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Honduras

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.

CrisisWatch Honduras

Unchanged Situation

Despite deadly violence against local politicians in lead-up to polls, win of opposition presidential candidate Xiomara Castro accepted peacefully by month’s end. Following 28 Nov general elections, electoral authorities 30 Nov presented preliminary results, giving opposition candidate Castro 20-point lead in presidential race with 53% of votes against 34% for ruling National Party candidate Nasry Asfura. Voter turnout high at 68%. Liberal Party candidate Yani Rosenthal, as well as private sector leaders, 29 Nov recognised Castro’s victory, and National Party next day acknowledged defeat. Legislative elections result however still unclear by month’s end. First part of Nov saw worrying deadly attacks dominate electoral campaign. In Francisco Morazán department (centre), unidentified assailants overnight 5-6 Nov shot and killed local politician and member of ruling National Party of Honduras (PNH) Renán Godoy Martín in Talanga municipality, and 13 Nov killed San Juan de Flores’ mayor and opposition Liberal Party of Honduras (PLH) official Francisco Gaitán Agüero. In neighbouring La Paz department, unidentified assailants 11 Nov killed Óscar Moya, local PLH official and municipal councillor in Santiago de Puringla. In Santa Bárbara department (north), gunmen 13 Nov killed local opposition Liberty and Re-Foundation (LIBRE) official Elvir Casaña in San Luis city. Internationally, authorities 4 Nov detained opposition presidential candidate Santos Rodríguez Orellana in capital Tegucigalpa on money-laundering charges. International partners reiterated calls for peaceful elections. Head of EU Electoral Observation Mission, Željana Zovko, 1 Nov urged politicians to end campaign of “fear and polarisation”, while UN Office in Honduras 9 Nov called on all candidates “to desist from any action that violates human rights”. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet 23 Nov expressed “deep concern” over political violence, said her office had recorded 63 cases including 29 killings since Sept 2020.
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Reports & Briefings

Handling the Risks of Honduras’ High-stakes Poll

Also available in Español

Virus-proof Violence: Crime and COVID-19 in Mexico and the Northern Triangle

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Fight and Flight: Tackling the Roots of Honduras’ Emergency

Also available in Español

Mafia of the Poor: Gang Violence and Extortion in Central America

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Corridor of Violence: The Guatemala-Honduras Border

Corridor of Violence: The Guatemala-Honduras Border

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In The News

18 Dec 2017
We are worried about what might be the long-term consequences of the current turmoil [in Honduras], especially in terms of how drug-trafficking groups may expand activities in a period of political crisis. Bloomberg

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Former Analyst, Northern Triangle
1 Dec 2017
Violence [in Honduras] is likely to escalate in the upcoming weeks since there is still no clear winner [of the elections] and the opposition its mobilizing its supporters. Bloomberg

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Former Analyst, Northern Triangle

Latest Updates

Deportation and Disease: Central America’s COVID-19 Dilemmas

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.

Also available in Español

Crackdown Raises Stakes as Honduran Protesters March On

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.

Also available in Español

Do the Numbers Lie? Mistrust and Military Lockdown after Honduras’ Disputed Poll

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.

Also available in Español

Undocumented Migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America

The northward flow of undocumented migrants fleeing economic hardship and violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America exposes thousands of vulnerable people to mass victimisation. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – Third Update early warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to continue to pursue an approach grounded in supporting community violence prevention, institutional reform and poverty alleviation in the countries of origin while supporting transiting countries in managing the flow.