Monday, January 28, 2013

'In many ways, the state is no longer functioning'

I'm still trying to figure out how things work, or don't work, in Honduras by reading the newspapers.
It's baffling. (Maybe it would also be baffling for a Honduran trying to figure out Canada by reading the newspapers there.)
I've been struck lately by the sense that there are a lot of reports on things going wrong, but little analysis to pull them into some coherent framework, or show how they're related.
La Prensa reported that the public hospital in Tocoa, a city of about 45,000, is being evicted by the building owner because the health ministry hasn't paid the rent for 10 months. But it didn't say why the hospital is in a rented building or why the payments weren't made, or what would happen to patients. In the same vein, the meal suppliers are cutting off service to the main teaching hospital in Tegucigalpa, the capital, because they say they haven't been paid. The hospital administration was such a mess that the government transferred management to the University of Honduras last year. The new regime won't accept responsibility for bills predating its takeover.
Fortunately, Associated Press reporter Alberto Arce, based in Tegucigalpa for about a year, has done an excellent job of looking at the bigger picture.

"Street surveillance cameras in one of the world's most dangerous cities were turned off last week because Honduras' government hasn't paid millions of dollars it owes. The operator that runs them is now threatening to suspend police radio service as well.
"Teachers have been demonstrating almost every day because they haven't been paid in six months, while doctors complain about the shortage of essential medicines, gauze, needles and latex gloves.
"This Central American country has been on the brink of bankruptcy for months, as lawmakers put off passing a budget necessary to pay for basic government services. Honduras is also grappling with $5 billion in foreign debt, a figure equivalent to last year's entire government budget . . . ."
It's worth reading the entire piece here.

(Arce also took an interesting look at his own work life in a report here.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't feel badly Paul, I gave up trying to figure out things work by reading the newspapers here (in Canader,eh). Apparently they don't. Work here. At least not according to the newspapers. You have to go to the blogs to get any information. Heckfire, I get more from you about 'here' than I do from amy newspaper about 'here' or 'there'.
I'm Agahst.