HomeNewsBriefHonduras President-Elect Pledges "Iron Fist" to Combat Chaos
BRIEF

Honduras President-Elect Pledges "Iron Fist" to Combat Chaos

HONDURAS / 3 DEC 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

Honduras' new president-elect has vowed to enforce hardline security policies to combat drug trafficking and gang activity in the region's most violent country, but his ability to deliver may be hampered by a weak political mandate after the election results were challenged.

Conservative National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the winner of the Honduras presidential elections that took place on November 24, but leftist opposition groups refused to concede defeat amid accusations of electoral fraud, reported El Universal. The political tug-of-war has continued, despite the fact that the country's electoral court made Hernandez's victory official, reported the Associated Press.

One of the main platforms of Hernandez's campaign has been his "mano dura" (iron fist) security policy, which he pledged to implement to attack rampant crime in the country, reported Milenio. As a congressman, Hernandez proposed the military police force that went into service in October, and his security plan includes giving even more power to the military to carry out law enforcement, reported Confidencial.

InSight Crime Analysis

The struggle for electoral legitimacy is just the first battle facing the new president in a country that has become increasingly ungovernable since a 2009 presidential coup, leading many to suggest it is sliding towards becoming a "narco-state." As of October, the homicide rate so far in 2013 was 83 per 100,000 people, with the second-largest city, San Pedro Sula, ranked first and the capital, Tegucigalpa, fourth among the most violent cities in the world.

Efforts to address the country's problems are hampered by endemic corruption among public officials, stuttering police reform and severe financial problems.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

While iron fist policies and the promise of firm action may rouse public sentiment, evidence suggests such strategies often increase violence. The move is likely to be the death knell of a stumbling effort to emulate the gang truce in neighboring El Salvador -- the Barrio 18 and MS-13 gangs are the dominant street gangs in both countries -- which itself could herald an uptick in violence.

Honduras' move toward a mano dura policy could also be a sign of things to come in neighboring countries, particularly El Salvador, which is facing the prospect of its own gang truce crumbling, in the run up to elections in which the conservative candidate -- a longstanding critic of the initiative -- is leading the race.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 7 APR 2016

A pastoral letter by members of Bolivia's Catholic Church has spoken out against drug trafficking and consumption in the country,…

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 JUN 2018

Authorities in Honduras have accused dozens of officials and collaborators of diverting millions of dollars of public funds for political…

HONDURAS / 8 FEB 2011

Honduras, a longtime source of victims for human traffickers seeking to exploit women and children from rural areas, is seeing…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Criminal Enterprise on the High Seas

12 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an extensive investigation into Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing that plagues the waters of nine Latin American countries. Among the stories were how…

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…