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.
Political tensions continued amid protests over corruption allegations and unpopular reform program. Some 5,000 demonstrators participated in anti-govt protests in capital Tegucigalpa 5 April calling for President Hernández’s resignation over allegations of graft and links to drug trafficking. Protesters 26 and 29 April staged further rallies in response to govt approval of reforms to health and education systems that may lead to mass dismissals; 29 April burnt three buildings in centre of Tegucigalpa; Congress next day suspended reforms and invited protest leaders to dialogue. Govt continued moves to bolster public security and increase capacity of Honduran Military Police. At least 30,000 Hondurans reportedly deported from U.S. and Mexico since beginning of year, with ambassador to Mexico predicting total deportations could reach up to 80,000 in 2019.
Central American gangs are responsible for brutal acts of violence, abuse of women and forced displacement of thousands. Governments must go beyond punitive measures and address the social and economic roots of gang culture, tackle extortion schemes and invest in communities.
Ending bloodshed in this neglected border region requires more than task forces: credible institutions, access to state services and continuing security are also needed.
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.
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.
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.
Originally published in El Pulso
Originally published in Los Angeles Times