What started as protests against the Honduran government not releasing the presidential election results, held 2 weeks ago, have turned into acts of violence endangering the lives of many Honduran citizens. Streets have been trashed, bridges and toll booths burned, and stores broken into and robbed. Soldiers attempted to stop crowds with tear gas and have even killed a few protesters. Despite all the attempts to stop the chaos, Hondurans are not backing down. The situation keeps getting worse and may eventually result in civil war.
Hondurans were very unhappy with the current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez. So, when the presidential elections came around, many Hondurans were excited to get him out of office. Salvador Nasralla, a very popular candidate, was getting much support and was expected to win.
Juan Villalta, a 20 year old who was excited to vote and be part of change said, “Juan Orlando is a bad person. He raised our taxes and doesn’t do anything with that money. Hes corrupt and protects other corrupt police officers and people that are supposed to protect us” (Translated from Spanish).
He and so many others were happy when Nasralla had a strong 5 point lead. Since then, there have been many questionable events on the Tribunal’s part, which so happens to be run by someone in the National Party that Juan Orlando runs.
Results were withheld, being accounted for by “technological problems” that seemed to be mysteriously fixed after candidates were made to sign a contract that said any result would be accepted no matter the outcome. When technology systems rebooted, Juan Orlando seemed to be leading by 2 points. Nasralla claiming there was fraud against him.
Hondurans took to the street in protest after being urged by Nasralla to peacefully protest. It started with the chant “Fuera JOH” meaning “out with JOH,” Juan Orlando Hernandez.
It started to get more chaotic as people started burning tires and banging pans to get themselves noticed. Erratic protesters took to burning down toll booths and famous banks. Members of the Alliance party, Nasralla’s party, claim that their protests are being infiltrated by members of the National party as part of a smear campaign.
Ayme Melgar, who is originally from Honduras and has her parents still residing there, is worried about the situation. “I immediately called my sister to go out and buy a lot of food because people are taking advantage of this time and robbing stores food delivery trucks. She had to go all the way to the city to get the food and medicine for my mom,” said Melgar.
Social media has been circulating with videos of the conditions in the country along with ways that fraud has been committed. One of these claims is that tally sheets of ballot counts were tampered with. Protesters are demanding a fair recount. Another claim is that ballot boxes, which are supposed to be surrounded by observes of ALL parties, have been improperly observed. There are claims saying that the National Party has paid other minor parties for their credentials in order to have an extreme dominance in observing the polls.
Though no claims have been admitted or denied, protesters have been very clear that they will not stop until there has been fairness in the votes. They feel as if their voices have not been accounted for, as if it their voices don’t matter enough to make a change in a government that was not beneficial to them.
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