I have written the below section not so much in chronological order, but just observations and thoughts on President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
I missed the President Juan Orlando speech last night. I was falling in and out of sleep with Titantic on the TV in Spanish. “SOY REY DEL MUNDO,” shouted a dubbed Leonardo di Caprio on standing at the front mask of the boat looking out to sea. I bet JOH felt similar a year or so ago. Then the scandal came.
Apparently all the Honduran channel’s programmes were cut and were directed to JOH’s speech, wanting people to talk about the welfare of the people, which I don’t know if is in tongue in cheek after the recent scandals with him using the health service funds to fund his own election, or whether it is a very naive and honest attempt to divert the attention away from what looks to be a sinking ship (there’s a big hole that needs repairing). In other words, he is cacking himself, along with his cronies, for badly exposed. The whole notion of redirecting channels to his speech screams “dictator”, and trying to sabotage his opposition’s image (Nasaralla) with less than glamorous Photoshopped photos of him drinking a beer. It kind of reminded me of the Miliband bacon sarnie photo on the front page of The Sun on the day of the election. It may have swung the election for some, but this has backfired on JOH and the newspaper El Heraldo, as many Hondurans see it for what it is; feeble. Maybe it was the timing of the “bacon sarnie” article, but this was very poor timing by JOH, especially with all the marches of late. Closing off the public street around the President’s House was also a poor decision. Whether you call it an act of aggression or a defensive measure, it has done nothing to repair his cracked reputation. Paying people to go on pro Nacionalista marches really is the pits. Dignity lost.
There are rocky waters ahead for this government. Scandals and repression has made the people rise. I remember when I first came to Honduras there was a large Resistencia on the streets, an organisation with connections with Partido Libre, ran by the ousted leader Mel Zelaya, against the people who are now and still in charge, also known as golpistas, who pretty much run the country and taking large slices of Honduran pie (public funds). While those marches were big, they were often met by force and a little disorganised. Now the marches are organised, hitting the right spots, whether it is the American Embassy, Ministero Publico or Hospital Escuela. They also has the middle classes protesting. This is interesting. Former Nacionalista voters are fed up, too. Nasaralla seems to be the hero, or at least helped gather momentum, tearing up Oscar Alvarez live on air, uncovering the scandals of one of the most dangerous men in Honduras. Nasarralla ran in the election as the Anti-Corruption party leader, but he is also a footy pundit. He hasn’t come out, although there is widespread belief that he is gay, due to his slightly camp ways. Why understate it? He’s like a beautiful flaming queen! You might be asking what his sexuality has to do with all this. Well, in a country with so much homophobia and machismo (maybe you read the story about Stephen Fry and his gay partner feeling discriminated against for their sexuality in Roatan (I personally think the SF incident was less about homophobia and more about the great difference. You can see gays walking around hand in hand quite a lot in the Bay Islands compared to Tegucigalpa, due to the liberal lifestyle. I think people would stop and stare and make comments if they saw a 60 year old man and 20 year old woman walking down the street together hand in hand, as well), homophobia has been rife for many years, but especially under the Pepe Lobo government, where LGBT groups and gay people in the street have been attacked or even killed without any police investigation (sometimes even attacked by the police). You have to admire a man, with such mannerisms, to come out all guns blazing against these mafia-type dictators.
I haven’t been able to go on a march yet, due to events or unexpected needs for marriage paper work etc, but they have hit the international news. CNN Español is covering it, which is the last thing that JOH wanted.
No doubt that JOH is an intelligent man. He has, however, made some grave errors. A year ago everything seemed to be going well. I thought the country’s security was improving. I felt safer. But it was all a smokesreen, propaganda. I was bought by it. The coming weeks will be interesting.
“Tension, in the long run, is a more dangerous force than any feud known to man.”
― Criss Jami
I asked Pamela if she would like a revolution in Honduras. “Yes,” she said, “but not on my wedding day.”
Watch this space.