This week it was my birthday. The 21st to be precise. 34 years of age. No longer will I have to hear, “la edad de Cristo”, (the age of Christ), which I’ve had to endure the entire year when I told people that I was 33 years old. I have been given three lovely cakes (as well as lush nacatamales by Mama Mina, Pam’s granny); one from my housemates, one from work and another from my brilliant girlfriend. A few pounds heavier and a couple of hangovers later, I am enjoying this afternoon in the sun awaiting the results of today’s national elections. I’ve been given plenty of chocolate to get on with eating, so expect so zitty-faced chele in photos on facebook. Unfortunately, just for the election weekend, it is also “ley seca” (dry law, sober law, or shite law, as I like to call it) so celebrating my birthday with copious amounts of booze has been constrained (well, not really, as we stocked up rather nicely a couple of days before). People mark their ballot papers, not with a biro, but with a finger print of brown ink, which makes people look as though they’ve been doing some very lurid sexual activities and not washed their hands.
The reason for sunglasses in the above photo, I have somehow adopted the name Papi Chulo in my house, which kind of means Pimp Daddy. So, on my birthday, my housemate started playing a cheesy song by that name by an artist (if you can call her that) by Lorna, a young lady from Panama, which you can see below.
And above is a photo of me standing over “mi mujer” like a Papi Chulo making sure she lights my cake. The candles state I’m 30. That’s fine by me.
I suppose it really is a red and blue weekend, especially for my Honduran friend Jess in Liverpool. She is an avid Reds fan now, and they of course played Everton (who play in blue) this weekend, battling out by what it seems like a very open 3-3 draw.
In Honduras, the clash, or the favourites, are the Nationalist (blue) and Libre (red) party. The Liberals, who are red and white, are also in with a strong shout, and I’ve heard many people talking about voting for the Anti-corruption party, whose leader is a football commentator and people question his sexuality more than his policies. The Libre Party was born out of the Golpe de Estado, the coup-de-etat, when Mel Zelaya was kicked out as president (who was leader of the Liberal Party, although he was let down, from what I hear, from people in his own party), and this in turn split the Liberal party in half. It seems to me that Libre party, whose leader is Mel Zelaya’s Mrs, is a little bit more popular than Liberals, but we will wait and see. I might be wrong. As for Nationalist party, well, Juan Orlando has a throaty rasp and sounds like Don Corelone. I am not saying he is a gangster, I’m just saying he sounds like one, just in case he is reading! That’s all I need to say about him! He is, many people say, supported financially by the US. This explains their thousands of adverts on television.
I have heard that some people are swapping their votes for a piece of power, on the promise of jobs that are hugely beneficial. I have also heard that ballot boxes were found already marked with a particular party’s vote at San Pedro Sula Airport. This could be just dangerous hearsay, so I prefer to keep quiet about which particular candidate this has been connected to.
I’m not sure which colour Jess will be supporting in this battle, but I have tried to be as impartial as possible. Being a journalist and a fan of the BBC (I a journo from the BBC yesterday in Mall Multiplaza as a matter of fact), I feel I have to be. I have been asked many times who I would vote for, and although I have socialist sentiments at heart, I don’t think I would sway to Libre, or any of them, as a matter of fact. As I said a few updates ago, a matter close to my heart, I stated that none of the candidates had mentioned anything about how they would help street kids and youths at social risk, which is ridiculously when you consider the amount of poverty and the fact that Honduras is demographically a very young country. No mention for special needs, medical care, hospitals or elderly. They guarantee that they won’t be corrupt, but everyone guarantee that they will. To me, as stated before, they have already lost my respect. Rather immaturely, when someone from the National Party called me on Monday evening last week saying that Juan Orlando would really like me to vote for him (even though I’m not eligable to vote), and who I would be voting for, my answer was, “Mis huevos, cabron!” If you want to know what that means, Google Translate it!
I fear though, that if Libre win, the National party will consider having another coup, and if the National party win, then the Resistencia will riot. Somewhere in the middle is probably best, so I guess, Liberals would be the most popular of the three leading parties. They are the party, however, who I think will finish third.
This election has inspired me to write a poem, as does most things. I wrote it in a coffee shop (not a dutch one). If I can’t buy beer on a Sunday afternoon, fuck it, coffee it will be. Hope you like it.
Between the Red & Blue
Lines and lines confined,
With all their hopes of peace combined,
To thieves of a political nature,
Who will chisle more at their country’s poor stature.
Military stand around with big guns,
In yonder, grim-faced, or making cynical puns,
About how people’s votes will count for little,
How the poor will toil from infancy ’til their bones are brittle.
They know the red and blue will corrupt and steal,
While the poor go without medical care or a substancial meal,
Violence will continue to pinch and erode their lives,
And those in power maintain to thrive.
On streets and television their jingles are heard,
Every one of them excruitating absurd,
As transparent and false as a hyena’s laugh,
As they think their people are really that daft.
People leave their voting stations with a coloured finger,
Journos sit by making notes that will minger,
Hoping to catch a strong opinion or two,
From proud voters championing that they’re red or blue.
The yanks hang in there, just sniffing around,
Making sure captialist seeds remain planted in the ground,
While Venezuela and Nicaragua look on closely,
Talking of socialism and communism rather boastfully.
We can only hope that the next leaders care,
(Unlike Pepe Lobo’s cronie fan-fare)
To close the gap between the rich and poor,
To stop street children from sleeping on dirt floors,
To stop violence and live in peace together,
As it seems Catrachos are coming to the end of their tether,
To educate everyone and permit everyone to strive,
Somewhere between the red and blue divide,
And try to restore some of that Catracho pride.