Home: The H stands for Honduras

In her Home column, Paula Andino shares her views about the political corruption in Honduras. (Submitted: Paula Andino)

My favourite Honduran phrase is “La H no es muda” which translates to “the H isn’t silent.” This is commonly said whenever Honduras excels at something but nowadays, I think it applies more to the citizens whose screams for freedom echo throughout the country in hopes to dismantle the corrupt web of those who govern us.

Honduras is a small country in the middle of Central America with beautiful beaches and rich with culture. But if I had a dollar for every person who has asked me if Honduras was a country in Africa, or if we had modern technology, I would be rich.

Sometimes, I’m upset at the confused reactions of people when I tell them where I’m from. Other times I giggle, but I mostly ponder over the blissful ignorance these people enjoy. I often wished I didn’t know of Honduras’ existence, but now that I’ve grown up, I refuse to ignore the cries of my people. I refuse to keep quiet.

My country has suffered for years. You could ask anybody, young or old, and they will tell you about the corruption and deceit that’s plagued the halls of the presidential house. This government does not care about its people and the pandemic and the events that took place last year are proof enough of this.

Once the world went into lockdown because of COVID-19, Honduras found itself in chaos. Like other countries, supermarkets were empty and people were fighting for resources. All social classes were affected and the economy took a huge hit. In hindsight, we didn’t know the worst was yet to come.

As COVID-19 cases increased, so did the population’s needs, causing President Juan Orlando Hernández to jump into action by soliciting monetary and physical aid from foreign countries. That money would be invested in mobile hospitals, biosecurity equipment, COVID-19 tests and more. That money was stolen.

As COVID-19 cases increased, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández jumped into action by soliciting monetary and physical aid from foreign countries. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Months passed with zero statements from government officials. People were dying and dropping like flies in hospitals due to lack of resources and staff. The whole health sector collapsed and in August, people wondered “¿Dónde está el dinero?” Where is the money?

This message was plastered in city streets throughout the country. Newspapers covered the events and to this day, people are still investigating the whereabouts of this money. Honduran people have yet to see the mobile hospitals or the person responsible for this crime incarcerated.

The Honduran government failed its people once again and put the lives of millions in jeopardy. Little did we know, it was in November that we would see more chaos and pain for the Honduran population.

It was hurricane season in the Atlantic and the Central American countries and a massive tropical storm called Eta was coming our way. This Category 4 hurricane struck on Nov. 4, destroying countless cities in Central America.

The Honduran citizens were helpless. The government didn’t issue a statement, nor did they help with the damage and the people were left to fend for themselves. Many organizations and nonprofit groups partnered up to help rescue people that were trapped under layers of mud and debris of their fallen houses.

A resident looks at storm damage caused by Hurricane Eta in Planeta, Honduras. (Delmer Martinez/The Associated Press)

Those who survived were sent to makeshift shelters where many people donated water, food, clothes and other things to satisfy their needs. Campaigns, GoFundMes and donations were made by the people for the people while the government cowered and remained silent once again.

When the second hurricane – Iota – struck, Honduras was once again severely affected and to this day, people are still homeless and economically speaking, we haven’t recovered either.

With the domestic elections that happened on March 14, I wish people would be conscious enough to not elect people who have criminal backgrounds as government officials. The people who stole from us, the citizens, and who have left their people for dead.

As a citizen, I grew up feeling ashamed of the political climate of my country and to this day, I still am. I’m grateful and extremely privileged to be able to have a higher education and be aware of the corruption and fraud that goes behind the scenes.

I can’t wait to help report more on Honduras with my degree in journalism and scream at the top of my lungs about the injustices my people have had to endure. I’ll dig deeper into this iceberg of corruption, enlighten those about my beautiful culture and the many things it has to offer, and finally prove that truly “La H no es muda.”