July 23, 2009

Getting Out Of Honduras

I actually flew out of Tegucigalpa 20 years ago and I can confirm the airport was crappy and dangerous even back then. At the time, I was planning to bus my way to Colombia, but then the USA sent 10,000 troops to the border with Nicaragua overnight, and I figured a few days on a Carribbean beach might be a better idea.

Zelaya, Negroponte and the Controversy at Soto Cano
The mainstream media has once again dropped the ball on a key aspect of the ongoing story in Honduras: the U.S. airbase at Soto Cano, also known as Palmerola. Prior to the recent military coup d’etat President Manuel Zelaya declared that he would turn the base into a civilian airport, a move opposed by the former U.S. ambassador. What’s more Zelaya intended to carry out his project with Venezuelan financing.

For years prior to the coup the Honduran authorities had discussed the possibility of converting Palmerola into a civilian facility. Officials fretted that Toncontín, Tegucigalpa’s international airport, was too small and incapable of handling large commercial aircraft. An aging facility dating to 1948, Toncontín has a short runway and primitive navigation equipment. The facility is surrounded by hills which makes it one of the world’s more dangerous international airports.

Palmerola by contrast has the best runway in the country at 8,850 feet long and 165 feet wide.

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