Big election win for democratic movement in Honduras
A blow to U.S. power in Latin America
“We are going to build a new era. Out with the death squads. Out with corruption. Out with drug trafficking and organized crime. No more poverty and misery. To victory. The people will always be united. Together we are going to transform this country.” — Xiomara Castro
Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro will become the first female president in Honduran history when she is officially declared the winner in Sunday’s election. Her victory deals a heavy blow to the right-wing National Party of outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernández which has ruled the country for the past 12 years with U.S. support.
Hernández won a rigged election in 2017 with backing from the Trump administration but was forced to step down this year under popular pressure. Hernández was declared the winner despite the Organization of American States observation mission calling for an election re-do. At least 23 people were killed in violent protests that erupted throughout the nation.
In the years that followed, Honduras became a center for the international drug cartels and the violence and corruption there caused hundreds of thousands of Hondurans to flee the country and seek refuge at the U.S. border.
Hernández became a national embarrassment with U.S. federal prosecutors in New York accusing him of running a narco-state and fueling his own political rise with drug money. In 2017, the Drug Enforcement Agency in Miami arrested Hernández's brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, for drug trafficking and for using Honduran military personnel and equipment to ship cocaine to the United States on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. Allegations of Pres. Hernández's own links to drug trafficking resurfaced in August when a court document linked to his brother's case was declassified.
The mass, often violent anti-Hernández protests that swept the country after that, forced him to finally step down.
An interesting side note:
Two weeks ago, Hernández and his foreign minister were in Taiwan where they received the government’s Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, in recognition of his support for Taiwan “amid cross-Taiwan Strait tensions.”
If the election results stand, it will be viewed globally as a major setback for U.S. hegemony in Latin America. The U.S. has been operating behind-the-scene in Honduras for decades and it’s been very much a bipartisan game of intrigue. The CIA has a long murderous history there including the use of torture and assassination against opposition forces and using Honduras to initiate violence in Guatemala and El Salvador for the purpose of initiating it in Nicaragua.
In 2009, when a military coup deposed President Manuel Zelaya, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported the bloody regime that was installed by the coup.
On Sunday night, thousands of people packed Morazan Boulevard, blowing car horns, waving the Libre party’s red flags, and setting off fireworks. After midnight, the street continued to fill with Castro’s celebrating supporters.
In the first election in decades deemed fair by international observers, Castro’s apparent victory offers some hope for the democratic movement in Honduras.
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