Tuesday, June 30, 2009

viva Honduras!

Wow! This picture gives me goosebumps! These are thousands of Hondurans in the capital city today peacefully coming out in support of the interim government of Roberto Micheletti and, at the same time, celebrating the ouster of Manuel Zelaya! I've never been prouder to be a Honduran than at this moment! This, my friends, is what the international community needs to see. We Hondurans WANT ZELAYA GONE! We want to keep our DEMOCRACY! We want EMPATHETIC CAPITALISM! We want to keep our FREEDOMS!
[Photo courtesy El Heraldo]

arrest warrant issued for Zelaya

The Prosecutor's Office has issued a warrant for the arrest of former President Manuel Zelaya for 18 crimes including "treason to the fatherland" and "usurpation of functions" according to Attorney General Alberto Luis Rubí. "Should he set foot in the territory he will be immediately arrested," Rubí said in a press conference shortly after it was disclosed that the arrest warrant had been issued by Judge Maritza Arita. An international arrest warrant for Zelaya has also been issued through Interpol.
- La Prensa [in Spanish]

a beautiful sight

Today in San Pedro Sula (the second largest city) thousands of Hondurans peacefully marched in support of the interim government and against the return of Zelaya.
(Image courtesy of Diario La Prensa)

reason begins to sink in

The Union of Democratic Organizations of the Americas (UnoAmerica), a confederation of NGOs, has recognized the interim Honduran government of Roberto Micheletti.
There has not been a coup in Honduras, but rather a constitutional succession, perfectly legitimate, as a result of the attempt of former President Manuel Zelaya to violate the Constitution and remain in power, following the mandate of Hugo Chávez.
... and ...
It is cynical for Chavez to call the Honduran military "troglodyte gorillas," while simultaneously threatening a military invasion of their country. The worst gorilla in all of Latin America is Chavez himself. A man who began his political career with two coups, causing numerous deaths and injuries; is closely linked to the Colombian FARC and their narcoterrorism as well as the government of Ahmadinejad; finances the Cuban dictatorship; tramples Venezuela's Constitution and maintains permanently kidnapped all of its public institutions; commits electoral fraud; ferociously represses peaceful and unarmed Venezuelans; [and] closes the media. This is what you really call "a troglodyte gorilla"!

- UnoAmerica [in Spanish]

Chavez is Zelaya's mentor and sponsor. It's ultimately from his claws hands that The Heroes of June 28 have rescued Honduras.

photo of the day

Hondurans peacefully rally today in Tegucigalpa in support of the interim government and the removal of Zelaya. The large sign reads "Let's defend our constitution."

Obama's statement

We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras.

- President Barack Obama, Daily Mail, UK

With all due respect, Mr. Obama, at best this statement makes you sound alarmingly uninformed as to what really occurred in Honduras, at worst it makes you sound like a spineless wimp. It would seem that you are allowing Hugo Chavez and Raul Castro to intimidate you into supporting a would-be despot. The Honduran officials and institutions who stood up to protect the country's constitution and democracy from the head-on assault by Mr. Zelaya are true heroes and should be recognized as such. We can only hope that U.S. attitudes and actions behind the scenes don't match your disappointing public statements (no matter how diplomatically-correct they may be).

Zelaya: the problem, not the solution

Warts and all, the U.S. should find a way to recognize that the new government of Honduras has preserved constitutional order and that Zelaya is the problem, not the solution.

- Ray Walser, National Review Online

Mr. Walser, I can assure you that the vast majority of Hondurans agree with you on this point. We don't want Zelaya back in power. He is grave threat to our democracy. The interim government must remain in place, we must have our scheduled elections in November, and come January 28, 2010 when the newly elected President assumes power we can put this unfortunate episode in our country's history behind us.

Monday, June 29, 2009

former Bush official's viewpoint

Zelaya's self-serving lawlessness was ignored completely by OAS leadership and, as far as one can tell, by every government in the region that now dares to pass judgment on Honduras' constitutional order. The feckless regional diplomats who have failed to confront undemocratic caudillos in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Honduras are complicit in their abuses. Today, they have neither the credibility nor moral authority to pass judgment on those desperate patriots who act to defend their freedom, in Honduras or anywhere else.

- Roger Noriega, Forbes.com

I just commented to a friend that I'm surprised to find myself wishing that there was currently a Republican President in the U.S. White House. Obama's Administration is appearing clueless and weak in regard to this crisis in Honduras. Now I finally understand why Americans re-elected George Bush to a second term. When your freedom and "your way of life" are at stake, you want someone who is going to help you fight to retain them, regardless of how unpalatable this person may otherwise be.

no dictator for me, thank you

The struggle against chavismo has never been about left-right politics. It is about defending the independence of institutions that keep presidents from becoming dictators. This crisis clearly delineates the problem. In failing to come to the aid of checks and balances, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Insulza expose their true colors.

- Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal

I would say their "true colors" is ignorance of the particular situation Honduras was facing. Mel Zelaya was well on his way to becoming a Honduran version of Hugo Chavez. I am proud that the Honduran institutions stood up to this despot wannabe and that our constitution and our democracy have prevailed.

As is typical, our government is composed of three branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. These checks and balances were put in place precisely to negate a rogue President the ability to unravel our democracy. The "international community" needs to wake the hell up, smell the Honduran coffee, and respect the actions taken by our institutions to ensure the continuance of democracy in this endeavoring little country.

all is calm

All is calm today in Honduras as the country moves forward from the historical events of the past few days. Given our sordid history of dictators and coups, the authors of the 1982 Constitution included provisions to protect it from exactly the type of actions former President Manuel Zelaya was attempting to carry out. Ninety-eight percent of the Constitution can be modified by the Congress, however there are certain 'bedrock articles' that cannot be reformed. These include articles referring to the form of government, the presidential term, and the prohibition of any citizen to be President once he or she has already held that position in any form (article 374). Any attempt to reform these articles are considered the crime of sedition. Mr. Zelaya's attempt to call a new constitutional assembly were clearly aimed at undoing these articles, as otherwise there would be no need for a new constitutional assembly. [Note also that the only institution authorized to call a constitutional assembly in Honduras is the Congress, by majority vote of the deputies.] It can be argued that yesterday's events were not a coup d'etat but rather just the system working as it was designed to. The 1982 Constitution remains in effect today and the election of Mr. Micheletti by Congress to replace Mr. Zelaya was done in accordance with the law.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

our new president

Roberto Micheletti (right of center) has been elected as the new President of Honduras by the Honduran Congress, following the process prescribed by the country's laws for presidential succession. Mr. Micheletti was formerly Speaker of the Honduran Congress. Former President Manuel Zelaya apparently signed a letter of resignation before he was forced out of the country by the Honduran military for attempting against the country's constitution and disobedience of court rulings.

Micheletti is sworn in by congressional authorities. In his first address the new President declared that the November 2009 General Elections will proceed as scheduled. [He is not a candidate for said elections, for which the primaries have already been held.]

zelaya arrested

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was arrested this morning by the Honduran military and taken out of the country (apparently to Costa Rica). Zelaya was insisting on moving forward with an "opinion poll" scheduled for today (Sunday, June 28) that had been declared illegal by the Honduran judiciary, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and the Honduran Congress (parliament). The poll would have asked Hondurans if they approved or not of the placement of a "4th urn" in the November 2009 general elections that would be used to officially poll citizens regarding the establishment of constitutional assembly to change the country's constitution. The current constitution (1982) forbids any action to replace it and labels such actions as sedition. The President's insistence on carrying out this dubious poll was in direct conflict with his oath of office to abide by the constitution and protect it. The constitution limits presidents to one 4-year term. It is widely assumed that, among other things, Mr. Zelaya wanted to get rid of this term limit and continue in power (a la Hugo Chavez). If the Honduran Congress declares Mr. Zelaya unfit to serve, he would be replaced by the President of the Congress -- Roberto Micheletti -- for the remainder of his term, which ends in January 2010.

Here in the islands everything is calm. We are just doing our best to keep updated on the events in Tegucigalpa. It's just another coup d'etat. No big whoop.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

is nudism a green vacation?

"Living more hours naked each day results in a dramatic drop in my laundry, which in turn reduces my water and energy use (along with my related bills),” Ms. Blanchard wrote. “It also reduces the amount of soap I release, in my case, into the Puget Sound."

-How Green Is a Nudist Vacation?, New York Times

Learn more about Paya Bay's naturist program here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

photo of the day

The hummingbirds loving the feeder.

dog days of summer

We've been having a little heatwave this week. The tradewinds have quieted down. This happens for about two weeks at the beginning and at the end of summer. Without the sea breeze to keep things cool, the heat can get a little intense. Lucky has learned that the sea is the place to head to cool off.

Ahhh! Much better!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

iran is surreal

The situation in Iran is surreal. If you believe in human rights, this will give you goosebumps. Watch until the end.

happy happy!

Birthday parties at Paya Bay are always fun, good energy events.

This young man even got a surprise piñata! Vroom-vroom!

To plan an event at Paya Bay, visit our events page.

Friday, June 19, 2009

cool shade

Miguel and Francisco work on adding coyol palm sticks to the trellis over part of the main deck. The sticks are placed closed together, yet some sunlight will still filter through, resulting in an energizing "glowing shade" effect.

tame lizard

A juvenile spiny-tailed rock iguana (Ctenosaura oedirhina) warms in the sun on the ramp to Paya Bay's restaurant. This one is regrowing its tail, which is usually twice the length of its body. As I walked by, it observed me intently, but didn't move an inch. This critically endangered species finds refuge here at Paya Bay. The International Iguana Foundation has initiated a program to protect these animals from extinction. More info here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

aura cleansing

We plan for Spa Payaná to feature treatments that include local folklore and spirituality. Over the next several weeks we will try different rites and rituals practiced in our local culture to determine which we could offer our guests. Today Lucy and I had an aura cleansing performed by a local spirit worker to get a sense of what the experience would be like. It was very interesting, and you do walk away from the adventure feeling 'cleansed.' If you will be staying with us and would like to try this, we can arrange it for you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

iranian elections

Courageous women fighting thugs for their human rights. I salute all Iranians who are standing up for justice tonight. Evil must be confronted and destroyed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

spa payaná

We have begun preliminary work on the area that will eventually become the Payaná Nature Spa. By 'nature spa' we mean a spa that is cleverly and respectfully woven into the beautiful nature that we have here at Paya Bay. We are finding the natural grottoes between the trees and rock formations in the sector we've selected, leveling these areas out, and connecting them with paths and/or stairs. Because of the high elevation of this area, many of these niches will also have incredible ocean views. Later we'll construct a series of "treatment huts" for the various natural treatments we'll be offering. Clients will find themselves immersed in lush and wonderful natural surroundings as they move between the treatment huts.

The general location of the nature spa, directly behind our private beach.

Some of the preliminary work. The goal is to work with nature and not remove a single tree.

Lucy and Macho Muffin visit the site.

I intend to have this project completed by the end of 2010, but we'll begin using the treatment huts as they come online.

Friday, June 12, 2009

blissing at the bliss bar

The Bliss Bar in the center of Paya Bay's dining room has become a favorite pre-dinner gathering place for our guests. Bartender Tom's special concoctions can definitely accelerate reaching the state of bliss.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

bliss beach [update]

Everyone has been inquiring about it, so I decided I'd better do an update on the beach bar project. The recession has slowed us down, but we are steadily moving forward with this project. First of all, the project now has a name: Bliss Beach. The logo is above.

Observe that the first and second levels are quite advanced. The project will ultimately have three separate levels.

Miguel works on the steps into the plunge pool.

A view toward the sea from the second level.

As always, we are striving for minimum impact on the site's sea palms, building around them instead of cutting any of them down.

I estimate four to six more weeks to get the pool level finished.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

our wonderful dogs

Recent guests Bob and Tammy sent us these awesome photographs of the resort's two dogs: Lucky and Foxy.

Lucky. He's a badass (just like his daddy).

Ms. Foxy. Caring and sweet as sugar.

Lucky exploring the wetlands. He's part Lab and loves the water.

At play on the beach.

So much good energy and happiness!

This photo is National Geographic quality. Way to go, Bob!
Photo credits: Bob Gerhardt

Monday, June 1, 2009

p&t series, part 2

Capitulating to our sense of adventure, Petra, Trevor and I made a stop at the 'floating bar' in Blue Rock harbor as part of the mangrove canal tour. This folkloric island bar was constructed atop the hull of a boat that floats in the middle of the harbor. It's ingenious: No flies and no wives!

One of the local señoritas poses with my friends.

Doing the Obama fist bump. Good times, good times!

p&t series, part 1

Atlanta friends Petra and Trevor were down here in Roatan this past week. We went on the mangrove canal tour in the Oak Ridge/Jonesville area on the South side of the island. It was a blast!

A nice view of one of the narrow mangrove canals.

In addition to the mangrove canals, this tour is a cultural experience as it allows visitors to see a typical island town with homes on stilts built along the water's edge.

A map of this fun tour. I give it two thumbs up and definitely recommend it!

snorkeling in the cove

Two guests explore the waters of Secret Cove, Paya Bay Resort.