Honduras, a country of five families
A Honduran citizen asks for alms with her son in Tegucigalpa. |Efe
- 40% of GDP in the hands of a handful of surnames of Jewish and Palestinian origin
- Almost all contribute economically with the two parties
- A handful of families coordinated before and after the coup d’état
Jacobo G. García | Tegucigalpa
Updated Saturday 11/28/2009 12:59 AM
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The only thing that resembles the walls of the labyrinthine streets of Tegucigalpa is that they are all covered in graffiti.
There are cement, remote colonial origin, electrified or topped by shards of crystals on tip to avoid assaults, but always painted and misspelled with phrases such as “Goriletti avajo”, “cardinal golpista” or “Turks out of Honduras”.
Almost all point to them; In a contest on “the most hated”, Micheletti, the church and the “Turks” would win by a landslide among those who were expelled from power on June 28, concentrating more insults and spray than anyone else. Even that the Army.
Michletti for stabbing ‘Mel’, his old friend in the Liberal Party.The Church for accusing Zelaya of being the culprit of leading the country to the current situation and the “Turks”, because they are the oligarchy. A term in disuse in the first world but in the poorest third of America, mean a handful of families coordinated before and after the coup that toppled the president who flirted with Chavez.
Although everyone calls them “Turks” they are actually families of Jewish origin who came from Arab countries during the 40s and 50s away from the desert and conflicts. They are the Rosenthal, the Facussé, the Larach, the Nasser, the Kafie or the Goldstein. Five surnames that control maquilas (assembly industries), thermal energy, telecommunications, tourism, banking, finance, media, cement and commerce, airports or the congress. Practically everything. They are the hard core of that 3% of Hondurans that controls 40% of the national production. They are the elect of a country with 70% of the poor.
Characters like Jaime Rosenthal, presidential candidate in 4 elections and owner of banks, airport, breweries, soccer teams and media. It has investments in cement, telephone companies, meat exports and insurance and telecommunications. Or the Facussé, related to the Nassers and who have spread their influence between politics and business for decades. They are the capos of the textile sector in a country dedicated to making many of the branded garments that later travel to the US. They also control chemical companies or precious woods. From these two families many ministers have left and there is no decision in the country that does not pass through their hands.
Most did not know how to read and did not speak Spanish when they arrived, but they prospered behind a counter, creating newspapers, mining or bringing electricity and telephone to the country. They married each other, sent their children to American universities, displaced the traditional bourgeoisie (of Spanish and German origin) and three generations later continue to control the country without admitting anyone to their club of ‘powerful’.
Powerful among the powerful
They are families like the Atala, owners of Banco Ficohsa or the Kafie “powerful among the powerful” according to the book Honduras; powers and political power coordinated by Víctor Meza. It is the most influential family group in the country and one of the largest in Central America thanks to its investments in banking, food or construction and its many contracts with the administration. “Tenders that hardly lose,” says the publication. Or the Canahuati, family of great influences not only because they control two newspapers but because it also owns bottling, pharmaceutical or fast food businesses such as Pizza Hut and KFC.
Almost all of them contribute economically with the two parties and with them met the US ambassador, Hugo Llorens, just a few hours after learning that Zelaya appeared in his pajamas in Costa Rica. He abroncó and shouted in such a way that more than one was offended, as explained to elmundo.es/América one of those present. For the first time, the United States did not seem to have heard of a coup in Honduras.
That is why the first repressive measures of the Obama administration were aimed at leaving many of these families without visas. They are behind the decision that elections are the band that closes the wound of Chavez. The