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Is It Still Safe To Travel To Honduras?

Where: Honduras
July 2, 2009 at 9:32 AM | by | ()

We bet that there a more than a few of you out there clutching tickets to Honduras, while shaking in your boots over the current military coup situation and wondering whether or not to cancel your vacation. This is why god invented trip insurance, and we recommend that if you have it, now would be the time to cash in on it.

We know that the Honduran Bay Islands are famous for scuba diving with whale sharks, but there's a friggin' military coup playing out back in the capital Tegucigalpa, and we paid enough attention back in junior high history class to know that it means potentially violent demonstrations, soldiers with guns in the streets, and a generally confused and upset populace. These elements, unlike malibu rum and pina colada mix, do not combine to form a perfectly relaxing vacation away.

On June 29, the US State Department issued a travel alert because of the country's "current unstable political and security situation." There is also a curfew in effect from 9pm until 6am. Despite this, Latin American travel blog Travelojos quotes two experts interviewed about the situation on NPR, who both say to go ahead with trip plans so long as you steer clear of hot spots; we guess that means no photos outside the presidential palace.

Nonetheless, it also couldn't help to watch the news carefully and give your airline a call; the State Department's Alert lists the major carriers and both their US and Honduran contact numbers. The best advice is to be aware and safe, and hopefully the only rogue elements you'll come into contact with during your vacation will be spider monkeys.

Related Stories:
· Travel Alert: Honduras [US Dep of State]
· Tourists Safe In Honduras Despite Coup, Experts Say [Travelojos]
· US Warns Americans Against Travel To Honduras [AFP]
· Honduras Travel Coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: AP via MSNBC]

Archived Comments:

Safety in Honduras

We are about as safe as it gets here, no lawlessness at all, people quietly going about their business. There have been huge gatherings of people in cities all over the country celebrating the country's strict adherence to the constitution. It is absolutely wonderful that the whole country has come together, rich and poor alike to celebrate the rule of law over the rule of man. I had two sets of guests booked here at Villas Pico Bonito but when asked if it was safe I declined to take responsibility for a guarantee. After all the rest of the world is about to force Zelaya down our throats. Here is an article explaining how Mel really did not do his home work. Under the Honduran Constitution, what really happened here? By Octavio Sanchez1 If you are not familiar with the country's history and the Honduran constitution it is almost impossible that you would understand what happened here this past weekend. In 1982 my country adopted a new Constitution to allow our ordered return to democracy. After 19 previous constitution -two Spanish ones, three as part of the Republic of Central America and 14 as an independent nation- this one, at 28, has been the longest lasting one. It has lasted for so long because it responds and adapts to our changing reality, as seen in the fact that out of its original 379 articles, 7 of them have been completely or partially repealed, 18 have been interpreted and 121 have been reformed. It also includes 7 articles that cannot be repealed or amended because they address issues that are critical for us. Those unchangeable articles deal with the form of government, the extent of our borders, the number of years of the presidential term; two prohibitions -one to reelect presidents and another one to change the article that states who can't run for president- and one article that penalizes the abrogation of the Constitution. In these 28 years Honduras has found legal ways to deal with its own problems. Each and every successful country around the world lived similar trial and error processes until they were able to find legal vehicles that adapt to their reality. France had 13 Constitutions between 1789 and the adoption of the current one in 1958 which has passed 22 constitutional revisions. The USA had one before this one which has been amended 27 times since 1789 and the British -pragmatic as they are- in 900 years have change it so many times that they have never taken the time to compile their Constitution into a single body of law. Having explained that, under our Constitution, what happened in Honduras this last Sunday? Soldiers arrested and took out of the country a Honduran citizen that, the day before, through his actions had stripped himself of the presidency of Honduras. These are the hard facts. Last Friday Mister Zelaya, with his cabinet, issued a decree ordering all government employees to take part in the "Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly" (Presidential Decree PCM-020). The decree was published on Saturday on the official newspaper. With this event, Mister Zelaya triggered a constitutional protection that automatically removed him from office. The key legal elements for that constitutional protection to be triggered are the following ones. Constitutional assemblies are convened to write new constitutions. In Honduras, you have 365 articles that can be changed by Congress. When Zelaya published that decree to regulate an "opinion poll" about the possibility of convening a national assembly he acted against the unchangeable articles of the constitution that deal with the prohibition of reelecting a president and of extending his term. His actions showed intent. How is that kind of intent sanctioned in our Constitution? With the immediate removal of those involved in the action as stated in article 239 of the Constitution which reads: "No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years." Notice that the rule speaks about intent and that it also says immediately -as in instant, as in no trial required, as in no impeachment needed. This immediate sanction might sound draconian, but every country knows its own enemies and it is the black letter of our supreme law. Requiring no previous trial might be crazy, but in Latin America a President is no ordinary citizen, it is the most powerful figure of the land and historically the figure has been above the law. To prevent that officer from using its power to stay in office Honduras has constitutional rules such as the mentioned one. I am extremely proud of my compatriots. Finally, we have decided to stand up and become a country of laws, not men. From now on, here, no one will be above the law.