Like its fellow countries in the north of Central America, El Salvador and Guatemala, Honduras suffers from high crime rates and severe poverty in the wake of civil wars in the 1980s. Street gangs roam unchecked in many urban neighbourhoods while drug traffickers ply the coasts and plague all levels of the state. A contested presidential election in 2017 spurred a wave of political violence, though all sides seem to have accepted the recent landslide victory of left-leaning Xiomara Castro. Chronic socio-economic ills, coupled with poor governance and rampant corruption, are the main drivers of northward migration, which has its own perils for those who venture the journey. Crisis Group studies the roots of the country’s persistent problems and pushes for policy solutions to break the cycle of forced departure and deportation.
In her campaign, President Xiomara Castro promised a fresh start in tackling the corruption and violent crime that have long vexed Honduras. Lately, however, she has turned back toward the heavy-handed methods of old. With donor support, her government should stick with a reform agenda.
Institutional crisis over Attorney General’s appointment continued, and govt extended state of exception for seventh time.
Congress remained paralysed over selection of new Attorney General. Ruling Libre Party and opposition National Party continued to disagree on candidate for Attorney General, prolonging legislative paralysis. Opposition, who have blocked govt’s choice for new Attorney General in response to amnesty law they claim benefits Libre party, 12 Oct accused Castro administration of using justice system to harass opposition and manipulate selection process; accusation came after anti-corruption unit 11 Oct indicted former presidents Juan Orlando Hernández and Porfirio Lobo (both from National Party) on fraud charges. Crisis hindered progress on creation of UN-led anti-corruption commission.
Stringent security measures remained in place as authorities lauded impact. Govt 6 Oct announced extension of state of exception until 17 Nov, with authorities claiming period Jan-Oct saw 2,306 homicides, down from 2,761 in same period in 2022. Military police commander Ramiro Fernando Muñoz 11 Oct announced that after three months of special measures, prisons (where criminal groups often coordinate their activities) were “no longer a problem”; experts said strategy of splitting gangs into different prisons appeared effective. Concerns about criminality and violence continued, however. Notably, Human Rights Commission report 8 Oct decried high levels of violence and impunity against women and environmental activists, while UN rapporteur on freedom of expression 27 Oct warned that violence and judicial harassment against activists and journalists is “alarmingly high”.
En este evento Crisis Group y los expertos invitados discuten los riesgos y las oportunidades de la estrategia de seguridad pública en la comunidad de Xiomara Castro en Honduras.
This week on Hold your Fire! Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group experts Tiziano Breda and Ivan Briscoe about politics in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras and why Central Americans are leaving for the United States.
With general elections approaching in Honduras, memories of the turbulence around the 2017 vote remain fresh. To avoid a repeat, politicians in Tegucigalpa should pledge to respect the results and authorities should clarify who would resolve any dispute. External actors should prepare to help.
As the coronavirus rages in Mexico and the northerly Central American countries, criminal outfits have adapted, often enlarging their turf. To fight organised crime more effectively, governments should combine policing with programs to aid the vulnerable and create attractive alternatives to illegal economic activity.
As the coronavirus spreads, and the U.S. presidential election looms, the Trump administration and Mexican government continue to deport migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Some deportees are carrying the virus. Central American states should press their northern neighbours for more stringent health measures.
Despite U.S. restrictions on Central American migration, Hondurans are fleeing north in record numbers as the country struggles with polarised government, corruption, poverty and violence. With outside help, Tegucigalpa should revisit its heavy-handed security policies and enact judicial and electoral reforms to avert future upheaval.
Ten years after a coup, Honduras remains deeply polarised. Mass protests and the government’s heavy-handed response have damaged the economy and sparked deadly violence. Crisis Group Northern Triangle Analyst Tiziano Breda explains the origins of the intense public discontent that is roiling the country.
With massive protests, armed clashes and a government-declared state of emergency, Honduras is in social and political chaos after the 26 November general elections. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Northern Triangle Analyst Sofía Martínez explains what has sparked the crisis and its potential effect on armed violence.
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