Thursday, May 31, 2012

Santa Rosa, ciudad en pleno auge económico

La Prensa
Mariela Tejeda
La Prensa
Santa Rosa
Rubros como el cafetalero, transporte, comercio y el sector educativo privado, han hecho que la ciudad más importante del occidente de Honduras, refleje un notorio crecimiento económico en los últimos años.
La Sultana de Occidente es una de las ciudades que generan más empleos en la región occidental del país, donde más de 10 mil personas son contratadas por la empresa privada cada año.
De acuerdo con cifras en poder de la CCIC (Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Copán), sectores como transporte, construcción, prestación de servicios básicos y prestación de servicios educativos se han fortalecido en los últimos años.
En ese sentido, se indicó que en la ciudad operan cinco centros educativos de enseñanza superior, 20 jardines de niños, 15 escuelas y 9 colegios.
Casiodoro Martínez, director ejecutivo de la Cámara de Comercio en Copán, aseguró que gran parte del crecimiento económico de la ciudad se “ha enfocado en el rubro educativo que se ha impulsado mucho en los últimos años”.
“El crecimiento de Santa Rosa es notorio, hace un par de años vemos más colonias, más personas viven en la ciudad, eso genera más movimiento comercial y de servicios” indicó.
De acuerdo con el último censo elaborado en 2005 por Adelsar (Agencia de Desarrollo Estratégico Local) en Santa Rosa de Copán hay más de 42,800 habitantes, de los cuales el 67.6 % radica en el área urbana.
Martínez indicó que a pesar que no se cuenta con cifras oficiales, “siendo conservadores, en Santa Rosa de Copán se mueven unos 15 millones de lempiras diarios y en meses como octubre la cifra se incrementa por la producción de café, que caracteriza la zona”.
Leer mas aqui.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Honduras safer than Costa Rica?

"This means that while the chances of being murdered are less [in Costa Rica, Peru, and Argentina], the odds of being assaulted are quite high. This helps perhaps explain why Costa Ricans, for example, are more fearful of becoming a victim of a violent crime than are Mexicans, Brazilians, or Hondurans."

By Shannon O'Neil
Though specific countries usually capture the headlines for their bloodiness -- Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and often Colombia -- security problems are widespread throughout Latin America. For the region which holds the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s most violent, a new Latinobarómetro report, "Citizen Security: The Principal Problem of Latin America” (in Spanish), looks at the recent trends, and through survey data, tries to tease out how this affects perceptions, people, and, more broadly, democracy.
Some interesting points emerge from this quite extensive study. One is that general perceptions and realities often don’t match up. In part, this is because there are many different types of crime, and governments, media, and other public opinion shapers often only focus on one set of measures. For instance, Costa Rica, Peru, and Argentina are generally thought of as being some of the more peaceful countries in the hemisphere, due to their relatively low homicide rates (all have below twelve homicides per hundred thousand people).
But according to Latinobarómetro’s (self-reported) crime surveys, all three are far above the Latin American average in terms of criminal activity, with Peru ranking second, Costa Rica fourth, and Argentina sixth out of the eighteen surveyed nations. This means that while the chances of being murdered are less in these countries, the odds of being assaulted are quite high. This helps perhaps explain why Costa Ricans, for example, are more fearful of becoming a victim of a violent crime than are Mexicans, Brazilians, or Hondurans.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

If nothing else, a better night's sleep

By Jody Paterson
Moments ago, I sent the following email to Louis Bachicha, executive vice-president of sales for Sealy Inc. in North America.
I don't know if I found the right email for him and I have no idea if he's the right man to ask for help, let alone if he'll even read this. But I came back from my usual weekend craft day at that sad, fetid orphanage that I have had the great misfortune to stumble upon and I just felt like I had to dosomething. 
Sealy is the biggest manufacturer of mattresses in the world and has plants in El Salvador and Guatemala, both of which border Honduras. Like I told Mr. Bachicha, better beds for these kids will not turn their lives around or save them from what I fear will be much sorrow and deprivation to the end of their days. But it's something, isn't it? 
If you read this and know of a better way to make this happen, a better person at Sealy Inc. to contact, a better mattress or grade of plastic that I should be looking for, I welcome all practical advice.

Hello, Mr. Bachicha. 
I'm a Canadian currently living and working in Copan Ruinas, Honduras, as a Cuso International volunteer. I have recently begun helping at what is essentially a permanent foster home for 30 children here in Copan, and I am writing to ask for your advice and guidance. 
Given that Honduras is second only to Haiti in the Americas in terms of poverty, I'm sure you can imagine what state these children live in. I go up there every weekend to do crafts and such with the children, who are desperate for activities, and many days I feel completely helpless to do anything more meaningful for these kids than to sing songs (they love the Hokey Pokey) and make paper garlands with them. This is not a place of hope, and I am quite sure there will be no happy endings for most of these children. 
However, there is one thing that I think I can do that will improve these children's lives a little every single day, and that is to secure 15 of the most durable mattresses out there wrapped in industrial-level plastic, and at least give them a little comfort every night when they go to bed. Right now, the children all sleep in a single room on 15 bunk beds. But in fact so many of the foam mattresses are either shredded, filthy and wet, covered in excrement or otherwise in a state of complete ruin at any given point in time that on Sunday when I was there, I saw that only three beds actually have mattresses on them. 
Three beds for 30 children, which has to mean that most of those children are sleeping on the filthy concrete floor. Even the wood struts for the bunk beds have been broken by heavy, heavy use and no money for repairs, making many of them unusable right now no matter what.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Canadá designa el representante ante la Comisión de Reforma de la Seguridad Pública

Adam Blackwell - El Heraldo

May 24
Adam Blackwell será el representante de Canadá ante la Comisión de Reforma de la Seguridad Pública, conoció ayer en exclusiva EL HERALDO.
Blackwell es un diplomático de carrera que desde 2010 se desempeña como secretario de Seguridad Multidimensional de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA).
El representante canadiense, quien posee una amplia experiencia en temas de seguridad y defensa, se integrará a la Comisión que deberá impulsar la depuración policial que demandan los hondureños y además el mejoramiento de los operadores de seguridad y justicia en el país.
EL HERALDO  tuvo acceso al nombre de manera exclusiva luego de que el gobierno a través de la cancillería se negara a brindar detalles sobre el perfil de la persona que integraría la Comisión de Reforma de la Seguridad Pública en representación del gobierno de Canadá.
Adam Blackwell es el actual secretario de Seguridad Multidimensional de la OEA y hasta agosto de 2010 ocupó el cargo de Secretario de Relaciones Externas de dicha organización.
También fungió como secretario de Finanzas y Administración (Tesorero) de la OEA en Washington.
Fue embajador de Canadá en República Dominicana y también se ha desempeñado como cónsul general en México, Nueva York y un variedad de misiones en África.

Leer mas aqui.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gradual loss of forests costs Honduras millions, risks environment

Once a Honduran forest (UN photo)

Alejandro F. Ludeña
Latinamerica Press
April 10
Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, loses millions of dollars annually as a result of illegal logging. According to the European Commission’s Country Strategy Paper for Honduras 2007-2013, the market value for illegally chopped timber is between US$55 and $70 million a year, in addition to undeclared taxes and wasted public investment, which amounts to $18 million more.
This is just one of the ruinous effects of the inefficiency with which the Forestry Law is applied in Honduras, where weak democratic institutions reached a nadir in June 2009 with a coup d’etat. But perhaps it isn’t even the worst consequence. According to Orlando Núñez, coordinator of the National Strategy for Illegal Logging in the Forest Conservation Institute, or ICF, Honduras is creeping dangerously close to desertification. In statements made to the capital’s newspaper El Heraldo, Núñez said the country loses 58,000 hectares (145,000 acres) of trees annually, representing more than 1 percent of its forests.
In Honduras, 80 percent of the land is suitable for forestry. But this potential, far from being harnessed for equitable development and poverty reduction, has been squandered to the benefit of a few. Reports from the National Human Rights Commission, or CONADEH, indicate that for every 2 hectares of woodlands the authorities allow to be exploited, three are cleared, meaning one of them counts toward the dramatic figures of illegal land clearing.
In addition to the criminal actions of timber traffickers must be added the effects of forest fires, cattle ranching and the pressure to extend the agricultural frontier. Another factor less visible yet lethal to forests is the popular demand for firewood. Due to limited electrification in rural areas, firewood is still a primary energy source for the impoverished rural population. Annual consumption reaches about 6 million cubic meters (212 million cubic feet), and 70 percent of this firewood comes from broadleaf trees.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How hope plays a large role in escaping poverty

The Economist
May 12
THE idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician. Yet this was the central thrust of a lecture at Harvard University on May 3rd by Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty. Ms Duflo argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival.
She and her colleagues evaluated a programme in the Indian state of West Bengal, where Bandhan, an Indian microfinance institution, worked with people who lived in extreme penury. They were reckoned to be unable to handle the demands of repaying a loan. Instead, Bandhan gave each of them a small productive asset—a cow, a couple of goats or some chickens. It also provided a small stipend to reduce the temptation to eat or sell the asset immediately, as well as weekly training sessions to teach them how to tend to animals and manage their households. Bandhan hoped that there would be a small increase in income from selling the products of the farm animals provided, and that people would become more adept at managing their own finances.
The results were far more dramatic. Well after the financial help and hand-holding had stopped, the families of those who had been randomly chosen for the Bandhan programme were eating 15% more, earning 20% more each month and skipping fewer meals than people in a comparison group. They were also saving a lot. The effects were so large and persistent that they could not be attributed to the direct effects of the grants: people could not have sold enough milk, eggs or meat to explain the income gains. Nor were they simply selling the assets (although some did).
So what could explain these outcomes? One clue came from the fact that recipients worked 28% more hours, mostly on activities not directly related to the assets they were given. Ms Duflo and her co-authors also found that the beneficiaries’ mental health improved dramatically: the programme had cut the rate of depression sharply. She argues that it provided these extremely poor people with the mental space to think about more than just scraping by. As well as finding more work in existing activities, like agricultural labour, they also started exploring new lines of work. Ms Duflo reckons that an absence of hope had helped keep these people in penury; Bandhan injected a dose of optimism.
Ms Duflo is building on an old idea. Development economists have long surmised that some very poor people may remain trapped in poverty because even the largest investments they are able to make, whether eating a few more calories or working a bit harder on their minuscule businesses, are too small to make a big difference. So getting out of poverty seems to require a quantum leap—vastly more food, a modern machine, or an employee to mind the shop. As a result, they often forgo even the small incremental investments of which they are capable: a bit more fertiliser, some more schooling or a small amount of saving.
This hopelessness manifests itself in many ways. One is a sort of pathological conservatism, where people forgo even feasible things with potentially large benefits for fear of losing the little they already possess.

Read the rest here.

Café hondureño fascina los gustos más refinados

20 mayo
La Tribuna
TEGUCIGALPA.- El joven Boanerges Flores (32) desconocía que su pequeña finca de café heredada por sus abuelos, contenía atributos especiales que valoran los gustos más refinados, en Estados Unidos, Europa y Asia.
Catadores de Rusia, Japón, Corea, Taiwán, Inglaterra y Alemania, entre otros, encontraron en el grano producido por Flores, el aroma a jazmín, clavo, grosella negra, sésamo y mango.
Los internacionales que permanecieron una semana en el país, se fueron fascinados con el sabor a regaliz, que contenía ese café, combinado con amaretto, vayas rojas, mango, melocotón, romero, iris, violeta y lirio.
La competencia de aromáticos especiales en el marco de la Taza de Excelencia 2012, se desarrolló por primera vez en la capital y atrajo a firmas compradoras de todo el mundo. Tras una ardua competencia, 37 muestras de distintas zonas productoras fueron sometidas a evaluaciones hasta encontrar las 20 mejores tazas con calificaciones mínimas de 85 puntos,
Boanerges Flores obtuvo el mejor puntaje en el orden de 90.41 por ciento con su muestra cultivada en la finca Santa Rosita, en la aldea del mismo nombre, jurisdicción de Gracias, Lempira.
Tuvieron que convencerlo para que participara en esa ardua pelea con su grano variedad maragogipe, cultivado a 1,600 metros sobre el nivel del mar.
“El café de Boanerges tiene acidez exquisita, es complejo y estructurado, como a vino tinto, traslucido, con post gusto a miel de salvia”, dijo en su informe la catadora de prestigio internacional Sherry Jones.
La variedad maragogipe es un grano especial de café, originario del Brasil, conocido en inglés como “Elephant Bean”, el tamaño del grano es hasta cuatro veces mayor que la semilla común.

Leer el resto aquí.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Devoradas 39 mil hectáreas de bosque en La Biósfera del Río Plátano

El Heraldo

May 20
El Heraldo
Como una bestia insaciable, la deforestación destruye sin piedad la Reserva de la Biósfera del Río Plátano. Donde habían frondosos árboles y animales de distintas especies, ahora el paisaje es desolador.
Un informe del Instituto de Conservación Forestal (ICF) revela que en los últimos 5 años esta zona, declarada Patrimonio de la Humanidad, perdió 39 mil hectáreas de bosque.
“Los resultados mostraron que las áreas de bosque en el área de la reserva se redujeron considerablemente en un período de 5 años. Los cálculos muestran que en el área de la Reserva de la Biósfera se perdieron 39,763 hectáreas de cobertura de bosque en el período de 2006 al 2011”, precisa el informe.
“Es decir que cada día se descombran o destruyen 22 hectáreas, lo que equivale a una destrucción por hora de dos campos de fútbol”, apunta el reporte.
La investigación se denomina “Estudio de interpretación multitemporal de imágenes satelitales para la detección del cambio del uso del suelo en la Reserva del Hombre y la Biósfera del Río Plátano (RHBRP) entre los años 2006 y 2011”.
Los resultados del trabajo financiado por la Agencia de Cooperación Alemana (GIZ) se obtuvieron mediante imágenes satelitales tipo Landsat 4-5 TM.
Esta es la primera vez que se realiza una investigación de este tipo para evaluar el daño que esta región ha sufrido y EL HERALDO tuvo acceso al informe. Esta reserva comprende 6 municipios: Iriona (en Colón), Dulce Nombre de Culmí (en Olancho) y Brus Laguna, Ahuas, Juan Francisco Bulnes y Wampusirpe (en Gracias a Dios), que cubren un área total de 832,344 hectáreas.
La Biósfera del Río Plátano está compuesta por tres sectores: zona núcleo (210,733 hectáreas); zona de amortiguamiento (197,441 hectáreas) y zona cultural (424,166 hectáreas).
La tasa de deforestación encontrada en la zona núcleo fue de 29.23 hectáreas por año, o sea un 0.01 por ciento, la más baja de todas las áreas analizadas en este estudio.
“La zona núcleo de la reserva se encuentra en buen estado de conservación”, resume el documento.
Pero en la zona cultural se perdieron 5,162.24 hectáreas por año, lo que presenta una tasa anual de deforestación del 1.22 por ciento.
En este sector existió una reducción significativa del bosque de pino de 61,993 a 36,908 hectáreas, producto de la reducción de los bosques de las regiones planas de La Mosquitia, que están siendo convertidos a sabanas arboladas para agricultura.
“El bosque de pino se vio reducido en la parte baja de La Mosquitia, producto de un incremento (ligero del uso agropecuario, pero en mayor medida por el avance de las sábanas arboladas, que están sustituyendo al bosque de pino y disminuyendo su densidad de las áreas de pino”.
En la misma área cultural se ubican la mayoría de etnias presentes en la reserva como los misquitos, tawahkas, pech y garífunas.

Leer el resto aquí.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Honduras: Are high food prices fueling child malnutrition?

World Bank blog
Recently, I was once again confronted with a puzzling situation I have seen too often during the course of my career: flat growth curves for children. This especially worried me in light of the current context of rising food prices and global economic instability, and the impact that previous crises have had on the nutritional status of mothers and children.
I was on a supervision mission for a Bank-supported nutrition program, in the remote mountain community of Chinacla in Honduras.  Little 20-month old Ana (in the picture) had not gained weight for 8 months in a row, and her growth curve consistently demonstrates that she is malnourished.  She is pale, weary, and cannot perform the simple task of scribbling with a pen on a piece of paper.  Ana’s mother, who is no more than 5 feet tall, listens with teary eyes to the volunteer and swears she is following her advice of regularly giving food to her daughter. The volunteer reports that the little girl has been referred several times to the nearest health center, but the doctor always says that she is fine.  Ana’s mother has been devotedly taking her to monthly health education sessions, where she is weighed and dedicated community volunteers assess her motor and cognitive development.  So, why is she not gaining weight?
Somehow, Ana is not receiving the care she needs.  Whether it is more food, more vitamins and minerals, treating an underlying infection or illness, or just better care at home, somehow the health system has not been able to adequately respond to the problem of her stagnant weight.
Unfortunately, Ana’s case of is not an exception.  Honduras is facing high level of chronic malnutrition. In some of the poorest Honduran communities, almost 1 out of 2 children are too short for their age.  On the other hand, overweight rates in children in the country have greatly increased in the last few years.  Thus, as in many Latin American countries, more and more children in Honduras are “short and chubby”.  
Sadly, chronic malnutrition in Honduras is even higher than in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  This situation has disastrous impact on human and economic growth and contributes to keeping the country into poverty.   Losses to GDP in the country due to under nutrition are estimated to be as high as US$400 million (roughly 2 to 3 percent of the country’s GDP, according to World Bank data).  
Read more here.

Access to morning-after pill hardly biggest issue for Honduran women

Jody Paterson

I want to stress right off the hop here that I am not, in any way, in support of a law that would prohibit the morning-after pill in Honduras. But if almost 700,000 people around the world are ready to help Honduran women, they could do a lot better than just to sign a petition protesting something that's not even close to the most pressing problem facing women here.
I wouldn't want to speak on behalf of the women of Honduras, but I suspect a sizeable majority of them would be delighted if the biggest thing they had to worry about was the legality of the morning-after pill. I think they've got bigger things on their mind.
Poverty, for one thing. Almost two-thirds of Hondurans live in poverty, but the level of poverty for women and their children when a husband abandons his family or gets killed  (which happens a striking amount in Honduras) is profound.
Here in Copan Ruinas, I know a number of women who've had to hand off one or more of their children into a kind of indentured servitude with another family just to be able to survive the financial devastation. They scratch by on almost nothing, living in shacks without doors and selling bags of homemade horchata by the roadside. Three of the four staff working at the local orphanage would be on the streets if it weren't for being able to live at the orphanage with their children in exchange for looking after the 30 children in care there.
Then there's the issue of violence. A woman is murdered in Honduras every 48 hours. More than 2,400 women have been murdered in the country in the last eight years, with women ages 20 to 24 at the greatest risk.
And that's just the ones who get killed. Domestic violence is still a routine occurrence in Honduras, and in the poorest communities women are so controlled and isolated by their husbands that they don't even feel able to seek medical care for basic health needs.
How about maternal care? Barely a third of impoverished Honduran women who give birth have somebody with any kind of skill alongside them to help, compared to 99 per cent of the richest Honduran women. One in 240 women die during childbirth, 10  times the rate of countries like Canada. Lack of access to standard, inexpensive preventive care like Pap tests - or HPV vaccinations - has resulted in cervical cancer becoming the most common fatal cancer in the country for women.
Education: Just 36 per cent of young women of secondary-school age are attending school. Why? Probably because a lot of them are working to help support their families, something that many Honduran children have to start doing when they're as young as five. 
Read more here.

INA notifica a ingenio azucarero CAHSA expropiación de 4,200 hectáreas de tierra

El Heraldo

May 13
El Heraldo

El subdirector del Instituto Nacional Agrario (INA), Marco Ramiro Lobo, informó que se le notificó a la Compañía Azucarera de Honduras S. A. (CAHSA) la expropiación de 4,200 hectáreas de tierra situadas en el departamento de Cortés.
“El viernes 11 de mayo del presente año se le notificó a CAHSA la resolución emitida por el INA, respecto a la afectación de sobretechos”, indicó el funcionario.
Fue infructuoso el esfuerzo de EL HERALDO  de contactar a los directivos de la Asociación Hondureña de Productores de Azúcar (APAH), para conocer una reacción al respecto. A los ejecutivos se les dejó un mensaje de voz en su celular.
Las tierras están situadas en los municipio de San Manuel, Pimienta y Villanueva. “Algunas de estas tierras están dedicadas al cultivo de caña de azúcar y otras están ociosas”, dijo.
Lobo indicó que la determinación se sustenta en un estudio efectuado por el INA y en base a documentación presentada por el ingenio.
“CAHSA posee una cantidad de tierra no sustentada y legalizada a través de los sobretechos. La ley nos manda que al no existir las autorizaciones se debe expropiar estas tierras de acuerdo a los procedimientos legales. Se establecerá un valor a las mejoras efectuadas y se pagará de acuerdo al avalúo”.
El funcionario expresó que la mayoría de tierras que se expropian fueron compradas por CAHSA a varias personas e incluso a grupos campesinos beneficiarios de la reforma agraria.
CAHSA tiene un plazo de 15 días para presentar un recursos de reposición ante el INA y de apelación ante el Consejo Nacional Agrario.
En el caso de que renuncien a presentar estos recursos en el tiempo establecido y en las instancias correspondientes, entonces, la resolución del INA quedará firme.
La tierra, entonces, se recupera y se reasignaría a grupos campesinos y personas con el fin de reforma agraria.
Según Lobo, el referido ingenio azucarero posee más de 10,000 hectáreas de tierra.
La polémica reforma de los artículos 51 y 70 será aprobada esta semana por el Congreso Nacional, pese a la oposición de la Federación de Agricultores y Ganaderos de Honduras (Fenagh).
El vicepresidente del CN, Marvin Ponce, enfatizó que las reformas deberán discutirse y aprobarse esta semana, ya que el Congreso Nacional entrará en un receso y si no se hace, entonces quedarían pendientes para dentro de un mes.
El presidente del Congreso, Juan Hernández, se reunió la semana pasada con los dirigentes campesinos y de la Fenagh, para intentar conciliar una propuesta sobre la entrega de tierras ociosas a los labriegos.
Ponce admitió que la Fenagh se retiró de la mesa de concertación y solo quedaron los dos frentes campesinos que unificaron posiciones.
En consecuencia, “el dictamen ya está listo para ser aprobado”, dijo Ponce.
Agregó que primero se buscará el mecanismo de acceso a la tierra por la vía de la expropiación y como complemento sería el fondo de tierra que no cubre la demanda que tienen los campesinos.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Global petition against Honduran government contraception law

Thursday, 17 May

Honduras Weekly

The Avaaz Foundation of New York and Honduran women's groups on Wednesday delivered a global petition signed by more than 680,000 people from every country in the world calling on Honduras not to pass a law that would put women and doctors in jail for simply using or prescribing emergency contraception. The petition calls the president of the Honduran National Congress, Juan Orlando Hernández, “not to criminalize contraception” and to stop Honduras becoming "the only country in the world to punish the use or sale of the morning-after pill with jail sentences of up to six years.” The law -- Decree 54 -- is before Congress and could be approved any day now. The petition is the largest global campaign ever targeting a Honduran politician in defense of human rights.
Citizens all over the world are asking Mr. Hernández to take a step forward for women's human rights. Meanwhile, local women’s groups and Avaaz marched before Congress yesterday at 11 am to deliver this urgent message.
Emma Ruby-Sachs, Campaign Director for Avaaz said: “This proposal is regressive and alarming; in no other country in the world are members of Congress considering jailing a young girl for preventing pregnancy after sexual violence, or slamming a women in prison for accessing basic health care. An average of 25 girls a day between 10 and 14 are raped in Honduras -- these children need to protected, not criminalized. People from across Honduras and the world are calling on Mr. Hernández to reject this extremist law and ensure all women can use emergency contraception.”
Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Honduras and global warming

Extreme weather, extreme consequences

Larry Luxner
April 27
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Only 15 years from now, permanent drought conditions triggered by global warming will have crippled food production throughout Central America. Once-fertile farmland will have turned to desert, forcing millions of campesinos to flee their villages in El Salvador, Guatemala and the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
Armed insurgents will take control of main cities, and by 2027, refugees will swell Mexico’s population to 155 million, leading the United States two years later to fortify its southern border – at a cost of $1.6 trillion – with minefields and automatic machine-gun robots that kill anyone desperate enough to try to cross it.
This dystopian vision, outlined in Gwynne Dyer’s 2007 bestselling book “Climate Wars,” is still fiction – but experts meeting in Washington warn of a grim future indeed for Central America unless the region quickly adapts to the realities of a warming planet.
A March 28 panel at the Brookings Institution brought together experts including El Salvador’s Juan José Daboub, CEO of the Global Adaptation Institute; Pascal Girot, senior climate change advisor for CARE International; Luís Alberto Ferraté, senior advisor to Guatemala’s Instituto Privado de Investigación del Cambio Climático, and Walter Wintzer of the Center for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America.
Read more here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

High-tech hunt for Honduras' lost city of Ciudad Blanca

(MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Honduran President Porfirio Lobo convened a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa today to announce that The Government of Honduras and UTL Scientific ("UTL") have completed the first-ever airborne light detection and ranging ("LiDAR") imaging survey of previously-uncharted areas of the Mosquitia region of Honduras. 
The project brought to Honduras an advanced, $1.5 million airborne laser scanning system to peer below the dense rain forest canopy. 
Initial analysis of the LiDAR data indicates what appears to be evidence of archaeological ruins in an area long rumored to contain the legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca.
Read more here.

Impulsan bosque modelo con amplia participación de todos los sectores

La región del valle de Sico y Paulaya 

Por: Ramón Wilberto Nuila Coto
La Tribuna
April 22
Diversos sectores sociales y productivos de la región del valle de Sico y Paulaya impulsan actualmente el establecimiento de un bosque modelo en esta zona de un gran valor étnico, socioeconómico, forestal, agropecuario y ecológico en Honduras. Esta iniciativa es parte de las acciones que impulsa la Mesa de Ambiente y Producción Sico Paulaya (MAPSP).
El área propuesta como Bosque Modelo Sico y Paulaya corresponde al municipio de Iriona, departamento de Colón, al noreste del Caribe hondureño, que incluye más del 90% del área protegida de la sierra del río Tinto Negro, propuesta como reserva forestal y 194,979.98 hectáreas de la Reserva de Biósfera del Río Plátano, lo que le da una importancia especial para los objetivos de conectividad y continuidad del Corredor Biológico Mesoamericano.  La extensión de Iriona es de 4,289.4 km², siendo el segundo municipio más grande en superficie territorial a nivel nacional.
Según la Red Iberoamericana de Bosques Modelos (RIABM), estos procuran el desarrollo sostenible de un territorio y por lo tanto contribuyen a alcanzar objetivos globales de reducción de pobreza, cambio climático, lucha contra la desertificación y metas del milenio.

Leer el resto aquí.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Inflación de 6.5% registrará Honduras al cierre del 2012

13 mayo, 2012
La Prensa

TEGUCIGALPA.- Las autoridades del Banco Central de Honduras (BCH), estiman que al cierre del 2012 habrá un crecimiento interanual de la inflación de 6.5 por ciento y de un 6.0 por ciento para el 2013, según el programa monetario 2012-2013.
Los precios de los bienes y servicios que forman parte de la canasta básica no deberán superar, en promedio, el 6.5% al final del presente año.
El nuevo Programa Monetario 2012-2013 fue aprobado el pasado 11 de mayo por el director del BCH, mediante resolución número 181-5/2012, el cual contiene las medidas de política monetaria, crediticia y cambiaria.
El documento establece que en relación al comportamiento de la economía nacional e internacional, el Programa Monetario 2012-2013, prevé que la inflación tenga un crecimiento del 6.5% en los próximos dos años.
Además prevé que el nivel de Reservas Internacionales continuará cubriendo al menos tres meses de importaciones de bienes y servicios en ambos años y que el crecimiento económico se ubicará en un rango entre 3.0% y 4.0%.
Durante el 2011, se presentó una nueva una crisis financiera internacional, lo cual se vio reflejada en un frágil crecimiento de la economía mundial, reducción de los volúmenes del comercio y volatilidad en los precios internacionales de las materias primas.
Ante la incertidumbre generada por un entorno internacional adverso, el BCH adoptó una serie de medidas de política tendientes a proteger el ahorro doméstico, la posición externa del país, la estabilidad de precios y la capacidad futura de crecimiento de la economía.
La política implementada por el BCH fue efectiva, ya que, al cierre de 2011 se registró una tasa de crecimiento de 3.6 por ciento, la inflación interanual se situó en 5.6 por ciento, por debajo del límite inferior del rango establecido en el Programa Monetario 2011- 2012 y las reservas internacionales se incrementaron en 101.4 millones de dólares.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The politics of buying dead white men's clothes in Honduras

I bought a T-shirt yesterday, my first clothing purchase in Honduras. It was overdue. We packed the night before we left, weighed our bags and found we had to shed about 20 pounds worth of stuff to make the 50-pound per-person limit. The skimpy wardrobe got skimpier still.
In Honduras, as in Canada, I shop used. It's cheaper, I can afford better stuff and the clothes are softer and less scratchy. (I have an obsession with avoiding scratchy.)
Fortunately, there are lots of little stores offering 'Ropa Americana,' the stylish term for used clothes. Some are on racks, some in big heaps, and prices are reasonable - maybe $3 or $4 for a short-sleeved shirt.
They aren't really 'Ropa Americana.' Most are made in China or India or even Honduras. The maquiladoras here - special zones with no taxes, low minimum wages and few rules - have spawned a textile and clothing industry. It's odd to think of a shirt making its way from here to Vancouver and back again, like some migrating bird.
Still, it's a nice term, and better than some. When I was considering a Cuso International placement in Ghana, I read that second-hand clothes were called 'obroni wewu' - loosely translated as dead white man's clothes. (Literally, “a white man has died.”)

Read more here.

Pronostican lluvias súbitas e intensas a finales de mayo en Honduras

Centinela Económico

Centinela Económico
May 7
Tegucigalpa - La Comisión Permanente de Contingencias (Copeco) advirtió hoy que la última semana de mayo y la primera  de junio habrá un incremento de lluvias en la zona sur y central del país con precipitaciones de entre los 100 a 150 milímetros de agua en 15 días.
Esta situación podría presentarse  también en la zona del Valle de Sula, Occidente y en la región oriental, especialmente en el departamento de Olancho, de acuerdo con los análisis expuestos en la perspectiva climática de mayo a julio de este año.
Según Ernesto Salgado, meteorólogo del Sistema de Alerta Temprana de Copeco (SAT), estas lluvias que se producirán por al menos 15 días, son producto de la interacción  de la troposfera alta donde hay aire frio y la troposfera baja con ondas de aire caliente.

Leer el resto aquí.

Starting from scratch with charter cities

New York Times graphic

New York Times
May 8
Shortly after the 2009 coup that overthrew Manuel Zelaya, Honduras’s newly elected president, Porfirio Lobo, asked his aides to think big, really big. How could Honduras, the original banana republic, reform a political and economic system that kept nearly two-thirds of its people in grim poverty?
One young aide, Octavio Rubén Sánchez Barrientos, had no idea how to undo the entrenched power networks. Honduras’s economy is dominated by a handful of wealthy families; two American conglomerates, Dole and Chiquita, have controlled its agricultural exports; and desperately poor farmers barely eke out subsistence wages. 
Then a friend showed him a video lecture of the economist Paul Romer, which got Sánchez thinking of a ridiculously big idea: What if Honduras just started all over again?
Romer, in a series of papers in the 1980s, fundamentally changed the way economists think about the role of technology in economic growth. Since then, he has studied why some countries stay poor even when they have access to the same technology as wealthier ones. He eventually realized something that seems obvious to any nonacademic, that poor countries are saddled with laws and, crucially, customs that prevent new ideas from taking shape. 
He concluded that if they want to be rich, poor countries need to somehow undo their invidious systems (corruption, oppression of minorities, bureaucracy) and create an environment more conducive to business. 
Or they could just start from scratch.

Read more on the charter city proposal here.

Inversión crece pero no genera más empleos

Reynaldo Yanes
San Pedro Sula, May 9,
La Prensa

Honduras registró el año anterior el mayor nivel de IED (inversión extranjera directa) visto en la última década, según cifras oficiales, esto a pesar de que en el terreno es difícil reconocer adónde está este dinero.
A partir del departamento de Estadísticas Macroenómicas del BCH (Banco Central de Honduras), 2011 registró un nivel de inversión de 1,014.1 millones de dólares (19,750.3 millones de lempiras), es decir, ocho millones más que el récord anterior, que era de 1,006.4 millones de dólares, registrado en 2008.
Según los datos del Banco, los sectores que mayor inversión atrajeron fueron los de transporte, almacenaje y comunicaciones con $316.9 millones, la industria manufacturera con $243.4 millones, maquila con $148.4 millones y comercio, restaurantes y hoteles con $103.1 millones.
Leer el resto aquí.

Analysis: Honduras coffee boom feels growing pains

Edgard Garrido/Reuters

Gustavo Palencia

MARCALA, Honduras 
May 8
(Reuters) - In the small town of Marcala in the western mountains of Honduras, farmers are harvesting more coffee than ever before, part of a nationwide push to capitalize on higher prices that has doubled production in less than 10 years.
But the boom comes with a cost.
The coffee is coming in faster than growers can handle it and they are running out of space to dry all the beans, which need time in the sun or in drying machines to stop fermenting.
Improper drying can ruin coffee for export. A drastic reduction in quality will slash the price the coffee can fetch.
Read the rest here.