I feel like I’m writing from exile, but in actual fact today Team Tegu here in Honduras is holed up at home abiding by the curfew imposed yesterday at 4pm, which will last at least until 6pm today – I would say it’s highly likely we will have some form of curfew here for several days, if not a few weeks, given the most recent development in Honduras’ political saga.
Some of you may have heard in the news that the former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, returned clandestinely to Honduras sometime in the early hours of Monday, September 21st. He announced through various media channels yesterday his presence in Tegucigalpa, at first claiming to be in the UN building here; as it later turned out, he was actually found to be ensconced at the Brazilian Embassy. Governments around the world and the Organization of American States immediately called for both sides (Zelaya and the current Honduran government headed by Roberto Micheletti) to abstain from any actions that would result in violence in what is clearly a delicate situation – see US Embassy in Tegucigalpa press release here. Zelaya claims he should be reinstated to the presidency, whereas Micheletti has stated several times in the past three months that if Zelaya returns to Honduras, it will be to face up to the criminal charges levied against him. So we have a standoff, with the inviolability of the Brazilian Embassy acting as the current buffer.
I won’t go into further details on the politics of the situation, but I invite you to read more in this article from the Wall Street Journal.
So what’s the impact on Tegu? Well, time will tell. We found out yesterday at 3:30pm that the Honduran government was implementing a curfew beginning at 4:00pm. At the time, our team was working out of the Tegu office, which is located at our factory 30 minutes outside Tegucigalpa (when there’s no traffic!). I had Darwin drive Charlie and Christine home, while I continued on an important call with our manufacturing consultant in the USA. I left the office at about 6:30pm (already dark here) and headed home, thankfully avoiding being stopped by police along the way. There was still a fair amount of traffic at that time of night, and I believe the cops just wanted people to get home. However, Darwin was still trying to get home through traffic in the center of town when I called him at 6:45pm, having run into blockades imposed by Zelaya supporters who had taken to the streets.
For today, we are playing things conservatively and working on our computers from home. It’s a frustrating situation, because we have a serious amount of work to do at the factory, and neither our team nor the other contractors working there are able to do anything today. My hope is that the curfew will be relieved during the daytime starting tomorrow, but that depends on whether there is a change in the political standoff, which is completely out of our control.
My concern is that this most recent development will cause an obstacle to our progress here (we are working against the clock to start producing toys here in Honduras in time for Christmas). Not only Tegu is affected – as far as we can tell, all businesses in the country are not working today as they abide by the curfew. I have no quantitative idea what the resulting economic impact on the country is or will be, but suffice it to say that these interruptions are not helping any of the organizations that are working to sustain or create jobs and prosperity in this country, which desperately needs such things. I hope and pray, along with the rest of our team, that there is a speedy and peaceful resolution that allows us and others like us to continue working for the good and betterment of this country and its people.