News Release

“Momentous” Election in Honduras Amid “Fear of Fraud and Unrest” that Fuels Desperate Migration

Al Jazeera reports: “Amid widespread fear of fraud and ensuing social unrest, Hondurans are preparing to vote in a tense presidential election that could end 12 years of rule for the conservative National Party, which has governed since a 2009 coup.

“The National Party’s time in office has been marked by corruption, alleged involvement in drug trafficking, and increased militarisation, spurring mass migration to the United States. …

“President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who could face extradition to the U.S. on drug trafficking charges after he was named as a co-conspirator in a case against his brother, may have the most at stake, although he is not up for re-election.

“His party’s candidate, current Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry ‘Tito’ Asfura, is trailing by 17 percent behind former first lady Xiomara Castro of the left-wing Libre Party, according to an October poll by the Honduran Center of Studies for Democracy (CESPAD).”

The Center for Economic and Policy Research will be live blogging the election.

See @accuracy Twitter list on Honduras.

The following are available for interviews in English and Spanish:

JESSIKA GIRON, jessikanj@yahoo.com.mx
    Giron is a Honduran immigrant in New Jersey. She said today: “Honduras faces one of the most momentous elections in its history this Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, under a tense environment. This is the result of systematic corruption that involves the executive branch and several members of Congress. It’s also due to the population’s fears of possible electoral fraud and repression of the press and the opposition

    “The crisis began with the breakdown of democracy in a 2009 coup d’état and the continuation of the current government after a dubious ruling from the Supreme Court of Justice that allowed for a re-election that was not permitted according to the Constitution, thus causing a breakdown of constitutional order. The 2017 election had strong allegations of fraud that led the country to serious polarization that left more than 30 dead. This resulted in an ever worse situation, leading to mass immigration of thousands in caravans to the U.S. and other countries.”

ERASMO RAMOS, Erasmor1974@hotmail.com
    Ramos is also a Honduran immigrant in New Jersey. He said today: “In addition to the well-known social and political crisis in Honduras, there are also the allegations of involvement of the current president Juan Orlando Hernández in organized crime, including drug trafficking, according to the files of the investigations of the prosecutor’s office of the southern district of New York. The same court convicted his brother, Congressman Juan Antonio Hernández of drug trafficking, abuse of power and complicity in murder, including the murder of the anti-drug Czar of Honduras. … Because there is no rule of law and there’s persecution, a food crisis, unemployment, crime and violence to the point that hundreds of thousands prefer to risk their lives and their children and go to the southern border of the United States rather than remain in a state of fear and misery in Honduras.”

SUYAPA PORTILLO VILLEDA, Suyapa_Portillo@pitzer.edu
    Portillo Villeda is associate professor, Chicanx Latinx Transnational Studies at Pitzer College. She is also author of Roots of Resistance: A Story of Gender, Race, and Labor on the North Coast of Honduras from the University of Texas Press. She said today: “Hondurans very well may elect the first woman president in its history on Nov. 28, 2021. This is if the Libre Party manages to win the majority vote and overcome alleged election fraud and corruption evident in the elections of 2017 and attributed to the Nationalist Party. The Libre Party and significant sectors of society have overwhelmingly agreed on one thing, the need to vote out Juan Orlando Hernandez’ Nationalist party. Despite the ruling party’s efforts to interfere with voting rights, for example, demanding a new National ID card document mid-year before elections and intimidating voters with threats of violence during election day, the Libre Party, and its alliance, including Salvador Nasralla’s party Salvador del Mundo, are poised for a win. More notably, Hondurans have been expressing widespread discontent with JOH and the Nationalist Party, its links to narcotrafficking, and corruption scandals that have led to thousands of deaths from the covid-19 pandemic and an unprecedented exodus of migrants.

    “Libre Party leader Xiomara Castro Zelaya’s campaign faced attacks reminiscent of the Cold War, including ads featuring political or ideological scare tactics, questioning her womanhood, demonizing her desire to support women’s rights and linking her to old fear-mongering Cold War narratives imposed in the region by the U.S. State Department. For young women, LGBTI communities, feminists, and Black and Indigenous land and water defenders, after 12 years of stifling rule post-2009 coup, Xiomara, as people are familiarly calling her, is reason for hope and represents a potential sword and shield against corruption and persecution of those who fight for justice for the protection of ancestral lands and for a future of the youth in the country. It seems much of Honduran civil society has had enough of bad government rule and corruption — on Nov. 28, we’ll see if enough is/was enough.”