by Hector Luis Alamo, Jr
When I visited Honduras earlier this year, it was my first time stepping foot in my maternal homeland. My mother had lived the first seven years of life in a tiny village nestled in the mountains surrounding Tegucigalpa before leaving for the United States in 1972. I was reluctant to make the trip with my grandmother and sister. As a self-professed news junkie, I was well aware of what had been going in Honduras since the golpe de estado back in June 2009. But my mother and grandmother assured me that the media was misrepresenting Honduras. Sure, there was violence in Honduras, they argued, but it was no more violent in Tegucigalpa than it was in Chicago.
The news media, however, suggested otherwise. According to reports, law and order in Honduras had all but evaporated following the golpe, and whatever government remained had resorted to harsh repressive measures in a desperate attempt to consolidate authority, cracking down on students and journalists mostly. (If arrested, I would’ve been doubly guilty.) And since President Felipe Calderon began his war on drug traffickers in Mexico in December 2006, Honduras – especially along its eastern coastline – had become the major drug trafficking hub in Central America, and the rate of gang-related violence had increased exponentially thereafter.
Landing in San Pedro Sula – the country’s industrial center and, reportedly, its most dangerous – was like stepping into a tropical paradise. The June sun was not too hot, and the air was warm and a bit moist. Palm trees were everywhere. The airport was small, no bigger than Chicago Executive, and the city was penned in by green mountains. Throughout my stay, people kept telling me that I should see Honduras in April when it was really green, but I can’t imagine a place being greener than what I saw…continue Honduras article from Hispanically Speaking News.