Good News in Honduras, But…

ACORN International

San Pedro Sula           No matter how many times we had gone over the dates for the annual general meeting of ACORN Honduras or doublechecked the time of the meeting, where I would pick up the San Pedro Sula delegates, and when they would be in the central park, don’t ever think with our language barriers that we still can’t be two ships passing in the night.

I was sitting on the patio of the Green Frog, my go-to place to stay in SPS next to the kennel and veterinary operation, which is the real mainstay of the Frog’s owners, editing this coming issue of Social Policy.  I had been slogging away there since 7AM on the computer when at 8:40 AM the owner’s husband walked up to me with his phone and said, “Leyla, is on the line.”  I had left my phones in my room, not expecting any calls this early in Honduras, of all places.  Her message was clear, even in Spanglish.  They were waiting for me in front of the Gran Hotel Sula, and had been for almost an hour.  The meeting was today.   The crew was already in transit from Tegucigalpa to the midway restaurant where we meet.  This was no time to figure out how we messed up.  I said I would be there in 20 minutes, and then driving like a bat out of hell over the mountains, we were only 55 minutes late.  It is often like this in Honduras!  Welcome to my world!

It was exciting to see the leadership since 2020 had made travel, and the meeting, impossible.  More importantly, I could hardly wait to finally hear the organizing plans in the wake of the recent national election.  Not only would Central America have its first woman president, but she is a progressive and the wife of the president deposed by the golopistas in the US-supported coup some years ago.  That action supported by business, the military, and the US State Department under Hillary Clinton, had installed a virtual narco-state in Honduras and froze any progress being made in the country.  300,000 Hondurans have been stopped at the southern US border as well, a huge percentage of the total population fleeing violence, gangs, and economic ruin.

A lot of our meeting involved the election of new officers and the executive board, as well as fulfilling the requirements of our registration, and preparing to open a new bank account, but the excitement was in the plans for new campaigns.  The members want to fight for free lunches for lower income families in the schools.  They want health clinics in barrios.  They want to get rid of the tolls on the highways.  Clean water in some of areas is critical.  The list goes on.

Not that having a new government will make organizing easy.  The pandemic is still in full force here.  Vaccination rates are low.  Depending on the physical space, small meetings can’t exceed eight people and larger spaces can’t best thirty, making organizing the pressure needed to win still a big challenge.  Landing last night in the airport at 8 PM, I asked in my broken Spanish where the people were.  Normally, there’s a rambunctious crowd of families and friends, but the lobby was a ghost town with virtually no businesses open either.  Everyone was behind police barricades in front of the terminal still because of Covid.

Nonetheless, in this meeting of the Honduras ACORN leaders there was finally some hope once again, and in this beleaguered and often forsaken country, that’s huge.