News

A Significant & Needed Focus: Successful Rehabilitation & Reintegration For Former Prisoners

Independent of the identity of Honduras’s next president there will be significant problems for them to overcome. Even with the progress that’s been made in reducing violent crimes over the past few years, Honduran authorities will eventually have to deal with their prisons, housing thousands of individuals guilty of various crimes and who have variously severe sentences. How will Honduras’s leaders, both the greenhorns and the more experienced career politicians and bureaucrats deal with the conditions inside the prisons, once reportedly under the control of the inmates themselves?

As we prepare ourselves for the transition from one administration to another and quite likely an unusual transfer of power it’s important that we ask what the nation’s emerging leaders would like to do and what sort of a country they will work to build through the creation and empowerment of new bills, and new governmental institutions. Personally, an institution we’d like to see is a government committee solely focused on ensuring that reformed convicts can leave prisons and successfully & peacefully integrate into civilian society outside of Honduras’s prisons.

This hypothetical institution would have multiple objectives but its initial primary objective would be to fill Honduras’s prisons with professionally trained guards, competent and uniquely trained educators specializing in educating both troubled youths and adult criminals, as well as therapists who want to work with, treat, and create profiles of Honduras’s captured criminals to provide them with the mental health care they need and to discover what causes a criminal in Honduras to lapse back into criminality and work to help those who want to live better lives as much as possible. It’d also work to build connections with Honduras’s business community to ensure that rehabilitated criminals can find work in the days after they leave prison while incentivizing Honduran businesses that boldly choose to hire former inmates and eventually working with banks to get loans approved for former inmates so that one day they can become home-owners and live the sort of lives many of them might have once believed were only possible for gang leaders and for delinquent organizers. By finding, training, and utilizing those brave and compassionate enough to work in Honduran prisons this institute would hope to provide a sustainable and peaceful solution to the inevitable power vacuum that will appear in Honduras as cartels, gangs, and other organized crime groups face the fury of Honduras’s police & military and of a Honduran populace determined to see justice enacted upon drug lords and other types of criminals.

We believe that retaking control of Honduras’s prisons completely and dismantling existing bands of criminals in them by coordinating such extensive operations with both the military and the police as well as existing prison security guards is a vital first step to ensuring that prisoners can one day re-enter civilian society as reformed individuals. Following this retaking of Honduras’s prisons the new institute mentioned previously could enter the prisons and begin identifying prisoners who seem receptive to rehabilitation efforts and focus on them first until other prisoners realize that this isn’t a half-hearted effort but rather a genuine change affecting prisons nationwide. By the time this institute would begin releasing rehabilitated prisoners to civil society it would have established connections with business owners in various different industries and hopefully have thoroughly encouraged those leaders to hire the first newly released former prisoners, and monitor them as well as provide support guards and the counseling needed to integrate successfully into Honduras’s civil society and not the lawlessness of Honduras’s prisons, even now. Retaking control of prisons will also help ensure those embarrassing situations of “Pechocho” and the multiple escapes that took place from April 28th until May 11th don’t happen again.

Bringing Honduran prisons under control is a vital task necessary to genuinely and permanently make the country safer. Creating a culture within the prisons that both makes rehabilitation and reintegration possible and encourages rehabilitation and reintegration is a crucial move that will eventually stop the violence that is rampant throughout parts of Honduras. Capturing but not rehabilitated criminals is not a sustainable solution to make Honduras more peaceful, it’s just a temporary one that pushes the problems off for a few months or even a few years. It also doesn’t help the families of criminals or make it so that their communities are better off because eventually they’ll be back and without help, it’s entirely rational to assume they’ll engage in criminal acts again and thus be dragged back into the prisons if they are caught at all. Rehabilitating prisoners can actually help rebuild lives, improve communities, and reduce crime. It’s time a Honduran institute seriously pursues the goals of rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners.

Advertisements

El Heraldo Erroneously Reports On Congressional Aspirants Who Appear To Publicly Voice Support For Same-Sex Relationships But Not Marriage Equality

Some women running for Congress have vocally stated their support for same-sex relationships. Specifically, Waleska Zelaya of the National Party, Kenia Torres Florentino of the Christian Democrats, and Issis Romero of the Patriotic Alliance all agree that lesbians and gay men ought to have to be with their significant others, but don’t necessarily agree with marriage equality.

In Honduras debates have occurred over this topic in the past and various groups have stood in opposition to the advancement of marriage equality. The Constitution only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman. Marriage equality has been backed in many developed countries and years ago was backed in many states in the United States before a Supreme Court case made it unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage. Similar events in Europe including a popular vote in Ireland have made marriage equality possible in numerous European nations.

Kenia Torres says: “I’m completely in favor of marriage equality. I say that if people are doing good for a society, they aren’t delinquents, they are educated, they are professionals, and have the commonly agreed upon values of a society, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to marry other consenting adults. What’s going on is that we’re living in a society with a double-standard because we love to criticize each other and we don’t check ourselves which is part of the greater problem here. What exactly is the problem? So long as they aren’t harming anyone I am not afraid to respect their decision” The congressional candidate says concerning the possibility of marriage equality.

Without Harm:

Waleska Zelaya who is a candidate within the National Party asks: “What harm are two people of the same sex inflicting on others provided they love each other? All people have the right to be who they want to be and as human beings I respect them.” She says to Channel 10. Hours later after communicating with the National Party they established that she’d tow the party line by saying that “Waleska Zelaya respects people sexual orientations but isn’t in agreement with same-sex marriage.”

Issis Romero of the Patriotic Alliance party says that there is a need to make a motion in the National Congress to protect the rights of same-sex couples. “What right do I have to say no just because this goes against my perceptions of my morals? Morality and sexual orientation are not the same things, and I have no reason to oppose a law protecting the rights of the LGTBQI+ community in Honduras.”

Other Articles Offer More Clarity On This All Over The Place Piece From El Heraldo:

The three individuals have taken to social media to clarify their statements and positions and another article was published on Proceso which states that Kenia Torres does not have it “within her political proposals” to promote marriage equality due to the “taboo nature” of the topic and her belief that Honduran society is not yet ready to tackle marriage equality. Waleska said that her party has a clear stance against marriage equality due to the Christian values of Honduras. Issis Romero takes a stance similar to Kenia’s in stating that Honduras needs time to become better educated on the issue and realizes that sexuality isn’t a choice it’ll be possible to better tackle this delicate topic.

The original click-bait like article which started all of this was published on El Heraldo. Support our publication by becoming a Patreon!

The Relocation Process For 150 Families From The Rio Blanco Has Begun

Please note: this article was published on November 1st. It’s being translated late to make up for the days’ translations weren’t occurring. It’s a La Prensa article.

With each rainy season, more than 16,000 families which live in the 16 zones of the San Pedro Sula greater area closest to the river run the risk of losing their homes and possibly even their lives. Despite these dangers, the inhabitants of the area show resistance to the idea of being relocated because for them there are two arguments that they consider vital: they don’t want to leave San Pedro Sula and they have jobs in the area.

For the director of the Social Action Committee Of The Mennonites Nelson Garcia Lobo these are valid arguments and he considers that people require the best living conditions possible and that they need to guarantee those conditions for the families. The relocation process has been nationalized and on October 31st the President and various ministers visited the areas from which people would be relocating. More than 1,400 families live in this area in improvised and handmade houses. It’s not simple getting them to move because they run businesses, daycares, stores, but none of these businesses, constructions, or investments have been authorized by the government.

In the middle of various often intense emotions the working class individuals in this area have received notice that there are two housing projects that they could move to if they wanted to do so. One such housing project is in El Progreso, Yoro, where there are 350 homes and the second is in Jucutuma with 1,200 homes.

“I’ve come here to talk about the work done by the relief institutions by the state.” Says one of the officials who surprised them by visiting. President Hernandez said he understood the difficulties of accepting this overnight but he also understands that they live in vulnerable and inhabitable areas and sooner or later they’d have to abandon them.

November 1st at 9 am two buses took some of the people in the area to the housing project located in El Progreso. “I want to suggest a compromise, for those of you who are still unsure about this, because now you can relocate to dignified housing which not only you deserve but your families as well. Let’s start with 150 families.” Said, President Hernandez. The government official also said that they depopulated that area so that people from San Pedro Sula could have more space for recreation & entertainment.

Support the work that goes into translating the news by becoming a Patreon!

We Are All Tatiana Nunez, Mother Of Carlitos Collier, & The Need For Justice

As incredible as it sounds there are people who instead of demanding justice have decided to blame a mother whose worst crime is giving permission to her son to go out with his friend at night, a trip which led to his murder.

Tatiana Nunez has recognized that she lacked the firmness needed to discipline her son, but is that enough of a reason for us to react to this tragedy with insults and acting as if she is somehow responsible for this tragedy?

What actually happened here is that an out of control youth searched for dangerous friendships and was killed and those responsible including but not limited to the person who actually committed the murder ought to be jail. This isn’t about turning Carlitos into a hero. It’s about supporting a mother rightfully seeking justice and who is knee-deep in a system which is, someone has to say it, a crap-fest.

It’s true that there are other many other victims of violence in Honduras. Disgracefully not all of them have people who fight for their killers to be brought to justice and for the truths behind their deaths to be brought to light. Some of the families and friends of killed leave the dead to the hands of God. Others like Carlitos have family and friends like Tatiana who’ve decided to seek out truth and justice until the end.

It’s laughable because in all of this there are people who say that to them this all looks like a telenovela. They didn’t have to go and collect the corpse of their son in a trashcan.

I am standing in solidarity with Carlos’s family. My hope, however naive it might be, is that the judges, in this case, behave with straightness and apply the lay with the severity this case merits and this mother and her family deserve.

To read the original article from Radio House click here.

“La Sucia Was Created To Fill Scoundrels With Fear” An Interview With Jorge Montenegro

The wind was blowing something fierce, the cold was intense, and the dogs were howling as if they were wolves in a desolate forest. It was midnight and the mission was to report the whereabouts of Honduras’s most mysterious man: Jorge Montenegro who for more than 50 years has given goosebumps to Hondurans with his Stories & Legends.

It took nearly an hour to discover his whereabouts. He received us in his home and we talked about one of the mythical beings who has been a star in one of his stories and who has survived the tides of history. We asked him his opinion about the celebration of Witches Day or Halloween and he assured us that it was invented to worship Satan. He said that celebrating these types of festivities is not for us and that we shouldn’t do it.

What he instead proposed was that the nation is permitted to celebrate a day that allows Honduras to regain and recover its oral legacy. Additionally, he revealed why Central American mythical beings such as La Sucia, La Taconuda, and La Llorona came into being.

Where Did La Sucia Come From?

Because scallions where searching for married women at midnight. What happens is that the human brain grabs hold of everything it’s told. If I tell you that you’ll be frightened in your own home tonight you’ll be careful and say: “Mr. Jorge told me that tonight I’ll be frightened”, that’s the power of suggestion when induced in someone. It leads someone to have a predisposition to something.

And Are There People In Honduras Who Celebrate Halloween?

That is an estadounidense tradition and it was introduced to Hondurans by living abroad in the United States & Europe and thus it went from something that wasn’t ours to being something that we celebrated. Halloween is a business of masks, disguises, amulets, pumpkins, toads, snakes, and everything that means terror, demonism, and more in a signal festival: Halloween.

But In Honduras How Did We Come To Celebrate This?

We’re dogs when it comes to copying things. Hondurans need to value our own traditions, otherwise, we run the risk of losing our Honduran roots.

And What Do You Propose To Counteract This & Thus Regain Our Honduran Roots?

I propose the Day Of Stories & Legends Of Honduras. We’ll take back our rich oral traditions. For example, have the children dramatize La Sucia, and have they provide an origin for La Sucia’s creation so that we can instill fear in scoundrels.

What Day Should This Celebration Be Observed?

September 9th which is the day that I created the Stories & Legends of Honduras program, although I haven’t yet spoken with the President because we are currently in a period of questioning our politics and thus haven’t had space. This would create a legacy because it would give life to our oral traditions, our costumes, and our beliefs.

Have You Seen La Sucia?

No man, it was my inlaw who came out to me.

What About Ghosts?

Yes, people see ghosts, and you can see ghosts because you want to see one and thus you call one using your mind. If you think you are going to hear the voice of your grandmother you’ll hear her at night, she’ll talk to you but it won’t actually be her instead it’ll be one of the demons who take on human form to deceive mankind.

Who Told You Your First Scary Story?

My aunt Maria Manuela, I was 8 years old and I was a lazy kid, I was delighted to go play with rag balls, and my mom hadn’t yet figured out how to get me in bed by 9 or 10, when we lived in a bunkhouse and made a living by selling things at the Los Dolores market. The custom from the past was to eat dinner as a family, and thus I was given dinner and overheard my aunt being told: “Listen Chepita last night I heard a ghost cart passing through here.”  And my aunt responded: “Yes I heard the ghost as well, taking its items with it, its demonic items.” After hearing that I no longer fought my family to stay awake, I went straight to bed out of fear and from there I’d never leave until morning came the next day.

And Where Was Stories & Legends From Honduras Born?

My aunts told me these stories and they stayed in my mind. That’s why I made the program, it reminded me of my childhood, and thus I wanted to and went out and investigated these stories from towns and cities all over the country.

To support our publication check out our Patreon and consider supporting us! To read the original article click here to be taken to El Heraldo’s published interview.

Honduras’ Cardinal Asks Politicians To Present Positive Proposals

The cardinal of Honduras, Oscar Andres Rodriguez, has asked the candidates who are seeking office in November to present proposals to construct a “better nation” which are not based on insults or partisanship but rather constructive proposals aimed at improving life throughout the nation.

“Today is the beginning of a new month which will bring us considerably closer to election day. Consequently it’s time that the politicians stop saying who said this or who insulted who and instead offer concrete proposals which reveal who will take our nation towards a new path.” Said Rodriguez.

The electoral campaign shouldn’t be fundamental about insults or degrading the opposing politicians, says the religious leader in declarations to HRN radio in Tegucigalpa. He instead emphasized that there will be young Hondurans who are voting for the time in November and “They don’t want to know who is insulting who and who isn’t being insulted but instead who will put forth proposals that will construct a better nation.”

Rodriguez stated that a better nation won’t be created with insults or with “division, hate, and rancor, or with looking back at the past which has already happened, but can be achieved by accepting responsibility for its construction and proceeding with dignity and respect.”

10 parties will be in the polls in November, and the current President will be seeking reelection, Honduras will elect a president, three vice-presidents, 128 congresspeople and 20 congresspeople to the Central American Parliament, as well as 298 municipal mayors. Honduras will be celebrating its 10th general election since its return to democracy in 1980 after nearly 20 years of military rule.

President Hernandez’s attempt at reelection has provoked fury from the political opposition due to the Constitution’s absolute ban on presidential reelection, which didn’t stop the Honduran Supreme Court from allowing presidential reelection in 2015.

The source for this article is a La Prensa article. As usual check out and support us through Patreon!

Interinstitutional National Security Force Declares High Standards Of Safety Prior To Patriotic Festivals Tomorrow

The national police and security apparatuses are strengthening themselves nationally prior to the commencement of various celebrations that will take place tomorrow. The announcement came from authorities representing the Interinstitutional National Security Force (Fusina).

According to Fusina this national strengthening is being done to provide the maximum possible security to the thousands of Hondurans who will be engaging in civic celebrations which will take place tomorrow and throughout the weekend. Fusina is working with the Armed Forces, the National Police, Immigration, the National Directive of Intelligence & Investigation, and various attorneys and judges who have national jurisdiction.

The security institute explained that there are a series of strategies both passive and active to handle a variety of situations that could occur during the nation’s day and weekend of celebrating and patriotism. The security institutes are asking the population to carry their IDs, drivers licenses, vehicle registration, and to not carry objects which could be expected to harm others such as weapons, guns, and others.

Other codes of conduct that are recommended are for people to not drink alcohol or other substances which alter human behavior, to park vehicles in safe places, have children under control, not to display signs with obscene or immoral messages, and to not show off valuable objects or leave them unattended.

The source for this article is a El Heraldo article.

Another Communicator Killed In Omoa, Cortes

A social communicator was killed earlier today in Omoa, Cortes, in the northern region of the country. His name was William Flores and he worked for Channel 22 in Omoa. While he was being murdered another person, a woman who possibly worked alongside him was injured.

His murder took place in the Santa Isabel neighborhood  where he and his companion were intercepted by unknown criminals. After the attempts on their lives both were moved to a private clinic in Puerto Cortes where the communicator passed away.

The source for this article is a brief post which appeared on La Prensa earlier today.

School Serves As Dividing Line Between Honduras And El Salvador In La Virtud

A community named La Virtud is located in the department of Lempira and is situated in a very peculiar place along the Honduran-Salvadorian border. A school sits atop where Honduras and El Salvador connect, the school is named Profesor Aquilino Abrego Sosa, and makes it so that in theory one classroom can be in El Salvador and the other can be in Honduras.

According to inhabitants of La Virtud for years students at the school divided in two were treated the same and the school was apparently kept in one location but lately Honduran students have begun taking notice of how Salvadorian students get schools supplies, uniforms, and snacks, while Honduran students get nothing. This has led to an imbalance where Hondurans want to go the Salvadorian school, which led to the number of students in the Honduran side decreasing which compelled the Salvadorian teachers to move their classes away from the original school and into a new location. That hasn’t completely solved the problem with some students of Honduran origin crossing the border. “I go there because they give us food, uniforms, and on Monday’s we sing ‘saludemos'” Says Yesica Orellana a student in kindergarten in El Salvador. Saludemos is the national hymn of El Salvador.

This community is dangerously affected by a sad history of children who are abandoned and lack the basic necessities needed to survive and thrive in schools: many don’t have uniforms, food, a bed, and in order to sleep they go onto hammocks surrounded by mosquitoes. These students go to class not very far from the excrement of livestock and dirty puddles while their parents search for ways to feed them and themselves. The natural environment they live in gets worse when it rains because the rain creates thick areas of dirty water and causes the Goascoran river (a river nearby that divides Honduras and El Salvador) to overflow without much difficulty.

Much of the region La Virtud is located in and its inhabitants go near are cold areas where jackets and blankets are necessary to be safe and keep oneself healthy.

Students lack backpacks, school supplies, tennis shoes for PE, and the schools don’t have libraries or educational materials. Not to mention the need for campaigns to educate students and residents of La Virtud about personal hygiene and dental health despite the fact that El Salvador does have such campaigns but they don’t visit every school.

Many children in the area don’t have clothes or shoes, not to mention toys since their parents aren’t likely to be able to buy them things to entertain themselves with.

El Heraldo reached out to the National Institute of Statistics (INE) for information about quality of life in this area and the population believed to live there (although it’s theorized that the number in 2015 was around 6,640) but the only information the INE sent them was information from 2014’s consensus for the region of Nahuterique. Information about this region’s access to education, health, and basic services is virtually nonexistent as is information about levels of poverty in the area.

The source for this fascinating yet saddening article is a strangely untitled El Heraldo article.

Mipymes Employ Over Half A Million Hondurans Nationwide

Micro, small, and medium sized businesses (also known as mipymes) have turned into the one of the strongest arms of the Honduran economy according to data from the Secretary of Economic Development (SDE). Nationwide there are between 550,000 and 700,000 mipymes which generate some 70% of the jobs which currently exist within the private sector, which translates to more than half a million jobs according to German Perez Destephen a representative of the National Industrial Association (ANDI).

More than 40% of these businesses are located in the urban areas of the country and 60% are located in the rural areas of the country, with the heaviest concentrations being (rather unsurprisingly) in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, according to Perez Destephen. “The majority of businesses in the mipymes section operate commercially including hotels and restaurants.” This group represents some 66% of all of the mipymes with the next section being manufacturers who make up 25% of all mipymes and the remaining 9% being made up of various businesses and business types.

New Undertakings:

According to bulletin study of marketplace labor of 2016 from the Honduran Council On Private Business (Cohep) there are some 370,000 people who generate revenue themselves and that number is growing.

Pedro Barquero, an executive director of the chamber of commerce and industry of Cortes (CCIC) explained that in the last few years there’s been an explosion of new businesses and ideas which eventually became mipymes, and that this has been caused in part by a former lack of space for young people who are now turning into an economically active population. “The lack of employment caused many young people and many older people as well to create their own businesses to employ themselves. That’s why it’s important to create ideal conditions for them to develop their business ideas and guide them into becoming sustainable and functioning business models.” Says Barquero. He also says it’s necessary to ope the windows of the market so that businesspeople can sell their goods openly and freely, not to mention the need to give young people business loans to finance their businesses, and advice on how to prepare and form their businesses.

Mario Kafati, vice-minister of the Micro, Small, and Medium Business and Social Sector of the Economy agencies of the SDE has talked about the importance of this sector saying: “Mipymes generate a significant part of the gross domestic product of the country and that’s why it’s critical that we support this sector. We’ve developed programs and made funds available for financing these small businesses so that they can one day become big businesses.” Says Kafati.

Forming A Business:

One of the biggest challenges for this segment of the businesses in Honduras is managing to successfully form and formally come into existence.

According to representatives of the National Association of Medium and Small Businesses in Honduras (ANMPIH) only 20% of mipymes are formal businesses with 80% operating clandestinely. That isn’t stopping efforts to reverse these statistics, and Esperanza Escobar (President of ANMPIH) has worked tirelessly to help create Centers Of Business Development (CDE-Mipyme) and are now located throughout the country. Esperanza is still working to strengthen this sector through consulting, workshops, and permanent coaching. “One of the biggest difficulties for these small businesses is the administrative parts of owning a business. Many manage to open their businesses but they can’t keep them afloat due to a lack of administrative and financial discipline.” Says the president. Her efforts with the support of the CDE-Mipymes and promoted by the Economic Development Secretary as well as the support of influential actors within the private sector have managed to help keep many businesses alive and to develop many new businesses as well.

The President Of Cohep:

Luis Larach, president of Cohep has said that it’s crucial that mipymes move to get the regulations of “monotributo” approved and that the processes to register as a business get simplified, which currently are very tedious which is a significant obstacle for many small businesses. Luis stated that many mipymes close due to high costs and lengthy processes which are currently necessary to obtain the permits and licenses needed to operate formally. “Various administrations have created a complex administrative system which has resulted in the deaths of numerous mipymes. We cannot ignore the progress we’ve made so far to lift this sector up but there is much to do.” Says Larach.

The source for this article is a La Prensa article published just an hour ago.