The News Roundup is a regular section of the blog, featuring news articles from various sources around the web, with the goal of providing an overview of the weekly conversation about the countries where MCC works in the region. Quotes in italics are drawn directly from sources and do not necessarily reflect the position of MCC.

Honduras: police refuse to obey government as post-election chaos deepens

Honduran police have announced they will refuse to obey orders from the government of the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández, and will remain in their barracks until a political crisis triggered by last Sunday’s contested presidential election has been resolved. All national police – including elite US-trained units – in the capital, Tegucigalpa, would refuse to enforce a curfew ordered by the government after days of deadly violence triggered by allegations of electoral fraud, a spokesman said on Monday night. “We want peace, and we will not follow government orders – we’re tired of this,” said the spokesman outside the national police headquarters.

With Echoes of 2009, Honduras Again Approaches Chaos

The division in Honduras’ public security forces and the temporary strike by the national police may contribute to destabilization when a new government takes office. The loyalty of the armed forces, which also have significant political clout in Honduras, will be a key factor. At the moment, it is difficult to determine whether or not the military will maintain support for Hernández, who solidified his relationship with the armed forces with salary and budget increases. Furthermore, the international community’s response was much like the vote count: irregular. For almost a week, observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) were virtually silent. Then, the international body questioned the integrity of the election in a December 4 press release.


The PNH and elite military police units are among the beneficiaries of generous security-related foreign aid earmarked for Honduras by the U.S. government. Figures compiled by the Security Assistance Monitor show that Honduras has received nearly $114 million in security support since 2009. The PNH receives extensive training by various branches of the U.S. government. The exact substance of U.S. training for foreign security forces is notoriously difficult to ascertain, but some light has been shed by new data provided by the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security at the request of Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and shared with The Intercept by John Lindsay-Poland, a Latin America expert who participated in making the request.

Want to limit migration? We can start by supporting democracy in Honduras.

Hondurans aren’t having it. This past Sunday, they organized huge marches to demand a proper recount. And in a jaw-dropping development, the police in the capital announced the next day they would cease enforcing a declared curfew. “We don’t want to repress and violate the rights of the Honduran people,” a spokesman told the Guardian. Hondurans have sent an inspiring message of faith in the power of democracy to deliver a better future to their beleaguered country. They deserve U.S. support.

Crisis of Honduras democracy has roots in US tacit support for 2009 coup

A way out of the current impasse remains unclear. Negotiations over a possible recount have dragged on for days, and some opposition leaders have even called for a new run-off election. Despite the crisis, however, Reuters reported this week that the US had quietly certified Honduras for making progress in fighting corruption and improving human rights, freeing up millions in US assistance.  As one of the US’s closest allies in Central America, Honduras will probably serve as a litmus test for how the United States will treat other allies with similar stained reputations. “The certification and the weak embassy statements so far tell us how low a priority democracy and human rights are on this administration’s list of US interests,” said Isacson.

Exclusive: U.S. document certifies Honduras as supporting rights amid vote crisis

The document, dated Nov. 28, which was seen by Reuters on Monday, showed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson certified Honduras for the assistance, two days after a controversial presidential election that has been claimed by an ally of Washington. Honduras has faced violent protests over the disputed results of the election, which has still not produced a clear winner over a week after the vote ended. The decision to issue the certification prompted concern from some congressional Democrats that Republican President Donald Trump’s administration could be seen to be taking sides.

In Honduras, electoral board agrees to opposition demands for partial recount

Honduran electoral authorities on Tuesday agreed to opposition demands for a recount of returns from more than 5,000 polling places, representing almost 30% of all voting sites in last week’s disputed presidential election. “We are going to review the [ballots], and if there are discrepancies we will look at them to see what the problem is,” said David Matamoros, chief of the country’s electoral tribunal. The move was a significant concession to the opposition candidacy of Salvador Nasralla, a television personality who, according to official results, finished a close second in the balloting to incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez. Nasralla and his backers have alleged widespread fraud and charged that the election was being “stolen” by electoral officials beholden to Hernandez’s National Party. Critics have taken to the streets to protest since the Nov. 26 balloting.

Analyses support doubts about vote and OAS disclaims results while police refuse to stop protests

It’s because the margin between candidates is less than the number of null votes. Null votes are those marked as invalid at the polling place, and thus not included in the totals on the poll tallies from which the central electoral authorities work. The law appears to require reviewing the null votes from the original ballots, if there are more of them than the margin between candidates. With around 55,000 votes officially between the two candidates, the number of votes marked null at the polling places is 135,000. The TSE is unlikely to do any of this. Unfortunately, we doubt Hernández will risk the victory he went so far to gain and agree to the kind of recount and scrutiny of the counting process that is being called for by the Alianza, the Liberal Party– and the OAS.

OAS may request new Honduras election to correct ‘irregularities’

David Matamoros, head of the country’s electoral tribunal, told reporters that the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, which Nasralla fronts, must still deliver its voting tally sheets and documentation so the tribunal can review the election results. Then the tribunal will discuss the OAS recommendations and what can be done to implement them, Matamoros added. When asked about the possibility of a new election, Matamoros said if the complaints about the process are borne out, “the whole issue of the vote will need to be revalidated.”

Analysing Juan Orlando Hernández’s disputed election victory in Honduras

The Economist has analysed the election results to assess the opposition’s claims of vote-rigging. Our findings are not conclusive, but they suggest there are reasons to worry. On November 27th, ten hours after polls closed, the TSE released preliminary results from 57% of ballot boxes showing Mr Nasralla with a lead of five percentage points. The TSE then suspended publication of results. After publication resumed on the afternoon of November 28th, Mr Nasralla’s lead steadily narrowed. With almost all the votes tallied, Mr Hernández has an insurmountable lead of 1.6 percentage points.