Having come to Honduras I tried to find the reply to that question by looking first to the reports of National Institute of statistics1. It turned out that since 2004-2005 the situation with employment in the country is really desperate: out of all able-bodied citizens 46% are «idle» (1 million 240 thousand people) or are fully employed but paid less than minimum wage (there are about 1 million of such employees). According to the data of the same institute for 2004, 2 million and 600 thousand Hondurans (out of 7 million population of the country) live on the «income» less that one dollar a day! To this we can add that 4 million and 500 thousand Hondurans live below the poverty level — 70.5% of the total population! Permanent malnutrition, catastrophic lack of residence, absence of more or less established system of health care — all this is the routine of Honduras. Of course, certain representatives of working class are well established, say, somewhere in the ministries, in «service» of high-ranking officials. These workers that do not live for one dollar a day, have regular and high-calorie meals. Cheerful drivers of bossy cars, whom I met, belonged to that category (see photo).
Plain Hondurans, who miraculously are surviving on their tiny wages, try to change the situation in the country to their favour. There are more and more organised actions with economic and political demands, they grow in number and perkiness. «Traditional» methods of neutralisation of peoples protests do not work. To protect their interests the ruling elite has to resort more often to seemingly obsolete argumentation of the «cold war» times.
The thesis on penetration to Honduras of «external subversive forces» are massively embedded in the consciousness of the citizens through right-conservative electronic and printed mass media. Most often for brain washing they use the «negative image» of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who embodies, from the point of view of neo-liberal propagandists, the quintessence of the «failed» ideology of the past. He is accused of marxism-leninism, castrism, guevarism, trotskism, peronism, etc., etc. But what is most scary for antagonists of Chavez is that this charismatic «leader of populist type» gives a «bad example to other (immature!) politicians on the continent.
The first personal meeting of Chavez and Zelaya was held in Managua on July 19, 2007 during the celebrations of the 28th anniversary of victory of Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (Sandinist National Liberation Front). Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez, Martin Torrijos and Manuel Zelaya ascended on the festive platform covered with red calico. The leaders of Nicaragua and Venezuela made ardent speeches where one could hear such words as socialism, revolution, fight with imperialism, patria o muerte and even – venceremos! Presidents of Panama and Honduras were much more discreet in their speeches, but they clapped their hands away to the emotional speeches of their «populist» colleagues.
Especially loudly they started to speak about how American authorities toughened activities in catching and expelling illegal Honduran emigrants3. TV channels almost daily reported about arrival of next groups of the Hondurans expelled from the USA (200-300 people) and frightened that it could present threat to financial losses: annual amount of money orders of the Hondurans working in the USA in 2006 was close to 3 billion dollars.4
I can understand why from the stages of the Russian variety art you can hear the words of solidarity like - «Honduras, Honduras lives in hearts of each of us». International inertia solidly lives in us. But the Honduran singer will not sing anything like that. Official Honduras and commonplace Hondurans practically do not display any interest towards Russia and events in it. They have more than enough of their own problems.
That is why I was amazed by the rate of negative publications of the Honduran mass media about Russia. No matter how many times I repeated to myself «free yourself from preconception and prejudice», I had an opinion that Honduras continues to live in the atmosphere of the «cold war» though in more «sparse» if compared with the past. It is known that Honduran newspapers have not a single reporter on the Russian space, they cannot independently judge about the events in Russia, however the claims of the catracho media to the vanguard place in the «crusade» for democracy and freedom of the distant Russia are more than evident.
There is no doubt that this «war» is «nourished» by arguments and finances from the North American sources, and the Honduran mass media get the «half-finished product» for anti-Russian articles from the «specialised» centers, that use the wording and arguments of the «cold war» for weakening, compromise and defamation of the potential enemy. It is perfectly known — the empire is alert! It is sufficient to look through such publications with a red pencil to understand that their unmasking pathos is by far not of Honduras, but openly of empire nature — arrogant, adulterating facts, biased, creating pretexts for blackmail, sanctions and interference.
And what is the situation with presence of Russians in such a «favoured» by them Honduras?
But finally I was lucky! On my way back home from Honduras my neighbour in the plane was Yury B-v, former sportsman and now table tennis coach. For one year he coached, polished and prepared the Honduran team for Juegos Panamericanos (Panamerican games). The contract finished and now Yury was coming back to the motherland.
I was happy to find a Russian who worked in Honduras. And naturally I couldn't resist but ask B-v if he managed to meet other Russians there. I was disappointed by the reply of B-v: for all this time only once he came across a compatriot, and it was in the police station, when the latter came to get an identity card. According to B-v, that compatriot who came to Honduras at the beginning of 90s (!) did not reveal any special desire for communication, got his document, pulled his cachucha5 hat over the eyes and disappeared without giving a hand at parting. «From our extremely short talk I understood that he got a Honduran citizenship, Yury explained, and gave up as a very bad job. He broke his ties with Russia to such an extent that he changed his name to the Honduran manner».
«The clue to the issue of the Russian presence in Honduras might be in this, I was contemplating under the accompaniment of steady roar of plane turbines. The Russians, who came to this country having valid reasons, decided to start their life at a scratch, taking final decision to merge in the elements of the Honduran life».
1. Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas (INE).
2. See the typical commentary of such kind in the newspaper La Tribuna, Tegucigalpa, Grave error aliarse con Chavez, 21.07.07.
3. It is worth mentioning that the rate of expulsions of Hondurans in 2006 was much higher. According to the Instituto Nacional de Atencion al Migrante (INM), some 60 thousand persons were subjected to such sanctions. As on July 2007 — about 15 thousand.
4. According to some estimations, quite substantial amount of these «money orders» prove that this channel is used for «money laundering» of international criminal and drug organisations.
5. Cachucha (Span.) - originally — a baseball cap with a long peak that has become a popular head gear in Latin American countries.