Honduras: An Inside View
To a typical democratic citizen, a world without law and policy might appear as one that condones chaos, anarchy and disarray. We assume that governments are formed to maintain the well-being and the safety of its citizens through its administration. But what if these ‘so- called’ policies actually accomplish nothing? The country of Honduras located in Central America has a democratic system of government, but those in power seem to have no interest in the needs of their people, as reflected by the destitute conditions of the country. The deep rooted history of violence is to be “solved” with policies that are veiled by masks of efficiency when in reality they are set in motion as a performance full of false promises to their people. For example in 2011, “[The Honduran government]...expanded the military’s role in combating violent crime… as a temporary intervention pending reform of the national police. [Nonetheless], allegations of human rights abuses by the military have increased notably since then. Military police were accused of involvement in at least nine killings, more than 20 cases of torture, and about 30 illegal arrests between 2012 and 2014 [with] at least 24 soldiers...under investigation in connection with the killings.” (World Report, 2016) Time after time the world has seen that battling violence with violence proves to be a more harmful act than a heroic one. The government of Honduras has promised their people a step towards peace and unity, yet their policies have added to the amount of bloodshed and division in the country. Unfortunately, the ones paying the price for this are those who feel powerless in the presence of authority.
A is a Honduran citizen from San Pedro Sula (often known as “the most dangerous city in the world”) who immigrated to Canada at the age of 14 to escape from the corruption of their country. A is now studying at the University of British Columbia, in the Faculty of Science. When asked about their childhood, one cannot but notice a lingering pain from years of witnessing the violence of a country that had once pledged to keep them safe. The following is an interview conducted with A to delve deeper into the political landscape of Honduras.
Did you feel safe living in Honduras as a child?
“As a child I did feel safe, because I was under the wings of my parents. Slowly growing up more and more my eyes started to open to this dark reality that I was living in. Every place I would go with my parents they would say, ‘don’t look there, don’t go there, it’s dangerous’. I began to see through education that the world I was living in was not a perfect one.”
Did you witness violence as a child growing up in San Pedro Sula?
“I have witnessed violence, yes. Various times while growing up especially on the streets whenever we saw people gathered around in a place, we knew they were not celebrating something but mourning yet again another event of violence. One of many that happened every day in the city.”
Growing up, what perception did you have of your government? Did you feel as though they were there to help?
“Growing up, the government to me had two faces. One of them was a government in place that finally wanted to change this country for the better: as they suggested in their campaign. The other was a government of false promises. Even with the eyes of a child, I was able to see that there was something wrong with this so called “savior of the people” that was running to be the next president. All I had to do was look around me to see that all the promises I had heard throughout my life were nowhere near accomplished. In fact, the country seemed to be in a worse state than before. I could see it in the infrastructure, holes in the roads, everywhere. And I mean, everywhere. Public education facilities where children didn’t even have desks. Hospitals running out of oxygen. And many other things that were obvious to everyone.”
How do you think we as a global community can face the challenges seen in Honduras?
“I believe that the first step to take in order to even get near the possibility of making this country truly a better place would be by simply bringing out of the dark truth of this country’s situation to the rest of the world. It seems like, who would care really for a little country stuck in the middle of the continent? And when I ask around, many people don’t even know that Honduras is a part of their continent. However, I have still seen some non-profit organizations coming to the country trying to serve the poor. I really believe that the best alternative though, would be through education starting in the homes of the poor. To free them of the slavery of ignorance they have been chained to their whole lives.”
Is there something an individual can do to bring about greater change?
“I’ve seen individuals (a few of them) attempting to change this country. However, they are always prone to failure. What is needed I believe, is more of a movement. Some sort of revolution, not a violent one, but a revolution of knowledge, peace, and of Love. One that will build a true foundation for the structure of a strong society. Now it may seem a little unrealistic, but hey, every good movement starts with an “unrealistic dream”. I know you’ve heard it said many times, but the clichés are things that people do the least. You and I are able to start a revolution.”
It is clear that Honduras is a developing country with a past of corruption, loss, and suffering. But in hearing of its wounded past and present, one cannot but also see the beauty in its people's ability to stand and fight for righteousness time and again. It seems that the only tool they need now to succeed is education. When policies made by governments perpetuate ignorance throughout the nation and fail to acknowledge the lack of education in the homes of the poor, change cannot ever be brought about. As a global community starting from grassroots organizations with people working together for the greater good, we must find ways in planting seeds of knowledge in the poverty ridden areas of Honduras that they may flourish into a nation of intelligence and awareness with the willingness to defend the rights of their people. We can hope that as peace and education is cultivated, the long fought battle against violence and hatred within the country will also fade away. After all, as Martin Luther King Jr. once famously quoted, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Watch, H. R. (2016, January 27). Honduras. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/honduras