Right now there have been dozens, perhaps 30 or 40 articles in mainstream newspapers and media sources, about Honduras. So I thought I’d try to explain what’s going on, and I’ll be sharing this throughout the various networks I use to write about Honduras.
I could go back and explain how the current set of events in Honduras are related to the coup. But I won’t do that for now. Aside from explaining that the official justification that was used to arrest Zelaya (the president who was kicked out, in the coup) had to do with him attempting to rewrite the constitution in order to extend his power. It’s also worth noting that in this justification many individuals pointed out that the Honduran constitution in the 5th article states that the only group who can schedule plebiscites and referendums is the Honduran Supreme Court. Remember that, because it’ll matter later on.
Many left-wing publications talked about the corruption of the 2013 general election in Honduras. In addition to the murder of numerous members and allies of LIBRE (a political party founded and run largely by Xiomara Castro, the wife of Manuel Zelaya, the very same Zelaya who was kicked out of Honduras in the 2009 coup, currently the largest left-wing party in Honduras followed by the “Liberal” party, whose first election was the 2013 election), there have been reports of vote buying, election table buying (election tables are a somewhat unique set up that exists in Honduras, wherein issues with votes, such as whether or not an ID is valid, or a vote can be considered valid due to it being properly marked, the representatives at the tables vote. Each party is supposed to have more or less equal representation. They didn’t.), and threats to cut off vital things like welfare payments if people didn’t vote for the Nationalists. Despite this, several groups praised the election for its “transparency”, such as the USA, and the EU.
But recently an event occurred which began to change the way Hondurans looked at the election. The event is linked to the IHSS (Which is the Honduran Institute of Social Security, responsible for things like pension in Honduras), and supposedly the president himself, although he has denied involvement.
Here are the basics: numerous groups have revealed that an embezzlement scandal wiped the IHSS of numbers ranging from 200,000,000 lempiras, to 300,000,000 lempiras, a gigantic amount of money, that was taken from an organization that helped many millions of Hondurans. But here’s where it goes worse: some of that money, ranging from 50,000,000 to 90,000,000 lempiras was sent to the National Party, the current ruling party, and the party that’s ruled since the first election following the coup, breaking a partner of Honduran politics where the National Party rules one term and the Liberal Party rules 2, a partner stretching back to Cordova the president of Honduras who signed the latest Constitution into effect. That money was used, according to some sources, to help fund the 2013 election.
This is the revelation which pushed Hondurans and Honduras over the edge, and has motivated thousands of Hondurans throughout the nation to demand Hernandez’s resignation. A key witness was shot, leading to the creation of a popular online petition demanding that international bodies assist with the ongoing investigation both by protecting witnesses, and securing evidence related to the case. Throughout the country literally thousands have marched demanding Juan Orlando’s resignation, and a thorough investigation into the case, so that the close to 3,000 who’ve died thanks to the inefficacy of the IHSS did not die in vain, but that their deaths might be somehow justified thanks to the end of corruption within the Institute.
But the thing is, JOH’s corruption isn’t fully covered in this.
What a lot of groups are missing is JOH’s push for a militarized police force. A militarized police force he has actually created and forced upon the Honduran people. Here’s where the thing I mentioned about plebiscites comes into play. Earlier this year, the Honduran congress had a meeting about the very same armed and armored police, and said that they don’t merit constitutional recognition. Despite numerous pushes by JOH to give them constitutional recognition. However JOH declared that he’d continue to pursue his dreams of a dystopia, and ask the people for their thoughts on the PMOP (Military Police of/for Public Order, the militarized police force he sought to get constitutional recognition for, which would have regularized them, and made them far harder to disband), through means of a plebiscite. It’s worth noting that Juan Orlando was supposedly a figure in the coup, acting as a supporter of the post-coup government, although thus far in a largely unclear way.
The PMOP presents a danger to the Honduran people, and to Opposition leaders throughout the country. It has been an instrument of terror throughout the country, with many of its members attacking Opposition leaders. One known example is Kevin Solorzano who was reportedly beaten by the PMOP individuals who came to arrest him, in an attempt to pin the murder of Edwin Eguigure, and the rape of a woman in San Pedro Sula by PMOP officials. Another instance was the kidnapping of Luis Betancourt, a businessman.
Additionally, many independent and smaller media networks have been coming under pressure from CONATEL, (The National Commission of Telecommunications) a government agency that has become Hernandez’s attack dog, with some examples being Chanel 36 news, and radio stations that are owned and run by Garifuna people in the Northern Coast. The apparent mission of Conatel, within recent weeks has been to harass independent media which isn’t necessarily going to work with Conatel, or Hernandez. It is evident that these media outlets are not seen favorably by the government.
Much of this can easily be considered government sanctioned corruption, and terror. But these are all aspects which much of the articles that talk about the movement to demand Hernandez’s resignation miss. It’s more than the National Party apparently stealing funds from the IHSS. And we need to remember that. The pressure for Juan Orlando to resign, comes from more than the deaths of nearly 3,000 Hondurans, although that alone in the real world is enough to reasonably demand his resignation, or his dismissal. It comes from a hatred of corruption, and fear of a dictatorship. The People are speaking, will JOH listen? Will the politicians who represent the country listen?