Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sometimes a picture says it all.

The picture in the middle is of ex-president Zelaya hanging out with his buddies Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) and Raul Castro (Cuba) yesterday in Nicaragua. Please note that he is the one that the EU and the USA are now supporting and say should be returned to power. All of the other pictures were taken (without permission) from the websites of Honduran news agencies La Prensa, El Heraldo, and La Tribuna of a peaceful march that took place today in the capital city of Tegucigalpa in support of the new government and in support of freedom. The picture center left is of an older lady holding up a copy of the constitution - the very same constitution that Zelaya tried to usurp and that the rest of the democratically elected government protected when they removed him from office.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #6 A word from our director

Once again, we are well. There is no additional concern for our safety at this time.

Here is a letter from our director Jeff Mckenny:

Dear Friends,
As most of you know these past few weeks have been interesting and tense times in Honduras. Despite clear opposition to the plan from the great majority of legitimate authority in Honduras, the former president of Honduras (Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales) was pushing hard to hold a “ non-binding” referendum to demonstrate support for a revision of the “un-revisable” articles of the Honduran Constitution, this in an apparent move to indefinitely retain power when his current term in office expired at the end of this year. This “referendum” was ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court of Honduras. It was determined to be illegal by the congress of Honduras ( by an overwhelming majority of both parties). It was determined to be illegal by the Attorney General of Honduras, and was opposed by everyone from the Honduran Human Rights Ombudsman to the Bishops and Cardinal of Honduras to the major Honduran evangelical groups. Tensions increased last week when the supreme court of Honduras ordered the Military and Police to not support this illegal referendum. When the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ( Gen. Vasquez Velasquez) agreed that he would follow the order of the supreme court, then president Zelaya fired him. The chiefs of the Navy, Army, and Air Force all resigned in solidarity with Gen. Vasquez, as did the Minister of Defense. The Supreme Court then re-instated Gen. Vasquez. When then president Zelaya continued to move ahead with his plan for an illegal referendum, the supreme court, backed by the congress ordered the arrest and expulsion of President Zelaya. On Sunday morning, ex- president Zelaya was flown to Costa Rica, leaving behind a signed letter of resignation which has been published read and unanimously accepted by the Congress. Later in the day on Sunday, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela sent a plane to Costa Rica and Zelaya was flown to Nicaragua. Roberto Micheletti, Liberal Party President of the Congress has been sworn in as President, and the referendum was essentially cancelled.
Inside Honduras things have been remarkably calm. There has been a curfew called for 9 PM 28 June to 6 AM 29 June and 9 PM 29 June to 6 AM 30 June. No curfew and no other curtailment of Constitutional rights has been announced officially. Although 500 Venezuelan professional agitators have been flown in and have set up small but raucous demonstrations in San Pedro and Tegucigalpa, as best we can tell there is calm and order throughout the country. We have in the past 30 minutes checked all internet news, found a lot of evidence of saber rattling and name calling from many spokesmen/ officials outside of the country. These range from all of the usual suspects ( Chavez, Castro, Ortega) to the misinformed major media outlets and also to the heads of state of many western countries... All calling inexplicably for Zelaya to be returned to power ( which the vast majority of the country pretty clearly does not want) and calling this a military coup( which it wasn’t). We have also checked with all the major airlines, (despite rumors to the contrary they are open and currently running normally except where affected by the curfew). We checked with the American Embassy multiple times. Their official advise is that “American Citizens defer all non-essential travel to Honduras until further notice”, and additionally advise “American Citizens residing in and visiting Honduras to restrict travel to necessary trips only on June 29 2009”. They also “ strongly recommend that American Citizens abide by “ the 9 PM to 6 AM curfew 29 June. We have checked with the Policia de Transito, and though there have apparently been demonstrations at the Puente de Democracia @ El Progresso, they say that the bridge is open. However, we just checked with one bus line “ Cotuc”, and they are not running today as they say that demonstrations have closed bridges. Additionally we have tried to contact other buslines several times and they are currently not responding to phone calls. We also asked Joel / Cynthia who have relatives in El Progresso re. the bridge there. They concur that there have been demonstrations, but we have no confirmation whether the bridge is currently open or not. Iain Mckenzie is planning to take a group through to the airport in SPS tomorrow AM. We should know later in the day how that travel went from a first hand report.
So, what do we advise/request? We advise and request the following:
1.) Pray for Honduras. Pray that outside influences will not have their uninformed or agenda driven sway and that the Honduran people and the Honduran Legal and Constitutional processes be allowed to decide our own way. Pray also please for guidance, courage and wisdom for the legitimate authorities, and that God’s peace would continue to reign.
2.) Stay informed. This is a very fluid situation that seems to change hourly. Our internet system is working well and is an excellent way to get/ stay informed. We have found that the Honduran newspapers online are the most reliable and up to date sources.
3.) Abide by the curfew and any other curfew’s or advisories posted on the US Embassy’s website.
4.)Communicate with family/friends/supporters. Feel free to use the above synopsis of recent & current events if you’d like.
5.) Come up with a personal plan for yourself and your family, considering food/ travel plans/finances. We’d be glad to advise on a case by case basis.
6.) We will try to send out an update in the next 24-48 hours.
7.) Again.......Pray for Honduras... Pray that this is not just resolved well and peacefully and in the best interest of Honduras, and by Hondurans, but that God would be honored in the process and that we would do our part by living out His Gospel among these People, in this Nation.
Jeff Mckenney for Loma de Luz.

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #5

Please know that we are safe and do not feel any sense of danger at all here where we are on the North Coast of Honduras. We are having a normal day here (whatever that means) and are keeping close tabs on what is happening in relation to the crisis.

The entire world seems aligned against Honduras this morning and mis-aligned with the facts of what is being characterized as a military coup. In previous updates I've explained why what has happened does not fit with the Webster's definition of a coup, but rather a legal action by a deocratically elected government whose president was breaking the law.

I've chosen four articles that seem to reflect the truth of the situation for anyone who would like to read more and be more informed about what is really happening:

The first two articles are from the Wall Street Journal:

Honduran Officials Defend Coup

Opinion: Honduras Defends Its Democracy

These two articles are from personal blogs from people that I have no knowledge of at all. I presume they are Honduran, but I have no idea who they are. What they have to say rings true with everything I know about the situation and the facts leading up to the crisis. I really appreciate the information contained in their articles and their stance for democracy here in Honduras:

Hondurans For Democracy

The Silent Majority of Honduras Speaks

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #4

The situation here seems to be calm from our very remote perspective in the jungle on the north coast of Honduras. The president of Honduras was arrested this morning and is now in exile in Costa Rica. Most news reports have him flying to Venezuela tonight and then on to Nicaragua tomorrow. The legislature has sworn in his successor, and the new president has issued a two-day curfew from 9pm until 6am. What protests we are aware of seem to be peaceful. Honestly, much of the country seems to be breathing a sigh of relief tonight. Things have been escalating for weeks and it certainly didn't seem like that was any other alternative than to arrest Zelaya. He simply wouldn't stop and he wouldn't recognize the authority of the congress (to pass laws) and the Supreme Court (to declare his actions illegal according to the constitution).

**Warning, the following comments are political in nature and reflect my deeply conservative bias. Please forgive me if they offend you in any way.

The world's reaction to the events of the day are puzzling at best. All of the news reports and the statements by governments are calling this a coup. If you check your dictionary you'll see that a coup is an (sudden) overthrow of a government. That did not happen today. Indeed Zelaya has been trying to usurp the authority of the other two branches of government with his actions of the last few weeks. If anyone was trying to overthrow the government, it was him. The Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the Legislature have all declared his actions illegal, and then all called for his dismissal. The Supreme Court issued an order for his arrest which the military carried out, and then the legislature impeached him and then installed the next in line for the presidency according to the constitution as the president. Tell me, does that sound like someone overthrew the government, or does that sound like the government worked as it should have in a moment of intense crisis when the sitting president decided to willfully violate the constitution in an effort to re-write it for his benefit? Coup? I think not.

I am most dismayed by the reaction of the Obama administration. Indeed, I am embarrassed by their reaction. The Wall Street Journal has been much more well informed and has displayed a response more in keeping with the support of democracy than has the Obama administration. Secretary Clinton has said that the "only legitimate president of Honduras is Zelaya", and that they are working to restore him to power peacefully. What!? The only stronger statements in support of Zelaya have come from Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba! Note to Obama: this is not good company to be in. I would like to ask Obama and Secretary Clinton one thing: what should the government of Honduras have done today? Zelaya has wasn't just trying to buy himself a little bit more power, he was trying to effect enduring change in the constitution in an entirely illegal manner that would benefit himself. Shouldn't you be supporting the democratic option here in Honduras? If so, then you're backing the WRONG GUY! The Obama administration was either entirely uninformed and caught flat-footed by this crisis, or worse, has chosen knowingly to support the left-wing socialist to the detriment of democracy.

I suppose I am showing my age and my deeply conservative bias with this next statement, but I sure wish Ronald Reagan were in the White House. I can just hear him issuing a statement in support of democracy here in Honduras and throughout the world and telling Chavez that he would be well advised not to meddle in the affairs of other nations as he has done in this case.

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #3 President arrested

President Zelaya has been arrested this morning by the military. This will be characterized by the media as a coup, but it is not. The supreme court has ruled the actions of the president illegal. The legislature, including key leadership in the president's own party, have declared the vote that the president is pursuing illegal. The attorney general of Honduras has called for the president to be arrested as one who is breaking the law. In this case, the military was well within its jurisdiction to arrest the president. The government seems to be collecting the ballots that have been illegally distributed by the president (these ballots were provided by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela)and the "vote" that was scheduled for today seems to be off. So far today, I am not aware of any violence. Please pray that there will be a peaceful and legal transition of power. Please pray for Roberto Micheletti, the president of the legislature, who would be next in line for the presidency as the Vice President had resigned months ago. Please pray that those who are in power now would only use their power to achieve free and fair elections this coming November and to safeguard the constitution of this country and that they would not take advantage of their newly won powers for any personal gain. Thank you and God Bless. DF

Friday, June 26, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #2

It is hard to tell whether or not the situation here is really getting worse today or if this is just a lot of political posturing going on. President Zelaya has reportedly been distributing ballot boxes today in defiance of the Supreme Court order rendering the vote illegal and banning him from holding the vote. The military chiefs who were fired have been reinstated by the Supreme Court and President Zelaya has refused to rescind their firing. They have stated that they are now rightfully back in power of the military, whether the president recognizes that or not. I suppose that is a good thing.

Perhaps the most troubling news of the day is that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has announced that he is considering getting involved in the crisis. This may just be saber rattling, but one could easily see him moving military forces into Honduras in support of Zelayas so that he could "annex" Honduras through Zelayas. There is a story in the Honduran Newspaper La Prensa this evening that indicates that Chavez is considering "intervening". This would really be a worst case scenario for the crisis here in Honduras. It may well just be more inflammatory words from this foolish man, but it is unsettling to say the least. Please remember that this is the same man whom President Obama shook hands with and gladly accepted a book on socialism from at a recent summit. We know that Chavez has regional aspirations and we know that he faces a very weak US Government right now that would in all likelihood let him march right into Tegucigalpa.

Please pray that Chavez (and Zelaya) would be shackled by the Holy Spirit and that the people of Honduras would rise up and defend their country from threats interior and exterior to the country.

On a personal note, it has been a long and tiring day. Two hospital patients died today - one a young girl with an inoperable brain tumor and the second a young man who was a victim of machete violence. It has been an emotionally draining day. We went to La Ceiba today for groceries and had a flat tire, but thank the Lord it was in a good location and I was able to change the tire pretty quickly and get it repaired. It is a good picture of what life can be like down here - very draining. It is 9:20 pm and I feel like it is midnight.... time for bed - but first - time for prayer.....please join me.

Thank you and God Bless. DF.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #1

Dear Friends,

We hope that this post finds you all well. We will be sending out our next newsletter in a couple of week and I'll wait until then to tell you more about how we are doing, but please know that we are well. We write tonight to ask you to pray for an urgent political crisis that is developing here in Honduras.

The current president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, has called for a referendum vote this Sunday on whether or not to hold a further vote that would seek to seat a constitutional assembly and in effect, re-write the constitution. Following in the footsteps of Chavez in Venezuela and Ortega in Nicaragua, president Zelaya hopes to eliminate term limits and install himself as dictator of Honduras. The rest of the democratically elected government stands in opposition to Zelaya and his plan. We hope that this will be enough to stop him, but we are especially concerned about recent developments. Last night, the top military officer here in Honduras bravely told the president that he would not carry out the executive order to hold the vote (the Army's traditional role here when there is a vote) since the Supreme Court had declared it illegal. He was summarily fired and the chief officers of the Army, Air Force, and Navy all resigned in a show of solidarity with them. The defense minister also resigned. The president has positioned troops around his residence in the capital city in Tegucigalpa and the Attorney General has called for his dismissal.

Please join us in praying for the stability of the country and for the safety of the people here, and also for the long term stability of the work here at Loma de Luz.

Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal about the crisis: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124597369604957305.html

Sunday may prove to be a particularly dangerous day here in Honduras for the Honduran people if the crisis continues to escalate. We do not believe that our family is in any danger (we certainly won't be traveling Sunday). Please pray for the people of Honduras:

-for safety in the midst of this crisis for those that are demonstrating and for whatever may happen Sunday

-for the rule of law to be upheld

-for wisdom for the chief of the armed forces and for those in positions of power within the government

-for this fragile democracy to hold fast

If you are interested in finding out more, I'll post some updates on the blog at www.davefields.blogspot.com over the next few days. Thank you for your prayers.

Dave and Marinajo Fields
Hospital Loma De Luz

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mariah's Baptism Video!

Mariah's Baptism - Easter 2009. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sarai - why we are here.

It started yesterday evening about 5:00 pm as I was leaving the office here at the hospital. John Alden (the doctor on call that evening) came racing up the hill in his truck and drove around the corner to the back door of the hospital in a manner that told me something "was up". Since my office is near the "Emergency Room" (2 beds), I could also hear some pretty strong crying coming from the windows - which are always open. I thought I would walk down to the ER and see what had just come in and see if I could lend a hand. As soon as I walked in the room I saw John standing at the head of the bed over a child who obviously had a pretty good head injury. One look from John told me that he was pretty concerned. I took up station next to the girl and started rubbing her shoulder and trying to calm her. The ten or eleven year old girl had been involved in pretty serious bike crash and had a nasty gash on the top of her head. It went almost down to the skull and was several inches in every direction. Fortunately my years as an EMT prepared me well for this type of thing and I was able to help out without passing out. As I gave her the shh,shh,shh,shh,shh that a father might give a crying child, I rubbed her arm and told her that everything was all right as best as I could in Spanish. I really felt the presence and peace of the Lord as I calmed her and she almost immediately stopped crying and closed her eyes.
Soon after, in a coincidence that can only be attributed to God, some visiting anesthetists just happened to walk by several hours after their scheduled surgeries had all been completed and were able to assist John with sedating the young girl so that he could stitch her up. After cleaning her up and stitching her up she was admitted to the hospital overnight for observation and rest. While John was working on her, I went out and sat down with the mom and prayed with her (I am just learning to pray with people in Spanish - imagine the equivalent of a baby crawling). Her mother needed so badly to know that her baby was out of danger. After consulting with John, I was able to go back out there and tell her that she was indeed out of danger. I found out that the little girl's name was Sarai (I am probably not spelling this correctly).
The next day (today), I went to visit Sarai a couple of times. She tensed up immediately when I came up to her bed as if I knew her this morning - she did not remember me at all. So I took the curtain that was hanging around her bed and made a makeshift skirt out of it and started dancing the hula for her. Her laughter was such a blessing. Hearing children laugh when they are hurting is so beautiful.
This evening as I was leaving the office around 6pm (almost dark here) I encountered little Sarai and her mother leaving the hospital. They had convinced John to let her go home, but didn't have a ride to their home village of Limeras (about a 20 minute drive) and the buses had stopped running for the day. I was able to give them a ride home and I know that God took me by them at just the right time to be able to pick them up.
It occurred to me, on the way home, that this is really why we are here. The computer work that I do here makes me "useful" and gives us a legitimate reason to be here - but we are here to participate in what God is doing through the work of Hospital Loma De Luz. Our little hospital makes such a big difference in the lives of people here each and every day. Many of our doctors and nurses get to be involved in stories like this every day, for me it is less frequent. I'm so thankful for this little reminder of why we are here.