Archivos para 4/01/14

El Hospital Escuela no se puede dejar solo: Batres

Sábado 04 de enero de 2014

09:39 pm  – Redacción 

El Hospital Escuela pasó al control de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras desde hace más de año y medio por mandato presidencial.

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Yolany Batres es la ministra de Salud designada por el Presidente electo.

Yolany Batres es la ministra de Salud designada por el Presidente electo. (Redacción)

Tegucigalpa,

Honduras

Para Yolany Batres, ministra de Salud  designada por el presidente electo, Juan Orlando Hernández, al Hospital Escuela  se le debe apoyar.

“No se puede dejar solo al Hospital Escuela , la Universidad lo ha administrado y ha hecho un buen trabajo y continuamos evaluando para ver en qué podemos apoyar al centro asistencial”, amplió.

La futura funcionaria analizó que el Hospital Escuela  es el referente del país, porque no solo ofrece atención a los hondureños sino que también forma a los nuevos médicos.

“Estamos conscientes de las grandes necesidades del hospital y hay que revisar, evaluar y ver cuáles son las grandes necesidades y ver en qué se puede apoyar”, amplió.

Se le consultó en qué se le puede ayudar al hospital y dijo que “hay que revisar el convenio y si dentro del convenio se encuentra que hay que apoyar más dentro de la parte financiera, pues se hará”.

Actualmente, las autoridades de la Universidad han solicitado 300 millones de lempiras de presupuesto a la Secretaría de Salud para el Hospital Escuela.

Además, están exigiendo que se haga una transferencia pendiente del año anterior de unos 103 millones de lempiras.

“El mandato del presidente Juan Orlando Hernández es que todos los fondos deben ser bien invertidos”, dijo Batres.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/Secciones-Principales/Pais/El-Hospital-Escuela-no-se-puede-dejar-solo-Batres

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Honduras: Medidas dispararán la inflación

Sábado 04 de enero de 2014

07:50 pm  – Kelssin Vásquez 

Mauricio Díaz, coordinador del Foro Social de la Deuda Externa, dice que el paquete fiscal dejará 100 mil nuevos pobres.

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El gobierno dejó exonerado del pago de 15 y del 18% de ISV solo a 74 alimentos, los demás deben pagarlo.

El gobierno dejó exonerado del pago de 15 y del 18% de ISV solo a 74 alimentos, los demás deben pagarlo. (Redacción)

Tegucigalpa,

Honduras

La población comenzó a resentir en su bolsillo los efectos fiscales de pagar un 15 y 18% de Impuesto Sobre Ventas (ISV) al comprar productos básicos y mañana lo sentirán aún más cuando compren la gasolina a casi 100 lempiras por galón en la capital.

Con el impacto de la nueva Ley de Ordenamiento de las Finanzas Públicas, Control de las Exoneraciones y Medidas Antievasión   aprobada por el Congreso Nacional el 20 de diciembre de 2013 y publicada el jueves 2 de enero de 2014, el gobierno proyecta recaudar “16,000 millones de lempiras”.

Gloria Pérez, coordinadora del Comité Hondureño para la Defensa del Consumidor (Cohdeco) , apuntó que las pastas, la salsina, el aceite vegetal y otros alimentos y productos básicos , que ahora las amas de casa los compran con un 15% de ISV.

Ante la vigencia de un histórico paquete de medidas fiscales, entidades de la sociedad civil solicitan al nuevo gobierno del presidente electo, Juan Hernández, que tengan “misericordia” con el pueblo hondureño.

“Utilizamos este término teológico más que económico ante el impacto que tendrán la aplicación de estas medidas fiscales entre las familias más pobres del país”, clamó Mauricio Díaz Burdett, coordinador del Foro Social de la Deuda Externa de Honduras (Fosdeh) .

Díaz criticó al gobierno del “humanismo cristiano” y al Congreso Nacional por elevar el Impuesto Sobre Ventas de un 12% a un 15% (alza de 3%) y la eliminación de una importante cantidad de productos integrados en la canasta básica de alimentos que ahora están gravados.

Se impacta, en un alza al precio de las llamadas de la telefonía móvil y la televisión por cable.

Además, se reforma y reduce el subsidio eléctrico que beneficiaba a más de 500,000 familias “pobres” que consumían hasta 150 kilovatios horas.

En este sentido, estos hogares comenzarán a recibir la factura eléctrica. Como medida de compensación se les entregará a través de una institución bancaria 120 lempiras sí, y solo sí, consumen 75 kilovatios hora al mes.

Por otra parte, Díaz expresó que el impacto de este “paquetazo” será tan intenso que generará -según estimaciones de la Secretaría de Finanzas- unos 3,000 millones de lempiras en inflación por el encarecimiento de los precios de productos básicos como la comida, los carburantes, la energía eléctrica entre otros.

“Mandarán, con estas medidas, a la pobreza a más de 100,000 hondureños”, indicó.

Para el Fosdeh, el alza de 25 centavos de dólar (alrededor de 5.19 lempiras) que se le aplicará al precio de las gasolinas y el diesel , también tendrá un impacto directo en el costo de los producción y distribución de la comida  de una manera directa e inmediata.

Según la Comisión Administradora del Petróleo (CAP) el nuevo precio para el galón de la gasolina superior es de 99.28 lempiras; gasolina regular, 92.16; querosene, 75.36 y para el diésel, 90.80.

El alza récord, además, es para el cilindro de 25 libras del Gas Licuado de Petróleo (GLP) que se cotizará a 290.35 lempiras.

Un ajuste inédito

El representante por Honduras del Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (Icefi), Noé Pino, estimó con base a cifras oficiales, que el impacto económico de las referidas medidas será de entre 3 y 4% del Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) 388,706 millones de lempiras.

“Este es el ajuste fiscal más alto aplicado por gobierno alguno en la historia de Honduras. Los paquetes fiscales anteriores oscilaban entre un 1 y 1.5 % del PIB”, dijo Pino, quien fue el presidente del Banco Central de Honduras (BCH) .

Por su parte, el coordinador del Fosdeh indicó que el impacto de este “paquetazo” será de una intensidad similar al ajuste estructural del decreto 1890 aprobado durante el gobierno del entonces presidente Rafael Leonardo Callejas.

Empresarios

Al respecto, la presidenta del Consejo Hondureño de la Empresa Privada (Cohep), Aline Flores, dijo que “estas medidas a todos los tienen asustados, porque están viendo cosas que quizás van más allá de lo que realmente puede ser un impacto o no en la economía”.

La empresaria fue del parecer que algunos comercios y supermercados se tardarían entre 15 y 21 días para etiquetas los miles de productos con el nuevo precio ajustado por el 15% de ISV.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/Secciones-Principales/Pais/Honduras-Medidas-dispararan-la-inflacion

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Honduras: Deportaciones crecen porque más dejan el país

Sábado 04 de enero de 2014

07:23 pm  – Redacción 

El sociólogo y experto en el tema migratorio analiza que desde 2010 más compatriotas han abandonado Honduras.

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Tegucigalpa,

Honduras

Para el sociólogo y experto en el tema migratorio, Ricardo Puerta, el incremento en las deportaciones de hondureños desde Estados Unidos tiene una explicación lógica: más hondureños abandonan el país.

En Honduras se impuso un nuevo récord el año pasado, catalogado por muchos como catastrófico: 38,342 compatriotas repatriados desde Estados Unidos.

Este histórico incremento en las deportaciones registrado el año anterior superó en alrededor de un 16 por ciento la cifra de 2012 , período que dejó un total de 32,342 repatriados.

“Definitivamente esto tiene una razón bastante simple: cada año son más los hondureños que parten rumbo a Estados Unidos”, reiteró el doctor Puerta.

El sociólogo recordó que en 2009 fue el último año cuando no hubo un masiva migración hacia el país del norte.

En ese año hubo dos crisis que frenaron el fenómeno: la situación política en Honduras y la caída financiera que enfrentaba Estados Unidos.

“Pero a partir de 2010 la realidad fue otra”, sostuvo.

En el pasado el gobierno manejó una cifra estimada de 75 mil compatriotas que abandonaban Honduras cada año.

Sin embargo, esas cifras no se apegan a la realidad actual, afirmó Puerta.

“Yo no sé cuántos hondureños se van cada año, pero son más que eso, lamentablemente en nuestras investigaciones debemos citar esos estudios porque no existen otros”, lamentó.

El año anterior el Centro de Atención al Migrante Retornado recibió 350 vuelos de hondureños expulsados de territorio estadounidense, casi uno por día. En 2008 y 2009 la frecuencia de vuelos era de dos o tres, máximo, por semana.

Eso evidencia la magnitud de cómo ha crecido el fenómeno.

Se estima que hay cerca de un millón de connacionales residiendo en Estados Unidos.

Ellos envían más de 2,600 millones de dólares anuales en concepto de remesas al país, lo que se ha convertido en el mayor ingreso y sustento de la economía nacional.

El doctor Puerta considera que el fenómeno de las deportaciones podrían continuar incrementándose en el presente año.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/Secciones-Principales/Pais/Deportaciones-crecen-porque-mas-dejan-el-pais

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Administración Hernández tendrá que pagar más de 20 mil millones de lempiras por deuda pública

16:04
04
Enero
2014
Tegucigalpa- El ex ministro de Finanzas, en la administración de Manuel Zelaya, Hugo Noé Pino, señaló la administración del presidente electo, Juan Orlando Hernández, tendrá que pagar más de 20 mil millones de lempiras en concepto de intereses por servicio de la deuda pública equivalentes casi al presupuesto de educación y a dos veces el presupuesto de salud.

Honduras consta de una deuda pública de siete mil 500 millones de dólares equivalentes a (150 mil millones de lempiras), la que será heredada por la administración del presidente electo, Juan Orlando Hernández, destacó el ex funcionario

Según el cálculo del especialista, Honduras tendrá que pagar más de 20 mil millones de lempiras sólo en concepto de intereses por servicio de la deuda, equivalentes casi al presupuesto de educación y a dos veces al presupuesto de salud.

Noé Pino indicó que de los siete mil 500 millones de dólares, cuatro mil 500 millones corresponden a deuda externa y cerca de tres mil millones a deuda interna.

Agregó que esa cantidad será una pesada carga para el gobierno entrante tanto desde el punto de vista del monto como de los intereses que se tendrán que pagar.

“Esta es una herencia muy perjudicial para los proyectos del nuevo gobierno, pero que no deja de tener un elemento de responsabilidad porque muchos de estos déficits, fueron alentados desde el Congreso Nacional”, señaló.

Indicó que cualquiera que hubiera ganado las elecciones, estaba obligado a realizar un ajuste fiscal, el problema es la decisión de cargarlo a la mayor parte de la población a través del Impuesto Sobre Ventas (ISV), el impuesto a la gasolina, reducción de exoneraciones fiscales de la canasta básica y aumento al impuesto de las llamadas telefónicas.

“Nos parece desproporcionada la forma en la que se carga a la mayor parte de la población mientras que a otros sectores se les amplían los dividendos por lo que hace predecir que la política fiscal continuará porque no se ha ido al centro del problema”, argumentó.

Fuente: http://www.proceso.hn/2014/01/04/Econom%C3%ADa/Administraci.C.B/80384.html

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Activists accuse World Bank of deadly dealings in Honduras

Kate Woodsome January 4, 2014 01:17

An internal report is set to raise the lid on funding for an industry that’s forcing farmers off the land.

Honduras african palmEnlarge

Honduran workers harvesting African palm trees. (Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — A recent political coup. Drug trafficking. One of the world’s highest murder rates. With attributes like those, Honduras may not sound like an easy sell for international investment.

But that hasn’t dissuaded the World Bank, whose mission is to encourage development in the countries that need it most.

The bank’s private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, is spearheading several multimillion-dollar projects in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Americas. However, some are questioning whether the money is doing more harm than good.

Human rights groups accuse the IFC of ignoring warnings that its funding for the Honduran palm oil industry is helping fuel a deadly land conflict that’s turning the fertile Aguan Valley near the country’s northern coast into a virtual military zone.

Farmworkers say they’ve been forced off land that’s mostly taken up by oil palm tree plantations. The controversy is casting doubts about whether the bank and its 182 member countries can respect their own code of ethics while doing business in politically unstable, corrupt societies.

Concerns about the social and environmental impacts of the IFC’s investment in Honduras have triggered an internal investigation that activists are anxiously awaiting.

“It’s going to be very sensitive,” says Peter Chowla, coordinator of the London-based Bretton Woods Project, which monitors World Bank projects. “We’re talking probably explosive findings of the IFC’s continuing support after they knew death squads were operating in the region.”

Hondurans describe a state of terror in the Aguan Valley, according to testimony recorded by Rights Action, the International Federation for Human Rights and other advocacy groups. They say police, military and landowners’ security forces are working together to blockade roads, burn farmers’ homes and hunt down, torture and murder land activists, lawyers and journalists.

At least 92 people have been killed in land disputes in the Aguan Valley between 2009 and 2012, most of them land activists, according to the country’s human rights commissioner.

At the heart of the issue is the IFC’s client, Corporacion Dinant, an African palm oil and food giant run by one of Honduras’s most powerful men, Miguel Facusse.

Although Facusse says he’s committed to the community’s welfare, human rights groups accuse the 89-year-old and his security forces of possible crimes against humanity related to the killing, kidnapping and forced eviction of farmers in one of Central America’s bloodiest recent agricultural conflicts.

Some of the allegations came in a submission to the International Criminal Court.

Dinant spokesman Roger Pineda rejected accusations the company’s security forces have been involved in violence against anyone claiming rights to Facusse’s property.

“The most common incidents in which violence have taken place have always been against our security personnel during the trespassing events against our properties by the invaders that always carried heavy weapons such as AK-47s to perform the illegal invasions,” he said.

But Rights Action co-director Annie Bird — who wrote the original report raising concerns to the World Bank — says landowners’ private security forces, military and police on Honduras’s Caribbean coast have “completely militarized” the area where Dinant operates.

“It’s basically like a war zone,” she says. “And there’s an absolutely non-functional justice system.”

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently acknowledged the concerns in a rare statement that pledged an action plan to respond to the findings of the internal investigation. However, he was short on specifics and did not say when the audit would be published.

The audit has been in the works since April 2012, when the World Bank’s internal watchdog, the Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, said it would look into whether the IFC’s funding had negative social or environmental impacts on and around Dinant’s plantations.

The resulting inquiry revealed the IFC was involved in an elaborate funding program that kept millions pouring into Dinant even after the bank registered concerns about the violent land conflicts.

Internal IFC documents quoted in the watchdog report show the IFC characterized Facusse in July 2010 as a “very respected businessman” and said nothing about the violent land conflict.

Nevertheless, the IFC held back the second half of a $30 million loan to Dinant in mid-2010 following violent clashes over land in the Aguan Valley.

In December 2010, the IFC urged Facusse to use restraint after the Washington-based group Rights

Action sent a letter to the World Bank calling the situation a “human rights disaster” and accusing the financial institution of “gross negligence.”

But that didn’t stop the IFC from approving a $70 million investment in one of Dinant’s major lenders, Banco Financiera Comercial Hondurena (Ficohsa), the following May. It gave the IFC a 10 percent stake in Ficohsa — increasing the IFC’s exposure to Dinant — and enabled the Honduran bank to loan millions more to the troubled palm oil company.

Those circumstances triggered calls for a second investigation the CAO has promised will examine “Ficohsa’s significant exposure to Dinant and other potentially high-risk sectors and projects.”

The crisis stretches back to the 1970s, when the government distributed land occupied by indigenous people to farmer cooperatives. After the cooperatives went bankrupt, the government and the cooperatives sold much of the land to a few rich Hondurans, including Facusse, in the 1990s.

The US-educated son of Catholic Palestinian immigrants and uncle of a former Honduran president, Facusse evicted the farmers and indigenous community using private security forces with the help of the military and police.

The land conflicts worsened after a July 2009 coup d’etat overthrew the left-leaning President Manuel Zelaya. He was forced out of Honduras days after visiting the Aguan Valley, scuttling a controversial land-reform effort that rural farmers had celebrated but the country’s economic and political elites opposed.

Confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks indicate the coup was backed by powerful figures including Facusse, whose plane transported Zelaya’s foreign minister out of the country.

Dinant spokesman Pineda said Facusse didn’t know about the plane’s use during the coup until the following day. He said the pilot, summoned by the air force, “did not use his best judgment and should not have participated in such acts.”

Pineda also rejected as baseless allegations that Facusse’s landing strips were used to transfer drugs.

The IFC’s critics say problems often arise because more than half of its global lending portfolio is handled though financial intermediaries. The “hands-off lending” creates problems because the IFC “doesn’t have a clue” about what happens to its money, Chowla says.

“There’s very little transparency on the side of the financial institutions in what they’re investing in,” he said in an interview. “Taxpayer money from around the world is financing what ends up in many cases with negative results.”

The World Bank has declined to comment on what ethical standards the IFC has applied to its investments in Honduras until the internal investigation into Dinant is published. However, an IFC spokesman admitted the group is concerned about the land disputes.

“We have been in close contact with Dinant since 2010, when the land occupations began, and have worked with the company to improve its policies and practices, particularly in security and community engagement, in an effort to address the more volatile security environment,” the spokesman, who asked not to be named, said in an email.

Regarding Ficohsa, the spokesman said the IFC has supported the Honduran bank since 2008 in order to help expand its lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

“Our work through financial intermediaries provides much-needed access to finance for millions of individuals that we would never be able to reach directly,” the spokesman said.

Although human rights groups suggest World Bank and IFC officials have lost their moral compass in Honduras and other developing countries, insiders say the issue is more complicated because it’s far from clear what actions to take in corrupt societies.

Katherine Marshall, who worked on international development for the World Bank for 35 years, says it operates on the assumption that it’s possible to make changes from within institutions.

“There’s a whole level of cocktail party discussions about who’s corrupt and who’s taking payments,” she says. “But if you don’t have evidence, it’s difficult to operate on that if you’re an external partner.”

Now a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Marshall says international finance groups must weigh the costs and benefits of taking on each client.

“You don’t want to be naive and stupid, but if you’re involved in these countries,” she says, “you’re missing a major point if you’re not ready to have a discussion about the dark side.”

Last December, World Bank director Kim said the agency plans to hire more rule of law experts to fight corruption in international development.

“You have a cancer and you have to treat it,” he said. “And by the way, we know it’s treatable. If you don’t treat it, it’s malpractice on our part.”

But Rights Action’s Bird says the Aguan Valley’s farmers are tired of such abstract talk. They want the IFC to stop funding Dinant directly and indirectly.

“If international investors were held responsible for the consequences of their investments,” she says, “it would go a long way in putting a rein on some of the abuses.”

Fuente: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/140103/world-bank-honduras-dinant-african-palm

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Mel Zelaya, el “Pitágoras” de las matemáticas electorales de Honduras

12:36
04
Enero
2014
Tegucigalpa – A más de un mes de haber acudido los votantes a los centros electorales y conocerse desde la noche del 24 de noviembre el ganador de los mismos, el oficialista Juan Orlando Hernández, en estos casi 40 días los hondureños han conocido una nueva faceta del ex presidente Manuel Zelaya: la de un Pitágoras, convertido en la versión catracha en un matemático electoral. La nueva fase del ex gobernante también contrasta con la ambivalencia de sus posiciones políticas.

Pitágoras es considerado por las ciencias históricas como el primer “matemático puro”, aunque también se acepta que ya antes había estudios de las matemáticas en la antigua Grecia, así como en la India y el mundo árabe, pero su reconocimiento proviene de haber sido el exponer los teoremas y su comprobación.

Zelaya ha pretendido utilizar las matemáticas para reclamar lo que considera la victoria de su esposa Xiomara Castro en las pasadas elecciones y que en su imaginario le han sido “robadas” por el Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) en beneficio de Hernandez.

En su defensa, Zelaya ha ensayado una serie de defensas y para ello se ha valido de los números, en una demostración de conocimientos profundos de las matemáticas, pretendiendo erigirse en un moderno Pitágoras electoral.

Su proeza con los números electorales comenzó apenas tres horas después del cierre de las urnas, cuando al conocer que los resultados de las primeras urnas no favorecían a su esposa, saca a escena a Xiomara Castro y se proclama a las 8:35 PM del domingo 24 de noviembre como “la presidenta de Honduras”, destacando que había ganado por tres puntos de diferencia.

En la televisión se observa cuando Xiomara Castro lee una hoja sostenida por Zelaya donde lee que Libre, el partido fundado por Zelaya y de la cual Castro fue su candidata presidencial, obtuvo el 29 por ciento de los votos, Hernández el 26 por ciento, el partido Liberal el 20 por ciento y el PAC el 17 por ciento.

Xiomara Castro, esposa de Zelaya, sostiene que los datos pertenecen a una encuesta de boca de urna, aunque nunca citó a la empresa responsable, en su cuenta de Twitter señala que la fuente fue Telesur, la cadena latinoamericana de noticias financiada por el gobierno de Venezuela.

Cambian los números

Pero al destacar el TSE que el ganador de los comicios fue Hernández con el 36 por ciento de los votos, mientras Castro logró el 28 por ciento, Zelaya impugna los comicios y destaca que el ganador fue su esposa con una diferencia de 1.8 por ciento de diferencia en relación a su adversario.

Nuevamente el coordinador de Libre cambió la diferencia en relación a Hernández, pero sin citar base alguna.

Posteriormente acudió a la Corte Suprema de Justicia a reclamar la nulidad de los comicios e indica que no se contaron adecuadamente 3,604 actas de las 16,135 que se escrutaron y que ello representó que unos 150,000 votos fueran dados a Hernández en forma irregular.

Pero el TSE destacó que acudieron a las urnas 3.2 millones de votantes, de manera que el 1.8 por ciento de diferencia que Zelaya afirma tener a su favor representan 57,600 sufragios, de manera que los 150,000 que alega le fueron quitados a Xiomara no tienen base matemática.

Las “matemáticas” electorales de Zelaya son confusas y no tienen la base de la escuela Pitagórica, aunque no es la única zona donde no hay claridad.

Igualmente, la confusión con que maneja los números se traslada a sus posiciones políticas, ya que afirmó recientemente que reconocía el gobierno de Hernández, aunque lo consideró “cuestionado e ilegítimo”, algo poco comprensible, ya que cuando se reconoce una administración se le otorga legitimidad política.

Pero sus declaraciones fueron rechazadas por sus propios compañeros del partido Libre, a tal grado que se vio obligado a modificar su posición, algo poco visto cuando un líder de partido es cuestionado por sus bases.

La posición de Zelaya se ha visto tan debilitada que incluso sus aliados de los gobiernos de izquierda latinoamericana, como Daniel Ortega de Nicaragua, Mauricio Funes de El Salvador y Raúl Castro de Cuba enviaron felicitaciones a Juan Hernández reconociendo la legitimidad de su triunfo y su futura administración, mientras Libre juega a desconocer los resultados.

Pero mientras los teoremas de Pitágoras de Samos son considerados válidos tres mil años después de su enunciación, Zelaya de Olancho no puede sostener sus números ni en poco más de 40 días después de las elecciones.

Fuente: http://www.proceso.hn/2014/01/04/Pol%C3%ADtica/Mel.Zelaya.C/80368.html

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Transportistas sostienen que es indetenible un incremento en las tarifas

10:45
04
Enero
2014
Tegucigalpa – El presidente de la Asociación de Microbuses de Honduras, Pompilio Coello, anunció que debido a los constantes y altos incrementos al precio de los combustibles en el país, un aumento a las tarifas del transporte es indetenible.

En ese sentido, estimó que el pasaje en los autobuses grandes amarillos, pasará de cuatro a siete lempiras, mientras que el servicio ejecutivo o rapidito de microbuses pasaría de 10 a 13 lempiras.

“Estuvimos escuchando a los compañeros de los microbuses y de los buses amarillos y estaban hablando de un incremento de dos lempiras, pero eso fue antes de que el Congreso Nacional, aprobará un nuevo gravamen a la importación de combustibles y me imagino que en este momento estarán hablando de unos tres a cuatro lempiras de incremento a las tarifas”, arguyó el dirigente gremial.

Advirtió que “si el gobierno no subsidia, pues ese incremento se traslada directamente a los usuarios; si no tiene soluciones el gobierno, que yo lo dudo que las tenga, entonces lo que va a suceder es que va a haber una espiral inflacionaria que nos va a afectar a todos”.

Refirió que el transporte es uno de los pocos rubros que en Honduras está en manos de hondureños y es uno de los sectores más sensibles por lo que los miembros de ese gremio consideran al usuario y si se tratara de compañías extranjeras, estuvieran considerando incrementos estratosféricos tal como sucede con el cemento al que de un solo, se le aumentaron 11 lempiras a cada bolsa.

Recalcó que la decisión de gravar aún más el combustible, va a tener un impacto fuerte no sólo en el transporte sino en todos los artículos que conforman la canasta básica ya que para movilizar los productos se necesita de los carburantes y sencillamente, los costos de producción, se trasladan directamente al consumidor final, por lo que recomendó a la población irse preparando para pagar más por los bienes y servicios ya que también se ha anunciado un alza a las tarifas de electricidad.

Fuente: http://www.proceso.hn/2014/01/04/Nacionales/Transportistas.sostienen.que/80362.html

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The Bajo Aguan Region – A Laboratory for the New Global Counterinsurgency, and a Laboratory for Neoliberalism: Honduran Military Commander Accuses Annie Bird And Other Human Rights Activists of Destabilizing Honduras

Saturday, January 4, 2014
Posted by Rights Action Team | 0 comments

By Annie Bird, January 3, 2014

On Thursday, December 12, Colonel German Alfaro, commander of the Xatruch III operation in the Bajo Aguan region, made statements to Honduran press that Xatruch III is investigating my activities, documenting denouncements of human rights violations, accusing me of “destabilizing” the Aguan.

This is just the latest in a series of actions by Honduran officials intended to obstruct access to justice for the victims of human rights abuses, deter victims from denouncing abuses, and criminalize human rights defenders.

The Xatruch III Joint Task Force has been carrying out a particularly intense campaign to criminalize land rights movements and human rights defenders. Xatruch III hosts embedded public prosecutors, immigration officers and other justice operators.

Inter-American Development Bank Funding Xatruch III

This is the model of “stabilization policing” which was outlined in the June 2012 law proposal to create an intelligence police unit called the TIGRES.  Though the bill was shelved for over a year, after widespread outcry against the melding of police and military in one unit, newspapers reported that the first group of TIGRES was already being trained and was set to graduate in August 2012, and that the unit already had $60 million in funding from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The TIGRES were not legally constituted until a year later, June 2013.  The proposal was adapted to become solely a police unit, though mandated to collaborate with the new Military Police for Public Order (PMOP). There are grave concerns that the PMOP and TIGRES violate fundamental democratic protections. For example, judges assigned to the PMOP are allowed to preside over hearings via internet while located outside of the country.

It is unclear what happened to the initial group of TIGRES newspapers had reported would graduate in August 2012.  However in August 2012 the Xatruch III joint task force was sent into the Aguan region, a coincidence of dates suggesting that the first generation of TIGRES may have become Xatruch III.

U.S. Led Global Counterinsurgency and the Inter-American Development Bank

The PMOP and the TIGRES are stabilization policing operations, a model for security promoted by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan based on US counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam and El Salvador.  Colonel David Kilcullen, the top counterinsurgency advisor to General David Patraeus in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2004 called for a “Global Pheonix Program.” The Pheonix Program was a counterinsurgency initiative in Vietnam that combined mobile, intelligence focused, rapid response armed units, similar to stabilization police forces, with local militias, similar to the ‘community police’ models currently being promoted. Inter-agency intelligence centers pooled and processed information.

This counterinsurgency policing model is precisely the “police reform” the Inter-American Development Bank is promoting in Honduras, drawing on experiences from Colombia. Colonel Kilcullen’s Caerus Associates, a consulting firm that advises governments and private sector, according to its website, is working in two countries in the Americas, Colombia and Honduras.

The US Special Operations Command (USSOC), the unit of the US military most directly responsible for counter-insurgency, has maintained a consistent presence at the 15th Battalion military base in Bajo Aguan since 2010.  Both USSOC and the Southern Command have funded improvements to the 15th Battalion base, from which the Xatruch forces operate.  It is notable that the first Honduran Task Force names Xatruch were the troops sent to Iraq in 2004.

Counterinsurgency Without Insurgents: Securing Markets And Resources

It seems clear that Xatruch III is a counterinsurgency operation. The question is, what insurgency is being countered in Honduras?  Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, matched with similarly high impunity rates.  Drug traffickers and organized crime are blamed for a large part of the violence, and for the networks of corruption in the justice system, and is the most frequently stated justification for international support for Honduran security forces.  Security is without a doubt a big issue.

However, in the Bajo Aguan, apparently a testing ground for the new global counterinsurgency, it is clear that Xatruch is not focused on citizen security, or on dismantling drug trafficking networks, but rather protecting palm oil agri-businessmen by combatting social movements demanding respect for land rights, respect for and reform of agrarian reform laws, and an end to violence against them from palm oil corporations.

Col. Kilcullen’s website is similarly clear: the counter-insurgency firm provides “strategic design for a world of overlapping forces – urbanization, new market horizons, resource scarcity and conflict.”  In the Aguan, the counterinsurgency is not aimed at reducing violence or fighting organized crime, it is about new markets and resource scarcity – the growing demand for biofuels and the competition for land between transnational businessmen and hungry farmers.

Why did Colonel Alfaro Target Me?

On December 10, I interviewed a local television journalist, Carlos Lara, regarding death threats against him, including one he had received from an employee of Dinant palm oil corporation, and the later kidnapping of his son.  The kidnapping was part of a rash of kidnappings which according to victims the Xatruch Operation has shown no interest in investigating, not even searching a house kidnapping victims identified as the place they had been held.

Lara then asked to interview me, an interview in which I described my activities documenting human rights abuses, and the dissemination of the documentation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, the World Bank and other policy makers.

Alfaro’s statements also closely followed two announcements by the World Bank Group that could impact the interests of a palm oil corporation from whom Colonel Alfaro is reported to receive payments.  Dozens of testimonies in the town of Panama report that Xatruch forces harvest the palm fruit in the Paso Aguan farm, what appears to be in-kind payment from the World Bank-funded Dinant Corporation.

On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, the Compliance Ombudsman Advisor (CAO) of the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group released an appraisal report that determined the need to audit the IFC’s 2011 loan to the FICOHSA Corporation for potential violations of the World Bank’s social and environmental safeguard policies.  The CAO referred specifically to potential environmental and social impacts of FICOHSA’s financing to the Dinant Corporation.  This was closely followed on December 9 by statements from World Bank President Jim Kim, asserting that the World Bank Group is currently outlining an action plan in response to an audit conducted by the IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman of the 2009 loan by the IFC to the Dinant Corporation, and audit spurred by a 2010 letter from Rights Action.

However, Alfaro’s statements to the press apparently came most directly in response to several legal complaints filed with the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights in La Ceiba by residents of the communities of Rigores and Panama in Trujillo, Colon on December 11.

On October 28, 2013, Rights Action and the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan (MUCA) submitted a petition and a request for protective measures to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights related to human rights violations impacting several campesino movements in the Aguan, including the Gregorio Chavez Refoundation Campesino Movement (MCRGC) in the Panama community.  The community reported a series of extremely alarming human rights abuses related to the situation, and I agreed to accompany the victims to make complaints to the Regional Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights locate in La Ceiba.

Criminalization and Violence Against the Panama Community

In the end of November, the Aguan River flooded the Panama farm, causing Xatruch and Dinant security guards to abandon the farm.  Tired of years of murder, rapes, attacks threats, shootings and other violence that the Panama community describe as having endured at the hands of Dinant security, on May 20, 2013 the community had come to an agreement with Alfaro that security forces would not use the road through their town. Following the flooding, the armed forces again began using the road, the community reacted by blocking the entry to the town.

At 1 a.m. on December 1, 2013, multiple witnesses stated that a truck recognized as one of the vehicles that transports Dinant security forces, approached the entrance to the Panama community with the truck’s bed covered by a canvas.  When denied access to the community, the truck continued down the highway approximately 100 meters and then stopped for a few minutes.  The following day community members found an unidentified dead body and reportedly contacted local police immediately.  Before police reached the scene, Xatruch forces arrived and recovered the body without undertaking the investigative procedures mandated by law, and then turned the body over to the local police.  A neighboring community then informed Panama residents that the police then summarily buried the body in their cemetery, without an autopsy.  That same day, on Sunday, December 1, Colonel Alfaro reportedly made statements on the local radio claiming residents of Panama had killed the person whose body had been discovered.

Two further complaints were filed in relation to incidents surrounding a shooting near a primary school in the Panama community, that neighbors report to have occurred at approximately 10 a.m. on Monday, December 2, forcing school children to throw themselves to the floor. Neighbors report that Colonel Alfaro then made statements to the media that a Xatruch patrol with three agents had been shot at, injuring a police officer, and that Panama community leader Santos Torres had participated in the shooting.  Torres and his neighbors explain that at the time of the shooting he was in the National Agrarian Institute office in Tocoa.  Neighbors suspect that the shooting incident was carried out by the security forces themselves, as it was in an area normally inaccessible to anyone but security forces.

A complaint was also filed by Mario Rivera of the Panama community, reporting that approximately two hours after the December 2 shooting, without a warrant or cause presented, Rivera had been forced into a Xatruch patrol car with another young man, and that the two were questioned about community leaders while being driven around with Xatruch forces cocking their guns in a threatening manner.  The Xatruch forces then drove them into a palm plantation, an action understood to be a threat to kill or torture them there.  Perceiving the same threat, neighbors gathered to follow the truck, which then turned around and released the young men, threatening to arrest the neighbors concerned about the safety of the men illegally detained.

Neighbors identified the Xatruch patrol as a green Ford F350, a vehicle which matches the description of a fleet of green Ford F350s donated by the U.S. government to the Honduran armed forces in July 2010.  A similar vehicle was used in the killing of teenager Ebed Yanes in Tegucigalpa.

A separate complaint came from Mario Licona, a baker from the town of Rigores with no connection to campesino movements, who had visited the town of Panama to purchase a used car part.  While leaving town he was arrested without evidence and is charged in the shooting.

Psychological Operations: False Accusations Against Human Rights Defenders

The false accusations against me are just the latest in a pattern of intimidation and criminalization of human rights defenders. On December 1, Honduran press published statements by Alfaro accusing Jonny Rivas, campesino leader, and Wilfredo Paz, newly elected congressman, of having met with the Panama community on November 30 to incite the community to take actions against the military. On that date both Rivas and Paz were in Tegucigalpa participating in LIBRE political party activities.

Last February, Colonel Alfaro made threatening statements directed at Wilfredo Paz of the Aguan Human Rights Observatory, as well as Jonny Rivas and Vitalino Alvarez of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan, MUCA, in reaction to their complaints of a campaign of violence against campesino organizations and their supporters.

This occurred just days before my organization, Rights Action, released the report “Human Rights Violations Attributed to Military Forces in the Bajo Aguan Valley in Honduras”, the report had been extensively reviewed via internet and telephone with all three of those mentioned.  Witnesses later accused Colonel Alfaro of offering to pay campesino movement members as ‘intelligence sources’ and assembling a group of witnesses to supposed criminal activities by movement leadership, but which were reported to have received promises of visas to the United States, an incentive with a significant financial value in Honduras.

Since the February press conference, Alfaro has constantly reached out to media and particularly local media.  It is highly unusual that a regional task force commander engage with the press to such a high degree, and would appear to be an element of a psychological operation.  Psyops are a specialty of USSOC, which has had significant presence on the Rio Claro military base.   Interesting US military manuals explain that the US Ambassador is the person ultimately responsible for psychological operations carried out in a country not at war, but that the ambassador must always deny the existence of the operation.

Counterinsurgency Laboratory, “Development” Laboratory

The Bajo Aguan, now a testing ground for the new global counterinsurgency model, has long been a site of social experimentation by Multilateral Development Banks.  In the 1970s and 1980s, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank programs promoted the colonization of the Aguan.  In the 1960’s the Banks had identified the expansion of agricultural frontiers, ie, converting forests into farmlands, as a principal development goal for Central America, alongside the development of mines and hydroelectric dams. Campesinos labored to pioneer the production of African palm oil, creating approximately 40 African palm cooperative plantations in the Aguan through the Agrarian Reform program.

Miguel Facusse, reported to have been a director of the World Bank funded, Honduran government owned, National Investment Corporation (CONADI), promoted these industrial endeavors in Honduras.  CONADI owned wholly and/or partially enterprises and served as the guarantor for loans to corporations.  Many of these enterprises processed or added-value to agricultural production from the Aguan.  In the 1970’s Facusse had founded Quimicas Dinant, a soap and detergent factory, with over $13 million in loans from Bank of America and Lloyds Bank, guaranteed by CONADI.

Reviving Battalion 3-16: Business and Military Generated Death Lists in the Aguan

Facusse founded the Association for the Progress of Honduras (APROH), together with General Gustavo Alvarez – the infamous military dictator and founder of Battalion 3-16 – and Rafael Callejas, among many other politically influential businessmen.  APROH is accused of identifying targets for the death squad activities of Battalion 3-16, targeting those considered threats to the commercial interests of the businessmen.

It is concerning that a similar grouping of businessmen and military is being created in the Aguan.  Meeting under different names, such as the ‘Sala Tecnica’ (technical room) or ‘Crisis Table,’ Colonel Alfaro and other military commanders are reported to meet with representatives of the business council, Dinant and influential politicians like National Party Oscar Najera, including some of the same people reportedly associated with Battalion 3-16 in the 1980s.  On at least one occasion a list of social movement leaders to be targeted for killing was reported to have been produced in a meeting.  Reports also claim that a military intelligence squad of 12 people was set up in a house in Tocoa, a chilling likeness to a death squad.

Accusations that Facusse Looted Millions from Honduras

APROH is credited with being the key force that brokered the 1980 Constitutional Assembly. APROH then advocated for a development strategy of promoting loans for which CONADI became the guarantor in 1985.  Later APROH was a principal promoter of the structural adjustment program in Honduras, heavily supported or promoted by the World Bank, which took place principally between 1985 and 1992.

Structural adjustment loans to the state of Honduras were used to liquidate CONADI and other state owned banks and investment funds.  Debts to CONADI were declared unrecoverable and CONADI’s debts to foreign banks were paid off apparently by World Bank structural adjustment loans.  Dinant’s $13 million loan guaranteed by CONADI was written off.

In the same process, companies owned by CONADI were auctioned off to private investors. Another company owned by Facusse, Comercializadora Galaxia, purchased the state owned Mejores Alimentos from CONADI for a promissory note for over $25 million lempiras.  In 1988 CONADI wrote off the debt owed by Galaxia in exchange for ‘services rendered’ and a supposed debt by Mejores Alimentos to Quimicas Dinant.  Later that same year the CONADI board brought suit against Galaxia for the fraudulent and corrupt sale, a suit which did not prosper.  A 1991 suit was filed by the General Procurator of the Nation charging Facusse and other directors of CONADI with fraud suffered a similar fate.

In 1992 and 1994, laws that regulated the Agrarian Reform program were altered as part of the World Bank sponsored structural adjustment program, allowing agrarian reform lands to be resold under a specific set of conditions.  Miguel Facusse, through various legal entities including the Cressida Corporation, began acquiring African palm plantations from cooperatives in 1993.  There are widespread reports that coercion and fraud leveraged these purchases.  In mid-1997 the  World Bank’s IFC provided a loan to Cressida to expand and improve their operation, and on October 18, 1997 beloved Tocoa environmentalist Carlos Escaleras was killed; his opposition to a new Cressida Corporation palm oil processing plant is generally considered the motive.

During this time Facusse and his various corporate expressions expanded aggressively across the north coast.  It is widely reported that armed thugs assisted in the process, and frequently used the ‘modernized’ agrarian reform, do counter-agrarian reform, as a means of taking lands from Garifuna communities and local farmers and then passing it to Facusse and other palm oil businessmen.

Given corporate legal structures, it is difficult to know if Miguel Facusse is the sole owner of the corporations he is credited with owning.  Many suspect other investors may also participate in the companies, which might explain why the United States Embassy has been such a staunch supporter of Facusse, despite many incidents which suggest his participation in drug trafficking, corruption of the justice system and violence, precisely the conditions that are used to justify US support for security initiatives in the region.

Endnote

The accusations directed at me must be understood, firstly, in the context of endemic threats and repression against community and human rights defenders across Honduras. Secondly, the threats and accusations are made against those persons and organizations that investigate and denounce the corruption and impunity, repression and violence that characterize Honduras, all of which is supported by countries like the United States, and institutions like the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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Rights Action

Annie Bird is co-director of Rights Action.  Rights Action funds and works with grassroots organizations in Guatemala and Honduras, as well as in southern Mexico and El Salvador, that are struggling for community controlled development and environmental protection, for disaster and repression relief, for truth, memory, justice and human rights, and for democracy and the rule of law.  Rights Action does extensive education and activism work concerning how the United States and Canada contribute to and benefit from endemic harms and violations in Guatemala and Honduras.  Rights Action (Canada), founded in 1999, is independent from and works in conjunction with Rights Action (USA).

Fuente: http://www.rightsaction.org/action-content/bajo-aguan-region-laboratory-new-global-counterinsurgency-and-laboratory

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Cardenal Rodríguez: Sin medidas podría ocurrir lo sucedido hace poco en Europa

Lo más reciente  4 Enero, 2014 – 12:35 AM

El cardenal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga declaró ayer que tristemente es necesario el paquete de medidas de ajuste fiscal aprobado por el Congreso Nacional, porque sino Honduras podría entrar en una mayor crisis económica.

Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga: “Medidas deben ser lo menos duras para la gente más pobre”.

Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga: “Medidas deben ser lo menos duras para la gente más pobre”.

Lo anterior al hacer referencia a la Ley de Ordenamiento de las Finanzas Públicas, Control de las Exoneraciones y Medidas Antievasión.

La referida ley fue publicada el pasado jueves 2 de enero en el diario oficial La Gaceta, después de haber sido aprobada el 22 de diciembre en la cámara legislativa, incluyendo el aumento de 12 a 15 por ciento al Impuesto Sobre Ventas (ISV).

A criterio del líder católico, es importante que los hondureños conozcan cómo se maneja el tema económico, debido a que el problema es que muchos desconocen esa situación.

Recordó que en 1990, durante el gobierno del entonces presidente Rafael Leonardo Callejas, en Honduras se registraron los primeros ajustes estructurales de la economía, lo cual fue una receta del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), en un momento en que la economía del país estaba por los suelos.

“Después de 23 años estamos igual y si no queremos tomar conciencia de que nuestro país vive de ayudas del exterior y no se toman esas medidas, podría pasar lo mismo que sucedió hace poco en Europa, la cual se estaba descomponiendo y tuvieron que poner esas medidas”, comparó.

CULTURA DE CRIMEN

“Tristemente son necesarias esas medidas y ahora lo que tenemos que hacer es que sean lo menos duras, precisamente para la gente más pobre”, clamó el líder religioso.

Con relación al tema de violencia, comentó que es esperanzador poder iniciar el año con cifras que demuestran una disminución de los homicidios, debido a que es necesario cambiar la cultura de la violencia, por una de paz.

“La violencia es un flagelo que se ha ido metiendo en nuestro país y debemos cambiar la cultura de la violencia por la cultura de paz y cambiar la cultura del crimen por el respeto a la vida y en eso tenemos que colaborar todos”, señaló.

“Yo creo que comenzamos el año con muchos signos de esperanza, ese es uno de ellos, que se pueda llegar verdaderamente a que el policía sea lo que tiene que ser: una ayuda, un respaldo, para alcanzar la cultura de la paz”, destacó.

Al mismo tiempo, les recomendó a las autoridades que llegarán en el nuevo gobierno, a que piensen en el bien común para lograr mejores derroteros para el país y no estar emboscados en problemas endémicos, como la corrupción, pensando en gobernar para enriquecerse y no para servir. (MG)

Fuente: http://www.latribuna.hn/2014/01/04/cardenal-rodriguez-sin-medidas-podria-ocurrir-lo-sucedido-hace-poco-en-europa/

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