With the elections of November 24, 2013, Honduras attempted to restart the democratic path started in 1982 with the promulgation of the Constitutional Charter (after twenty years of military rule) then abruptly interrupted by the coup of 2009. In that year, following the coup organized by the military and supported by the Constitutional Court, President Manuel Zelaya had been ousted from power. After attempting to propose a referendum for a new Constituent Assembly and after being forced into exile, Zelaya reached an agreement with then-president Lobo Sosa that allowed him to return to Honduras. The protagonist of the electoral campaign for the presidential elections of 2013 was his wife Xiomara Castro, a candidate with the new radical left party Libertad y Refundación (Libre) which achieved the second best election result. The recent creation of Libre and the anti-corruption party broke the bipartisan framework that had characterized the political life of the country since independence. The competition has always taken place, in fact, between two main parties: the Partido Liberal de Honduras (Plh), which tends to be reformist, and the Partido Nacional de Honduras (Pnh), which is conservative. The latter, led by Juan Orlando Hernández, won the 2013 elections with a relative majority of votes of 36.8%. With Hernández in the role of president, Honduras has confirmed the pro-Western orientation undertaken by its predecessor Porfirio Lobo Sosa. During Zelaya’s mandate, the country had become a close ally of Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, which had promoted its entry into the anti-US project of the Bolivarian Alternative (Alba). One of the first acts of the new Congress, following the deposition of the president, was to bring Honduras out of Alba and reaffirm its alliance with the United States, which had been ratified in 2006 by joining the Dr-Cafta, the system of bilateral free trade agreements with the US. The Honduran system is characterized by the immense power enjoyed by trade unions, especially those to protect certain categories of public workers, first of all that of teachers. Numerous reforms have been passed to reduce their influence, but without great results; also because a fifth of the workforce is members of a trade union – the highest figure in Central America – and the weight of the members also has an impact in political terms. The country depends on abroad for its energy needs and for many finished products. In particular, exports to the US make up 30% of GDP and remittances that come from it another 20%. The high trade deficit of Honduras has generated considerable external debt, reduced, but not filled, from tourism profits and emigrant remittances. Also for this reason, Honduras ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world (with 65.2% of the population below the poverty line), a condition aggravated by an extremely unequal distribution of income. However, the most worrying data concern the high crime rates: in 2012, Honduras recorded the highest homicide rate worldwide (86.4 victims per 100,000 residents); the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are considered the least safe in the world. Much of the killings are related to drug trafficking: the country serves as a corridor for trade between Latin America and the United States.
History. – According to itypeusa, the government of Juan Manuel Gálvez took over the dictatorship of General Tiburcio Carías, which lasted fifteen years and which had brought very little benefit to the country, in 1948, who initiated the essential social reforms in a nation burdened by a primitive land regime, by a very high percentage of illiterate people (73%) and the absolute lack of labor legislation. However, in April 1954, a strike by the workers of the United Fruit Company broke out, which soon spread to the whole country and which resulted in the victory of the strikers who organized themselves into unions for the first time. On May 17, 1954, Honduras signed a military assistance treaty with the US; a month later the insurgents led by Castillo Armas left the Honduran territory and overthrew the government of Guatemala. The popular elections in October gave the victory to the liberal Ramón Villeda Morales, but since there was no absolute majority, it was up to the Congress to decide. The nationalist conservatives then imposed the incumbent vice president Julio Lozano Diaz, who dissolved parliament by proclaiming himself head of state. He did not recognize the political and strike rights, did not tolerate the opposition and eventually organized the elections of 7 October 1956 for the Constituent Assembly, which should have made his rule legitimate. But on the 21st of the same month a military junta forced the dictator to resign. In the elections for the Constituent Assembly of September 22, 1957, the Liberal Party finally managed to prevail and on November 15 Ramón Villeda Morales, welcomed by young officers and supported by US circles, he was elected President of the Republic for a term of six years. A new Constitution was promulgated on December 21, 1957.