As many of you may know, Honduras is currently in a chaotic state. What do visitors need to know?
What’s Going on?
In June, the Congress booted President Manuel Zelaya with the support of the army and Supreme Court, giving him a one-way ticket to Costa Rica on a military plane. He’s been trying to reclaim his office ever since.
Where is he now?
Ex-president Zelaya is holed up in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. There are occasional protests of support outside the building, although the army breaks them up pretty quickly.
Are they going to let him be president again?
That’s the big question. He wants to reclaim his office. There are near-constant talks between his camp and the interim government, but they mostly seem to be going nowhere. The current government is promising to arrest him if he leaves the embassy.
What happens now?
Time is on the side of the interim government. There is a regularly scheduled election coming up in November. Although there are currently sanctions by the international community now for their clumsy removal of Zelaya, it will be hard to maintain those sanctions after an election. Expect the interim government to stall the talks until November. Maybe then they’ll let him back, once his power is severely limited by the presence of a new, incoming administration.
What does this mean for Honduras tourism?
If you’re sunning yourself on Roatan, very little. If you’re in Tegucigalpa, you’ll want to know that crime is up, as drug gangs are taking advantage of the chaos to increase trafficking to North America. Also, the police are busy keeping an eye on the protests, so street crime is up even higher than usual, if that’s possible in Tegucigalpa. Sanctions are hitting the poor hard.
Anything else I need to know if I’m in Honduras?
One of the places this conflict is playing out is in the media. The interim government has closed and re-opened oppositional radio and TV stations, and suspended some liberties. Be aware of curfews.