{"code":"25863","sect":"Central America","sect_slug":"central-america","hits":"300","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202111\/centroamerica\/25863","link_edit":"","name":"Four Days before Critical Honduran Elections","slug":"four-days-before-critical-honduran-elections","info":"Honduras, in Brief: On Sunday, Hondurans will choose between giving the National Party four more years in the presidency, for a total of 16, or electing a left-wing former First Lady tied to her husband\u2019s shadows. The tradition of election-day political violence and fears of fraud have Hondurans on edge as drug trafficking perpetuates the country's crisis.\u00a0","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":"300","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-000036728-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"36728","name":"cms-image-000036728.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036728.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036728.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036728-jpg","text":"<p>On election day in 2017, thousands of protestors gathered hours after the TSE announced the re-election of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez to demand election authorities reverse the decision and declare Salvador Nasralla winner. Photo: Fred Ramos\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EOn election day in 2017, thousands of protestors gathered hours after the TSE announced the re-election of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez to demand election authorities reverse the decision and declare Salvador Nasralla winner. Photo: Fred Ramos\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":36728,"date":{"live":"2021\/11\/24"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"11","data_post_dateLive_DD":"24","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EDeciding a new president will be key for Honduras, a country that \u2014 in the words of El Faro\u2019s Carlos Mart\u00ednez \u2014 \u201cis in the \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202111\/columnas\/25855\/El-oficio-de-estar-en-la-escalera.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ehands of dangerous mafias\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that blur the boundaries of the state.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EXiomara Castro \u2014 the wife of former president Manuel Zelaya, removed from office in a 2009 coup and suspected of receiving bribes from drug traffickers \u2014 was leading in the polls with 38 percent, according to an October \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/cespad.org.hn\/2021\/10\/27\/en-encuesta-del-cespad-si-hoy-fueran-las-elecciones-libre-a-traves-de-la-alianza-pactada-con-el-psh-seria-la-fuerza-politica-ganadora\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Epoll\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E by the Center for Studies for Democracy (CESPAD). Castro is the\u003Cstrong\u003E candidate for the leftist Libre Party founded in 2011 by her husband\u003C\/strong\u003E. Her campaign promises include bringing back social spending from Zelaya\u2019s government, decriminalizing abortion in three cases, and \u003Cstrong\u003Eestablishing diplomatic relations with China\u003C\/strong\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EShe rose in the polls after forming an alliance with another opposition candidate, former TV host Salvador Nasralla, in October.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe alliance had a strong psychological impact on voters because since then, \u003Cstrong\u003Eeverything has indicated that Xiomara and Libre are going to win the election\u003C\/strong\u003E,\u201d Julio Raudales, vice rector of international relations at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, told El Faro English. \u201cThese elections represent the possibility of a positive change, and if they are carried out intelligently, they could generate certain benefits for the country,\u201d he added. Read more on the game-changing electoral alliance \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202110\/centroamerica\/25791\/Game-Changing-Electoral-Alliance-in-Honduras.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ein our Oct. 15 newsletter\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u00a0\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=2000&ImageHeight=1334&ImageId=36728\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"On election day in 2017, thousands of protestors gathered hours after the TSE announced the re-election of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez to demand election authorities reverse the decision and declare Salvador Nasralla winner. Photo: Fred Ramos\/El Faro\" \/\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\"\u003EOn election day in 2017, thousands of protestors gathered hours after the TSE announced the re-election of Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez to demand election authorities reverse the decision and declare Salvador Nasralla winner. Photo: Fred Ramos\/El Faro\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 second place in the polls is Nasry \u201cTito\u201d Asfura, of the ruling National Party, garnering about 21 percent of voter support. Asfura is the current mayor of Tegucigalpa and\u003Cstrong\u003E is being investigated for the embezzlement of $1 million in public funds\u003C\/strong\u003E. Many Hondurans view his candidacy as a continuation of President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez, who was illegally re-elected in 2017 and has been named as a co-conspirator in drug trafficking in a U.S. court.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe poll did not report the percentage of voters who preferred Yani Rosenthal, the candidate for the Liberal Party who previously \u003Cstrong\u003Eserved a 3-year sentence in U.S. federal prison for laundering drug money\u003C\/strong\u003E. 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 reported that 13 percent of voters supported him.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EHonduran voters will also choose their mayors, legislators, and members of Central American Parliament.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ECrisis Looming?\u00a0\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EDespite what appears to be a solid lead in the polls, Castro\u2019s win is far from certain. Since the 2009 coup, Honduran elections have been marred by allegations of fraud and political violence. More than 70 percent of Hondurans surveyed in the CESPAD \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/cespad.org.hn\/2021\/10\/27\/en-encuesta-del-cespad-si-hoy-fueran-las-elecciones-libre-a-traves-de-la-alianza-pactada-con-el-psh-seria-la-fuerza-politica-ganadora\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Epoll\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E said \u003Cstrong\u003Ethey believed there will be some level of fraud in these elections\u003C\/strong\u003E. Even so, about 60 percent of Hondurans said they planned to vote. Although voting is required by law in Honduras, a lack of enforcement means many Hondurans still abstain.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the last elections in 2017, the vote counting system \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2017\/11\/30\/world\/americas\/honduras-vote-political-crisis.html\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ewent offline\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E when opposition candidate Nasralla was winning by nearly 5 percent. When it came back online more than a day later, the race was much closer, and President Hern\u00e1ndez was eventually declared the winner. Citizens who believed the election was stolen took to the streets to protest and were met with \u003Cstrong\u003Eviolent repression from security forces that left at least \u003C\/strong\u003E\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;\"\u003E30 dead\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E.\u003C\/strong\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThere are many ways the National Party can stack the odds in its favor this time. According to a \u003Ca href=\"http:\/\/cespad.org.hn\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Cuarto-Informe-GP-IMPRESION.pdf\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ereport\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E by CESPAD, the National Party has been \u003Cstrong\u003Eusing state resources to drum up its voter base\u003C\/strong\u003E by giving out humanitarian aid to struggling families, including those affected by last year\u2019s hurricanes.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe fact that the National Party has at its disposal unrestricted access to the resources of the State means that the electoral process is being developed in a context of high distortion that, without a doubt, alters the fairness in the electoral competition, given that irregular public financing is the prevailing practice,\u201d states the report.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/support.elfaro.net\"\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\/a\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Voting Boards, which open and close voting centers and count votes, are also a potential breeding ground for fraud. In the past, blank credentials have been given to the parties, which led to \u201c\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elheraldo.hn\/pais\/1466930-466\/elecciones-generales-2021-nueva-ley-electoral-controlar%C3%A1-tr%C3%A1fico-de-credenciales\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ecredential trafficking\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E,\u201d the practice of \u003Cstrong\u003Ebuying other parties\u2019 credentials\u003C\/strong\u003E to stack the boards with loyalists.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis year, a legislative reform required the parties to send a list of their representatives to avoid this practice, but the parties have not sent their lists, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.expedientepublico.org\/honduras-en-contra-de-la-nueva-ley-electoral-reactivan-las-credenciales-a-los-partidos-para-las-mesas-de-voto\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ereported\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E Honduran media outlet Expediente P\u00fablico on Nov. 18.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EFacing the Music\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EAlthough he\u2019s not on the ballot, President Hern\u00e1ndez may be the person with the most at stake during these elections. He faces the possibility of extradition to the U.S. after being named as \u003Cstrong\u003Eco-conspirator in a drug trafficking case in a New York court\u003C\/strong\u003E that convicted his brother Tony Hern\u00e1ndez.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the weeks before elections, he has traveled to Nicaragua and Taiwan, and rumors abound in Honduras about his plans after leaving office. His administration was the only in Central America, aside from Belize, \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202111\/centroamerica\/25856\/US-Gives-Up-on-Mending-Ties-with-Bukele.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eto not sign onto the OAS condemnation\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E of the recent election results in Nicaragua, where \u003Cstrong\u003Etwo former presidents of El Salvador accused of corruption received political asylum\u003C\/strong\u003E in recent years.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cWithout a win for the Nationalists at the polls, Hern\u00e1ndez is likely to find himself isolated, legally exposed and with diminishing options for protecting himself from prosecution in the U.S.,\u201d writes Crisis Group in a recent \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.crisisgroup.org\/latin-america-caribbean\/central-america\/honduras\/b045-handling-risks-honduras-high-stakes-poll\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ereport\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E about the Honduran elections.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThanks for your time. Please pass along our work, and \u003Cstrong\u003Econsider funding independent journalism in Central America\u003C\/strong\u003E at\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/support.elfaro.net?utm_source=DB+El+Faro_English&utm_campaign=a86fa4edae-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_22_01_08_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9190c89-a86fa4edae-\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esupport.elfaro.net\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E"}