The immigration crisis and tourism in Honduras
Like most in the World, you have probably read the newspapers and watched the anchormen and women in Fox, Cnn and others discuss the immigration crisis and suggest magical solutions. If it only it were as easy as they say it is… Without doubt, as the educated person that you are, you have probably reached your own conclusions, and have made up your mind on what should be done. This being said, I am not trying to make you change your mind about the problem or the solutions that you have already envisioned, but rather, asking you for a couple of minutes to hear what I have to say about the reality…
First of all, I am an immigrant, grandson of immigrants and I can almost boast that being an immigrant is in my blood. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. I was born in Mexico City, Three of my four grandparents where immigrants who moved to Mexico, (two from the USA and one from Denmark) and my other grandmother was the daughter of immigrants from Germany and Spain). Fortunately, they and I have been able to migrate legally, and never faced issues of being illegal in a country where you chose to live in. I have lived in Honduras for the past 21 years, and will probably die here. I have four Honduran sons who I have tried to bring up to be proud of their country and prepare them well, through education to help make of Honduras a better place to live in.
Honduras is a lovely country, with friendly, hospitable, hard working people. Unfortunately, due to historical reasons, bad mistakes by its leaders and some abuse from its allies, there are very few options to make a decent living in the country. One of the biggest causes for problems within Honduras has to do with drug trafficking and organized crime. But don’t be mistaken, there is no real market for those drugs in Honduras. The economy is so bad, that people can’t even pay for drugs even if they want them! Drug trafficking exists in Central America due to two main reasons: first of all, there is a huge market in the US that demands these drugs, making it extremely lucrative to get in the business. There is so much money it that it is easy to corrupt authorities and create their own armies, as a matter of fact, most of these groups have a budget that is superior to that of the municipal authorities and in many cases, than that of the central government and army. The second reason why it so easily exists, is the fact that there is little to no employment. The majority of Hondurans are young, the median is around 17 years old, this means that there are more and more young adults looking for a job and there are few jobs to be had, not enough to satisfy the demand. Many young Hondurans have to choose to either “get a job with the drug lords” or to migrate to another country where jobs can be found. Now there, if you were a young person with dreams, wanting to start a family, build a home and make a decent living, but can’t find a job that will allow you to grow and live your dreams, and your only options were to join the drug dealing organized crime, which is almost a guaranteed eventual death ticket: Sooner or later you will lose your life in this business, unless you are absolutely ruthless and eventually make it up to the top echelon. Even then, the outlook is not good, you will have the DEA, FBI, as well as the local authorities at your tail forever and ever, because there is no getting out of this business once you are in it!
Your second option is to try to migrate to a place with better options. The trip is risky, many die en route, at least half of them don’t make it to the USA and are sent back. The route is littered with dangers, because organized crime has realized that there are so many desperate people trying to get to the USA that they can make lots of money on. Many, actually most of, Hondurans either choose to live in poverty or try their luck on the illegal road of migrating to the USA.
The bottom line is that most Hondurans, better said, most Central Americans do stay behind, some manage to get a good job or start their own business, but they will always have the doubt in their mind of whether or not they would have made it to the USA and gotten a chance to live the American Dream. As long as young Hondurans don’t have a decent opportunity to make a living and live well in Honduras, they will continue seeking an illegal route (for them, legality is not an available option) to migrate for better living options, and geographically, the USA is the most attractive option.
So this brings me to the title of this post: The immigration crisis and tourism in Honduras. What the bloody hell does one have to do with the other? Well it’s actually quite simple. Tourism is one of the economic activities that is most democratic, in the sense that it spreads the earnings around: a taxi driver, an artisan that makes souvenirs, a bellboy at the hotel or a waiter at the restaurant, they all have a chance to get a job, make money and maybe even create a small business. In other words, if you and more US citizens where to visit Honduras on your vacations, you would be helping the economy in such a way that many, many Hondurans would be able to get stable, well paying jobs, many with access to tips, and this would keep them home, creating their own Honduran Dream instead of having to dream an American Dream that is unfortunately, and unjustly, illegal for them to dream.
The bottom line is simple: there is something that you can do to help solve the immigration crisis, and that is to plan your next vacations to one of the countries in Central America where the local citizens need and deserve a chance to make a better living. This is an easy and even pleasurable way of helping to solve the problem.
Ohh, I almost forgot! You don’t need to worry about safety. The US State Department travel warning is way out of reality. Read between the lines, it clearly states that tourists and foreign citizens are not targeted for crime. The problem that we have in Honduras is basically centered in organized crime, the fight for routes and territories. This issue does not happen in tourist areas, you are safe visiting Honduras. I have lived here for over 21 years and never, ever had a problem! So now you know that the immigration crisis and tourism in Honduras are directly related, and that the latter is a solution to the first! Help us out, come and visit lovely Honduras. You will find it friendly, beautiful, affordable, and best of all, unspoiled! Honduras will be part of the Central America you know, the country you’ll love! You are part of the solution to the immigration crisis!
The current government is making serious inroads towards controlling the drug cartels and organized crime, things are getting better, but in order to solve this immigration crisis, we need your help! Come and have some unforgettable vacations in Honduras. You will be doing so much more that having the time of your life! Remember, the immigration crisis and tourism in Honduras are indeed closely related!