News Release

Activists Go on Trial for Protesting Power Grab in Honduras as El Salvador Prepares to Follow Suit 


Currently in Honduras, anthropologist Pine is available for interviews and can also connect media to bilingual Hondurans closely involved with the Espinal and Álvarez trial.

She said today: “This Monday and Tuesday, former political prisoners Edwin Espinal and Raúl Álvarez will go on trial in Honduras on trumped-up charges related to their participation in protests during the 2017 Honduran electoral crisis.

“Protests had erupted nationwide after the blatant theft of the November 2017 presidential elections by Juan Orlando Hernández, who had previously orchestrated an illegal takeover of the country’s Supreme Court in order to obtain permission to run for a consecutive second term, in violation of the Honduran constitution. State security forces shot into crowds. Espinal and Álvarez were among over 180 Hondurans who were arrested for exercising their constitutionally-guaranteed right to protest, and 22 who were illegally imprisoned without trial in dangerous maximum security prisons. If found guilty, they face sentences of 15-30 years.

Pine, who is in Tegucigalpa to accompany Espinal and Alvarez and document their trial, added: “The illegitimate and unelected Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández is able to persecute and torture his opponents thanks primarily to unfailing U.S. support for his regime and complicity in its systemic human rights abuses. Hernández’s major involvement in drug trafficking has been thoroughly demonstrated by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the majority of Hondurans would like to see him tried in court. Instead, Edwin and Raúl are being persecuted for standing up for Honduran democracy and sovereignty.”

Meanwhile in neighboring El Salvador, the right-wing populist, president Nayib Bukele, has increasingly consolidated power.


Co-director of Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Stoumbelis recently wrote the recent article “Ruling by loyalist court upends Constitution to allow Bukele to run for reelection.”

She said today: “In El Salvador, the recent ruling by the court that President Bukele’s party illegally installed to allow him to run for reelection — despite multiple prohibitions in the Constitution on consecutive terms — is a page straight out of Hernández’ playbook. And it’s no surprise that Bukele is persecuting his political opponents, either.

“Many Salvadorans have been saying all along that Bukele’s goal was to take complete control over the Salvadoran state — that should be abundantly clear by now.”