Thursday, October 21, 2010

A different point of view

I was looking for some information on the internet, and stumbled upon this interesting document from the US government about the embassy here, along with some interesting quotes and statistics.

As usual for the government...the report is too long for me to read all of it thoroughly, but I did find the following:

1. Tegucigalpa is considered "a hardship post" and unlike other hardship posts..."Tegucigalpa lacks color, excitement, and cultural flare to serve as diversions"
2. Official population estimates for Honduras in 2008...7.5 million
3. murder rate is five times what it is in the US
4. Peace Corps contingent is one of the largest in the world.
5. United States policy emphasizes meaningful democracy, rule of law, transparency, anticorruption,and economic competitiveness—all concepts that run somewhat counter
to the interests of the Zelaya government and the business oligarchs
6. Honduras has 8,000 police, (largely corrupt says the report) 70,000 private security employees, and..."powerful organized criminals with ties to the highest levels of government."
7. Honduras is one of the world leaders in murders per capita and in gang-related violence.
8. Joint Task Force-Bravo (attached to the Honduran base in Soto Cano) has 600 US personnel
9. "as many as" 7000 US citizens live in Honduras, with 40,000-60,000 tourists visiting "at any one time during most of the year." (40 thou sounds like a lot to me...still less than .5% percent of the population however...and 7000 living here is less than .1%)
10. In 2007, there were over 50,000 visa applications made by Hondurans at the embassy, with a refusal rate of approximately 34 percent
11. They actually acknowledge how long people have to wait in line for visas, and that there is no protection for them outside, and recommend a canopy be installed...which, is not there yet.
12. The embassy and other programs tied to it have a total staff (including Hondurans) of 415...not including 171 Peace Corps volunteers.
13. Health care here has been downgraded to level 1...the same as most of Africa.
(My favorite part here was the talk of how embassy staff has been treated...over medicated, mis-diagnosis, recommendation for procedures that exceed the expertise of the doctor, etc.)

If you want to check it out, the whole report (probably filled with other interesting tid bits I missed) is available at:

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