Latin American Program in the News: In Honduras vote, new lesson in how the drug war steers politics

By: Dudley Althaus, GlobalPost

Dec 03, 2013

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Hernandez campaigned on a law-and-order platform, vowing to double down on the recent deployment of military policy into the most crime-ridden areas.

Castro promoted a different kind of community-based police force as well as greater social spending, jobs programs and other measures she said would prevent crime.

Hernandez “promised a get tough on crime approach, so I think we can expect that for sure,” said Eric Olson, a leading expert on Central America at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington, DC think tank. “The question is which is a more effective strategy.”

But odds are that Hernandez won’t much improve his country’s dismal record in stopping the thriving trade in US-bound cocaine and synthetic drugs. Nor will it stanch the torrent of young Hondurans — as many as 100,000 a year, by one official count — migrating through Mexico into the United States illegally.

Drug trafficking, murder and poverty all have spiked as the world economic crisis, US-born street gangs and drug cartels have beset the country. The “hard hand” policies of outgoing President Porfirio Lobo, who won office following the ouster of Manuel Zelaya and is barred by law from seeking a second term, did little or nothing to change that reality.

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