It’s quarter of an hour past midnight, just six days before much of the world exchanges gifts, supposedly to celebrate the birth of the son of God, saviour on Earth. Yet Tegucigalpa doesn’t feel very Holy, nor does the rest of el país, and the Christmas spirit feels lacking, lost in the midst of uncertainty, nerves and resentment flowing around el pueblo. How will Santa get past the burning tyres and military presence? is being asked instead of what one is hopeful of getting for Christmas. (Depends on the plata in one’s pocket, I suppose).
In Miraflores we live mostly in a middle-class bubble, yet we know from the echoing bangs and yelps that we’re not too far from trouble. Sirens of ambulances, or police cars, or military, disturb the peace of night across the capital, swerving to avoid debris of the day’s events littering the streets. You don’t know where they’re going, nor whom or what they’re seeing to. The military helicopters hover low, arousing pets and wailing youth, and anxieties amongst the households, wondering what tomorrow brings. Calls to the streets and road blocks will be met by tear gas and the iron fist of the authorities. Fight with fire gets met with fire, that’s the general rule in this neck of the woods. One can only hope that not too much blood is spilt, and those that choose to protest do it with responsibility, which is not spiralled into violence.
Heated memes, personal messages and queasy threats heaped with questionable truths bellow around the social media and WhatsApp and you’ve no idea of where it comes from. Only someone with an agenda from one side of a political divide, which has split friends and families in two, blaming the other side for the chaos. Yet who started this? A toxic battle for power between the political elite based on popularism, rather than a clear manifesto which let’s el pueblo know what it’s voting for; the same pueblo that both sides claim they care for. But when has a manifesto ever been clear? It’s el pueblo that loses out in the end; not just in Honduras, but all corners of the world. All the while, an even bigger political power, an external one, leers over with particular interest…
It’s those cannons though…are they cannons? They sound like cannons. Midnight cannons that thud a vibration throughout a section of the city; bumps in the night are from another type of ghoul. Why it’s fired, no one knows. Who it’s fired at, the media might say tomorrow. The feeling of paranoia creeps over. Like when you’re small when images in the dark has the outline of a face, a dog bark or a yelp sounds like a collective roar, echoing from somewhere in the city crawling with soldiers clad in armour. The demons are at play. Somewhere.
It’s now an hour since I started writing, yet it’s a moment when the world’s supposed to be sleeping – or more egotistically, when I’m supposed to be sleeping. A peace torn part at the seams; one that doesn’t characterise the more sweet-natured Catracho spirit.
This is not Honduras’s finest hour. It’s full of bumps in the night.