...and begins to sort through her boxes of odds and ends. Right click on any of the below to see larger versions of the images.
I picked this up at a human rights film fest at AU some years ago. What struck me was the out-of-place woman who was handing them out. Super made-up, impeccably coiffed and wearing high heels in an environment of college human rights casual, she was aggressive in her righteous organizing. I've thought of this flier a number of times as I've written about the sexiness of slavery in Honduran golpista circles.
Students and workers collaborated on this event last year, at which I was invited to speak. A number of my students were involved, although I had no part in organizing it, and I was deeply impressing with the solidarity and turnout. I've never seen Kay Chapel so packed.
I got this in my box at AU a year or a year and a half ago. I think all faculty did. It was too awesome in its absurdity to just recycle:
The Honduran nurses who swept out the old golpista leadership in internal elections in 2010 in the Colegio de Profesionales de Enfermería gave out Florence Nightingale bookmarks. One of the many articles I have to finish in the next month has to do with nurse radicalization in Honduras.
For a post I have been meaning to write for months on golpismo and the tourist industry, drawing on the work of Darío Euraque and Honduras Culture and Politics. Here are some pages of Honduras Tips, published by OPSA, a major funder of Marco Cáceres's Good Coup Conference and principal financial and ideological backers of the coup itself. Basically, OPSA is La Prensa & El Heraldo, i.e., Canahuati Larach. Honduras Tips has become the Gideon's Bible of Honduras. You'll find a copy (along with a bible, usually) on every bedside table in every hotel in the country. Except for the cockroachy sex hotels meant only for Hondurans, I'd imagine, but who knows, maybe even there. These, like the frighteningly golpista Lonely Planet, shape the superficial experience of Honduras accessible to tourists into one free from coups and political violence perpetrated by the publishers, in which indigenous and afro-caribbean peoples exist for foreigners' consumption:
Eight indigenous groups and African Americans live in Honduras with their customs, values and culture: pech, tawahka, misquitos, tolupanes, garífunas, black creoles, chorties and lencas. In all, only the Lenca people have lost their native language.
With propaganda like that, it's no wonder that I meet people like the blond Canadian with whom I shared a cab from the ferry to downtown Ceiba. She told me with great confidence about her project, which Nobody had ever thought of before, which was creating a database of all the NGOs doing Important Work in Honduras, like micro-credit and women's organizations. I began to give her a friendly warning about how non-profits could function as a tool of neoliberalism, the "for dummies" version, and mentioned the role of non-profits in backing coup policy. "There was a coup?" she asked. "See, that's so interesting! It's important to know these things."
And on the same theme, the Christopher Columbus Beach Resort has a great internet connection.
It also features in its dining hall a huge painting of First Contact, in which several grateful natives on the beach receive their first communion from the noble and generous priests. Tragically, I had lost my camera by then, and could not get a picture. So instead I took this really crappy video that doesn't give you a clear view, but gives you a sense of the size at least:
Here's another fuzzy pic I found on the interwebs:
I was in the north to do some interviews in the Aguán region, including with political prisoner Chavelo (I'll post excerpts soon). At El Porvenir, which is of course the site of the 2003 prison massacre, the prisoners sold a bunch of beautifully hand-made items, including earrings and ships inside juice bottles. I bought a couple pairs of earrings without considering what material they were made of. This led to an embarrassing encounter some days later when a friend I met in Ceiba gave me a sticker from the organization she was working for:
I fumbled around, suddenly realizing I had dead turtles in my ears, and opted to make a big deal about my embarrassment rather than quietly hide it. After she gracefully forgave me for supporting turtle murder, I took off my earrings and quietly hid them.
As usual, between Tocoa and Trujillo, there was a military and/or police (often both were present) roadblock every few miles. I think I counted six total on one of my trips in April. At one of the roadblocks, I was handed a safety tips brochure, courtesy of Domino's Pizza and the Transit Police, part of the Verano Seguro 2012 campaign ("La seguridad comienza conmigo").
I wrote more about Verano Seguro in an email to a friend back home during holy week:
Today again in the park and surrounding streets were the roving bands of "judíos," local youth who traditionally dressed in rags and went begging to represent the persecuted status of Jews on Holy Week--but somehow the tradition of rags has evolved into monster outfits. In this case, the Jew monsters grunt loudly and faux-menacingly, dressed in frat-boy drag with one of three varieties of masks: the Scream, a werewolf and some other one that didn't make an impression on me. The wear badges and carry sock-gloves as beggar's bags. They are certified to collect money for the official "Safe Summer 2012" campaign, cosponsored by the national transit police and Domino's Pizza. So I got to the park and didn't see any open restaurants, but the large domestic appliance store across the street started blasting No Woman No Cry, and I started dancing in the shade. Inconspicuously, I told myself. So there I am...when I look up and realize I'm in the middle of a dance party with...two Screams and a Werewolf. And then the chorus kicked in, and I knew everything was gonna be alright, everything is gonna be alright.
Here's a video featuring a couple of judíos. They carry badges around their necks certifying them as authentic Verano Seguro judios:
Some other notes I had from back in April:
Just following the Comayagua prison massacre, in which police killed over 360 prisoners (the majority never sentenced) by refusing to open their cell blocks or let firefighters in while they burned to death, Ambassador Kubiske traveled to Comayagua to marvel at the rug industry there. She noted how great is was for tourism that there were so many police:
Destacó que algo que encontró interesante es que además de la presencia de la Policía Nacional ha visto muchos policías municipales en el centro de la ciudad para dar seguridad a los turistas.
“Eso me parece buena idea porque sin la seguridad no van a lograr que vengan los turistas aquí”, agregó la embajadora quien resaltó la amabilidad de los ciudadanos de Comayagua.
A similar logic seemed present (I had this in my notes at the time) just before Obama's secret service fiasco at the Summit of the Americas, when he seemed to think that his support for coups, violent economic policies and the militarization of the hemisphere could all be smoothed over by wearing a tailored Guayabera shirt. That didn't go so well, did it?
And then also on the tourist/entertainment/presidential whitewashing absurdity topic last April was Lobo's magical performance. If only Copperfield could bring back from the dead all the people Lobo's administration has murdered...
Before going through my Matarino ordeal last August, which I described in selective detail in November, I went to the fancy private Hospital del Valle, which was happy to sell me a US$150 refrigerated injectable medicine that I needed within a few hours without a doctor's prescription, but refused to inject it without a doctor's prescription. And they wouldn't let me see a doctor to get a prescription. And then they told me I was probably going to die, but still didn't let me see a doctor. And then they gave me this:
On a similar note, the industrial restructuring of hospitals along the same logics I wrote about in my CMP article last year was also visible at a pricey clinic I forced a friend's mother to come with me to, when she lost her vision due to God's will or maybe cataracts:
("Follow us on Facebook!")
With this kind of neoliberalized care, it's no wonder that the ribbons the feminists handed out at a Woman's Day event in January gave this mixed message: