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Corruption, drug trafficking and elections in Honduras a mark of concern

U.S.A.Corruption, drug trafficking and elections in Honduras a mark...

Honduras elects a new president on Sunday in an election marked by corruption and drug trafficking that touches even the highest echelons of power, and one citizen fears a tighter outcome will generate violent conflict.

“We hope that there will be a peaceful election, that there are no problems and that everything is transparent, that everyone [de los candidatos]If he won, thank goodness, and if not, even then,” says Delia Flores, a food vendor at a plaza in downtown Tegucigalpa.

Your fear is not unfounded. In 2017, the re-election of Juan Orlando Hernández was questioned, following a clash with police repression that killed nearly thirty people.

On the verge of relinquishing power, Hernandez is thrown out in a United States court where his brother is serving a life sentence for drug trafficking, having been instrumental in a crime he had committed. rejects.

Whoever succeeds him must fight poverty that affects more than half of the 10 million residents, and which forces many young people to immigrate irregularly to the United States in search of work.

“We hope that the next president will work, education, help poor people move forward and hopefully there will be no disturbances (…), we are the ones affected,” says Wilson Garcia, a vegetable seller at Capital Market. ,

– left vs right –

The National Party (PN, right), in power since 2010, is now expected to remain in command through its candidate, the current mayor of Tegucigalpa, Nasri Asafura.

“After a dozen years of government by the National Party, marked by widespread corruption and criminality, most Hondurans are unhappy with the status quo and calling for change,” said Inter-American Dialogue president Michael Shifter.

Asafura is not involved in drug trafficking, although he is being investigated for embezzlement of public funds.

Its main contender is Xiomara Castro from the Libertad y Refundacion Party (Liber, left). She may be the first woman to rule Honduras.

She is the wife of President Manuel Zelaya, who was overthrown in 2009 for turning left and side with Chavismo.

Although the polls are not allowed to continue at this stage of the election, Libre claims there is a poll that puts Ziamara with a broad advantage.

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“But the National Party machinery should not be underestimated, and many powerful interests may be expected to do what it takes to prevent Castro from taking over the reins of the country,” Schifter says.

In conservative Honduras, the National Party has attacked Castro’s proposals relating to legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage.

America demands a fair vote –

In 2017, a controversial interpretation of the constitution allowed Hernandez to run for re-election.

On election day, the vote counting system failed more than 600 times, as its main contender, television host Salvador Nasralla, was ahead on 60% of the vote.

After the failures, Hernández won by a narrow margin and the protests were armed. Now Nasralla completes the presidential formula with Xiomara.

This week Washington sent its head of diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, Brian Nichols, to Honduras for “transparent and peaceful” elections.

The United States is Honduras’ largest trading partner.

“The (Joe) Biden administration is pushing for a fair and impartial vote …

– What will happen? ,

If Castro wins by a small margin, “the national party will be accused of fraud and … it could be dangerous to the stability of the country,” said analyst Victor Meja, director of the NGO Documentation Center in Honduras.

Meanwhile, if Asafura wins, “the defeated opposition will not accept it … and will demand a recount of votes per vote or in a new election,” he said.

Mezza believes Castro’s win with a wide margin will have a better chance of being accepted.

– “degraded state” –

13 candidates are taking part in this contest, out of which one was arrested on charges of drug trafficking and murder.

Another candidate is the Liberal Party’s Yani Rosenthal, who spent three years in a United States prison for drug money laundering.

In 2020, Congress dissolved the OAS Mission Against Corruption and Impunity (MACCIH), and approved a new penal code that reduces punishment in corruption and drug trafficking cases.

Several political figures were being investigated by MACCIH.

The first challenge is “to rebuild the democratic institutional fabric of the country”. Honduras is “a degraded state, partly co-opted by organized crime,” Meja said.

bc-mav / yow

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