News

Area Around Tegucigalpa Ablaze, “Asphyxiating” Inhabitants

Tegucigalpa was affected today by a massive smoke cloud generated by the nearby forest-fires coming from the region’s heartland according to official sources.

2 of the forest fires have burned for days and were registered in the sectors of Carpintero and Zambrano, just some 30 kilometers away from Tegucigalpa according to Marco Antonio Artica, a representative of the firefighter’s corp.

What this environment situation also affects is the nearby international airport Toncontin which might have to be closed according to warnings from the Civil Aeronautics group.

The minister of the environment and mining, Jose Antonio Galdamez stated that so far this year there’ve been some 306 registered forest fires which have consumed some 12,000 hectares of forest, a statistic which is actually better than this time last year by some 30%. Galdamez explained that many of the fires are caused by men who don’t know how to the control the flames.

In rural Honduras, there are still farmers and landowners who use controlled fires to clear their land but don’t actually know how to control the fires which cause forest fires according to authorities tasked with forest protection. Something that worsens these fires is the winds which have been affecting the country according to the National Committee on Forest Protection.

Mario Centeno, an official with the Permanent Commission on Contingencies (Copeco) has said that between Wednesday & Friday there will be rain nationwide which could help the area and contribute to the end of a few of the forest fires.

The source for this article is a La Tribuna article.

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Accidents Fell By 50% During Holy Week Says First Response Agencies

The National Commission of Accident Prevention During Massive Demonstrations (Conaprem) published a report earlier today about incidents & accidents which took place during Holy Week 2018 in Honduras. During a press conference, the head of the Permanent Commission of Contingencies (Copeco) Lisandro Rosales highlighted that this year there was an increased participation of Honduran families in domestic tourism by 7.8% in comparison to last year’s numbers during Holy Week, reflecting an estimated revenue of at least 7,000,000 lempiras.

This increase is calculated by estimated the spendings of some 3,527,198 people who left their homes and went on domestic vacations which resulted in an increased hotel occupancy rate of more than 80% from last year. The minister of tourism, Emilio Silvestri highlighted the labor of Conaprem, Copeco, the Firefighters Corp, and the national police as well as the military police of public order.

Incidents & Accidents:

When it comes to incidents which took place during these holy days the highest number of drownings took place and were reported in Cortes, in rural western areas,  and in the heart of the country as well as it’s southern regions.

According to the published report this year there was a 30% reduction in drowning cases and a 50% reduction in road accidents compared to last year. According to Lisandro Rosales despite these improvements over last year “these accidents are still too many”.

Rosales says that the behavior of the Honduran people during these dates proves that “we can do good things”. Constant operations executed during periods of high traffic resulted in less seizures of licenses than in 2017, and the organizations determined to protect & save lives rescued some 169 people during the week.

The source for this translation is an article from La Prensa.

Workshops Centered Around Youth Entrepreneurship & Empowerment Occur In San Pedro Sula

Honduran & Guatemalan organization leaders attended a workshop in San Pedro Sula centered around implementing goals centered around youth empowerment.

Catholic Relief Services is holding the 6-day workshop with 25 participants from groups throughout Honduras & Guatemala using a methodology focused on the power of entrepreneurs. The facilitators of the methodology are specialists in youth employment, Katharine Andrade Eekhoff, and Flor de Fatima Hernandez, who are offering participants a series of learning tools directed specifically at young people.

Their program has been successfully implemented in Africa and is currently being refined and tailored to Latin-American countries and is aiming to strengthen the Senderos Juveniles de Centroamerica program (the Youth Pathways Central America program) which is in Honduras & El Salvador with the end goal being the construction of paths towards education & employment for Central American young people.

Participants come from a range of organizations including Tegucigalpa’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the municipality of Choloma, CESAL, COCEPRADIL, Caritas, Fe y Alegria, FUNADEH, and Glasswing Internacional.

YPCA ( is a binational program in Honduras & El-Salvador headed by Catholic Relief Services in association with the other organizations mentioned previously, as well as YouthBuild with financing by the Department of Labor of the U.S.A. They help at risk youths in Honduras & El-Salvador between the ages of 12-20 years ago and their families in 10 areas with high levels of violence in both countries, Soyapango, Mejicanos, San Salvador, Ciudad Arce, Santa Ana, San Pedro Sula, La Lima, Choloma, El Progreso, and Tegucigalpa.

Catholic Relief Services is the official agency of the Catholic Church of the United States for international humanitarian aid.

The source for this article is a La Tribuna article, and remember to support us by donating to our Patreon!

A Lack Of Space Is Plaguing UNAH-VS

It is the first days of class at the National Autonomous University of Honduras Sula Valley campus and the students are going to class and sitting down on the floor. In Building 2 where classes of philosophy, sociology, and others are taught this is a recurring scene.

If one goes to the floor where psychology classes are taught students can’t sit down due to a lack of space which causes them to stand and take notes on the notebooks they are perpetually carrying. With each academic period, the story is the same in UNAH-VS. One of the causes of this is a lack of seats but the bigger problem is a lack of professors. There are hundreds of students who end up on a waiting list and because there aren’t professors when the semester begins and the adding period comes to a close there are more students in classes than there ought to be and some have to accept having classes on the floor. Wednesday afternoons one of the philosophy classes has more than 50 students.

Department heads open only a few classes pertaining to the most sought-after subjects because they lack the right number of professors to adequately teach these classes according to various students.

Larissa Mendez who is enrolled as a psychology student began with everyone else but never imagined she’d have to go to class and stand for hours. “The authorities should go to work and solve these problems.” She says. Students who were reached out to for comment recognize the work done by the university officials to improve the infrastructure & staffing problems faced by the university but say that university officials need to focus and hammer out a solution to this because it is a recurring problem that reliably reappears each academic period.

Budget:

Authorities representing UNAH-VS accept that these problems have persisted throughout a long time but also hope that we acknowledge that it’s difficult to solve this problem with the tiny budget given to the university.

Ada Cantarero, academic vice-director of the university argues that “resolving this problem isn’t in our capabilities, we depend on the attitudes taken by the University City”. In 2017 the National Congress assigned 6,175,000 lempiras to UNAH, of which 8% went to UNAH-VS (494,000). “We’ll see how we can possibly resolve this problem felt by and impacting our students.” Says Ada Cantarero.

Professors:

In the campus there are some 800 professors and the coordinator of Human Resources, Elba Ruth Gomez says that there aren’t a lack of professors: “They are willing to deal with the physical space and the demand, and this period always has a significant demand in general classes thanks in part to the number of students.” Currently UNAH-VS is looking at class number and the numbers of students to decide if they ought to hire more professors.

Source: A La Prensa article. Check us out & support us on Patreon.

The Alliance & The Nationalists Are The Parties That Experienced The Most Growth In 2017’s Election

According to El Heraldo, the political parties that ended 2017 with the most growth were the Liberty & Refoundation Party, the Party of Innovation & Unity (which were in an alliance during the election), and the National Party were the parties that gained the most during the 2017 election. Libre & Pinu were in an alliance which undoubtedly helped the smaller and lesser-known Pinu party (lesser-known in an international context).

PINU which had only a single seat in the National Congress following 2013’s election made a pragmatic decision rather than risk being wiped out following 2017’s election: join an alliance with LIBRE which would allow them to gain 4 congresspeople.

In all of this the Anti-Corruption Party and the Liberal Party two parties that had potential and were largely labelled as important parties to watch during the election faced significant losses and are now in the midst of coming up with new strategies to use during the next four years that will hopefully enable them to recover and expand in 2021.

2009’s general election which took place after the constitutional crisis the National Party led by Porfirio Lobo Sosa gained 1,213,695 votes but lost votes in 2013 having earned 1,149,302 a loss of 63,393 voted. In the last election, they obtained 1,410,888 votes an increase of 261,586 an increase of about 22.7%.

Due to their unified participation, it’s impossible to do a true comparative analysis of the results of the alliance between LIBRE & PINU. That being said if you add up the votes LIBRE & PINU got in 2013 and compare those results to the results of the alliance then you see an increase of 33.77% according to the article with the cumulative 1,360,442 votes in 2017 for the opposition alliance compared to the total votes both individual parties got in 2013 which totaled 900,966 votes.

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La Prensa Reports That There’s A Noticable Drop In Homicides In San Pedro Sula

For many years San Pedro Sula was at the top of lists chronicling the most violent cities in the world, but it finished 2017 with a bit of a stunning statistic: it seems that within the city homicides have dropped by more than 50%.

Jair Meza, spokesperson of the secretary of security says that since 2015 there’s been a series of preventative actions/measures taken by the Interinstitutional Security Force to lower the number of violent deaths nationwide but most especially in Tegucigalpa and in San Pedro Sula. “In San Pedro Sula specifically there were 110 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants in 2015, there were 107 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants in 2016, but in 2017 that measure has dropped by 50% with a figure indicating that there were about 50 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.” Says Meza whose statistics were validated by the National Violence Observatory of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (Ov-Unah).

“International media have kept using statistics from past years. These statistics that we’re supplying are accurate.” Says the sub-commissioner of police. Meza added that the Prohibition on Firearms law which was approved prior to November 26, 2017’s, election and is still in effect has contributed to the reduction of violent deaths throughout the past month. “We’ve registered that 396 weapons have been decommissioned as of right now, of which 243 are pistols, 103 are revolvers, 16 rifles, 26 shotguns, and 8 homemade weapons (chimbas)” says Meza.

Security Cameras:

Josue Mejia, director of the center of 911-coordination and emergencies in the northwestern zone has stated that San Pedro Sula’s reputation of being the city most filled with violent deaths has changed due to the work of security and law-enforcement officials and that the city is now the 3rd-ranking city in terms of violent deaths. Mejia indicated that in December the homicides dropped by 52% compared to December of 2016. “In terms of homicides this is historic and that this trend is likely to continue resulting in an even lower ranking in the near future. We are ranked 3rd in this context after spending a long time ranking number one and we’re likely going to end the year with a reduction of 50% which is a considerable improvement.” Says Mejia.

The city has seen the installation of many security cameras which work to support authorities in terms of detecting crimes and capturing criminals.

“Even more than the role of security cameras in improving the streets there’s the reality that the institutions are working effectively together. The cameras are just a tool used to assist in our collaborations, but the reality is that the police and the military police are out there every day, we just provide technical support and the information we’ve ascertained through our tools.” Says the functionary.

The source for this translation is a La Prensa article, and to support our publication and translations support us on Patreon!

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.

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.

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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.