixteen hundreds, bees were widespread along the East
Coast of the United States and eventually moved to other areas as
the pioneers pushed further into the country. The American Indians
wondered about the sanity of the white men who carried around their
own insects and called the honeybee "White man flies."
a very early age Honduran children are taught to seek revenge for
anything unpleasant visited upon them by another. This revenge can
have minor or very serious consequences, depending on the misdeed.
Revenge commonly ranges from killing a pet or farm animal to killing
another human being.
In spite of male bravado about the father being the boss of the
house, the truth is that a mother rears her children. Amongst her
duties is training her children to face the rigors of life spiritually,
morally and socially. She trains all her children, but she makes
special efforts with her boys. She will teach her three year old
son that only girls cry when they hurt themselves. She will encourage
- even demand - machismo from her sons. Her oldest boy will have
complete control over his siblings, including the right to inflict
violence on them.
The mother's training will produce young men who believe violence
solves all grievances. These young men will admire men who murder
for vengeance. In most cases the victims of these murders will be
unarmed. These young men will render a perverse homage to murderers,
praising them as 'having their own private graveyard'. These young
men will believe that one should never strike a man who has caused
you harm - rather you should kill him.
A mother also teaches her boys to defend her honor at all costs.
Her boys will become young men who feel duty bound to kill anyone
to question the virtual sainthood of their mothers. It is too bad
that these same boys are not taught to respect all women as they
do their mothers. They might then refrain from the insults and obscenities
with which they routinely barrage other women.
The Honduran mother is responsible for carrying the torch of rancor
and keeping alive the resentment and the desire for vengeance for
a past injustice, be it real or imagined. We must look to her to
transform this culture of violence.
the middle of a busy public thoroughfare one man dowsed another with
gasoline and ignited the volatile substance. As the victim's clothing
burned he jumped into the water and doused the flames. Had the ocean
not been so close he would probably have met a grisly death.
Many people witnessed this attempted murder yet nobody reported it
to the authorities. In fact it became the joke of the week. When asked
why he wanted to murder the victim, the perpetrator explained that
the victim had committed some kind of misdeed against him about three
years before. The perpetrator explained that after the initial misdeed,
his wife had advised him to leave things in the hands of the law.
The first year passed and the law did nothing. The perpetrator's wife
then convinced him to leave justice in the hands of the good Lord.
The second year passed without justice being visited. In the third
year, the perpetrator reasoned that it was up to him to fix things.
He bought some gasoline and a cigarette lighter and set fire to his
enemy. Ultimately no one was seriously hurt, but this is not the norm
in this country.
30th of June 1502 Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Bonacco.
He landed and replenished his supply of sweet drinking water from
one of the many rivers running down the mountains of this verdant
Bay of Honduras island. It was in Bonacco that he became the first
European to drink the exotic brew called cacahualt by the natives,
a brew now known as chocolate.
Almost a year later, trying to reach Hispaniola from the Isthmus of
Panama, Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands. The Great Captain's
expeditionary force had been reduced to 2 caravels, both water-logged,
worm-eaten and struggling to sail into the wind. These battered barges
were captained by men with little knowledge of local currents, and
found themselves far from their plotted course.
all accounts of the Cayman Islands during this era describe turtles
and alligators, with never a mention of human inhabitants. But the
islands were eventually settled by British subjects knowledgeable
in the construction of cisterns and tanks for storing rainwater.
Current-day versions of the history of the Cayman Islands ignore
the Island of Bonacco, passing over its role in the growth of the
Cayman Islands and vice versa. Yet the two islands have a similar
history in that both were used by mostly British pirates and privateers.
The Caymans served these pirates as waypoints, ports, and pantries
abundant in rich turtle and caiman flesh. Bonnaco served them with
drinking water and timber for refitting their vessels. Eventually
both islands became colonies of Great Britain.
turtles on the Caymans were almost extinct, Cayman vessels came
to Bonacco for fresh supplies. The only cash crop the Caymanians
planted was cotton, which quickly exhausted the limited available
topsoil in the Caymans. When the US Civil War ended and southern
states resumed full cotton production, plummeting prices forced
Caymanian cotton growers out of production. Many former cotton farm
masters and freed slaves made Bonacco their home, spearheading a
migration of nearly half the Cayman's population to the Bay Islands.
Long before any kind of development on their islands, Caymanians
traded their local thatch rope for any available Bonakian foodstuffs
which could survive the return journey. Bananas, plantains and root
vegetables were traded, even drinking water in years of little rain
in the Caymans.
For many years most older residents of Bonacco were Caymanians by
birth. Even after Boancco was turned over to Honduras, Bonakians
and Caymanians traveled back and forth without need of visas or
permits. Many years ago on a trip to the low land an old lady in
West Bay asked me where I was from. I told her I was from Bonacco
and she replied "Same dog puppy, we are all one blood son".
Bonakian names such as KirkConnell, Bodden, McCoy, McClean, Jackson,
McLuaghlin, Bennett, Bush and Ebanks ought to be very familiar to
Caymanians - indeed the name Ebanks originated in the Caymans. Bonakians
of English descent are the only people in the Caribbean that speak
But in recent decades much has changed. Younger Caymanians believe
themselves to be God's gift to humanity. They forget the thatch
rope days, and no longer distinguish between Spanish speaking Hondurenian
and Bonakians. We Bonakians are all Hondurenians, and are kept from
our ancestral home with all the legal power the Young Caymanians
I am one of many living outside the Cayman Islands who descends
from John E. Banks, survivor of the Wreck of The Ten Sails. I send
regards to all Caymanians from a fourth generation Bonakian/Caymanian.
Project New Hope
it's too soon to applaud but I believe that someone has found the
key to our eventual entry into the world of tourism. The idea, which
has been on the drawing board for some time now, was presented to
some of us a while back; and the feasibility study has been completed
by some consulting firm with monies from BID. As put forth in the
meeting, there are plans to build a hotel and cabañas for guests
interested in archeology, anthropology and oceanography (scuba diving).
The hotel will also contain a laboratory for students and scientists
who are willing to pay for the privilege of researching the history
of the Marble Hill and Plan Grande (Big Flat) archeological sites.
The hotel will not be constructed directly on the sites but will be
within walking distance and will include all the amenities necessary
to provide first class human comforts. There are plans for a museum
that will house present day finds and also artifacts taken from the
sites by F.A. Mitchell-Hedges back in the 1930s. The latter will be
returned to the island from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington
In order for the repatriation to take place, the people of Guanaja
must be directly involved through the municipality and the artifacts
must be guaranteed to be returned to their original site.
in 1847 British scholar Thomas Young discovered the archeological
site at Guanaja's Marble Hill, which was later rediscovered in 1930
by Mitchell-Hedges, a British explorer. Mitchell-Hedges compared
it to the Druid stone formation found in Cornwall, England. In 1933,
William Duncan Strong, an anthropologist with the Smithsonian Institute,
noted that the Marble Hill and Plan Grande areas were the most impressive
archeological sites visited by institute personnel in this area.
I did some research and found out that Mr. Mitchell-Hedges' written
remarks reveal a high regard for the Marble Hill site, even comparing
the site to Stonehenge. He writes of the artifacts: "Of the
hundreds of specimens we found there, scarcely one was of ordinary
character." However, when I tried to find out the monetary
value of the 1,100 artifacts carried away by Mr. Mitchell-Hedges,
I was informed by personnel from the official Mitchell-Hedges website
that the artifacts are worthless, have been forgotten and have been
stored in a dark corner of the Smithsonian Institute since the 1930s.
I find it unbelievable that a person of Mr. Mitchell-Hedges' reputation
and expertise would go to the trouble of gathering over a thousand
artifacts and then smuggle them out in his fishing gear without
realizing that they were worthless.
Some of his findings also went to the British Museum. A letter to
him from a Capt. T.A. Joyce of the museum's Department of Ethnography
reads, "The specimens that you submitted have been carefully
examined. And in my opinion they represent a very early type of
Central American culture, probably pre-Maya." I am not knowledgeable
in these matters, but with these kinds of comments I cannot believe
the artifacts are worthless.
The proposed construction cost of the hotel including the purchase
of the land at the building site is only about a $1 million, not
a significant amount for the agency which is in charge of finding
the money, FIDE.
Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States of America,
I remain disappointed and I would rather think that my disappointment
is because I consider myself a person with conservative Republican
In my opinion Mr. McCain's campaign was hampered from the beginning
by the fact that this huge economical crisis the world is experiencing
occurred during the Republican Party's watch. I am not too surprised
by the outcome of the elections, because the captain is always blamed
for the sinking of the ship no matter who pulled the plug, but most
people don't know that all this financial mess is just a symptom of
a larger crisis. It boils down to spending more money than you make.
The US government is no longer the leading economic power we all assume
it to be. In recent years the US government has been borrowing money
from all over including China. For the past one hundred years the
US has boosted its economy and solved it unemployment problems by
going to war every few decades, but this strategy no longer works
because wars have became too expensive.
idea to get houses for people that could not afford them goes back
to 1938 and the idea was reinforced in 1970 by creating Fannie May
and Freddie Mac respectively. These two organizations later specialized
in subprime loans and private banks and mortgage lenders followed
subprime loan is lending money to people that are high risk borrowers,
in other words you could lose you shirt giving credit to these people.
It was in 1992 that Congress ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
to purchase low to medium income mortgages. During the Clinton administration
Fannie Mae was investigated for racial discrimination because a
lot of applications for loans by unqualified borrowers were being
It was also during this time that the secretary of HUD strongly
suggested that at least 50% of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac portfolios
be made up of high risk borrowers by the year 2001. Clinton's federal
housing authorities ordered these two organizations to allow welfare
and unemployment benefits to be considered as legitimate income
sources for a person applying for a loan to purchase a house. Loans
for mortgages were extended to people that could not even afford
the down payment.
The government should not have allowed speculators to invest securities
money in these high risk real estate deals. Clinton's administration
can be credited with making possible the highest home ownership
in the history of the USA, but at what price? Well, now the chickens
are coming home to roost.
On another note, Hispanic voters looking for adjustment to immigrations
laws that will let their illegal alien relatives live and work permanently
in the US. Democrats offered more and Hispanic voters went across
traditional lines and voted heavily for the Democrats, 3 to 1 for
Barack Obama. There is no doubt that this was instrumental in Obama's
victory. Well, we now have the first African- American president
ever and maybe next we'll have a Hispanic president.
a lot of criticism of my articles on religion and very little of it
is constructive criticism. There are people who jump at the chance
to criticize other people for their views on religion, yet they lack
the knowledge necessary to explain or defend their own beliefs. It
must be understood that most people get their religion from their
parents and as kids they are already well indoctrinated. Yes, most
of us are forced to accept our parent's religion.
My mother never bothered to check my homework from school, but if
I missed a church meeting I was chastised for a week. No Christian
I have ever met has taken the time to find out the reason why he or
she is a Christian. Most of the Protestant denominations which abound
in these islands were all invented in the United States of America
some time in the middle of the nineteenth century. Yet almost none
of the bible spouting crowd know the history of their own denomination,
much less that of any other. We Island Christians have a poor regard
for other denominations and especially for other religions. Yet none
of the Christians I know have ever found it strangely remarkable that
within the writings considered sacred by Christians, there can be
found the complete scriptures of another religion, Judaism. They don't
seem to know that Judaism is the undiluted religion of Jehovah and
it's from there that Christianity and Islam both sprang.
Most Christians have never given a thought as to why the Christian
movement was never based in Judea where it was supposedly born, or
why it remained a Mediterranean religion for centuries.
The propagation of the early Christian religion was mostly due to
the efforts of a person who never even met Jesus--Paul. Paul was a
Jew born in Tarsus, which at the time was a part of the Roman Empire.
His real name was Saul, and in order to be accepted more readily into
the Latin world in which he lived he changed his name to Paul. He
was a politician and his job was the persecution of Christians and
their nascent church.
the road to Damascus he had a change of heart after having a vision
of Jesus Christ. This incident in the life of Paul is not mentioned
by Paul himself in any of his many writings. Paul was a devout Jew
and he never admitted to converting from one religion to another.
Paul's lifelong work was trying to unite the gentile churches he had
founded with the church of the Jesus Jews of Jerusalem. As part of
his missionary work Paul wrote letters to his churches in and around
the Mediterranean, some of these letters later became books of the
New Testament. As a matter of fact about half of the books in the
New Testament (thirteen of twenty-seven) are letters supposedly written
Paul was arrested in Jerusalem by the Jewish authorities on the charge
of blasphemy and would have been executed there were he not a citizen
of the Roman Empire. Paul was then escorted by soldiers and carried
by ship to Rome. Paul must have been acquitted, or was never tried
on the blasphemy charges, because he continued to travel freely through
the Roman Empire and it was not until two years later that Paul was
The churches founded by Paul were taken over by another missionary,
one of the original disciples--Peter. Paul, on at least one occasion,
had confronted Peter in regards to Peter's contradictory influence
in the gentile churches. The Jesus Jews of Jerusalem insisted that
the gentiles would have to submit themselves to the legal and ritual
precepts of the Jews in order to become part of the church of Jerusalem.
Peter disagreed with the Jesus Jews and these churches were never
reconciled. The gentile church established its headquarters in Rome
and with time it became the Roman Catholic Church.
The word catholic is an adaptation of the Greek word katholikos and
it means universal. The Catholic Church still lays claim to the fact
that it was the original and for fifteen hundred years the only Christian
Our local denominations hold no reverence for the Catholic Church
even though there can be no doubt that it is the Mother Church of
all Christians. I attribute this lack of consideration to our ignorance
of the fact that the event which brought about the reformation of
the church was not a protest against the Christian doctrine of the
Catholic Church, but against the political and economical power wielded
by the Catholics. At one time the Catholic Church crowned and deposed
of kings in all European nations and the church owned at least one
third of all the lands of Europe. Protestantism was born out of the
need for social and political rather than religious reform.
1953 Miss Tessie brought to Bonacco the first coin-operated, electrical
music playing machine. This was the start of a great romance between
the then young people of Bonacco and a marvelous machine called the
A little while later the owners of the Green House got a jukebox and
before long there was another in the Blue Wave. The one I remember
best is the old Wurlitzer 50 in the Blue Wave. It had a total of twenty
five 78 rpm records and it had an ingenious mechanism that flipped
the records over to play the opposite side.
A few years before when radio had been introduced to Bonacco, the
whole town had gone crazy over country and western music. This music
was mostly heard over XERF, a radio station with studios in Del Rio
Texas and a transmitter in Ciudad Acuña, Cuaquila, Mexico.
The reason for this geographical separation was the fact that the
US government did not permit radio stations with the power of XERF
(250,000 Watts) to operate on its soil. This radio station was instrumental
in converting the people of Bonacco into die-hard country and western
music fans. We would rise at 4am to visit with the neighbor who owned
the radio and then spend hours listening to music. Some of the more
devout fans even learned the commercial jingles.
In those days Bonacco's main source of income was from the boys who
had gone to sea on ships and sent money back home to their folks.
Whenever one of these boys came home for a short vacation they would
bring back records with the latest hits they had encountered on their
We eventually became acquainted with all the genre of music available
at that time, and the young people of Bonacco became the best jukebox
music dancers in the world. If the jukebox played it, we could dance
it--no exceptions. We danced swing, waltz, country music, boleros,
tangos, rancheras, merengues, calypsos, cumbias, cha-cha-cha, mambo
and all the rock 'n roll styles from the twist to the watusi, motown
and the mashed potato.
We became so talented that all visitors to this island never failed
to praise our abilities on the dance floor. The Blue Wave was a unique
dance hall in that it had been converted from a motion picture theater
and the huge hall had 20 ft ceilings. This dance hall eventually got
a large collection of records and every Saturday afternoon the young
ladies were invited to change the record selection on the jukebox.
While the girls were busy selecting records, the young men were busy
scraping candle tallow on the wooden floor to make it slick and more
suitable for fine dancing.
this early period, the Blue Wave became not only a Bay Islands legend
but also well known along the north coast. On almost every Saturday
afternoon boats from Roatan would anchor in the harbor and everybody
knew that they had come to watch or to try their own dance steps.
The Roataners would comment that the Bonacco women must give birth
on the dance floor because all their kids were natural born dancers.
Later when Roatan got jukeboxes the Utilians would paddle all the
way to Roatan just to punch (insert the coins) the jukebox.
Just to give you and idea as to our reputations as dancers I'll relate
a little story of something that happened in Oak Ridge a few years
back. Having a couple of beers in a dance spot were a German woman
and a local Oak Ridge girl. As the girls drank their beers they watched
a few dancers do their thing. Among the dancers there was an older
man, around 65-70, dancing up a storm. The German woman said to the
local girl, "That old guy sure dances well." The local replied:
"He was born dancing." The German girl looked at the local
girl with a question in her eyes, and then the Oak Ridge woman concluded,
"They all dance well, you see, he's a Bonackian."
On Saturday nights in old Bonacco all the dancers came to the dance
hall in their very best Saturday go to church clothing and highly
polished shoes. The boys had every hair in place and slicked back
using the finest ParaMi and Yardley brilliantine. These guys came
ready to show off their dancing abilities under the bright lights
illuminating the dance floor.
Back then, women wore dresses and the men wore their hair short, unlike
now-a-days when girls wear men's pants and young men wear long hair
and earrings in their ears and sometimes in their noses. The best
jukebox music dancers in the world are no longer active. Many have
died and the rest of us are all crippled up with arthritis,
but we were never defeated on the dance floor. We were phased out
and forgotten by a less moral and a more vulgar type of dancers.
Dancing has come down to some convulsive jerking and twisting of the
lower torso accompanied by some rather vulgar gyrations of the gluteus
maximus. DJs have replaced the jukeboxes; and bachata, punta, and
reggaeton have replaced the beautiful music of years past, with the
latter two setting music back at least two hundred years. Whenever
the DJ strikes up the new sounds the very first thing that the dancing
public wants is for someone to turn out the lights.
No one dances with pride anymore. Even if there is a good dancer among
all that mass of flesh, no one can see 'em dancing in the dark. All
the light they need is a strobe lamp flashing once in a while so they
can return to their seat when they become tired because the DJs never
allow a pause in that cacophonous dissonance.
The best jukebox music dancers are only one of the many things we
still miss: five cokes for one lempira, a cold beer for 40 cents,
a can of corned beef for 50 cents, five pound of American margarine
for one dollar, house rent at eight Lempiras a month. But just like
the best jukebox music dancers in the world, these things we will
never see again.
ago, on a Friday afternoon, I was summoned from the garden where I
was working. I was complemented on the excellence of my work and handed
five silver lempira pieces. On that day I had drawn my first wage.
I had been remunerated for a five-day week after school laboring in
the garden of a wealthy lady. With all that money in my pocket I felt
a tiny bit of the power that comes with wealth.
I was as proud as I could be because I had earned the money by the
sweat of my brow. Little did I realize that on that day I was as rich
as I ever would be. When I arrived at home I went to my personal area
and counted those silver coins over and over again. The clinking sound
they made was like music to my ears. I quickly emptied a velvet marble
bag that I owned, gently placed the coins inside and tied the bag
around my neck.
That night as I awaited the sandman, I could not help thinking about
my money. The more I thought about it the more I wondered what would
be the best way to use the money. Here in my possession was enough
money to pay somebody's rent for a month, or feed a small family for
a couple of weeks. It could also pay five months of private tutoring
in English, buy fifty double scoop ice cream cones, or one hundred
packs of Sweet 16 chewing gum. I was rich and I knew it.
There were other people with money, but unlike those other people
I had no bills to pay, or no other financial obligations. I had absolutely
nothing to do with all my money.
back to that wonderful day I now sincerely believe that it was the
only time in my life that I ever found myself in such an enviable
position. Since that day I have never been without a paying job. Me
and mine have never gone hungry, but I have never, ever achieved that
degree of economic freedom since. Working for a wage has only made
me rich that one time.
Earning one's bread by the sweat of one's brow is not all it's cracked
up to be. I am in the acquaintance of at least a dozen persons that
have never worked at a paying job in their lives and can buy anything
they want. Mind you, not buy anything they need, but buy anything
There is quite a difference between these two kinds of purchases.
Buying "what you want" means you never have to ask the price.
Buying "what you need" means you must always haggle for
a bargain with the seller. Whenever I see people who seem to prosper
with no visible means of support it brings to mind an old Yoruba proverb:
"If the wicked prospers and the righteous suffers, one feels
reluctant to do good."
Most of us will spend the bigger part of our useful lives working
for a wage; and we all know that it is the wage earner who makes individual
employers and corporations rich while we, the wage earners, will never
ever have more money than we need.
seems to be a great upsurge of ignorance pervading the voting public
throughout the countries of Latin America. For some reason I wanted
to believe that it was because of the high rate of illiteracy in these
countries; but as I look at the political goings-on in the United
States of America, I have to modify my beliefs a bit. At this very
moment the American people have selected from among their three hundred
millions of inhabitants a man that may be less qualified for the job
of president than our own great choice.
Barack Obama is a converted Muslim and a first generation American
on his father's side. Had he ever been in the US military he would
have had a hard time getting a top secret clearance, yet the American
public is trying hard to make him the president of the their country.
What have we come to?
It seems to me that his popularity is based solely on the fact that
he is only half white. The people who selected him can rest assured
that he is different from other blacks in the fact that he did not
sit around on the front porch listening to his grandmother tell stories
about picking cotton. His father was nobody's boy. None of the black
candidates who have been rejected in the past by the American people
can make this claim.
If Obama is elected president of the USA, this would be in keeping
with the ongoing political trend in the western hemisphere to elect
men to the highest office of the land that should be in another line
Here in Latin America we have our own problems: Bolivia has its Evo
Morales; Venezuela has its Hugo Chavez; Nicaragua has its Daniel Ortega;
and we have our own Ing. Manuel Zelaya (the Ing. stands for Engineer
in Spanish and this is an honorary title granted to him by the media,
I have no idea by what authority).
really sad thing about all these men is that they were all legally
elected by popular vote. This goes to prove that the people almost
never know what's in their best interest. This country has never been
in such a drastic situation, and this goes double for the people of
the departments of Atlantida, Colon, La Mosquitia and the Bay Islands,
which all derive their livelihood from the sea. It appears that our
president, in an effort to gain some brownie points with his left
leaning friends, gave away half the country's fishing area in the
For the last few weeks everywhere you turn there have been news reports
concerning the problems caused by the closing of the Toncontin Airport
and the 85 families whose lives were affected by its shutdown. Well,
over 2,500 families have been affected by the loss of an important
fishing area. The Honduran government has decided that the solution
to the problem created by this shameful act is the reduction of the
fishing fleet on the north coast. This decision must have been made
by one of the geniuses who violated the laws concerning the sovereignty
of the country by giving away our ancestral fishing grounds.
I can't help but wonder how the powers-that-be will go about deciding
who will have to tie up their boats. It seems to me that every time
the presently ruling political party gets the power they do something
fantastic, but this president takes the cake. We should not be surprised
at this. We should remember that this party gave us the 14 month year
(you get 11 months work but you pay for 14), the mandatory Christmas
bonus (you have to pawn your house to pay it), prestaciones (you have
to sell the business to pay this), and Colegio De Abogados (all transactions
with the government must be done through a lawyer, whom you pay L
2,000 to get a L 800 income tax refund).
These aforementioned gifts have made us an importing country. The
only thing we did not have to import was fish, but this latest dastardly
deed could very well make us importers of seafood as well. His loyal
party members claim that our president was not aware of the seriousness
of his decision; but they must know that ignorance is not bliss if
it harms others. So break with tradition, learn from your mistakes
and do the right thing.
all the countries of the civilized world there have been great changes
made to laws that relate to the maintenance and support of young children
by their fathers.
In one recent televised case a poor fool was obligated by law to provide
child support for a child even after the results of a DNA test proved
conclusively the he was not the biological parent. I can't imagine
what kind of a court could hand down such a biased decision. At this
very moment there a hundreds of men incarcerated for their failure
or their inability to pay child support. Others are doing without
and living on the edge of outright poverty by trying desperately to
comply with child support laws in an attempt to keep from going to
prison. In most cases the judges will decide on the amount that a
man should pay to his ex for child support solely by the amount of
money that the man makes These judges do not want to know what other
expenditures a man might have or how many other people (including
children) might depend on the support of that person.
believe that a man should support his young children, but I don't
believe that he should have to stop eating or start living on the
street to comply with the law that obligates him to do so. The judges
should take all things into consideration before ordering a man to
pay any amount of money. The amount should be a fair and reasonable
amount based not only on the wages of the payee but also on the age
of the child and the needs of the child. The amount should be a partial
support for the child and should not be an amount that would put the
payee in financial problems. Most mothers that file for child support
from their ex's, do it mostly as way to take revenge on their estrange
spouses. These mothers would be completely happy if the judge left
the man without a nickel in his pocket. I guess there is not much
that a person can do to change these laws but I think that there should
be an amendment to the law that would make them more just. The law
that obligates a man to support his children should also include a
clause that states that for as many years as a man had to support
his children for this same amount of years the grown children will
have to support their father. I know many fathers that worked their
lives away for their kids and as they got old they were completely
forgotten by their children. This is where the law would come in and
if the children do not provide support for their father then they,
(the children) should go to jail. There should also be a law that
obligates ex-wives to pay back all the alimony she has received whenever
she gets another man not another husband but another man.
with Your Name
becoming quite an acceptable practice for us islanders to place strange
first names on our children. Many of us use first names that we have
borrowed from other languages like Alfonso (Spanish), Stalin (Russian),
Pierre (French), Giovanni (Italian) and so on. Others use the names
of places like Richmond, Paris, Chelsea and Ashley. We also use surnames
from our own language for given names like Kelly, Olsen and Evans.
Some people use common words from English and other languages as first
names, such as Love, Faith, Hope and Joy, Consuelo and Caridad. Yet
there are other names that imply conditions, such as Virginia, Patricia
and Royal. Names like Bill, Dave, Dale, Willie, Jack and Tom etc.
are diminutive forms of other English names, but we don't do our research
and we use these short nicknames as formal names. Very few of us have
ever bothered to find out where our name came from and most of us
have never ever heard the word onomastics, much less know what it
Names have always been with us or at least from the time we learned
For ages one personal name was sufficient to identify a person in
a clan or small group of people. As the size of our clans and tribes
increased, duplication of names caused a bit of a problem and a lot
of confusion, so a surname was added to facilitate identification.
once believed that the low level of formal education of the parents
was the reason that some folk picked strange names for their children.
Now I think that the strangest names come from parents with low levels
of social sophistication, and this seems to be true in all cases without
regard to the level of formal education attained by the parents.
Social sophistication is an acquired condition; it cannot be learned
in a classroom even though reading classical and modern-day authors
helps the aspiring "sophisticate" to develop a convincing
vocabulary. To become a social sophisticate one must always be aware
of the people that surround oneself, and one must listen carefully
to their speech in order to determine their level of social sophistication.
Money can be a very effective tool in the acquisition of social sophistication.
The new world order of social sophisticates can very easily be convinced
that money is all it takes to admit a new member into their order.
But in this case the aspiring new member must be loaded; in other
words, the new member must be rotten rich. You should know that if
you acquire your social sophistication from coming into a pile of
money, you should do more listening than talking because reverting
to your original non-sophisticated way of speaking can give you away.
If you had a strange name before you joined the club, you don't have
to worry about that as a member of the club will find an adequate
nickname for you, and in most cases they will forget your original
moniker at least until your money is done.
Consider very carefully the name you pick for your child as it will
have to last for a lifetime. As long as your child lives on the islands,
there will be no problem with his name. But if the child should ever
go somewhere else, there they will notice the difference. There is
nothing more embarrassing than having to explain your given name to
someone. You must forgive your father for putting a bad name on you
and you must forgive your mother for doing nothing about it.
watching a worker repair my boat I commented that the sanding of the
fiberglass produced a strange smell. The worker commented that it
must smell like food to some insects because he can remember that
whenever he sanded many bees were attracted to the smell. He went
on to say that the bees never show up anymore and I made a mental
note to ask around about this insect. What I found out was astonishing:
We have no bees left on Guanaja.
The importance of bees was brought home to me many years ago. I was
spending some time on one of the Cays in the Vivarios chain and went
about planting a few dozen pumpkin seeds I had brought with me. In
a short time the seeds sprouted into many green vines that soon covered
almost half of the cay. The vines produced a lot of showy yellow-orange
flowers that thrived awhile, then fell off the vine. The vines produced
only a few pumpkins.
I was about to destroy the plant when someone mentioned that the vine
could not produce well because there were no bees on the Cay. He said
that the few which did not fall off had been pollinated by some other
insects, probably ants. The person who gave me this information had
been a farmer and knew all about pollination and such things. The
transplanted farmer then told us that we could pollinate the pumpkin
vines by hand. Early the next morning everybody went about pollinating
flowers by hand and soon we had hundreds of beautiful pumpkins.
As far as everybody can remember, the bees disappeared from Guanaja
after Hurricane Mitch. Likely the unbelievably high winds must have
destroyed all the bee hives and the trees that housed them. The few
bees that might have survived would have starved to death because
of the lack of flowers to feed on.
were two or three species of bees on Bonacco: The European honey bee
was the most important because of its proliferation; in smaller numbers
was the native bee that built tiny hives in hollow tree trunks and
limbs; and finally a moth-like bee of mostly pink and/or white color
believed to be a solitary insect inhabited the island.
The bees are but one of the things that we are missing. We lost fruit
and fruit trees, loke monkey caps, custard apples, sweet cups, wild
locust, stinking toe, Cuban balls, huge white mangroves and the pullock
(balsa wood) trees. The red mangroves are making a comeback in some
areas, thanks to a replanting program by some organizations. The fauna
has also suffered losses in the last decades: The green iguana has
been over hunted, as has the cay iguana. The same fate met the wishywillie
and the higgy-tee (jicotea), typically not eaten by islanders but
by some of our island guests.
Because of Hurricane Mitch and because of a ban on hunting we have
had an increase in the island rabbit (red rump agility) and white
head pigeon populations. Our island parrot is still in danger of extinction.
In the ocean we can no longer find beds of long spine sea eggs (sea
urchins) or the round sea eggs with short white spines. Some of the
fish that feed on the sea eggs like the old wife (queen trigger fish)
are also a strange sight. Fish like the docta (surgeon fish) and the
striped pilot fish are not as plentiful around our docks as they used
to be. The jewlala, the pennymaw (painted snail) and the gallumbow
(parrot fish) are things of the past. Maybe it is time for some learned
persons to try to find out what is happening to our island, because
maybe the disappearances of these species is just a portent of things
to come-like the death and the bleaching of our one possession, the
On a bright
sunny morning not too long ago I found myself on the main street on
the Cay in Bonacco. My attention was drawn to the lovely roll of a
piano playing a very familiar tone. As I drew nearer I realized that
it was Saturday morning and the music was coming from the large cement
building that dominates that part of the cay-the Seventh Day Adventist
I noticed that even though the music was very familiar, the lyrical
component was in another language. As one of the few original Bonaccains
left and an avid churchgoer in my youth, I found the singing of the
Old Rugged Cross in Spanish quite strange.
I had never given it a thought before, but on that day I wondered
if Jesus could speak Spanish and my train of thought went back to
the fact that I had never questioned his ability to understand and
speak the English language.
I guess this stems from the fact that as a kid I always had the idea
that Jesus was an English-speaking Caucasian. The locals call the
building the "Spanish Church" and, though it bears no resemblance
at all to what most of us imagine a church should look like, the Spanish-speaking
followers of the Seventh Day Adventist religion gather there to have
their worship and other meetings.
has been a while now since the Seventh Day Adventists on the island
of Bonacco have been split into two groups-English-speaking and Spanish-speaking.
The original English-speaking church took the back seat in attendance.
It has been about a hundred and twenty years since a great grand aunt
of mine brought the Seventh Day Adventist message to these islands
from the United States. For all these hundred odd years the church
in Bonacco has prevailed through all kinds of troubles and tribulations.
With this new arrangement pulling the younger members of the religion
towards another gathering place, I don't see much of a future for
the Original Church.
The little white church house in the middle of the Cay was once the
focal point of this town, and all the hard-working people of the Cay
would gather on Saturday morning to sing praises, commune with their
God and greet their neighbors. The original building of that little
white church house has long since been replaced with a more modern
structure, but there is hope that the traditions will continue.
This division of the Seventh Day Adventist Church is just one of the
symptoms of a great change that is taking place on Bonacco. The old
catch-phrase, "When in Rome do as the Romans do," does not
apply to our situation because the Spanish people came among us bringing
their customs and their language. They came in such numbers that we
were the ones who had to adapt. Instead of the newcomers learning
English, we as the largest minority on the island had to learn Spanish.
They came to Rome and changed the Romans. Pitiful, but it brings to
mind the words of a native who predicted that in a period of fifty
years the English language on Bonacco would be a thing of the past.
That native has been dead for about twenty five years, so we don't
have long to go. Adios Amigos.
was Nook and he lived about thirty thousand years ago. He was the
top hunter and chief arbitrator of his clan. Whenever there was a
dispute among the members of his group, Nook was called upon to settle
it. Nook also had one distinguishing characteristic that made him
stand out from the rest of his group: he was a head taller than all
the rest. On this particular winter afternoon his mind was occupied
with the things he had seen just this morning. Earlier, he had climbed
the hill that separated his little valley from the huge river basin
on the other side and had beheld a strange scene. Nook saw it as strange,
but little did he know that on the other side of that little mountain
he had seen the force that would change his whole way of life and
the lives of his entire group and their kind. On the other side of
that hill he had spotted another race of bipedal mammals much like
but yet very different from himself.
Nook knew that it would be only a matter of time before the new arrivals
would discover his group and he was not sure what would happen. He
knew from trail debris and animal remains that there was another group
in the valley but until now he had believed them to be of his own
moved his clan farther up the valley; but because he was so completely
fascinated by the new arrivals, he made daily trips in an effort to
observer them from his secret vantage point. He noticed that even
the female members of the new group were taller than anyone in his
own clan, and they all had skin of a lighter color and were less hairy
than his own. The strange clan seemed to work together more harmoniously
and to use toned down vocalization to communicate with each other
rather than with calls and gestures. Nook took his clan a week's walk
from the little hill and left them on their own. He had decided to
steal one of those females from the river basin on the other side
of the hill and make her his wife.
If he succeeded in this great venture he would have to keep his new
wife separated from the females of his clan because he was sure that
they would destroy her. Nook was successful in surviving the fury
of the other group, and his new wife survived the females of his own
clan. He had taken the step which would guarantee that his genes would
survive for all time, and he would never know that his offspring would
proliferate and eventually dominate most of the western part of the
Nook was a Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and his gene flow would be
the major factor in creating the stock of the Iberians. Many thousands
of years later his genes would be carried to Hispanic America by the
crews on the vessels of European founders and colonizers. The Castilian
Spaniards used Iberians as crew and soldiers on all their voyages
to the new world. Iberians were also left behind to "hold the
fort" for the Spaniards. They are still here. Look around and
you will find that Nook has us surrounded.
Bad Hair Week
to the coast was on time and this alone should have been a portent
of things to come. Everything started going wrong from the time I
reached the airport at La Ceiba; my regular taxi driver was not available
and the one I got overcharged me.
Later that afternoon I tried to book passage on a bus going to Tegus,
but I could not get a ticket for my 11-year-old boy because he could
not produce an ID card. Two taxi fares later I had everybody booked
on the Herman-Alas executive express to Tegus.
The next morning after all my luggage was brought into the station,
the younger of the two men behind the desk came over and, using his
best drill sergeant voice, said to me: "What do you have in that
cooler?" I did not know what kind of game he was playing, so
I told the truth: "Frozen seafood!"
That was the wrong thing to say. His little beady eyes lit up and
his upper lip went pale. An air of accomplishment came over his whole
person and he said, "It is forbidden to ship seafood on this
bus line." Though I argued, in the end I had to call my cabbie
to take the seafood back to the hotel.
The following day as we headed for the Embassy, the taxi drivers in
the city decided to block all the street intersections. The police
finally cleared the streets and the trip took a little longer than
usual, but we arrived at the Embassy on time.
Window B affair went off nicely. Miss Wendy Mejia is a courteous,
kind and very helpful person. Whenever prizes become available for
persons that, without any personal gain, can be kind to strangers,
I will recommend her for first prize. The same cannot be said for
the gentleman sitting in Window 7, who turned down every single visa
application that had gone up to his window. I was looking for a visa
for my sixteen-year-old daughter, and when this gentleman turned me
down I literally went into shock.
I had this one figured for a sure thing: I'm a US citizen and the
child's mother is a US citizen. I had every piece of paper anyone
could ask for--my business permits, my bank statements, the registration
form for my lobster boat, a letter from the packing house where I
sell the product, deeds for some property, a notarized letter from
the child's mother authorizing the application. I even had my US military
honorable discharge form. But this guy never checked any of it. He
just said NO. I muttered something in the way of expressing my disbelief,
and we eventually got a single application visa for the kid.
I guess we were lucky because we left with a visa unlike some others
who left in tears, humiliated and angry at his incomprehensible attitude.
Most of us cannot accept rejection; but knowing that there is a legitimate
reason for the rejection, not just somebody's whim, helps to ease
the pain. This gentleman's attitude leads me to believe that there
should be more screening and better training in the human resources
section of the State Department.
I believe that a person holding such an important position should
divest themselves of mood swings, angst, anger, domestic problems,
hangovers and personal prejudices before coming to work in the morning.
Mister "Window 7" should remember that his citizenship came
about by an accident of birth and that mine was by choice and some
sacrifice. I´m sorry he's not assigned to the embassy in Paris.
had lived all his life in Castro's Cuba so any other kind of life
was unknown to him. He was born and still lived in the province of
Camaguey. As a young child he lived in the town of Florida, only a
few miles west of the city of Camaguey. His family moved to the city
sometime later in his life. This decision was controlled by the state.
His family had been on the waiting list of the Office of Interchange
for many months before the move could be completed. The Interchange
Office arranges moves between people that want to move to the cities
and people that want to move to other towns and villages. The interested
parties simply swap living quarters, there is never a fee or rent
involved because all the housing units on the islands are owned by
the government. Felix was now in his late twenties and he had become
dissatisfied with a system that advocates the government's ownership
of the natural resources, industry, banking, the news media, public
utilities and even housing of the entire country. His spirit yearned
for something else. He had heard all about the country to the north
where individuals could determine their own destiny.
Felix loved his country but he decided to leave his beloved Cuba as
soon as things could be arranged. His escape would have to be by homemade
boat because all other means were controlled by the government. The
most important item on his list of things that he must have was a
small outboard motor for the boat he would build. That motor would
be his means to another place and another life. A life far different
from the one he was used to. From the time he was born his life had
been regimented by the state and now the time had come for him to
make a change. With the help of friends and family in Cuba and relatives
in the USA, Felix made ready for the greatest event of his life.
was decided that the northern route was too dangerous because it was
patrolled by Cuban patrol boats and also by ships of the American
Coast Guard. The route to the south was the round about way, but it
was safer. They would head for the Grand Caymans and then on to Honduras
from where they could arrange their overland trip to the north. The
little 28 foot boat left Camaguey on a Friday night with 18 persons
on board, persons that were willing to risk their life in order to
create a better life for themselves. They tried to pass the southern
islands in the dark but the little boat was only a few miles from
the Cuban coast when the motor conked out. They got it going again
before the dawn could lift its curtain of darkness that shielded them
from the law.
After three days of drifting and getting the little motor to run for
a few minutes at a time they were picked up by a fishing boat and
they were landed on Swan's Island.
They had somehow bypassed the Caymans but at least they were in Honduras.
The military personnel on Swan Island notified their counterparts
at the Navy Base in Castilla and a fisherman from Guanaja was authorized
to pickup the Cubans that had been left on the Swan. For a price of
two hundred dollars a head they were brought to the island of Guanaja.
The spent another few hundred dollars getting the necessary paperwork
that would enable them to travel to the mainland. On the morning of
the third day on Guanaja, Felix and his traveling companions waved
goodbye from the upper deck of the ferry boat to the dock below where
the few Cubans that live on Guanaja waved back. Their next stop would
be Trujillo and then after some more money on paperwork they were
off on the last leg of their journey to freedom.
It is said that the trip through Mexico is more dangerous than the
first part of their voyage across the ocean. The overland trip had
been uneventful, all had gone according to the plan. Felix knew that
the advantage the Cubans have over the rest of the citizens of Latin
America is that once they set foot on the soil of the USA, they are
home free. Six days after Felix left Guanaja he arrived at the home
of his cousin May in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He had beaten the odds
and now a new life lay in front of him, I wish him luck and I hope
he learns to appreciate and support the political system and its many
freedoms that inspired his dangerous trek. Felicidades Feliberto.
weeks ago I went over to the Cay on Bonacco and the church bell was
pealing off the nine o'clock hour, the normal time for the start of
Sabbath service in the SDA church. The street was filled with people
carrying flowers and roses and other floral arrangements. I had never
seen this before and I asked if someone had died. A kind lady told
me that today was the last day of the Restoration Ministry in the
Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist church, and the congregation had decided
to pay tribute to the pastor. After all, he had come all the way from
I commented that the SDA religion had never permitted offerings in
the church to pay tribute to a pastor, the only tribute to be paid
in the church was to be given to God. The flower carriers would later
say the tribute was to Christ and not to the preacher. I mentioned
that Christ had made the ultimate sacrifice and by doing so had put
an end to offerings of that nature.
the reason for the extravagance, it was breaking with the traditional
tenets of the religion they were supposed to be members of. The original
Bonacco SDA Church and the religion it represents has maintained its
credibility by always following a system of beliefs that has been
with us since the SDA's foundation, some one hundred and fifteen years
ago. These newest members of the SDA religion seem to be of a more
liberal nature, and there is some concern that the lowering of the
dress standards and a deviation from the tenets could occur.
We must remember that almost all the members of the Hispanic SDA Church
were not born into the SDA religion. Most of them were at one time
of the Catholic persuasion. Their previous religion is one of the
most liberal and permissive of all the denominations of the Christian
When I criticized the imported pastor I was quickly reminded that
I was not a practicing Christian and that I had no right to criticize
such a pious person. So I reminded them that when my English ancestors
were off to the crusades to save Christendom, his Aztec ancestors
were tearing the hearts out of living women and children to appease
their many gods. I have been informed that besides the tens of thousands
spent on flowers, the good pastor collected over three hundred and
fifty thousand in cash for the cause. It is rumored that some people
gave up properties and women donated their cell phones and their jewelry.
The bible does not mention anything about cell phones but it does
mention the donation of jewelry. On that occasion the congregation,
with the help of the chief temple tender, fashioned a Golden Calf
to replace the true God of the Covenant. Maybe later that night they
played bingo in the basement of the temple. Amen.
Water Really Is It?
of October will go down in our history as a day of mourning. This
day will be remembered as the day that the central government of Honduras
gave away a huge swat of priceless maritime territory in the Caribbean
Sea to the Ortega government of Nicaragua. While the politicians involved
in this treacherous act celebrate their accomplishments, the rest
of us who understand the extent of the damage done by this deed can
only sit back and watch. Our lives are changed by a few over-ambitious
It is hard to get over the shock and anger at our impotence. Our government
should have just taken a look back at the history of other claims
by the Nicaraguans. In the 1950s we went to war because the Somoza
government of Nicaragua claimed and was about to annex a large piece
of Honduran territory. At that time they claimed to own the slice
of land from the Cruta River to the Segovia River. Then, like now,
it was all about petroleum that could "possibly" exist in
the area. The geographical borders of Honduras were established hundreds
of years ago, and the maritime limits are no exception.
Nicaraguans are famous for violating the border lines. On occasion
their patrol boats have purposefully entered deep into Honduran waters
to carry off vessels and crews with complete impunity. With the new
border arrangements these incursions into our national territory will
be more frequent and more bold because we have again proven that we
are a weak people governed by weak-minded politicians.
In a previous attempt to safeguard our national territory the government
of Honduras granted unsolicited citizenship to a group of Jamaican
fishermen on the condition that they inhabit the cays in that area.
The argument was that maybe the Mucos would respect the Jamaican natives
and in that way we would be able to hold on to what was ours. The
Jamaicans are still there on Savana Cay and the La Prensa has erroneously
called them Miskito Indians.
politicians, the military and even Mr. Arevalo of the television news
show Abriendo Brecha seem to think that giving up a mere twenty percent
of the territory previously own by this country is a good thing. All
these people must be too young to remember our war with Nicaragua
and the cry on the lips of the people at that time: "Cruta es
Nuestra." Maybe they can remember our war with El Salvador when
we screamed, "Ni una Pulgada."
Politicians should listen to the people, and this time we are yelling,
"Paralelo Quince." The 15th parallel is the only dividing
line, and there are many reasons why this should not be altered. The
primary reason being that from colonial times all the territory north
of that parallel belonged to Honduras. That should be reason enough,
but there are others. Another is that modern navigational equipment
places all the cays inside Honduran waters. Another reason is that
GPSs can be set to notify the captain of a vessel that he is approaching
the 15th parallel maritime limits. With the new border and its diagonal
and sometimes meandering course it will be impossible to always know
when you are still in Honduran waters.
To give some kind of reassurance to the fishermen, the government
will have to place marker buoys all along the new border, or come
up with a scale that will consider all the possible positions that
can be derived from a cross reference of your westerly position as
it relates to the northern limits of the new border line. The political
hullabaloo was all about the fact that we became the owners of the
cays in that area. Everybody that knows the area is well aware that
Honduras has always owned the cays with the only possible point of
argument being the tip of South Cay- its southerly extension comes
close to, or touches the 15th parallel. This and this alone should
have been the subject of negotiations.
President Zelaya and his "citizen's power" government should
have taken into consideration the patrimony and the welfare of the
citizens of La Mosquitia, the Bay Islands, Colon and the growing fishing
interest in the department of Atlantida. When two persons go to a
poker table the two parties should carry something of value to the
table. Nicaragua had nothing to lose and Honduras lost 21 percent
of its previously owned territory. Now President Zelaya and his Liberal
Party claim a victory.
ago a French doctor made it his concern to try to determine the physical
differences between the human female body and that of the human male.
As close as he could figure it, there is only about a five percent
difference between the two, to which he commented "vive la difference"!
If that good doctor had made a greater effort to understand the real
difference and not only the comparative difference of human organs
his work would have not been forgotten in time. Creationist contends
that man was created from dust but women where made form the flesh
and bone of the first man; a much better beginning if you ask me.
Man has known for ages that women were made of better stuff and maybe
that's reason women have mostly been relegated to second class citizenship
for eons. There are only a few great women remembered by history.
As that French doctor found out, there is not a great many differences
in the biological make up of the two bodies but he should have delved
into the nature of the human female and his conclusions would have
been quite different. One of the most important and confusing differences
is the fact that women live longer than men. Most scientist claims
that this had to do with hormones and what not but I believe that
in the very beginning the life span of men and women were identical,
then she invented language and everything changed. Yes, it was a woman
that invented the art of using words to express her thoughts, she
needed language to gossip and to communicate with her young children
in the dark. The usefulness of prehistoric woman continued into her
old age because she was needed to take care of the children of the
younger women that went on the hunt with their male partners. Prehistoric
man on the other hand became useless as he aged and after he used
the newly invented language of the women to pass on to his sons the
knowledge he had acquired on the hunt, he became a non-contributing
member of the clan and very dispensable. It is said that women are
weaker than men.
in physical strength this may be so but she has a lot more inner strength
and saves herself for the pains of child bearing and such stressful
endeavors. Women have other attributes that go unnoticed as well.
When compared to man she can stay afloat on water longer, she can
starve longer, she can attend to more things at once that we can and
she has a much higher threshold of pain that we have. She also has
the ability to carry around a fifty pound load of flesh and fluids
for months. This load displaces her internal organs in such a way
that would probably kill a man. Her heart is pushed into the top of
her chest cavity reducing the space she had for her lungs, her liver
is pushed in her rib cage, her elastic belly extends to the point
that she can no longer see her toes and through all this she can seem
cheerful and rarely complains. From that belly she can produce a child
that is from 20 to 40 percent of her height and 5 to 15 percent of
her weight, fantastic, don't you think? Women love to beautify things
and she plants roses and flowers. She can also make mundane things
sound pleasant. She took the word most used to express true sentiment
and put it to a whole different meaning because it was a woman that
called her adulterous partner a "lover" and the act of having
sex she calls it making love but she knows that the one has nothing
to do with the other. As a woman ages she loses the ability to bear
children but nature keeps her equipment in tip top conditions long
after her child bearing age is over. On the other hand as man ages
he keeps his ability to procreate but he almost always suffers from
equipment failure. That is why women say that men can have sex when
they are able to but women can have sex whenever they please. This
seems to me that nature has been unfair to men. But the French are
right when they say: Vive la femme!.
Me Once Shame on You...
deck of the small sloop, Elder Hutchins and his wife Cora gazed at
the rolling hills and white beaches of the historically famous and
easternmost island of the Bay Islands Archipelago off the coast of
Honduras. This was the island that almost four hundred years earlier
Christopher Columbus had named the Isle of Pines, but he could have
also called it Isle of Cacao because it was here that he tasted what
would later be called chocolate. It was the first time chocolate had
been tasted by any European.
The Hutchins were about to disembark on the island of Bonacco. The
year was 1892, and they had come a long way from their home in the
United States. Elder Hutchins had given up his dream of becoming a
doctor to answer the call of the General Conference to become a missionary
on these islands. It was only about 5 year earlier that the message
of the Seventh Day Adventist was brought to these islands by Elizabeth
Elwin, sister of Angelo Elwin, the founder of Mangrove Bight on Bonacco.
At her request the General Conference had decided to send a missionary
to further the message of the fairly new religious denomination in
Prior to the arrival of the Elder, a few tracks and pamphlets had
been passed out among the natives but there was no predominant organized
religion in this place. The one gathering place that existed on the
Cay was an interdenominational church where a few persons from various
denominations would take turns holding services for their own. The
very first time that Elder Hutchins held a church service on Bonacco,
the turnout was impressive. The Elder knew that he was on fertile
ground because these people were hungry for the word.
the service the Elder met all those in attendance and was surprised
to find out that even the local Methodist minister had come out to
hear the sermon. He would later tell his wife that he now knew that
the sacrifices they had made in order to be here would be worth it.
The Elder's previous gatherings on the island of Roatan had not been
encouraging, so he decided that it must be this island that God had
chosen to further his works in this part of the world. After the conversion
and baptism of many of the populace, the new converts were able to
purchase the gathering hall from the other denominations. The Bonacco
Seventh Day Adventist church was born, the first SDA church of the
Inter-American Division. The little, white church house in the center
of the Cay became the focal point in the spreading of the Adventist
message to other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. From here
the Inter-American Division of the General Conference would send forth
the message, from Boca del Toro to Panama and Bonanza, from Nicaragua
to Morant Point in Jamaica.
With the keel hewn from a giant Bonacco pine, timbers from Jamaica
and planking from Tampa, the local craftsmen (all charter members
of the new church) built a little schooner for Elder Hutchins. The
Elder, who by now had taught himself dentistry, used the schooner
to carry the word abroad, while selling books and filling and pulling
teeth to pay his way.
A few days ago, had they been around to see it, the good Elder Hutchins
and those charter members of that first church would have been in
shock to find out that after 115 years of existence the little white
church was abandoned so that the members could attend a sort of revival
held in the other Adventist church on Bonacco. It's a huge cement
building, called the Spanish Church, that dominates that area of the
Cay. I don't think I'll ever get used to the singing of the Old Rugged
Cross in Spanish. It seems alien to me even to the point of being
blasphemous. I can't help but wonder if this is the beginning of the
end for the little, white church in the middle of the Cay that has
meant so much to so many for so long.
Me Once Shame on You...
we might be getting is some kind of immigration control and established
companies will get permits to import duty free, anything considered
to be directly related to the tourist industry. This consideration
has to be determined by personnel of customs.
What about us little guys? Tricked again, my friend. But, we did
get our 750 lempiras license to carry arms rescinded. I can remember
an incident that I consider to be one of the biggest screwing over
that we Bonaccan ever got from the Honduran government.
It was sometime in the late 1940's after years of begging for help
that the government decided to help us get running water in our
houses on the Cay. To get this project off the ground we would need
about 1,800 feet of two inch pipe to cross from the main island
to the Lower Cays. The whole town turned out to greet the little
freighter that was bringing the pipes. We got a couple of hundred
pipes, but the glee of the town soon turned to astonishment and
then to anger when the pipes were inspected and it was determined
that the pipes were all four inch cast iron sewer pipes that had
to be joined together with melted lead. Instead of pipes for potable
water, the government had sent us sewage pipe that had to be joined
with hot lead at seven fathoms down on the ocean floor.
We eventually got some 2 inch brass pipe, but not from the Honduran
Government. At this very moment the Ministry of Tourism is in the
process of laying sewage lines on the Cay and I was surprised to
see that the largest diameter pipe they are using is 6 inch PVC.
That size pipe seems a little small to me as it is the same size
I use in my house and I only have 4 baths. There are at least one
thousand bathrooms on this Cay. I firmly believe that we should
get ready for another screwing over and this time it will have a
very distinctive odor.
Iast December in a privately owned resort in the municipality of Roatan,
la crème de la crème of the political powers in Honduras
gathered to make a decision on the future of the Bay Islands. With
no more than two "diputados" voicing their opposition to
the idea of granting free port status to these islands, it was a forgone
conclusion that at last the Honduran Government had came up with an
idea that would benefit the whole archipelago and all its inhabitants.
The idea was superb and the people talked about nothing else for weeks.
We Guanajeños could hardly wait until the idea was passed into
law and published so we all could start forging our own futures without
the burden of sales tax, income tax and duties on our imports. We
conducted a census of our people so that only the natives and other
people living in the islands at this particular time would benefit
from this new law.
We finished the census and waited and according to rumors we will
be waiting for a long, long time for the free port dream to come true.
Away from the aroma of broiled lobster and the vapors of very expensive
scotch whiskey, our distinguished legislative body had second thoughts
about what they were going to do for the Bay Islands. According to
persons in the know, the honorable members of the National Congress
held meeting after meeting and whittled down the original idea until
it was exactly what they intended to give us in the first place
on Hard Times
of those owners never saw it necessary to own a home on this island.The
money they made was invested in other parts of the country. Other
packing plant owners amassed huge sums of money in other countries
and made local banks loans to operate their plants. This island
is going down the drain fast because of the huge amount of money
that has left this place over the last few decades. There has not
been a consequential investment on Guanaja in many years and the
cash outflow continues until this day.
Not only packing house owners are guilty of shipping money off-island.
Lately they are getting a lot of help from the three telephone companies
that provide services on Guanaja. Of these three companies, only
Hondutel has any salaried employees in Bonacca Cay, a grand total
of four. Hondutel, Megatel and Celtel take millions out of here
on a regular basis and that money is gone forever. There is not
much that can be done about that. Our local cable network does the
With the fishing industry on the way out and no one trying to do
anything else, there is not much hope that we will come out of these
hard times soon. There is some hopeful news that someone is starting
to build a first class hotel on the north side. This is good, but
only a very few locals will get work with those foreign owned hotels.
To help the whole island we need local investors to build small
hotels and finance locally owned sport fishing and diving activities.
I know that European tourism will increase in these islands in the
next few years in part due to terrorist activity in their usual
Asian destinations. American tourism will also increase at the expense
of the Cayman tourist industry. This is due to the fact that their
biggest attraction, the feeding of stingrays, is no longer attractive
after the accidental death of Steve Erwin sometime last year while
handling a stingray.
For us to take advantage of this, we need to convince the few people
of means that we have left to help bolster our overtaxed infrastructure
and look towards an economy based on tourist dollars. They should
set other goals not only for themselves, but also for the whole
town and then maybe we will be able to pull ourselves out of this
precarious economic situation in which we find ourselves.
In these times of economical stress whenever I mention the desperate
straits in which we find ourselves on Guanaja I always get the same
response, "it's tough everywhere." This is fine for a response
but it does not help the situation too much. Every body seems to have
a different opinion as to how and why we find ourselves falling on
Some of these opinions are based on just a little fact and a lot of
conjecture. There is one thing that is certain and that is that the
bank is calling in some long overdue notes and the people that owe
the bank cannot come up with the money. For too long we have based
our economy on the fishing industry. Most boat owners are not only
indebted to the bank, but they also owe a lot of money to the packing
houses. Some of us kept borrowing money to buy boats even long after
the hand writing on the wall foretold of a dying industry. We have
over-fished, caught undersize and spawning lobsters in violation of
every conservation law ever written. We have used borrowed money to
coerce any government official with any authority into doing our bidding.
We offered them big money for permits to fish lobster and even though
there have not been any new slots available for many years, those
officials took our money and issued those permits.
With so many more boats fishing the same product, our limited resource
(lobster) had to be shared into so many more pieces that some of us
couldn't make enough money to pay our bills. One thing I must say
is that almost all of the money made by the boat owners went into
this town's economy. The same cannot be said for the owners of the
packing plants. I cannot recall any incident on any occasion that
the owners of any of the packing houses did anything of mentionable
merit for the town from whence they extracted their millions.
children of those people who got old and have never contributed
to the SSA must be obligated to take care of their parents. If these
old folks do not have any kids then they should look toward the
churches for support, or toward other organizations that beg millions
every year for poor people overseas. Part of your job is to remind
these organizations that charity begins at home and to remind everyone
that the US government is not a charitable organization. You should
make it a federal crime for individual states to maintain healthy
poor people. That's like force-feeding a two-legged horse. There
is nothing to get from that.
After you weed out these bums and goldbrickers, there is something
else you can do to guarantee the survival of the SSA. You must open
your borders to everyone who is healthy and is between the ages
of 18 and 30. This will guarantee Social Security income for a long
time. These workers will not be allowed to open IRA's and such things,
and they would have to pay the maximum payment allowed by law no
matter what their salaries are. These workers will be deported on
their 61 birthday and they can be deported before that if they miss
one payment to the system. The latter will be deported to their
native countries on foot after they have swam the Rio Grande going
in the opposite direction as new emigrants.
On your problem in Iraq you must call the Pope and, if he will talk
to you, let him know that we are not fighting insurgents and terrorist
as is believed by some. This war is Islam against Christendom, and
it will have to be fought in every corner of this earth. The Pope
must convince his followers (one billion or so) that in order for
them to avoid a delay on their way to heaven (bypass purgatory),
they must consider all Muslims as unbelievers and infidels. Christians
must do as the Muslims have taught them: They must kill an infidel
so their stay in paradise will be guaranteed and upon arriving in
heaven they will be presented with seven virgins and all the Italian
wine they can drink.
Dear Mr. Bush, I hope these ideas have been of some help to you.
If you could run again, I'd vote for you.
I know that this may not be the right time to add to the criticism
you are receiving over some of your policies, but maybe you could
use some of my suggestions to get things back on track and improve
your image at the same time.
I believe that special consideration should be given to all Mexicans
in the United States, those that are there legally and those that
are there without documentation. We must remember that it was the
Mexicans who won WWII. My greatest concern is all the rhetoric that
I've heard about the Social Security system failing. That worries
me, but I have an idea that will guarantee that the SSA could meet
its obligations for the next forty years at least.
You must remind the administrators of the Social Security system of
that fact that this organization, when it was created, was suppose
to be like a Christmas club. If you did not contribute to the fund,
then you could not get benefits. Today however, there are people who
go to the USA when they are old; and even though they have never worked
a day in their lives in the USA, these people sometimes gets more
money from the system than those who have contributed to the system.
I personally know of guys who have worked only a couple of years and
go back to the States before they are even 60 years of age and claim
disabilities and get big money every month.
foreigners at the meeting were concerned more with the aftermath
of the incident and the scapegoat of foreigners in the local media.
Several people raised concerns that both Roatan TV stations, run
by Spanish speaking staff, have accused Kelcy Warren, an American
owner of Barbaret, of ordering or personally killing the Helen island
youth. "I was frightened of what Roberto [Romero] was saying
and how far he was inciting the people," said Helen Murphy,
an American living on Roatan, about a Channel 4 TV personality.
Channel 4 owner, Marco Galindo, agrees that the Barbaret coverage
crossed a line: "These guys [Channel 4 personalities] are not
very smart and when people call in, it makes a big commotion."
While Galindo says that Channel 4 coverage is far from being journalism,
he still gives his TV staff a wide degree of independence.
A different take on the matter had Congressman Jerry Hynds. "It
was the Spanish media that took advantage of this. They [just] didn't
want to say Spanish guys killed some black boys," said Congressman
Hynds. "There was always a great rivalry between island people
and Spanish people." As Bay Islands grow and the wealth gap
amongst its residents widens, foreigners will likely play an active
role in this "rivalry."
The death of three Helene Island youth in a boat ramming and the Spanish
TVs coverage of the incident became the focus of the meeting at Coral
Cay on June 6. Around 50 foreigners listened to the authorities' version
of what took place and then voiced their concerns. "This was
no accident. This was premeditated murder," said Congressman
Congressman Hynds and Governor Thompson agreed that arrests were made
swiftly and the judicial process was taking place as it should. Still,
at least some Saint Helenians were leaving nothing to chance. "We
have people who trace them, so the authorities just wouldn't let them
go on the mainland," said Wally Bodden, Santos Guardiola councilman,
about the three men arrested for ramming the Saint Helene boat.
boat alone maintains forty families. Someone said that he could
tell that the diving business was not a success because there were
no rich divers. If he had looked a little closer he would have found
out that there are no rich dive boat owners either.
The ad writers, using fallacious information stirred up interest
in the international community for the "plight" of the
Miskito Indian and now the international concerns are pressuring
the Honduran government to close the diving.
Few mention the accident rates in diamond mines, gold mines, the
petroleum industry and the fishing industry throughout the world.
One recent year, in the United States alone, 285 fishermen lost
their lives doing their job, the bigger percentage of those deaths
occurred in Alaska. Maybe some headlines should have read "Some
one may have died to get you that king-crab dinner".
In one fourteen year period (1972-1986) there were 960 linemen killed
in the United States and Canada, but I don't remember seeing any
headlines that read, "Some one may have died to keep your lights
There is nobody more concerned with the health and welfare of the
Miskito diver than a dive boat owner. After all, we are the ones
that have to pay and one sick diver can set us back quite a bit
and a dead diver can create a permanent burden with a packinghouse.
My motto has always been "Bring my boat back empty before you
bring me a sick diver" and I want to believe that these are
the sentiments of all dive boat owners.
There is an inherent risk in SCUBA diving, whether it is for lobster,
for oil exploration or for pleasure and there are also dangers and
risks in many other lines of work but there has been and always
will be individuals that are willing to chance the odds in order
to feed their families.
Everything wrong with the lobster diving today was started by persons
that got lucky and was able to get out of the business. Some of those
people are under the impression that if the diving is closed the boats
that fish lobster with divers are going to disappear. Well they are
wrong; the dive boats will become direct competition for the trappers
and their traps.
A few years ago some of those people went to great lengths to have
the diving closed and those same people went so far as to publish
ads in foreign newspapers with such phrases as "Someone may have
died to get you that lobster dinner". Those people are supposed
to be concerned with the health and welfare of the Miskito Indians.
These international concerns seem to overlook the fact that tens of
thousands have died and are still dying in coal mine accidents around
the world. Maybe some headlines should read "Someone may have
died to keep you warm this winter." While those people were writing
and paying thousands of dollars for ads, the dive boat owners were
and still are feeding all the people of the whole Mosquitia.
Evil Amongst Us
virus is present in all the bodily fluids of the infected person
and during sexual contact it gains access to the uninfected person's
blood stream through openings in the mucous membrane and through
breaks in the skin.
HIV is a human retrovirus and once it has accessed the blood stream
it then enters the human cells by binding to receptor proteins on
the surface of human immune-cells (T cells). The virus then uses
the cell's reproductive mechanisms to replicate itself as many times
as it can before the cell dies. With the virus (HIV) using the cell's
reproductive devices the immune cell cannot reproduce itself and
over a period of time the immune-cell (CD4) count will drop from
1000 in a healthy person to 200 or less (per microliter of blood)
in an infected person and this is when the full blown symptoms of
With the continued depletion of the body's immune CD4-T cells, the
immune systems will be unable to defend the body against any of
25 or so opportunistic diseases, any combination of which could
be fatal. In spite of people's fear of being near an infected person,
no evidence exists that link HIV transmission to casual contact
with an infected person such as a handshake, hugging, or kissing
on the skin, or even sharing dishes or bathroom facilities.
The HIV virus cannot exist for extended periods when exposed to
the normal environment so you cannot pick it up from surfaces like
you can with bacteria and other viruses like the ones that cause
the common cold. During the last few years, this disease has become
rampant among the inhabitants of this country, and it is now invading
the islands. It is known that almost one hundred percent of the
cases on these islands are attributed to unprotected sexual contact.
To avoid contracting this virus, the safest thing to do is to "hold
on to what you've got" and keep your loving at home and most
importantly abstain from causal sex.
Most people still believe that AIDS is a venereal disease but I guess
most medical persons would categorize it as a disease of the blood.
AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus
gains entry in the blood stream by intimate sexual contact with an
infected person and contact with contaminated blood.The early years
after the discovery and identification of the HIV virus, the carriers
of this virus were marked as persona non-grata in nearly every place
the disease appeared. Even today, the social stigma placed on a person
carrying this virus is still a very real part of an infected person's
Ignorance of the well defined modes of transmission and fear of becoming
infected by the ordinary means reserved for other contagious diseases
have sometimes led to complete rejection of anyone known to be infected
and on occasions to violence against infected persons.
The original idea that AIDS was an evil disease was probably because
of its early prevalence among prostitutes and homosexual men. A prominent
politician was said to have remarked to the press that "if the
disease is left alone it will become a blessing to mankind by eliminating
the less desirable elements of our society", namely the prostitutes
and the homosexuals. During this first encounter with the virus it
was called GRID (gay-related immunodeficiency disease) but soon after
this then real illness was discovered in populations groups outside
the gay community. The name was changed to its present form; "Acquired
arguments for the resurrection are weak and could be classified
as merely hearsay. Jesus predicted his death and placed great emphasis
on his resurrection because the latter event would prove without
a doubt that He was the long awaited messiah. His crucifixion was
witnessed by all of Jerusalem but the resurrection, the single most
important event on which the Christian faith is based, went without
Our knowledge of the resurrection is based solely on the testimony
of a few of his followers, the people he had to convince of his
claim to be the Son of God. On that Sunday even Mary Magdalene did
not recognize Him. He had only been in that sepulchre for about
thirty-six hours. Mary Magdalene confused Him with the gardener
(John 20:15) until he spoke in a special voice. He also had to use
His special voice to convince Simon. Unfortunately Christ did not
survive the ordeal on the cross: that gesture of mercy by that insignificant
roman soldier was the reason why.
I'm not sure if the Gospel of Judas is important. There are about
thirty other gospels written in about the same time period that
go unmentioned in our bible. Judas has always been categorized as
the villain in the Jesus story. Judas was the true friend and also
the confidant of Jesus. There was only one person that could have
saved Jesus from execution and that was Jesus himself.
On the occasion of his first day in the hands of the chief priest
when asked if He was the Son of God, he answered them: Ye say that
I am, (Luke 22:70). That expression can be translated into something
like: if you say so! That is a wise crack in any language.
Judas Iscariot committed suicide but it was not because of a guilty
conscience, it was from sorrow and grief because he had lost his
best friend and that was not supposed to happen. We will just have
to wait and see what affect these book and movie revelations will
have on our beliefs. I must agree with Tom Hanks who, in the tradition
of Yogi Berra, said: "You gonna believe what you gonna believe.
Every time I turn on the TV these days there is someone discussing
the DaVinci Code book, or the recently made public Gospel of Judas.
There are pros and cons to both these two stories. The pros are usually
the writers, the discoveries and investigators. The cons are every
Christian denomination in existence, with the most vociferous being
the Roman Catholics. The only thing that can be said for the DaVinci
Code is that it is a fanciful idea and a well put-together piece of
There are many ideas of what could have happened to Christ after crucifixion.
Some have Him surviving and some have Him being survived by his wife
and daughter. Both of these ideas are based on suppositions and/or
information from sources other that the bible in circulation today.
If anyone would read the New Testament carefully and without any preconceived
ideas you will find that there is a lot of evidence that Jesus Christ
of Nazareth perished on the cross. According to one account, on the
day of His crucifixion when it came time for Him to "die"
Jesus uttered: "It is finished." He then bowed his head
and gave up the ghost. In this same account His followers requested
of the soldiers not to break his limbs to hasten death, as was the
custom. Then without warning a roman soldier thrust a lance into the
side of Jesus Christ. This wound was not a part of the established
procedure and it was the coup de grace for the crucified and weakened
Jesus. Jesus died.
is said that Jesus Christ came to earth to save mankind from sin,
but the sentence was never repealed and man must still die before
he can have eternal life.
According to some beliefs every person is considered a sinner from
the moment of conception, or at least from the second we are born.
This in itself is a great injustice. Adam was condemned without
a trial by a jury of his peers and was denied the benefit of proper
legal counsel. Even an inept public defender would have yelled entrapment.
The real culprit of this case was not Adam, or Eve. The perpetrator
of this crime (sin) was Satan.
On the day Lucifer was created, God must have left his crystal ball
at home, because God apparently did not look too clearly at the
future and did not know what lay ahead for mankind. If God did know
what was going to happen, then I don't think that He should be credited
with all that love and all mercifulness.
I always hear preachers yelling about. I believe that for that one
crime (eating the fruit) there should have been no more than one
punishment doled out. Death alone would have been punishment enough
for that little crime.
If the judge was not satisfied with making death the wages of sin,
He should have said "the wages of sin is death and mosquitoes"
this most certainly would have been enough of a sentence.
Now that we have enough people to form a proper jury I'm calling
for a retrial of Adam and Eve and I want to have a couple of Jewish
lawyers on their side of the table. Satan must be brought in as
a material witness and by his very nature he should be considered
a hostile witness. Because he was the inventor of lies and deceit
everything he says must be taken with a grain of salt. We must have
the original judge sit at this new trial but the judge must be warned
that the jury alone will decide whether to convict or to acquit
If the defendant is acquitted the old sentence must be repealed
and it must be retroactive back through time, and all those that
have died because of sin must live again. If we win this case and
Adam is acquitted, it will prove that the great one is not infallible
and I will go on to demand some democratic changes in the dictatorial
system of government that has held power in heaven for so long.
Somewhere in the bible it is written that the wages of sin is death.
This would imply that those that do not sin will not die, but we all
know that without exception death comes to us all. According to our
only source of information we are all condemned to death because of
a transgression that took place in the beginning of creation.
When the time comes to die it matters not what kind of person you
have been throughout your life, but when that bell rings you must
answer. Saint and sinner alike are gathered by the grim reaper and
then they are placed side by side in the tomb with no distinction
of rank or social order. Death has been an accepted part of life for
ages, but it was not a part of living until after the original sin.
When Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden he was taken by the hand
and led to a tree that would have gone unnoticed among the thousands
of other trees that filled the garden. Adam was then warned that this
one particular tree was not to be touched and the fruit there of was
not to be eaten. While God instructed Adam, the devil must have been
within ear-shot and devil, overheard everything that was told to Adam.
Later on, devil would talk Eve into taking a bite of that forbidden
fruit. This 'unimportant event' is documented as the first sin and
it was that sin that ruined everything, not only for Adam and Eve,
but for all the rest of mankind forever.
body knows that in this country we vote strictly according to tradition.
You might ask why is it then that in a specific area, the party
that's in power during an election can end up losing that election.....
years ago on a small farm on the island of Bonnaco a small boy lay
very ill and though he was being tended to by his loving grandmother
the labored breathing of the child was a sure indication that without
the proper medication this child would die.....
City In Decline
few days ago an article in a newspaper caught my eye. The article
had to do with the economic situation of La Ceiba. The paper mentioned
how the city no longer has any industries or any factories of
a previous edition of this magazine, I wrote an article about my
present-day beliefs in Christ and Christianity. However, I was not
always of this persuasion.....