Juan Orlando Hernández, the head of the conservative National Ruling Party of Honduras has declared victory in Presidential elections held over the weekend. His lead, which has now been declared “irreversible” by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, has been disputed by his main rival, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the wife of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
Castro initially declared herself the winner even though early results showed her lagging behind Hernández. Her supporters and her Libre party, have promised street protests in response to the election results. But so far there has been calm. Castro’s campaign is being viewed as the strongest attempt so far by former President Zelaya to regain political power.
Castro and Hernández were neck-in-neck in polls leading up to the election, but, promising to do everything he could to handle the country’s shocking rates of violence, Hernández seems to have managed to move into the lead. Honduras last year experienced the highest per capita murder rate in the world, suffers from very high poverty, and has become a major flashpoint in Latin America’s drug war.
Hernández faces growing disillusionment against his party as a result of outgoing president Porfirio Lobo’s tenure being marked by the rise in violence and poverty. He also faces a divided Congress, also newly elected over the weekend.
GUEST: Suyapa Portillo, Assistant Professor of Chicano/a-Latino/a Transnational Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California