Tag Archives: UNAH

Why it was good that Sweden left Honduras

This summer Sweden closed its foreign aid office in Tegucigalpa. It was a move that was decided when Zelaya was president, and motivated by the corruption in his administration, from what I have heard. Although this means the gradual termination of assistance to human rights (including the ombudsman for human rights, who the zelayistas love to criticize), women’s groups, and higher education (millions go to UNAH, the strongly left-leaning national university), it may actually be for the better.

Why? Because foreign aid often cements the existing structures, much like government efforts to promote innovation tends to strengthen the existing market structure rather than lead to a re-orientation. It also corrupts.

Unless the aid is given in very specific ways, and with a high degree of understanding of what is going on behind the scenes, it is, IMHO, more often than not counter-productive. For instance, if UNAH gets $8M they are likely to use it for salaries first, building maintenance second, and only the crumbles left over will go to the thing that in the long run is most important: The library, the information, the communication.

Personally I would rather see the money spent on buying subscriptions and the infrastructure needed to use the electronic subscriptions. Also, supporting a domestic high-quality journal would seem important, so that Honduran scholars can start rising to the level where they become a force to count with. That is something that in 20 to 30 years really can make a difference, propelling the country forward as an innovative entrepreneurial center of excellence. Salaries, on the other hand, will just go to buy Chinese imports in the local mall.

During the time of transit all forces must be directed towards creating the conditions for change, for entrepreneurship, for innovation, for starting new businesses, for research. This requires using domestic resources, and the process must be driven by domestic forces. Foreign aid should only amount to goods or services that cannot be made in the country, or purchased for the local currency. Furthermore, it must never compete with local business. It is a problem that the US donates so much goods and services, as it undermines and corrupts the local economy. That has to be phased out, the sooner the better.

I realize that those involved with foreign aid of that kind are going to get on my case now, but somebody has to point out that the emperor is naked. Everyone making a living on aid to Honduras has a vested interest in Honduras remaining poor. For Honduras to rise to glory, she has to say “I am too proud to accept donations!”

Therefore, it was a blessing in disguise that Sweden and ASDI left Honduras, since that leaves the agents of change with a better chance of succeeding. The former US ambassador accurately analyzed the dynamics in June, 2010.

The right-wing push led by IMF over the past few decades was met with a backlash, a leftist, populist, pseudo-democratic movement led by Venezuela and Cuba. However, what happened in Honduras was the first step of a third way, a reaction to both the strong right policies, and the leftist-popular movement; a New Center that is based on the rule of law, strong democratic institutions, liberal trade agreements, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

This Nuevo Centro as I would like to call it is based in the white shirts of 2009, a movement that is full of energy, albeit under the surface at present, acting silently but efficiently to gradually transform the ugly duckling into a swan. They need to be in the shadows because they have no international backing.

USA apparently is split between supporting the IMF and FTAA order on the one hand, and punishing Honduras hand in hand with Chavez on the other. All the ALBA countries are of course for the populist leftist backlash. But wait and see. Honduras is not sleeping. A new center is growing in the ashes of last year’s crisis.

Brownshirt operation in Tegucigalpa

Update May 21, 2010, 15:23 – A German-Danish revolutionary-romantic, Johannes Wilm, has made a documentary about this attack, called La Joven Revolución Hondureña (The Young Honduran Revolution). The footage follows the organizers before, during, and after the operation. We can see in the video several of the persons involved in destroying the fast food restaurant. There are two student organizations involved, FUR and FRU (also known as FRUM it seems). The students had committed to show up with 150 persons, and an organization of workers with another 150. The video shows how they blocked the main road past the university, a 4 lane road, with burning tires, and how they planned to run into the university and change shirts to disappear when the police showed up. The video does not seem to show how the car below was set on fire, but in a split second a person in red shirt is seen carrying a big bat, around that time and place.

Original post August 6, 2009, 00:16 – During Wednesday a mob created a roadblock outside UNAH, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras. A group calling itself F.R.U., Frente de Reforma Universitaria (Front for University Reform) has claimed responsibility. According to the police they broke windows and burned a car. They did not let independent journalists photograph or videotape them, but called them “golpistas” (coup-makers) and broke their cameras. The police dispersed the mob with water cannons and tear gas, under an intense bombardment of stones.

According to F.R.U., though, it was students who were demonstrating peacefully, just to be chased away into the university campus. Once there the rector came out, arms in the air, to make peace but beaten by the police, it is claimed. The burning car is blamed on a tear gas grenade.

Burning car outside UNAH, Tegucigalpa
Burning car outside UNAH, Tegucigalpa

A closer examination of F.R.U., whose logotype leads the thoughts to Maoism and North Korea, shows that the website has had only 8935 visitors, that there are only a few posts on the discussion list (all read only a dozen times and none having got any comments), and that all of them are written by the same person, who is anonymous and hidden behind a gas mask. There is nothing that suggests a political platform, or any physical persons behind the alleged organization. There is, however, a link to TeleSUR’s webcast, the propaganda channel of Chávez.

Protesters at UNAH. Do these look like students to you?
Protesters at UNAH. Do these look like students to you?

Given that the protesters also look to old to be students, and as if they have arrived from outside, the conclusion can only be one: It was a brownshirt operation, the usual suspects that Chávez hires, in collusion with TeleSUR, the satellite TV channel of Hugo Chávez based in Venezuela.

Luckily most media in the world seem to have started to understand that there is something fishy about the reporting by TeleSUR, so very few have picked up on this story. An exception is Al Jazeera.

Brunskjorteoperation i Tegucigalpa

Under onsdagen upprättade en folkmassa en vägspärr utanför UNAH, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras. En grupp som kallar sig F.R.U., Frente de Reforma Universitaria (Fronten för Universitetsreform) har tagit på sig ansvaret. Enligt polisen slog de sönder fönster och brände en bil, och lät inte oberoende journalister fotografera eller filma dem, utan kallade dem “kuppmakare” och slog sönder deras kameror. Polisen skingrade pöbeln med vattenkanoner och tårgas, under ett intensivt bombardemang av stenar.

Men enligt F.R.U. var det studenter som demonstrerade fredligt, och sedan jagades in på universitets område. Där inne kom rektorn ut med armarna i vädret för att försöka mäkla fred, men blev nerslagen av polisen, påstås det. Den brinnande bilen förklaras med att en tårgasgranat tände eld på den.

Brinnande bil utanför UNAH, Tegucigalpa
Brinnande bil utanför UNAH, Tegucigalpa

En närmare kontroll av F.R.U., vars logotyp för tankarna till maoism och Nordkorea, visar att websidan har haft endast 8935 besökare, att det bara finns ett fåtal inlägg på diskussionslistan  (var och en bara läst ett dussintal gånger men ingen har lämnat kommentar), och att alla är skrivna av samma person, vilken är anonym och försedd med gasmask på bilden. Det finns ingenting som tyder på någon politisk plattform, eller att det finns några fysiska personer bakom den påstådda organisationen. Däremot finns det en länk till TeleSURs webcast, Chávez propagandakanal.

Demonstranter vid UNAH. Ser dessa ut som studenter? Knappast.
Demonstranter vid UNAH. Ser dessa ut som studenter?

När demonstranterna dessutom ser ut att vara för gamla för att vara studenter, och som utifrån kommande, kan slutsatsen kan bara bli en: Det var en brunskjorteoperation, den vanliga betalda gruppen som Chávez anlitar, i maskopi med TeleSUR, Hugo Chávez satellit-TV-kanal baserad i Venezuela.

Som väl är verkar de flesta media i världen ha börjat förstå att något är lurt med TeleSURs rapportering, så inte många har plockat upp detta. Ett undantag är Al Jazeera.