Have any of you been to Honduras? I have. It was sometime after 9/11. I did a little math this morning and based on my daughters age I think it was about 16 years ago. How time fly’s.
I was working as a contractor for the Federal Government and I was traveling to several different embassies to lay fiber optic cable and do some other odds and ends. If I recall my wife was pretty dang pregnant and there was a lot going on in our lives. I was traveling around with a guy named Dickie. Dickie was an interesting cat for sure. Dickie was an ‘ol country boy from Virginia who was in his 60’s, had an affinity for alcohol and strippers. He loved his booze and his women. Dickie was bald, had a pear shaped body, big ears that stuck out on both sides of his head and was a bit of a stubborn person. It didn’t take me long while traveling with Dickie to realize he couldn’t handle his alcohol but that’s a whole different story. God bless you Dickie (and your family) if you are or are not with us any longer. I’m sure one way or the other Dickie is doing ok.
Dickie and I were bouncing around Central America and one of our destinations was Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Who the heck had ever heard of Tegucigalpa? I sure hadn’t. I was just a guy with a cheap United States high school education who most likely didn’t pay a lick of attention during any sort of geography class. I most likely failed geography miserably to be quite honest. Anywho. Ol Dickie and I arrived in Tegucigalpa and the one thing I recall was getting picked up by an armed escort. It’s been years, but if I remember correctly the agent was carrying an M-4 Carbine, a pistol, was wearing full body armor and arrived in a armored up white Suburban. If you’ve never opened up the door of an armored up Suburban you’d definitely notice the difference immediately. It’s no ordinary SUV. The ballistic glass is extremely thick, the doors are much heavier and the moment you enter the vehicle you have a sense of protection. I’d imagine those Suburban’s would protect you from most small arms fire up to an AK-47 for a reasonable duration of time. What reasonable is, well I’m not sure but I’m glad we didn’t get to test it out.
Once Dickie and I met our escort it didn’t take long before we were off to the embassy. The trip to the embassy is now a blur but we definitely didn’t do any site seeing and went straight there. As I remember, we approached the embassy on a relatively small road and the outside was guarded by Honduran nationals. During our approach the Honduran nationals recognized the vehicle and directed us to make a right turn. The steel vehicle barriers dropped into the ground, the guard rail lifted in the air and we were in the embassy compound. It honestly reminded me of something you’d see in a movie. High five to you Hollywood hooyazz…. Tegucigalpa looked like a real movie.
I don’t remember much about the embassy. What I do remember and what is more important about this post is the poverty in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. We stayed at a place called the Intercontinental Hotel. I’m sure it has changed over the last 16 years but the one thing I remember was how you had this beautiful hotel in the middle of a poverty stricken area. Across the street from the hotel was a modern mall with all the fixings that you would expect in the United States. If I recall we ate at a TGI Friday’s and the one thing that struck me was “how is it in the poorest of countries you have the most beautiful women?”. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way but the woman here were gorgeous. As I explained to my daughter this morning it was almost as if you walked in the mall and you were in the United States and as you stepped outside, looked left and right you saw a third world country. It was quite odd.
The REAL point of this post is to briefly discuss what is currently taking place in the America’s. We have this caravan of thousands of refugee’s coming north to the United States. There are some in the US that would say don’t let them in. There are others that would say let them stay. As I understand it these people are fleeing violence, oppression, gang violence and so on. I believe behind the scenes there is a US political element that is driving this issue. News sells! Hell I’m writing about it! Is each political faction taking advantage of this moment to capture the minds of voters? In this ever complex world today I believe we need to be more compassionate. We need to figure out an innovative way to deal with the ever changing face of the United States, the changing world and the ever changing complexities of our immigration policy. Perhaps we make Guantanamo Bay Cuba the new Ellis Island? Lets use GITMO (I’ve been to GITMO too) as a place to properly bring these people into the United States? We used GITMO in the 90’s to deal with the crisis in Cuba. Let’s think about this, if your family was struggling in fear, oppression and starvation wouldn’t you travel thousands of miles on foot to go to the promise land? Any good rational person would say yes. Let’s figure out an innovative way to help these people. It’s the 21st century for goodness sakes. We can put rovers on Mars but we can’t figure out the complexities of a reasonable immigration policy?
What are your thoughts? How should we handle this?
Take good care….