The head of state called for the mobilization following an intensified destabilization campaign by the right-wing opposition
Thousands on the streets of Tegucigalpa in support of the government of Xiomara Castro. Photo: David de la Paz
Thousands of people took to the streets of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa on the afternoon of Tuesday August 29 to express their support for the government of President Xiomara Castro. The head of state had called for the mobilization in response to the attempt by right-wing opposition deputies to impede the election of a new Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General.
Xiomara and others from the Liberty and Refoundation Party (Libre) have warned that the moves by the National Party, which ruled for 12 years following the coup against Manuel Zelaya in 2009, and its allies from the Patriotic Alliance and Salvador Honduras parties, are part of a broader campaign of destabilization with the objective to carry out a coup against her.
When addressing the sea of red on Tuesday afternoon, Xiomara declared: “We must remain united, organized and mobilized in resistance so that in Honduras there will be no more coups d’état, narco-dictators nor pillaging.”
While the threats by the National Party against Xiomara’s government have been constant since she was sworn in, the ending of the term of the country’s current Attorney General, Óscar Chinchilla, and the government’s decision to elect a new one, has sparked the latest wave of tension. National Party deputies allege that the decision by Libre Party deputies to elect a new Attorney General to replace Chinchilla following the expiration of his mandate on August 31 is a “violation” and an attempt to “impose a socialist dictatorship in Honduras”.
Chinchilla served as Attorney General of Honduras since 2013 and was a crucial ally to the coup-installed National Party governments. For many Hondurans, the election of a new Attorney General is an essential piece of rebuilding the country and freeing it from the grip of the far-right forces.
Pedro Mejía, a lawyer from the Studies for Dignity Law Firm, told Criterion HN that while serving as Attorney General Chinchilla used “the Office to persecute environmental defenders and social fighters; and on the other hand, guaranteeing impunity for political and business elites who benefited from environmental permits and corrupt environmental concessions.”
Mejía added that Chinchilla’s role was to “ensure through criminalization, on the one hand, that there was no opposition to the imposition of extractive mining, hydroelectric and forestry projects in the territories.”
Carlos Zelaya, the Secretary of the National Congress and a member of Libre Party, said in a press conference, “The National Party is afraid to elect a prosecutor who can set important precedents against corruption.” He added that the country suffered from “12 years of corruption and impunity, even the United States has accused a former National (Party) president (Juan Orlando Hernández) of drug trafficking, while here, he has gotten off scot-free.”
Amid the rising tensions and destabilization moves, a member of US Congress María Elvira Salazar who leads anti-left and anti-Cuba legislation, wrote, “Xiomara in Honduras looks more and more like her husband Zelaya, who passionately embraced castro-chavismo. Just as Castro created the CDRs in Cuba and Chavez the colectivos in Venezuela, now Madam President organizes ‘teams’ to silence and arrest opponents. Bad road!”
Honduras’ National Congress began deliberations on the evening of August 29 to elect the new Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General and are set to finalize before August 31.
This article was produced by Peoples Dispatch.