Honduras on edge ahead of presidential election

Fernanda is abruptly preparing for Sunday’s presidential election in Honduras: she is saving food.

“We do not know what will happen, we are worried that the food will run out,” said the young man, standing in line with his father outside a supermarket in Tegucigalpa headquarters and expecting to buy goods for two weeks. “We’re afraid it could be confusing.”

The last time Honduras voted in a presidential election, in 2017, sparked massive protests and violent crackdown on security forces that killed more than 20 people.

This time the left-wing leaders at the Libre Party Xiomara Castro and Nasry Asfula, the mayor of Tegucigalpa, are running for the National Party. At stake is the stability of one Central American country with the highest murder rate and the highest level of drug trafficking. Each year, tens of thousands of people travel from Honduras to the north to the US, making the US a very difficult country.

The most anticipated of the elections is the outgoing President, Juan Orlando Hernández, who won a second term in 2017 following a ruling by a court that allowed him to be re-elected.

Hernández, who started working in 2014, was named by the US as a conspiracy theorist to smuggle drugs into the US when his brother was arrested this year. Hernández says he accepted bribes from drug dealers and said they would “put drugs in the nose of gringos”. He denies the allegations.

In recent years, Central America has seen one of the world’s most devastating statistics, mass evictions and economic inequalities.

Preparations for Sunday’s survey have revealed the divisions that exist in the country. Pa at least 29 people have been killed in election-related violence, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

“I’m very worried about what we are seeing in Honduras, ‘” said Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “The election did not take place but political violence has already arrived.”

Xiomara Castro, Libre’s left-back, speaks © Luis Acosta / AFP via Getty Images

Conservatives fear Castro will try to establish a left-wing government aligned with Venezuela and Nicaragua. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

Hugo Noé Pino, a former Castro government coordinator, believes he can begin to change the frustration felt by many Hondurans. “A group of fraudulent and highly fraudulent drug dealers began to appear. . . government, ”he said. “The separation of powers is over. . . elections open up opportunities for change. “

In his campaign, Asfula has been more focused on improving infrastructure and creating projects. He has used the phrase “Fathers are different”, seemingly distant from Hernández.

A third candidate for the Liberal Party, Yani Rosenthal, has recently been sentenced to three years in prison in the US for embezzling funds from drug dealers.

Rosenthal said he made a wrong and you have learned from it. None of the three nominees answered the questionnaire.

The political alliance with drug trafficking does not help the image of Honduras with foreign currency, experts said.

“It’s a burden that doesn’t allow you to borrow a lot of money or allow you to make good money,” said Ricardo Castaneda, an economist and co-founder at Honduras in Icefi. “While there are still fears that it is a narco government, it will be difficult to change this.”

Investment is very important. Honduran economy fell by 9 percent last year during the epidemic. About a quarter of all household goods come from remittances, which are usually sent by Honduras to the US.

The country has the second highest poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean after Haiti, according to a World Bank. Unemployment and violence force hundreds of thousands of Hondurans to evacuate each year.

Almost 320,000 Hondurans met US police at the southern border in 2021, equivalent to more than 3 percent of the country’s population.

Juan Carlos Sikaffy, head of the Honduran Private Enterprise Council (Cohep), said the business wants to grow. “We in the private sector want to wake up on November 29 and be able to open our own factories and businesses,” he said. “We need to create a new story for the country to attract money.”

In the industrial city of San Pedro Sula, some of the workers at the factory – many of whom make less than $ 15 a day – are skeptical that Sunday’s election will bring positive change. “Based on the situation I think we all think [migrating], looking for alternatives, ”says 20-year-old Edwin Orellana.

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