As part of an effort to address an apparent increase in extortion, the Honduran government will suspend some constitutional rights, sparking fears of human rights breaches and warnings of growing authoritarianism in Central America.
Thousands of security troops will be deployed to 162 gang-infested districts in the country’s two largest cities, San Pedro Sula and the capital, Tegucigalpa, under the plan, which will go into action late on Tuesday and remain in effect for at least 30 days.
President Xiomara Castro said on November 24th that extortion is one of the primary causes of instability, migration, relocation, loss of freedom, violent deaths, and the closure of small and medium-sized businesses. “With the comprehensive strategy against extortion and related crimes announced today by the national police, this government of democratic socialism declares war on extortion.”
Castro’s announcement immediately drew comparisons to the repressive policies of neighboring El Salvador, where President Nayib Bukele has partially suspended constitutional rights for the past eight months as part of an unprecedented crackdown on gangs that has resulted in more than 55,000 arrests and a number of alleged human rights violations.