Human rights defenders and members of the opposition in Honduras see a new elite military unit created to engage in policing as a drastic setback for the demilitarisation efforts that began two decades ago.
Honduran society remains shocked at the tragic fate of Aníbal Barrow, a journalist and university professor whose body was dismembered and scattered around a lake in Villanueva, in the northern province of Cortés.
The unhealed wounds left by the 2009 coup in Honduras will continue to mark the campaign for the Nov. 24 elections, in which nine parties are participating, four of them new political groups, spanning a wide ideological range.
In slums lining several hillsides in the Honduran capital, mitigation works are under way to protect the neighbourhoods from flooding and landslides, which completely obliterated several areas when Hurricane Mitch hit the country fifteen years ago.
The Honduran government’s announcement of its plans to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has raised expectations as well as doubts, particularly due to the speed with which it aims to complete a process that has taken several years in other countries of the region.
The doctrine of national security imposed by the United States on Latin America, which fostered the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, is making a comeback in Honduras where a new law is combining military defence of the country with police strategies for maintaining domestic order.
Police officers in Honduras are protesting regulatory measures and aptitude tests implemented as part of reforms aimed at purging the police force of corruption and growing links to organised crime.
Hurricane Mitch, which devastated Honduras 14 years ago, prompted a group of Garifuna women to start organising, to help the people in greatest need of assistance.
The Honduran government’s plan to create a new rapid response police force, as part of a strategy to militarise the fight against crime, is dangerously vague, experts say.
Honduras, in the heart of Central America, normally makes headlines for its political upheavals and violence. But sometimes there is good news, too. It is one of only a few countries with a shark sanctuary off its coasts, and it has just created a protected area around a reef of a coral species formerly on the brink of extinction.
A few short hours after Honduran President Porfirio Lobo said he had seen evidence that Alfredo Villatoro, a radio reporter kidnapped May 9, was alive, the journalist’s body was found in a residential neighbourhood on the south side of the capital.
Last Friday marked two years since the inauguration of Porfirio Lobo as president of Honduras, amidst accusations of corruption, an unprecedented crime wave, and his lowest approval rating yet.
Following a surprise meeting between President Porfirio Lobo and U.S. government officials, Honduran lawmakers voted to amend the constitution to allow extradition of its nationals.
As the new year rolls in, Honduras is feeling more than ever the challenges posed by soaring rates of violent crime, police corruption, the penetration of the police by organised crime, and a wave of selective killings of journalists and experts in the fight against drugs.