A Year in Central America- Part 1, by G.P.

Honduras

Let’s learn from Honduras. Honduras is a Central American country about the size and population of Tennessee.

Geography and Topography

Here’s the geography and topography. The northern coast borders the Caribbean Sea. The east coast, called the Mosquito Coast, is where Columbus first landed on the North American mainland. The southwest corner of the country borders the Pacific at the Gulf of Fonseca, then turns north along the El Salvadoran border to Guatemala. The eastern region is an area of broad plains that resemble the African savannah. Most of the country is hilly or mountainous, with some broad valleys dedicated to agriculture. Off the coast to the north are several islands that are increasingly popular tourist destinations.

The Central Valley, with Tegucigalpa in the middle, is the highland core of the nation and its central corridor. Some long, spectacular valleys branch out to the east. Continuing east, low mountains covered in jungle bring the roads to an end. After traveling about 40 miles across this mountain barrier, one reaches the notorious Mosquito Coast, dotted with isolated communities of various sizes strung across the plains. The coast is made up of long, lovely beaches and wide lagoons.

Crime

Sadly, this beautiful nation has the distinction of having the world’s highest murder rate, more than four times that of Mexico, and of being the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, behind only Haiti. The larger cities like Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula have a level of crime and of gang oppression that is difficult for outsiders to understand. This is also true of the neighboring countries of El Salvador, which is the home of MS-13, and also of Guatemala.

A Preview of a Local or National Slide Into Poverty

This situation gives us a look into a world already experiencing high levels of violence and poverty. It allows us to preview some of what our own experience might be following a local or national slide into poverty. What might the United States look like? How do ordinary people cope with this situation?

Public and Commercial Transportation

Roads are poor, putting four wheel drives and diesels at a premium. People often walk to a main road and wait for one of the many “chicken” buses, so-called because of their livestock-friendly policies. Small motorcycles are common. Bicycles carry passengers and cargo. Covered three-wheelers are popular as taxis. Many people use horses, donkeys, and oxen. Also, many of the vehicles are bought at insurance auctions in the U.S., shipped south, and then rebuilt cheaply for resale. The buses are usually surplussed school buses.

Many Americans realize the advantage rail transportation is to our commerce. Fewer know that our rivers, canals, and coastal waterways provide shipping at a fraction of the cost of even rail, and they constitute the largest such system in the world. There are no railroads in Honduras or canals, other than for irrigation. Many villages are reached only by river, coast, or trail.

Electricity

One hydroelectric plant supplies most of the electricity to the country, though electricity isn’t everywhere. Some areas use diesel generators, with the fuel supplied by sea. Better homes in these areas have permanent small diesel generators of their own on standby. Generac seems to be the leading brand. In a mountain place that had just gotten electricity four months earlier, the entire village would go to one house in the evenings to watch television. Cell phone technology has completely penetrated to even remote villages. One might see a woman standing waist-deep in the irrigation canal in front of her house, washing clothes and hanging them on a line strung above the canal while talking on a cell phone stuck between her ear and her shoulder. Computer connections are also common, usually wireless, for about 30 dollars a month.

Personal Transportation and Communication

Personal transportation and communications can be iffy. Small, light, sturdy vehicles that can handle rough roads are what is needed. Land Cruisers are especially prized, being given the nickname La Coronela. You’ll see a full range of answers: bare feet, rubber boots (favored), oxcarts, donkey trains, people on horseback herding pigs and cows, along with perfectly modern vehicles. All are side-by-side and attract no attention. Farm equipment, buses, aircraft, and utility equipment are similarly diverse. Some are very modern, some are early Iron Age.

Communication may be costly, but it’s still less expensive and safer than travel, for the most part. Efficiency in communication is something to prioritize. In conflict situations, it can become a lifesaver. Reportedly, a smart phone app is marketed in Syria that steers people away from danger areas in the ongoing war there.

Medical Support

Medical support can be very chancy. Comayagua didn’t have a single functioning x-ray machine for a city of 110, 000. A ship’s captain was brought down from the coast at Puerto Cortes for fairly routine medical treatment because it just wasn’t available, even in that large city.

Markets

There are markets in every town, somewhat like flea markets with many small vendors and services. Other providers travel through neighborhoods offering their wares or services. Some men repair modern athletic shoes as a trade, using glue and clamps and various sewn patches. Auto repair, tire repair, welding, electrical knowledge, electronic skills– all of these are valuable trades.

Several Ways to Support Yourself

I knew a man who taught school, played guitar for church services, taught guitar lessons, fixed electronics, and made bootleg video games for sale. It’s important to have several ways to support yourself.

Security, a Constant Concern

Security is a constant concern. The parking lots of large stores and restaurants have fences and guards armed with AKs or pistol-gripped shotguns. This is not uncommon; it’s the rule. Banks and other centers of commerce have guards standing on the sidewalks. The police patrol with M-16s, on foot or in pickups.

Firearms

Compactness and rate of fire are the desired qualities in firearms. Two prized items are the chaluca antiballista (bulletproof vest) and the mata-policia (the “cop-killer”, or FN FiveSeven, valued for its armor piercing reputation). Pistols are kept for discreet protection in public.

Stories of Violent Crimes

Stories of violent crimes, vigilante justice, and armed confrontations are commonplace. One friend mentioned conversationally that he had gotten a ransom call from someone claiming to have kidnapped one of his sons. The boy was in school and had just lost his phone.

What would you do in a similar situation? Everyone knows people who have been murdered. “My friend had a hardware store. Five guys stopped him on his bicycle and told him to give it to them. He said no, so they shot him in the belly and took the bike anyway. So he lost the bike and his life.”

In villages, homes may be surrounded by a low fence, if at all. In the cities and built-up areas, walls around yards are invariable. Often the walls are over eight feet high and topped with jagged metal or concertina wire. Sliding metal gates are used to admit vehicles to their parking spaces. This type of defense is the rule. The more one has, the more that it must be protected.

Willingness To Defend Property

Willingness to defend one’s property is also required. One man told of buying an old farm and having to fight several times during his first year there. His neighbors would cut his fences and turn their stock loose in his fields. He learned that the best response was to wound the stock with birdshot in the belly, obliging the neighbors to meet the cost of veterinary care or risk losing their animal. The final showdown came when he returned after a few days away and found that someone had stabled four horses inside an old house that he was starting to renovate. He cut the wire, wounded the horses, and drove them back out. When the owner showed up and confronted him, he drew his .45 and fired several rounds into the ground between them. After that, his problems ceased.

Are you willing to defend your property that violently? Chances are that someone will be willing to push you that far.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue to look at what it takes to live in this poverty-ridden environment of Central America.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part one of a two part entry for Round 80 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

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33 Comments

  1. “He learned that the best response was to wound the stock with birdshot in the belly, obliging the neighbors to meet the cost of veterinary care or risk losing their animal. The final showdown came when he returned after a few days away and found that someone had stabled four horses inside an old house that he was starting to renovate. He cut the wire, wounded the horses, and drove them back out. When the owner showed up and confronted him, he drew his .45 and fired several rounds into the ground between them. ”

    Could you be more clear in your explanation here? The way this reads, the neighbor cut a fence, the owner of that fence had animals escape, so the owner shot his own animals in the belly with bird shot and then asked the neighbor to pay for the vet bill?

    And, who drew a .45 and shot in to the ground? Did he learn this technique at a James Yeager class?

    1. My friend was fixing up an old property in his spare time. When he found that someone was keeping horses in an old structure on the place, he cut the fence that they had put up and drove the horses out. One of the horses was seriously injured. When the owner of the stock showed up and began threatening him with a machete, he fired a shot to successfully warn him off.
      I’m afraid that I have no idea who James Yeager is.

      1. The plot thickens! Did your friend own the property, just recently purchase the property, or was he just working for someone?

        Either way, cutting a fence without first talking to who owned the horses seems strange to me. And, if the area is as poor as you describe, injuring a horse probably had large consequences.

          1. @ Man of the line, I think I did read it. That is the problem.

            To be clear, “One man told of buying an old farm and having to fight several times during his first year there. His neighbors would cut his fences and turn their stock loose in his fields. ”

            “My friend was fixing up an old property in his spare time. When he found that someone was keeping horses in an old structure on the place, he cut the fence that they had put up and drove the horses out.”

            So, who put up the fence, who cut the fence? The stories contradict. Where are the details that lead up to the fence cutting? Did the owner of the property talk to the neighbors first to learn if there was an agreement that the owner was not aware of? Or, was the owner a victim from the time of purchase until the owner AD’d in to the ground?

  2. Interesting. Would like to know if Malaria or other such tropical diseases are a real concern in the area. You can defend against a lot, but it is often the wee beasties that do most of us “touristas” in.

  3. No need to visit Central America. They are all coming here. Tell me what is going to stop them? We have been promised E verify and an entry-exit tracking system for close to 20 years. WE still have anchor babies and chain migration and dozens of fraud-ridden visa programs plus activist judges that deny any attempts to create laws that will stem the flow. The immigration is aided by a massive alliance of politically powerful, religious leaders, academia, the media, ethnic advocacy groups, and powerful business lobbies and America hating open border billionaire globalists. I ask again, what is going to stop them? I grew up in Miami, we have been here since 1919. At one time Hialeah was all blue collar English speaking white people. Today it is almost entirely all Central American and Caribbean Spanish speaking. You are being erased and replaced.

  4. Things change rapidly in Latin America. My wife and I honeymooned in Honduras 15 years ago. Economy was about the same as described in the article, but crime and security was not a real issue. Have family that have lived their whole lives in Argentina and have seen multiple cycles of stability and then very bad times.

  5. Sadly, as the US slowly turns into a third world country, the conditions described in Honduras will become more common here.

    Perhaps the worst aspect of uncontrolled illegal immigration is a cultural attitude that regards government corruption as normal. Bribery of government officials, violence, crime, poverty is regarded as “just the way of the world” with a shrug…

    We are quickly losing western values such as respect for private property, representative government and rule of law. Instead we are getting rule by activist lawyers and judges, and Deep State corruption. Unfortunately, we have an elite that is extremely comfortable with a system where they live a life of luxury, supported by a poorly paid, uneducated underclass. This explains why we have the spectacle of millionaire TV hosts, millionaire lawyers, millionaire politicians and millionaire wall street investors advocating socialism, open borders, gun control, etc. …and of course their own power. The way you keep power is to keep the “deplorables” poor, uneducated, unarmed and propagandized with fake news, government schools and garbage “entertainment.”

    I have mentioned to my children that they may have to consider emigrating some day. It might be better to cut your losses rather than trying to “survive” under the afore mentioned conditions. Where? Your guess is as good as mine. Australia maybe? Yeah, I know their gun laws are oppressive, but I don’t think they have as big a problem with third world immigration.

  6. Australia is just as screwed with refuges. It’s not like ” Crocodile Dundee ” anymore. Lots of “diversity “.

    That’s the plan. Ruin every white country with Third World Savages !

    Would like to visit south america just for the experience. Probably not safe without a good command of the language though.

    1. sirlancelot

      Go to South America for the experience. Chile is a safe country, beautiful, with amazingly kind people. Great beaches too! Argentina is safe, along with Equador. Columbia has improved things quite a bit. Bad things can happen anywhere. Peru is safer now than it was during the Shining Path era. Be aware in Bolivia. Stay in the tourist areas of Brazil and you most likely won’t have a problem. Stay out of the favelas. Well, they are gang controlled and won’t let you in there anyway.

  7. A friend of mine described the gulf between European, Christian civilization and the rest of the world thusly… “While Michelangelo labored on the Sistine Chapel and William Harvey was studying the circulatory system… third world artists were squatting naked in the mud, drawing stick figures with human bones and painted savages tore the living hearts out of captives in sacrifices to the gods of belly button lint and flatulence.”

    I fear that once again, the lights of civilization are growing dim.

    1. Your Friends Knowledge of civilizations , history and art is rather limited. very limited.
      Sumer, Mohenjo Darro, the han dynasty, Memphis, and btw to my Knowledge human sacrifice happened in the 13 colonies as well.

    2. You have been lied to,while the Renaissance was happening it was driven by the great universities of Baghdad,Cairo,Asia that hadn’t fallen during christianity’s dark ages. Mathmatics,medicine,logic,history were preserved and advanced. The Aztecs were far more advanced than even the East and their calender is far better than what we use(1 leap year in 4 to correct? 25% inaccurate,try that on your taxes and see what the irs does to you)

  8. Since the dawn of history the negro has owned the continent of Africa–rich beyond the dream of poet’s fancy, crunching acres of diamonds beneath his bare black feet. Yet he never picked one up from the dust until a white man showed to him its glittering light. His land swarmed with powerful and docile animals, yet he never dreamed a harness, cart, or sled. A hunter by necessity, he never made an axe, spear, or arrowhead worth preserving beyond the moment of its use. He lived as an ox, content to graze for an hour. In a land of stone and timber he never sawed a foot of lumber, carved a block, or built a house save of broken sticks and mud. With league on league of ocean strand and miles of inland seas, for four thousand years he watched their surface ripple under the wind, heard the thunder of the surf on his beach, the howl of the storm over his head, gazed on the dim blue horizon calling him to worlds that lie beyond, and yet he never dreamed a sail! He lived as his fathers lived–stole his food, worked his wife, sold his children, ate his brother, content to drink, sing, dance, and sport as the ape!”

    –Thomas F. Dixon Jr., 1905

    I thought this quote was from C. Darwin. Turns out it’s a KKK guy named Dixon. I post it not to disparage Africans, but to make the point that some cultures are better than others. I would rather live under the US Constitution than Sharia law. I would rather live in Canada than in Honduras, even though the climate is more to my liking in Central America. And I would rather live in Switzerland or Singapore despite language problems than in Camden NJ or Detroit MI. I’m glad it is not my problem, I live in the 3rd safest state in the US and will soon move to the safest. Things are going to get much worse worldwide, if you can believe the book I read every morning. I can’t fix it. I can’t even fix me. But I can make it better in my little corner. Bottom line, I’m wintering in Lake Chapala, not Honduras. Thanks for the info.

    1. And the Quote is Nothing but a lie from beginning to end.

      I´ve seen more than one Sword, Spear of african making, worth preserving, mud and stick are very effective ressources to build houses, some of These houses stand for centuries. still Standing strong in modern times.

  9. It is not ethnicity that governs the rise and fall of civilizations, empires, and great nations, but the general character of the people. Their progress from independence, through economic growth, prosperity, mediocrity, decline, decadence, back into dependency, and possibly, conquest by the next rising nation, tends to run in cycles of about ten generations, or approximately 250 years.

    Guy R. Odom was, for a while, the head of the largest home building firm in the US. As such, he was in constant search for executive talent, to head the various operations of his firm. Part of his effort was research into the factors which go into making capable leaders, and eventually, powerful nations. He concluded that the most effective factor was the dominant (not domineering) character of the person raising the individual, usually (but not necessarily) the child’s mother.

    His researches, conclusions, and predictions for what that developmental cycle portends for America, make for fascinating reading (well, for some) and are published in his books, Mothers, Leadership, and Success, and America’s Man on Horseback — A Fable?

  10. It’s sad, very sad. I would love to visit some of the beautiful places around the world, my wife wants to go to France, heck no… I have not been out of the country before except to mexico via cruises, and it was nice, but I believe the time to travel and see the world (safely) is gone, at least for the white man. The entire world is a very dangerous place for whitey now, and though my wife does not fully understand this, I can’t as a father and a man put my family in such risk. Our women and children and are in danger here as it is, the last strands of civility here are only held together via the 2nd amendment, which Everywhere outside the US doesn’t have. I wish that wall would have been up 30 years ago, I wonder what life here would be like if it had been. It probably would have been completely different.

    1. I think you´re absolutly wrong and letting your Options dominate by one enemy, if we hide in our homes out of fear and not travel and experience each other, he has one a very important part of the fight.

      The Damage he does is not in the People he murders, there is no Victory in this, but that he Isolates us through fear

      Most likely going over the street to the grocery store is much more dangerous. than travel throughout the world .

      At least 95% of what american “preppers” write over europe has Little and absolutly blown out of Proportion or most likely Nothing to do with the continent i lived and traveled nearly 50 years in safety

      1. Consider Romania, They drive on the right side of the street. Car rental rates are comparable to the US. Gas costs more but being a smaller country you won’t be driving as much. Food and restaurants are much cheaper, hotels about 2/3 of what you would expect to pay here. Very low crime rate. Tremendously rich in history and full of friendly people.

        My brother married a Romanian lady and lived there for abut 15 years. they have just recently returned to the US as the bear is growling near his neighborhood.

        We had a great time, For those who ski it has some great an affordable resorts.

  11. Mr C.,

    I highly recommend travel. It will expand your mind and your outlook. I have travelled a great deal over the past 30 years and have never had an incident yet. OK. I was once accosted by charming ladies of the night whilst in the financial district of Johannesburg, ZA. LOL!

  12. Southeast Alaska has a large Filipino population. The Filipino people are friendly, proud and industrious. The Filipino people also respect Americans; they remember their WW2 experiences when a lot of American (and Filipino) blood was spilled during the Japanese occupation.

    Many of my friends visit the Philippines and enjoy the place and the people. The climate is warm and the cost of living low ….so they tell me.

    If I was young that would be my first logical choice to live.

  13. Honduras is a country that the US Government sends over 100 million of your hard earned tax dollars to every year. You would think that it would be more than enough to build roads, provide security, and improve daily living. Guess the Elites have their pockets lined, once again. In 2016, federal aid was $127,408,601.

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