The Worst That I’ve Seen It

By Ben Anson

HAVANA TIMES – Ladies and gentlemen, Honduras is in such a state that I am for the first time – rather worried about my situation here. The nation – on account of the COVID pandemic, has entered a terrible and indefinite limbo. 

Nothing is doing.

The Nationalist Party of president Juan Orlando Hernandez, shamelessly and without any remote hindrance robbed the millions of aid money sent by foreign allies – in one fell swoop. It is truly quite unbelievable. Not a cent has been spent on anything needed and it could not be anymore obvious. 

No new medical facilities were built. Well, unless we count the tents…

Yes, tents have been erected here and there with cases of elderly sufferers of Coronavirus being photographed under trees with blankets thrown upon them – dying out in the open. The hospitals of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa (the two largest cities in Honduras) became so full up – months ago – that new patients are not even permitted entry. 

We have seen rain water pouring through roofs in the hospital of Tegucigalpa – the capital city.

We have seen sheets of tarpaulin haphazardly slung around the sick as they lie in agony upon all manner of beds, tables, boards etc. with all manner of ventilators poorly connected to their person. 

We have seen – locally, a state of the art bridge built across a river… from out of nowhere. 

Why?

Why a bridge and not a hospital? 

Why tents – instead of proper facilities?

A total 4.589 billion Lempiras (183 million USD) was the budget that the Honduran government had to fight the pandemic.

Invest-H is a ‘management unit’ (planning, administration and implementation) of projects and strategic programs for the nation’s development, overseen by the government.

Marco Bogran, the ex-director of Invest-H was the one to purchase ‘mobile hospitals’ (tents – basically) for one billion Lempiras (40 million USD) from what has been named as a ‘ghost company’.

This was back in March. March in fact, was also when pretty much everyone in Honduras was let off work – including myself. The vast majority (again, including myself) literally have not worked or received any income from their jobs in over four months! It is nothing short of a miracle and complete and utter mystery that people are still alive. Many have been kicked out of rented accommodation – including myself. 

IM A WAITER
Up until 4 months ago I served you food. Today I need your help to buy my food or by giving me A JOB.
IM A WAITER
Up until 4 months ago I served you food. Today I need your help to buy my food or by giving me A JOB.

There is no money and no work. 

Back to those tents, they have supposedly arrived in the port of Puerto Cortes. Intriguingly, not a single media crew is allowed to approach the ship containing these phantom ‘mobile hospitals’. Only two of the seven ordered hospitals have arrived and it is not known if they come ‘complete’ nor when the remaining five will arrive. With the national health system in collapse and ruin, these mobile hospitals, despite being utterly unacceptable – are in tremendous and dire need. 

Marco Bogran has been sacked from his position since the purchase – curiously indeed. 

Meanwhile in El Salvador, the popular president Nayib Bukele spent his nation’s budget on a state of the art, modern hospital dedicated entirely to COVID patients with a capacity of over two thousand beds.

Across the border in Honduras, however, nobody has worked in over four months, people are under trees on mattresses, there is zero mention of borders being reopened nor of any return to normalcy – whilst tents are apparently lying in some ship – yet nobody is allowed anywhere near them.

The new hospital in El Salvador.

The other day, I asked my ex-boss of a European languages academy (he was finally let go a few weeks ago) how he was getting on, to which he responded – crudely: “I am as f***** as everyone is.”

He then parted with: “aquí es salvarse quien pueda.” 

“It’s every man for himself here.”

It most certainly is. 

Nobody is hiring, there is no work, everything remains closed – all on an indefinite basis. People are afraid of going anywhere near a hospital due to the dreadful situation medical staff are facing. Borders remain closed. I contacted the British embassy, asking for information. I received the following, totally useless response. 

Dear Mr. Anson

Thank you for your email.  We are sorry to hear about your situation.  We will add you to our database of British Nationals wishing to leave Honduras.  We don’t have information about when the border will reopen however I can suggest that you subscribe to travel advice updates as we publish there all relevant information about the current circumstances in Honduras. You can find the travel advice on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/honduras

We understand that United airlines has flights to the USA regularly so I suggest you monitor their website too.

Kind Regards,

Consular Team.

Flights to the USA? What would I do there? I’m not a citizen – I wouldn’t be granted entry. It was what could be expected of the British government anyway – imbeciles, all. 

As stated, right now in Honduras – it is clearly every man for himself…

Ben Anson

“The moment that I disembark (from a plane), I notice that everything in my body and in my mind readjusts itself for me", so remarked Gabriel Garcia Marquez - when speaking of his relationship with the Caribbean. He felt the strongest physical and mental connection with this part of the world and deemed it as far as ‘grave’ and immensely ‘dangerous’ for him to leave its zone. Only here, did ‘Gabo’ feel ‘right’ in himself. Honduras, does for me - precisely what the Caribbean did for Marquez. A resplendent yet troubled nation, that I have been decidedly unable to part with ever since 2014. I thus seek to capture its essence through the written word.

19 thoughts on “The Worst That I’ve Seen It

  • Ben,
    Unfortunately corrupt right wing conservatives wield a lot of power in this world and their core philosophy is indeed ‘every man for himself’.
    Countries who are toward the top of the capitalist ladder will have enough trickle down to avoid the worst effects of Covid. Countries further toward the bottom of the ladder will suffer in times like these.
    In the U.K. the corrupt right wing conservatives are currently in power. But due to the country’s relative wealth there is enough in the kitty (or enough levers to ensure credit) to enable certain financial support packages. This heads off any potential unrest.
    In countries lower down the greasy capitalist pole who currently suffer from corrupt Conservative leadership there is little will to implement any form of support package therefore unrest is more likely. Any such unrest would no doubt be put down with utmost brutality.
    In some countries there is just too much capitalism – it supersedes all else and simply blows away basic human dignity. Paradoxically, in other countries it can be argued that there is not enough Capitalism.
    Be all that as it may…..
    Rather than pondering the politics of it all, my simple advice to you Ben is this:
    If the proverbial hits the fan, get yer butt the f*** outta there son…..
    All the best.

    Reply
  • Dear Nick,

    You are entirely correct, I like what you think about some places having “too much capitalism”.

    I am not sure if you have heard of, or follow the work of the enlightened Douglas Murray? I understand that he writes for Standpoint or the Spectator – perhaps both.

    “Why celebrate capitalism… when you haven’t any capital?”

    He was, interestingly, discussing British youth yet this can be applied worldwide.
    Nations such as Honduras though, appear to be going ‘to the dogs’ as we say back in the southeast.
    Tragically.

    Indeed, if the mierda hits the fan, which it seems like it will/has, I shall be decidedly sure to get the f*** outta here despite leaving with a terribly heavy heart.
    Thank you for your best wishes.
    Kind regards,

    Reply
  • Sorry to hear about the state of affairs in Honduras. You may want to followup with United on flights. The land boarders are closed in the US. But air travel is available from most countries. Flights from Brazil are the only ones in central or south America that are not permitted, that I am aware of at this time. Houston is a major hub for United. Once you get to Houston there are flights on multiple carriers to London

    Reply
    • Dear Jason,

      Thank you very much for that info, I will need to bear all that in mind.
      Somebody mentioned to me a while ago that United was still in operation, which is good to know.
      I guess Brasil is in an even worse state… sad to hear.

      Reply
  • Well Ben, I trust you will find Nick’s summation of life in the UK sufficient to make you re-consider returning there. Those “corrupt right wing conservatives” have recently won election with a majority of 80 seats, so they are obviously entrenched for up to five years.

    Try to find a country where Nick’s “greasy capitalist pole” is not in operation. China? Russia? Vietnam? North Korea? – Avoid the former British Dominions – they each subscribe to the Nick’s greasy pole and you don’t want to risk that “utmost brutality” where there is “just too much capitalism”.

    Wait a minute! You chose Honduras as part of the Caribbean so attractive to Garcia Marquez, so why not try Venezuela, Columbia or better yet, Cuba!

    To be practical, I sympathize with your plight, many of us are affected in serious ways by the pandemic. Each of us has to do that which we can to overcome our difficulties. In looking after your own interests it may make sense to ignore the problems posed by capitalism which apparently “simply blows away basic human dignity” and seek refuge where it is the system. You would I think be safer.

    Reply
    • Dear Carlyle,

      As a general rule I try and steer away from poles, be from well greased or not haha.
      If this economic crisis continues though, then I may indeed find myself up one… be it socialist or capitalist!

      I am not hearing good things about the UK, which does not surprise me in the slightest – I myself, am not known for saying good things about the place. Frankly, with a creature such as Boris as PM, is there really anything left to say? It appears no longer to be a question of “what is it coming to?” – rather – “what has it come to?”

      Gabriel certainly enjoyed the Caribbean, yet I will have to let him down by not moving to Cuba or Venezuela. Colombia does hold some interesting prospects however.

      It could very well be that I will simply have to sit this one out, until things get better – if they do.
      I think you are most correct in your last paragraph though, each of us does have to do whatever we can to overcome the times.

      Reply
  • Hello Mr MacD,
    Your comment makes me chuckle, but I didn’t actually give a summation of life in the U.K.
    I simply mentioned that a bunch of corrupt conservatives are in power. In the U.K. there is a Prime Minister who is often referred to as Pinocchio.
    Because he is a puppet and a liar.
    Him, his boss and their dodgy cohorts are rumoured to be launching an offensive against the independence of the judiciary. Let’s see how that entrenchment you describe manages to chip away at this and other institutions.
    But thankfully, describing those who wish to carry out this ‘chipping away’ is not at all a ‘summation of life in the U.K.’
    You may note that I also mention that in some countries there is not enough capitalism. I think you know where I’m referring to?
    You may also have noted that I didn’t suggest all conservatives were corrupt. There are most surely entirely incorruptible ones – such as your good self of course.

    I like Ben’s quote about capitalism when you ain’t got any capital. Interesting slant.

    But please Mr MacD, less reference to ‘Nick’s greasy pole’…..

    That phrase has just got the WRONG kinda ring to it.

    Reply
    • Sorry about that Nick, it was entirely unintentional!

      My view about conservatism is not based upon the wide variety of those who are elected to pursue it politically. As a northern Scot, I have some views which are more Liberal than Conservative – and indeed, I have twice voted Liberal. I favour freedom of the individual to utilize their talents and in consequence am opposed to totalitarianism.

      Corruption is I think possibly on the increase in political circles – although there have been periods in the past when it has been rife. I have no problem in accepting that Boris Johnson is a liar – the proof is long standing.

      As a final comment, I was surprised that you consider that there are still a few coppers (money) in the UK kitty can, I had concluded that it didn’t even rattle when shaken.

      Reply
  • Ben,
    If you need to get the f*** outta there for a while, then that’s what you gotta do.
    But with the ‘for a while’ being the operative.
    I understand the heart being heavy.
    But if Honduras is where your heart is, then you’ll be back there when this blows over.

    Be safe yeah ??

    Reply
    • I shall indeed stay safe Nick and I hope that you do too.
      Honduras is where the heart is, so some tough decisions are to be made…
      Stay tuned.

      Reply
  • Is Ticabus currently running?
    If you can get as far as Mexico City, you can fly from there to a lot of places. including London.

    Reply
    • Robert, a good suggestion indeed, however I don’t believe that Ticabus is operating. I know that the closest station in San Pedro is shut down…

      Reply
  • Ben I clearly remember a few articles ago where you were singing the cumbaya praises for Honduras. I suggest that since the USA, England and other horrendous capitalist cesspools are not to your woke socialist liking you head over to highly desirable socialist utopias like Cuba, Nicaragua, North Corea, Venezuela, Russia where those awesome governments report nearly no COVID. I am sure they will welcome a critical, white, imperialist, european with open arms and provide the awesome healthcare and economic status that they do to their regular citizens. If this plan is of your liking, please start a GoFundMe page and many capitalist conservatives will contribute to the one way ticket. BTW since you see how dire the hospital situation in Honduras is, I bet that upon leaving if you give the honduran people all you own (cash, cameras, ointments, etc.) you would be sementing your woke, socially just legacy. Thanks for appreciating all you have taken in from Honduras.

    Reply
    • Eltur, on seeing that your comment began in a fashion so typical of my father’s generation (a pitiful need to appear as being witty) with your cumbaya remark, I already found myself reluctant to read any further.

      I should have listened to instinct.

      I have never stated in any article of mine that I am a devout socialist and anti-capitalist.
      I invite you to prove me otherwise.

      It is nice to see that you have recently discovered sarcasm by the way, however I must tell you that it works far better in small doses.

      Reply
  • Got to love that socialist health care. Capitalism is the only system that works economically nothing is perfect.

    Reply
    • You have made the best point so far Armando, indeed, nothing nor nobody is perfect.

      Reply
  • If anyone is looking for perfection, look no further than Santa Claus.
    Surely an example of some kind of perfection.
    Just gotta wait five more months for Christmas and maybe Santa Claus is gonna bring Eltur Kohn a replacement sense of humour…..

    Good Luck Ben.

    Reply
    • Never mind Nick waiting for Christmas to bring gifts! How about early November – 104 days and counting! It won’t be the Houses of Parliament that will explode from Mr. Fawkes endeavors, but the White House that will shake and shudder as Donald vents his spleen. Will he gracefully accept defeat or require eviction by the US military under their new Commander in Chief? Imagine Donald and Melania sittng on Black Lives Matter Avenue, Washington with their goods and chattels and Confederate bunting, awaiting the moving van or Santa Claus’ sled, to take them back to Trump Tower, where Donald can write his book. Imagine!

      Ben Anson now knows that not all HT readers are sympathetic by nature.

      Reply
  • Mr MacD,
    I think there are very few coppers left in the U.K. kitty can. Debt is heading for astronomical levels. So much of modern capitalism revolves around credit and debt these days. There is no incentive to save any more but every possible persuasion to obtain further credit. You’ll remember those bygone days when it was considered sensible to put money by for a rainy day and that long gone concept of ‘interest’. I guess the U.K. economy reflects this change but on a macro scale. It could be said that these are all the results of too much Capitalism. Or the wrong type of Capitalism.
    Savings BAD.
    Borrowing in order to gamble GOOD.
    On the other hand one could say that whenever the proverbial hits the fan, the U.K. will alway go looking for good old John Maynard Keynes.
    Your comment regarding trump is excellent and sums up what we can look forward to in November. I note that you are presuming a trump defeat.
    I don’t think this Emperor will ever realise that he has no clothes, but one of these days he’s going to have to get used to the fact that he’s an ex Emperor.
    Hopefully as you suggest, in the merry month of Guido Fawkes.

    Reply

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