Hurricane Mitch Psychosis – November, 1999 Reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Mitch have been progressing at a snail’s pace. Hurricane psychosis permeates throughout the government’s actions / inactions. Last Fantasy Politics filed from Honduras.
It’s now been one year since Hurricane Mitch literally destroyed the country’s infrastructure and economy. Unfortunately the government’s efforts to reconstruct the country has been progressing at a snail’s pace.
In typical Honduran fashion, they place the blame of their own procrastination on everyone else, in particular on international organizations and foreign governments that have not expedited funds for reconstruction projects. They really have nobody to blame but themselves.
Whatever requisites imposed by these international friends are legitimate. After all, they just want to ensure proper funds usage. This is simply good business and common sense. It is the sole responsibility of the Honduran government to find ways to fulfill the requirements and expedite the release of reconstruction funds.
Furthermore, the government has acquired a hurricane psychosis that permeates its actions. It realizes many of the reconstruction projects have only recently commenced actual operations and yet it is once again hurricane season. Areas throughout the country are very vulnerable with a high risk of damage from minimal flooding. This includes infrastructure such as riverbeds that are still exposed since levee construction has been proceeding too slowly, bridges that have been jerrybuilt and face possible destruction, and many roads that now resemble simple trails through the rainforests.
The tropical storm known as Katrina recently threatened Honduras and caused a red alert in the government entity known as the Permanent Committee of Contingencies (COPECO). Prior administrations of this organization have allegedly been involved in corrupt acts since funds disappeared. One thing is for certain; its ineptness was very apparent during Hurricane Mitch.
However, we do not criticize their inefficiency since the hurricane that it faced was the worst one on record in the past two hundred years and it struck throughout the entire country with its entire fury. In other words, it is inconceivable that anyone would have been prepared to combat a catastrophe of such immense magnitude, especially one of the poorest third world countries on the planet. Nonetheless, the hurricane psychosis left by Mitch now turns a mere squall into major paranoia amongst local citizens.
On top of this, the German based organization known as International Transparency has just released this year’s ranking of corruption. Unfortunately Honduras won the race this year and placed first in terms of the most corrupt country in the world despite all of its efforts to clean up its act.
We admit things have changed for the better in Honduras and it no longer deserves such a dubious distinction. Nonetheless, we consider this prize to be a dunking of cold, harsh reality that should help the government understand that it still has a long ways to go in its efforts to combat corruption.
The president of the National Association of Small and Medium Sized Industries of Honduras (ANMPIH) Alberto Chaín, recently released statistics that portray the social Mitch that was left in the wake of last year’s hurricane. He claims that 1,500 companies have shut down operations and that 70,000 people have lost their jobs. Another 435 companies are in serious risk of closing, which would affect another 4,000 people. Many of the owners of these now defunct companies have been forced to migrate to the United States to work in order to pay for the numerous debts and financial obligations they have.
Unfortunately, it also appears that this writer may also soon become a casualty of this same phenomenon. Despite all of my best efforts to the contrary, unless things drastically change within the next few weeks, I too will be forced to migrate north in order to maintain my family. In other words, I soon may be forced to abandon this unique column that I have created, maintained and loved. I have always tried to compose my writings by using both my heart and mind and to stimulate my readers’ minds with provocative commentary. The wonderful response of the innumerable readers throughout the planet who have written letters has often challenged me and has provided great satisfaction. I wish to sincerely thank all of my faithful readers for both their support and constructive criticism.
Update October 30th, 2012 Honduras.com profoundly regrets and apologized to O Ma R for not continuing O Ma R ‘s efforts back in 1999, and has vowed to continue his legacy.
Unfortunately O Ma R is not available to carry this column into the future at this time due his current commitments (but we are hopeful of some guest appearances in the future!).
Fortunately for Honduras.com and our World Wide Audience we have been able to recruit oMaR_Jr and welcome your comments to insure a continued in depth view of Politics in Honduras. Feel free to provide all the feedback you can especially now with the current 2012 and 2013 Honduras elections at our doorsteps. Let’s see if we can once again predict who the next President of Honduras will be.