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

Govt renewed state of emergency for sixth time, while Congress continued work toward establishment of anti-corruption body.

Stringent anti-gang measures remained in place. After enforcing night-time curfew in San Pedro Sula city (Cortés department) early July, authorities 10 Aug implemented further security measures, deploying 500 police officers throughout city as well as plainclothes unit and unmarked cars. Authorities took similar measures in other areas, including Olancho department (centre). Military police, meanwhile, 4 Aug announced its mano dura approach in penitentiary system would continue despite concerns about rights violations. Authorities 7 Aug claimed national homicide rate had decreased by 44% since state of exception came into effect Dec 2022 and 20 Aug extended measure for sixth time.

Efforts to enable creation of anti-corruption commission continued. Congress 2 Aug repealed further decrees that protected its members from prosecution for corruption; Secretary of Parliament Carlos Zelaya 6 Aug said Congress had completed all necessary steps for establishment of International Commission Against Corruption and Impunity.

Constitutional crisis loomed over blocked vote for new Attorney General. National Party, main opposition group in Congress, 22 Aug prevented vote to replace incumbent Attorney General Oscar Chinchilla, whose mandate ended 31 Aug; move was in response to passing of controversial amnesty law that National Party claim benefits members of ruling party while persecuting the opposition; President Castro 11 Aug and 29 Aug organised national protest to demand Congress proceed with vote.

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