Although she lost her job at a local hospital because of the pandemic, Verdial said she already did a Costco run for items to send to her home country. She gave them to a friend who organized the drive. She added that her friend in Miami and her sister in Alabama had to pay for private transportation to send the boxes.
"The government is offering to take it for free to Honduras, but who knows if it will actually get there or if when they deliver them, they'll claim it's from the government instead of us," Verdial said.
When asked about that, Diaz Aleman said the government tries to ensure all humanitarian aid can be used before allowing it inside the country.
"We have our process, like all other countries, to check that all products and medicines entering are in perfect condition. Can you imagine if an expired medicine caused someone's death?" he said.
He suggested anyone who has "the tiniest doubt" about how the products will be distributed can donate money directly to Hondurans or send it through other organizations, like churches.
Karen Pineda, a resident of El Hatillo, a mountainous community in Tegucigalpa, described the Honduran government customs regulations as "the cherry on top of the sundae."
She cited a controversy earlier this week that erupted after the government of El Salvador tried to send 124 trucks full of humanitarian aid but couldn't get across the border, because the Honduran immigration authorities said they didn't have the necessary paperwork. The next day, the trucks went through and hundreds of Hondurans celebrated with fireworks and a caravan at the border, according to local reports.
"This is scandalous," said the owner of an events business. "The government should be speeding up the customs process, not the opposite. If it wasn't for the private sector and for other citizens, for the international aid, this country would be lost."
That sentiment has been echoed by many in Honduras, who have adopted as their motto the popular Latin American saying "Solo el pueblo salva al pueblo," or "Only the people save the people."
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