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Honduras Approaches Presidential Election amid Worst Crisis in Years

Honduras, El American

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This is the second time that I refer to Honduras. I previously made a general analysis of the political-institutional, economic and socio-historical situation of the country in recent years. Therefore, today I will focus more on the presidential context, the current juncture, and the challenges that the country faces as a society in the immediate future.

In addition to good rum and coffee, Honduras is unfortunately known in the world largely for being part of the so-called “Northern Triangle”, formed by El Salvador and Guatemala. This geographic space constitutes a problematic node for the security sphere of the United States for two powerful reasons: transnational organized crime that expresses itself violently through Las Maras and instrumentally through money laundering, and as a source of strong waves of illegal migrants, all this under a political-institutional context of a fragile state plagued by a thick shadow of corruption, which easily places it in the mafiocracy box.

Within this context, the presidential campaign is already in its final stretch, among the candidates with more options stand out: the Castro-Chavista standard-bearer Xiomara Castro, wife of the authoritarian government of Manuel Zelaya overthrown in 2009 and great favorite of international leftist networks such as EuroNews, Telesur, France24 and even EFE. Then, the pro-government (National Party of Honduras) Nasry Asfura, considered a puppet of the narco-government of Juan Orlando Hernandez, the anarchist and journalist Salvador Nasralla and perhaps the moderate or alternative option represented by the businessman Yani Rosenthal of the Liberal Party.

Hondruas will have to decide between three major options: the continuity of the National Party of Honduras that began with Porfirio Lobo in 2010, followed by Hernandez whose administration, although it is true that he has respected private property, the capitalist model and more or less democratic forms, has led the country to a real economic stagnation and no management of the evils that burden this society such as violence and poverty. Not to mention that his government is under strong indications of direct cooperation with drug trafficking, to the extent that the current president’s own brother is serving a prison sentence in New York.

In such a way that a third victory of the ruling party would be detrimental to the principle of alternation, an essential condition in a true democratic system, and would also lay the foundations for a safe cover-up and salvation of Juan Orlando Hernandez in case he is required by the American Justice.

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Then, there are the leftist options: the Castro-Chavista one, from the hand of the ousted Manuel Zelaya through his wife, with his typical proposal to end poverty through state programs, but in the end he only seeks to come to power to revive his truncated authoritarian agenda of 2009 and carbon copy of the Castro-Chavist model outlined in Havana and implemented with blood and fire in Venezuela: Constituent Assembly, “renewal of Powers” and of course, perpetuation in power, like Morales in Bolivia and Ortega in Nicaragua.

Another option, within the same leftist tonic, linked in the past with the Bolivarian model, is precisely Nasralla, who was robbed of the presidential election in 2017. Nasralla is certainly a very critical candidate, of volcanic discourse, although of chaotic ideas and very erratic, on that occasion he was left behind in the presidential race so he is virtually without any possibility of victory.

Rosenthal of the traditional Liberal Party, self-considered “of the center” and according to the international progressive press is a “right-wing” party. This figure also comes from the recent Honduran political class, given that both his father and Yani Rosenthal himself have held various positions in governmental spheres.

He has focused his campaign on his business experience that he can reproduce in the government to effectively address the economic crisis and poverty, a sort of Caribbean version of Sebastian Pinera, although he is another candidate who looks a bit behind. In short, the table is set and soon it will be up to the Hondurans to decide the course of their destiny in this historic appointment.

Nahem Reyes is a PhD in history from the Andrés Bello Catholix University and associate member of the American Studies Center of the Central University of Venezuela. // Nahem Reyes es doctor en Historia de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello y miembro asociado del Centro de Estudios de América de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.