TEGUCIGALPA — It’s been a great week here in Honduras learning some more about the choice that Hondurans face on November 24, and the contextual background of Honduran history, culture and policy — and how it intersects with US policy, both present and past.
But with a lull in interviews this afternoon, I have a little time to share some photos from the campaign.
From Roatán island, the largest of the Bay Islands off the north coast of Honduras, comes this small shop, with some variety of piñatas — the two at the foreground are for the conservative Partido Nacional (PN, National Party), whose presidential candidate is Juan Orlando Hernández, the current president of the Honduran National Congress; and for the leftist Partido Libertad y Refundación (LIBRE, Liberty and Refoundation Party). which supports Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the spouse of former president Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted from power in a June 2009 coup. Polls show that the presidential race has turned into a dead heat between Juan Orlando and Xiomara.
On Sunday afternoon, all three major parties were out in full force. Here are some young National Party activists driving through the streets of Valle de Ángeles, an old mining town just north of Tegucigalpa.
On the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, here are some roadside activists for the centrist Partido Liberal (PL), whose presidential candidate is Mauricio Villeda, an attorney whose father was Honduras’s elected president between 1957 and 1963. Polls show Villeda in third place — the Liberal Party divided over the 2009 coup against Zelaya, and Zelaya left the Liberals in 2011 to join the nascent LIBRE, and now much of what used to be the Liberal Party’s leftist wing has fled to LIBRE.
Here’s a LIBRE activist. Though the party emerged out of the popular resistance to the 2009 coup, it has also become an umbrella group for several marginalized political interests in Honduras, including labor organizers, LGBT rights activists, proponents of greater women’s rights, and indigenous and Afro-Honduran groups.
Juan Orlando has pledged to put a ‘soldier on every corner’ in order to bring greater order to Honduras, which has the distinction of the world’s highest homicide rate (over 90 per 100,000). One of his top legislative initiatives has been the creation of a Policia Militar (Military Police), designed as a stronger force to rid the country of the violence spurred by drug traffickers and to largely supplant a civilian police that’s been weakened by corruption. Critics say that the military police are an illegal intrusion on human rights, especially given the human rights violations committed by a previous military police force that existed through the 1980s. Whether Juan Orlando succeeds, he’s certainly shown he can put a campaign poster on every corner — his smiling face is ubiquitous throughout Honduras.
Outside of Channel 36 are stencils for Xiomara’s campaign and the LIBRE campaign. Channel 36 is a pro-LIBRE channel and its owner, Esdras López, is running for congress as a LIBRE candidate.