{"code":"25791","sect":"Central America","sect_slug":"central-america","hits":"902","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202110\/centroamerica\/25791","link_edit":"","name":"Game-Changing Electoral Alliance in Honduras","slug":"game-changing-electoral-alliance-in-honduras","info":"Honduras, in Brief: A last-minute alliance has shifted the pre-election scene to open the possibility of the first-ever victory of a left-wing party. In the middle of an increasingly violent campaign season, President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez's latest move was to reignite a decades-long territorial dispute with El Salvador. Subscribe to our newsletter","mtag":"Newsletter","noun":{"html":"El Faro English","data":{"el-faro-english":{"sort":"","slug":"el-faro-english","path":"el_faro_english","name":"El Faro English","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"902","pict":{"cms-image-000036365-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36365","name":"cms-image-000036365.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036365.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036365.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036365-jpg","text":"","capt":""},"cms-image-000036515-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36515","name":"cms-image-000036515.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036515.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036515.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036515-jpg","text":"<p>Xiomara Castro of left-wing party Liberty and Refoundation (Libre). Foto: El Faro archive<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EXiomara Castro of left-wing party Liberty and Refoundation (Libre). Foto: El Faro archive\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000036535-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"36535","name":"cms-image-000036535.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036535.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036535.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036535-jpg","text":"","capt":""}},"pict_main__sort":36535,"date":{"live":"2021\/10\/15"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"10","data_post_dateLive_DD":"15","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn Wednesday, Honduran presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.reuters.com\/world\/americas\/honduran-opposition-unites-behind-candidate-president-major-shift-2021-10-13\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eannounced\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that he was ending his presidential bid to support Xiomara Castro, \u003Cstrong\u003Eformer first lady and candidate for left-wing Libre Party\u003C\/strong\u003E, created and led by her husband Manuel \u201cMel\u201d Zelaya. In return, Castro will pick Nasralla as her vice president if she wins.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe political alliance was negotiated in recent weeks and is surprising because Nasralla, who was close to defeating Hernandez in the 2017 elections, has based his political career on \u003Cstrong\u003Edenouncing the corruption of previous governments, including Zelaya's\u003C\/strong\u003E. Even so, it brings together two of the top four candidates \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/mailchi.mp\/elfaro.net\/elfaro-english-elections-narcostate-honduras-6213368?e=3e101df639\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ein elections on November 28\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, and increases the chances of defeating the ruling National Party.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAccording to a September \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.laprensa.hn\/honduras\/cid-gallup-nasry-asfura-presidente-elecciones-honduras-2021-FILP1491895\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Epoll\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E by CID Gallup, 21 percent of voters said they planned to vote for Nasry \u201cTito\u201d Asfura, Tegucigalpa mayor and presidential candidate for President Hernandez\u2019 National Party. Asfura is being \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/cespad.org.hn\/2021\/08\/11\/no-hay-antejuicio-pero-asi-opero-la-estructura-de-tito-asfura-para-sustraer-fondos-de-la-municipalidad-de-tegucigalpa\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Einvestigated\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E by a government anti-corruption unit for embezzlement of $1 million in public funds. The international investigation Pandora Papers \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202110\/centroamerica\/25777\/Exposed-by-the-Pandora-Papers.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Erevealed last week\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that \u003Cstrong\u003Ehe was the majority shareholder of multiple offshore accounts\u003C\/strong\u003E.\u00a0\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ECastro was polling at 18 percent, neck-and-neck with Nasralla, a former TV show host. In the Honduran election system, there\u2019s no run-off election and the candidate with the most votes \u2014 even if less than 50 percent \u2014 wins the presidency.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\"If we don't come together today, the country will lose. \u003C\/strong\u003ETogether, nobody can beat us,\" Nasralla said in a press conference.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ECastro\u2019s campaign promises include \u003Cstrong\u003Eswitching diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China\u003C\/strong\u003E and loosening the country\u2019s abortion ban.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIf Xiomara Castro wins, it would end 12 years of National Party rule since her husband Mel Zelaya was ousted in a 2009 coup. President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez has been implicated in drug trafficking in a case in New York that convicted his brother, raising questions about his future once he leaves office.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=1440&ImageHeight=380&ImageId=36365\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the same trial, a witness also \u003Cstrong\u003Eaccused Zelaya of receiving bribes from drug traffickers in 2006\u003C\/strong\u003E. Zelaya was president of Honduras from 2006 to 2009 and was removed by the military, supported by an alliance of conservative parties, in June 2009, when he promoted a referendum to pave the way for possible reelection. Despite international pressure that tried to reverse the coup, it was legitimized by controversial elections five months later.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EPicking a Fight during Election Season\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn Tuesday, President Hern\u00e1ndez made a controversial announcement for a development plan in the Gulf of Fonseca, which borders Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe area has been the focus\u00a0 of a territorial dispute for decades. A 1992 decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined that the three countries must share control of the area. \u003Cstrong\u003EOne island in particular, Isla Conejo, remains in dispute between El Salvador and Honduras\u003C\/strong\u003E, and the court did not specify which country owns the island.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cIsla Conejo is Honduran,\u201d Hern\u00e1ndez said Tuesday, reactivating a long dormant debate. \u201cAs a nation we have historically exercised and we will always exercise national sovereignty.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe territory is sacred and we should defend it with our own lives,\u201d he added.\u00a0\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESalvadoran President \u003Cstrong\u003ENayib Bukele responded with a meme on \u003C\/strong\u003E\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1448154754685747201?s=20\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003ETwitter\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E telling Hernandez to calm down and have a Snickers bar\u003C\/strong\u003E.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESalvadoran legislators \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/diario.elmundo.sv\/oposicion-isla-conejo-sirve-para-distraer-a-la-poblacion\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Epointed out\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that there could be other motivations behind the announcement, both in El Salvador and Honduras. \u201cIt is an excellent smokescreen for the president [Bukele] to hide the national problems, and \u003Cstrong\u003Ean excellent campaign for some parties in Honduras\u003C\/strong\u003E,\u201d said Ren\u00e9 Portillo Cuadra, Salvadoran legislator for the opposition party Arena.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cIt\u2019s important to wait to see what else happens there. We don\u2019t want to enter into a conflict because of the political and economic situation that the country is living in,\u201d said Claudia Ortiz of Vamos. \u201c\u003Cstrong\u003EIt would be a distraction from important problems.\u003C\/strong\u003E Of course, the territory is important, but where is the real threat?\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESalvador Nasralla, now a vice presidential candidate, identified another potential motivation behind the announcement: because of its location between three countries, the Gulf of Fonseca has become an important trafficking route.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThey don\u2019t do anything thinking of Honduras,\u201d Nasralla \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/SalvaPresidente\/status\/1448138417317965825?t=wTD3FPu2pEmO7yd3bd9rCg&s=19\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in a veiled accusation against Hernandez. \u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cEverything is for the personal interests of organized crime.\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EPolitical Violence\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe territorial dispute and the new political alliance come at a time of increased political violence. In recent months, \u003Cstrong\u003Emore than 20 people linked to politics have been killed\u003C\/strong\u003E in pre-electoral violence in Honduras, according to Honduran human rights group Committee for Relatives of Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH).\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EOn Friday, October 8, mayoral candidate for the Libre party in the southern Honduran department of Choluteca, Nery Fernando Reyes, was killed, reports independent Honduran media outlet \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/contracorriente.red\/2021\/10\/09\/asesinato-de-candidato-a-alcalde-en-yusguare-y-atentado-contra-diputada-olivia-zuniga-caceres-crispan-ambiente-electoral-en-honduras\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EContraCorriente\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E. The same night, \u003Cstrong\u003ELibre\u2019s congresswoman Olivia Z\u00faniga C\u00e1ceres, daughter of murdered environmentalist Berta C\u00e1ceres, was attacked\u003C\/strong\u003E by four men who broke into her home and tried to strangle her.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EZ\u00faniga C\u00e1ceres\u2019 husband was arrested in connection to the attack, which occurred despite protective measures from the State that included having a police escort at all times.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cHow is it possible for someone under the protection of the State to suffer this kind of attack?\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E Libre party secretary Gerardo Torres told ContraCorriente. \u201cIt serves as an alert so that the international community sees that the protective measures are a show of the Honduran State rather than something real, because the State doesn\u2019t investigate, protect, or guarantee safety, protection and the life of social activists.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ETorres and others close to Z\u00faniga C\u00e1ceres also criticized media that portrayed the attack as a family matter or a \u201ccrime of passion.\u201d \u003Cstrong\u003EThe same narrative emerged shortly after the murder of her mother\u003C\/strong\u003E, Berta Caceres.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ECriminalization of Protest\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAs elections near, a change to Honduras\u2019 penal code could become a mechanism to repress protests and dissent. \u003Cstrong\u003EProtests can now be considered a form of \u201c\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elheraldo.hn\/pais\/1497382-466\/tomas-protestas-invasiones-usurpacion-reformas-codigo-penal-congreso-nacional\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eusurpation\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E of public spaces.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe last presidential elections four years ago led to mass protests against what many international observers deemed fraud in favor of Hern\u00e1ndez. Thousands took to the streets and \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/world\/2018\/jan\/02\/us-silent-as-honduras-protesters-killed-in-post-election-violence\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Emore than 30\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E people were killed. COFADEH reported that 21 of these victims were killed by military police.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENow, protesters could face criminalization \u003Cstrong\u003Eif there is another electoral crisis\u003C\/strong\u003E that sends Hondurans to the streets in protest.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe changes related to the crime of usurpation, increasing its sentence, extending it to public spaces, and facilitating displacement opens the possibility of applying the new provisions \u003Cstrong\u003Enot only to campesino organizations, but also people exercising their right to meeting, expression, and peaceful protest,\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elheraldo.hn\/pais\/1497382-466\/tomas-protestas-invasiones-usurpacion-reformas-codigo-penal-congreso-nacional\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esaid\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E the Honduran Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThanks for reading.\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/elfaro.us19.list-manage.com\/track\/click?u=a822abdb775cca5db840e11e5&id=bc463bff37&e=3e101df639&utm_source=DB+El+Faro_English&utm_campaign=50f2137b20-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_22_01_08_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9190c89-50f2137b20-&utm_source=DB+El+Faro_English&utm_campaign=4cdfa09807-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_22_01_08_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9190c89-4cdfa09807-\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EReach out to us on Twitter\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E to say hello or let us know what you'd like us to cover. And if you've gained from our work, pass it along.\u003C\/p\u003E"}