"Teatro in Time of Plague – 69

Monday, January 11, 2021 - 127, 945 cases, 3, 273 deaths.

The morning was all blue and sunny; it clouded up around noon and got cooler again. Tiempo online has an article which claims that the number of deaths per day of Covid is greater than the number of murders. The same is true in all the Central American countries. A considerable accomplishment for Covid, given that we’re talking about the most violent countries in the world.

Daywing, our Nicaraguan Jesuit who was down with Covid, got a clean “negative” bill of health today. Jacky, the cook, continues at home without her case being especially bad.

We had another planning meeting in the teatro. Things look pretty good to me; I think we can take advantage of the whole situation (Covid and everything else) to make the teatro work better. I’m especially excited about the possibilities of radioteatro.

Representatives of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras met today to reinforce their commitment to cut out irregular migration. They are very nervous in the face of the caravan announced for Friday.

JOH seems to be looking for the way to avoid being extradited to the States for charges of drug trafficking. Like cancelling the next election so he can remain in power and not get indicted. (They seem to shy away from indicting a sitting president).

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 128, 701 cases, 3, 285 deaths.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 129, 805 cases, 3, 294 deaths.

Overcast with a bit of drizzle once in a while. I spent the day mostly with Luis doing computer things.

American Airlines will have its first flight tomorrow, to Miami. United and Delta resume flights in the next couple of days. So they have the airpot up and running. The US just announced that starting 26 January all travelers to the US will have to present a COVID test that is no older than 72 hours. That’s been the case with other countries (I know of Mexico and Dominican Republic for sure, and know there are others). Curious that the US took this long.

I am beginning to get this clearer: vaccinations will be coming through Covax, which is some kind of entity supported by the World Health Organization and other entities to get vaccinations to poor countries. It will cover a tiny portion of the population. There is a lot of noise that the rich countries are monopolizing control of the vaccines.

Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 131, 403 cases, 3, 335 deaths.

We are fourth in Central America for per capita cases. I went to San Pedro Sula today for the first time in quite a while. Luis and I went to do computer things. Things have dried out along the highway, but there is still a lot of accumulated trash from the hurricanes – and the plastic tent cities are still very strong. There is dust where there had been mud. Luis went in by a route I hadn’t ever done before (there’s always time to learn something new). We went to TecnoComp and they didn’t have what we were looking for; we went to another place whose name I don’t remember and they DID have it. We stopped for a coffee, then went looking for the battery for my telephone. We would have had to wait until 2:00 in the afternoon (it was 11:00) so we decided major look for it in Progreso. Luis took another route that was new to me to get to the highway for Progreso.

Pizza Hut had a stand where they were giving out pizzas to the people in the tent cities; that site has disappeared.

The caravan announced for tomorrow is already forming up, meeting in the San Pedro Sula bus station; a group already started yesterday evening. It looks to be a huge group, mostly whole families. The core constituency is those who lost everything in the hurricanes. Guatemala has declared a national emergency in the face of their entrance. They are going to the border of Corinto, taking the route from San Pedro Sula to Puerte Cortés and then Omoa – basically following the seacoast. As Hondurans the can enter in Guatemala legally with only an official Honduran id; There are covid test requirements on top of that, which I seriously doubt most of these people would have (they are expensive).

A Chinese vaccine, called CoronaVac, was supposed to be the solution for a cheap vaccine for the third world. But they have been using it in Brazil and say it has only 50% efficacy. Seems to me they should look for other solutions.

Friday, January 15, 2021 - 131, 963 cases, 3, 335 deaths.

A very pleasant day, partly cloudy and the sun didn’t get too hot. A miracle at the bank this morning: I walked in and walked up to a teller, no wait at all. The caravan set off this morning in the wee hours. They are taking a different route from the group that left yesterday. Radio Progreso estimates 6, 000 people in the main group, with a lot of whole families. They first head to the border at Agua Caliente – I forget the name of the town on the Guatemala side there. Esquipulas is the first large town in Guatemala. That border will be their first challenge. A Honduran needs a valild government I.D. to enter Guatemala; he/she also needs (now) a proof of negative Covid. Honduran, Mexican and Guatemalan officials are working closely together to try to knock this thing out. They will be giving Trump a servile good-bye. I would bet that most of these people will not be able to enter Guatemala, much less Mexico. But let us see. They are being pestered by police and military here in Honduras, checking their I.D. and general pestering.

Update a little later: Radio Progreso says that only part of the group is going to the border at Agua Caliente; the main group is going by the route of the Copán ruins, to the border station of El Florido. The groups would have split up in La Entrada. Of the group that went yesterday, a good number have already been deported from Guatemala. Luis launched a new project: SolidarizArte. Giving local artists (especially musicians) a venue in the midst of the pandemic. Hector Lezama led off tonight, with an audience of about ten people properly distanced, plus all the Facebook fans. I haven’t seen yet how many people we got – nor how much has been deposited in Hector’s account.

Saturday, January 16, 2021 - 132, 412 cases, 3, 344 deaths

A “mass of cold air” is upon us – it rained (fairly hard) all night and on and off all day. They predict this will continue tomorrow. I imagine all the dust has returned to its form of mud. Luis had my computer all day today, installing a new hard drive and more RAM, as well as migrating all the content of the old disk to the new one. His word is that things are going well. He cleaned all the interior.

The caravan continues in three distinct groups: those who entered at Corinto (the seacoast route), those at Florido (the Copán route), and those who entered at Agua Caliente (the Ocotepeque route). Radio Progreso has reporters going with them. The police and the military are pestering them, about papers and whatever they can think of: all oriented to discouraging them and getting them to turn back voluntarily. But the makeup of this caravan is special: it’s whole families who have lost everything in the hurricanes, everybody from great Grandmothers to infants. They have nothing to lose, quite literally. As far as I can tell there hasn’t been any violent confrontation yet.

On Saturdays when we don’t have a show I normally listen to the Saturday night concert of the St. Louis Symphony – I have the St. Louis Public Radio App on my telephone. In pandemic time they are broadcasting recordings of former years. Highly recommended. I certainly hope the St. Louis Symphony and other orchestras survive the pandemic.

The containers of the La Ceiba mobile hospital have finally gone there, all 29 of them. Now let’s see how long it takes to set it up. We’re only ten months into the pandemic.

Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 133, 507 cases, 3, 348 deaths.

Overcast all day but very little rain.

The main group of the caravan is the one that went the route of the Copán Ruins. They have run into a serious roadblock consisting of massed Guatemalan troops forming a formidable human barrier. This was in a place called Vado Hondo in the zone of Chiquimula Guatemala. (I didn’t get straight how they got through the border or how they slept last night). The first barricade is made up of police, the second, about 20 meters behind, of military police, the third, another 20 meters or so behind, of regular army. All with the Star Wars weapons and shields and masks. The more you see of the people, you can see it’s really true that this is a caravan of hurricane survivors, whole families who have lost everything. They milled around in Vado Hondo and bought out its food supply. What little money people had is pretty much spent. I haven’t seen what they are doing for the night. And have seen no reports about the other two groups, the one that entered at Corinto and the one that entered at Agua Caliente. (The Radio Progreso reporter is with the largest of the three, that of Vado Hondo. You can get their coverage on https://radioprogresohn.net/ or on their Facebook page.

Keep safe and wash your hands,





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