Protests Are Growing Across Honduras As People Ask For President Juan Orlando Hernandez To Step Down
There is growing violence in Honduras as people have taken to the streets to voice their dismay over President Juan Orlando Hernandez. Public demonstrations started back in April after proposed health and education reforms that doctors and teachers fear would privatize their sectors. The decrees have angered many in the country and have caused other workers from other sectors to joined in on protests. This has all led growing calls for President Hernandez to step down.
What’s really going on in Honduras?
When decrees were issued by President Hernandez in April, the Honduran education and health ministers were given free rein to implement austerity measures. Since then, Honduras has been in turmoil with growing protests putting the president under constant pressure.
Many feel that the current Honduran administration has failed to create opportunities for anyone but the richest in the country. There has also been concerns of corruption and increasingly authoritarian force by the government.
Teachers and medical workers would eventually form the Platform for the Defence of Health and Education in Honduras to demand the government repeal the proposed decrees. But even after the proposals were shut down too late. Since then, massive protests in the streets of Tegucigalpa, the capital, and around the country have formed.
Many feel that there are less job and growth opportunities in Honduras which have led to a surge in people leaving the country.
Hondurans currently represent 30 percent of Central American migrants detained at the U.S. border this year. This up from 13 percent back in 2016, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Advocates say lack of upward mobility nad mass corruption has hurt the economy. This has all been fueled by crime and has prevented the government from creating programs needed to keep people in the country.
“The situation here in Honduras has been bad for years,” Josué, 20, told the BBC back in January. “One tries to make it north, that’s our dream, because here even when you do have work, what you get paid is only just enough to eat.”
Protests have turned dangerous and there have been calls of excessive force by military police.
Images have flooded social media showing protesters in masks calling for the resignation of President Hernandez. Military police were deployed across Honduras last week after protests left three dead, including a 29-year-old man who died from gunshot wounds.
This week, around 40 military police met protesters at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. They fired tear gas on protesters who in return threw rocks at them, injuring at least four people.
Protests are anticipated to continue this week as Honduras marks the 10th anniversary of its 2009 military coup, where left-wing president Manuel Zelaya was ousted just seven months before his term was set to end.
Public demonstrations erupted and lasted for weeks. Elections were held shortly after, which many considered illegitimate. The National Party came to power and has ruled over the government ever since. Hernandez was first elected in 2013.
What’s going to happen moving forward in Honduras?
It’s hard to see peace being restored anytime soon in Honduras as many are fleeing the country and nearby El Salvador. As the U.S. has backed President Hernandez, there seems to be no sign that his tenure will be coming to an end in the near future.
What most people fear is the continuation of a failing economy and rising prices for health, food and fuel shortages around the country. It seems that only a change in government or a peaceful resolution with leaders will spark new hope in Honduras.