“The image of the hand in the mud says it all.” Steve Elkins

“The image of the hand in the mud says it all.”

Steve Elkins

Photography credit goes to English photographer Sean Hawkey.

This is how the vast majority of the Honduran people have been holding on for dare life since the 1970s while drowning in the mud of pain, starvation, desperation, and hopelessness.

It was back in 1974 when hurricane Fifi devastated the already impoverished nation, killing thousands and breaking the poor farmers back while crippling the already struggling small businesses.

While the army grew to inflict pain upon the poor, the rich grew richer, stronger, and more powerful, of course. Honduras possesses one of the largest and most powerful armies in Latin America, sponsored in great part by the United States of American taxpayers.

It also boasts of the largest gap between the poor and the rich, with the poor being the largest number in this hemisphere. Although I’m not concerned with the rich and their disparities.

Right now, I am concerned with the US. Sponsored army and its functions, since

I was kidnapped at age 15 by the army, thrown into a commando truck, taken down to the port authority, and forced at gunpoint to unload the ships that arrived at the docks, loaded with donations, following hurricane Fifi in 1974.

Tortured and constantly watched under military guards with loaded M16s, my only crime was that of being a poor black kid. We worked without being allowed water nor food from 8:00 PM until 8:00 AM the following morning. I remember crying and weeping all the way home while wishing to be dead.

The saddest part of all of this was that:

These donations were then loaded onto trains and trucks and transported up to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the capitol while passing by the poor and devastated areas, where the military brass and the political elite got their first pickings. Leaving behind the rotten potatoes and other putrid foods on the docks to rotten and share its stench with the poor people of Puerto Cortes.

The pain felt after being starved, threatened, tortured that dreadful night still lives on and is easily reawakened when I see others being faced with the injustices. Although it was then that I saw and felt the true signs that corruption was indeed choking the air we breathe. And I beg God aloud in prayer to not let me have not even a dog born in that country that I might never have to return to live as such, never mind a child.

My focus and prayers then shifted into doing such, as I concentrate on helping to get each and every one of my siblings and my mother out of Honduras… a growing brutal suffering to see all of the friends left behind. Feeling very blessed to have been able to escape the dripping torture.

After 8 years of sailing the world on different ships, saving my little monies, it was accomplished by faith and prayers before I reach the age of 30. “ To God Be The Glory!” And the list of gratitude to all of those who helped grew by the minute into months.

Human rights as a whole must be first implemented in Honduras. So much so is the continuous immorality and lack of humanity towards our people that the political greed is now stapled, adhering humanitarian food donations to curve their hunger, which is now linked to their vote.

During my days growing up as a teenager in the 1970’s, the Honduran army did not have a recruiting office. They didn’t need one, but they had lots of commando trucks.

A young man could be in the movie theater, a dancehall, or even on a soccer field. When the army needed to replace their quota, as discharge time arrived for one group.  They simply rolled into town and just pulled up near a movie theater, a dance club, soccer field and began beating and kidnapped a young man from 15 age on.

Sometimes they just sent the MPs in to turn the lights on, shut off the music; next, they know they were being lined up at some jailhouse, being stripped, searched, and demanding by some corporal to forcibly squeeze their genitals and cough. Reason as to why by the age of 15, I was already gone and not as a caravan, nor walking toward no border. God had indeed blessed me. I was a full-fledged mariner, sailing onboard the US. Flag tug, SS. Atlas under the command of Captain David Spicer, (retired US. Navy, US. Coastguard), to whom I credit for saving my life and shaping me into one of the best Mariners. It was all as if a miracle, and as if God indeed had heard and answered my prayers. I’m still in shock even today, nearly 50 years later, as of how things happened so fast.

Kinda long stories that I planned to one day share in a book, but I was caught 4 different times and each time I got away, once even shot at, and it was then I chosen a self-imposed exile. Caught by the military once, while on a vacation of my Greek tanker ship, while spending time in Honduras. I was in the company of a former shipmate from grand caymans. Too much of a long story, but rather funny how I pretended to not speak Spanish and to be foreign-born.

After being shot at, was when I had decided never to return to Honduras until I had become a US. Citizen, I’d spent nearly 10 years without seeing my mother while being in exile because back then, no one said no to the Honduran army and live to talk about it. Mother understood, although other family and friends perhaps didn’t.

One of the main reasons that I became a US citizen, and I was the happiest of person’s primarily because I realized that I could never again be forced to carry a rifle and shoot anyone down. At a very young age I wondered and pondered. Nobody is attacking Honduras.

Honduras doesn’t need an army, except but to further oppress its poor, and I decided that I wasn’t going to be any part of that.

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