We’ve stepped into the final month of the Honduran national elections. I myself am sick of seeing Juan Orlando’s, Zelaya’s and Villeda’s faces pasted over every billboard, lamp-post, car sticker, flag, along with those of their deputy’s and mayor’s, as well as the constant tv advertisements (there have also been Juan Orlando shoes!!). I told Pamela that the sooner the elections are over, the sooner I can stop barfing over the smug grins and insidious eyes, pretty much faking every word they say and hiding the very well-known secret plans they have to embezzle desperately needed public funds into giant great big holes that will be covered up, sometimes with military and police assistance, with not a soul punished. But as Pamela reminded me, no one’s going to bother clean up the streets afterwards, so their faces are likely to be stuck around in my memory for a long time to come.
I like to try to paint Honduras in a more light to bolster tourism and get outsiders to understand the real Catrachos, who are very colourful, kind, hospitable, friendly, un poco loco, un poco sano, honest hard-working people who consist of 90-odd-percent of the country, and not the 10% who kill, steal and corrupt. There are delights of the wildlife and stunning landscape, the fantastic coffee, the Lenca artwork and tasty cuisine.
However, while reading the Guardian online, I came across this story commenting on the elections here. It’s a great newspaper, to those not in the know, far better than the tabloid and Daily Mail bog-roll. I am remaining neutral throughout the elections. I can see how the article might have a small sympathy towards Partido Libre, who many claim here is a communist for its links with Chavez in Venezuela. On the whole, I haven´t followed the promises or politics of Partido Libre, so I can’t say for sure if this is true. It comments on how the country has gone downhill since the coup in 2009, which I can’t say is true either, since I came in 2011. However, it suggests here, as do many, many Hondurans, that the country is poorer, that distribution of wealth is worse, and that Pepe Lobo (the President) has no clue. I probably do agree with the latter part. I comments on how Obama did not class the coup as illegimate, even though the majority of the Western hemisphere did (but that doesn’t matter, right?), which has brought quite a bit of disappointment in Honduras. Obama was seen a great beacon of hope for most people in the world, but especially in Honduras.
It also talks about Juan Orlando’s (the Partido Nacional’s president candidate) position in congress, and links with key government institutions, who will seem to be counting the votes. Very, very risky if you ask me, but that’s the situation. Also, his influence with the military and press freedom, which for a journalist, is also worrying.
It’s probably true, that Partido Libre are the most popular party, and probably have more voters. When I was in Trujillo early this year, there were flags flying everywhere, along with most of the north coast and campesino areas. But are they truely the party of the people? Many suggest that poorer are being lied to, false promises etc, while the Guardian suggests that there was far more equality. Some people have told me that they would even emigrate if Partido Libre were to win! I just don’t know. But one thing we have to think about; will their votes be properly counted? I know there were protests about this during the last elections that were silenced. Again, I just don’t know. I read and hear things that are impossible not to catch one’s ear.
Liberal Party? I think Villeda is the “Nick Clegg” of the bunch. There is also the football commentator (I keep forgetting his name) who is running for the Anti-Corrupcion party. I would like to say he is kind of the “Farage” of this Honduran soap opera, but no one would like to be linked with that name (although it does seem to have attracted a great many people who are just pissed off with the three mainstream parties, and demand change (just a hugely different one to UKIP’s)).
As I said, I try to keep my nose out of politics here, as it’s a bit too whiffy for me. However, if I choose to remain the “idiot gringo”, apathetic and appear innocent to all these whiffs, does that make me part of the system? Does it allow the mess to continue? I don’t know. I’ve no right to vote either way. The vote takes place the weekend after my birthday, which is a massive shame; alcohol is not to be sold during the weekend of the elections (homemade guaro, anyone?). I guess I will be hiding behind my horchata then!