Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Honduras in crisis?

I am sitting here in my house, in the tranquility of Plan Grande, while the situation is critical throughout the country.

There are occupations of streets, burning of tires in the streets, and more in the major cities as well as other parts of the country.

I am surprised that things have gotten to this point, but it is understandable.

Medical and educational professionals have been on strike, from time to time, for more than six weeks – first of all in protest of legislation which seemed to open the way to privatization of public health and education – or, at the very least, to contracting out these public services. This has already happened to electricity, with terrible results for some people.

This week drivers of large trucks were on strike this week before of problems with government paper work. As a result, there are shortages of fuel in some places.

This reflects a deep of dissatisfaction of many people – a broken public medical system, corruption at high levels, basic food prices going up and up, continuing violence in the cities, impunity and a broken “justice” system, lack of work, manipulation of work and public services by political parties, and more.

What was surprising in the midst of this was the response of the Catholic Church. The Bishops Conference released a strong statement which I translated and posted here.

The words that were the most stunning was the slogan: ¡BASTA YA! – ENOUGH ALREADY!

This was a strong statement against the policies of the government. I will quote a section which reveals what the roots of what is happening.

We are very seriously concerned about the future of our Honduras, thinking that if it is not known how to resolve the problems that have come together adequately, how could we resolve those which, being structural, demand a serious reordering of all the elements which constitute the Rule of Law

A Constitution violated as many times as it suits, some powers which are not at all independent, a Congress that has turned itself into a theater with the worst actors, turning its back on the people. There is a need for an electoral power which guarantees the transparency of voting and gets rid of, once and for all, all the electoral crimes. Any number of State institutions broken by corruption, an economy paralyzed - above all in agriculture, a shameless sale of the natural goods of our earth. A false reform of the Penal Code, which simply converts it into an instrument to protect the corrupt and the drug-traffickers, with the appearance of being better by making harsher the penalties for those supposedly more “dangerous,” who tend to be marginalized young people and the poor who are desperate to eke out a living.

All this, and much more, makes our hearts cry out – Enough already!

Where will this lead, I do not know. I pray it will be a peaceful transition. But I have no intention of leaving. I am where I am called to be.

God help us.

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