Honduras has imposed month-long state of emergency by suspending some constitutional rights to help overcome street gangs.
The extraordinary measures target the capital Tegucigalpa and the northern business hub of San Pedro Sula, which have struggled under the activity of powerful gangs like Barrio 18 and MS-13. If the measure is successful, then the state of emergency may be extended. The Honduran measures affect constitutional rights of association, free movement, searches and arrests. The decree gave as justification the threat to life and property posed by the gangs in both cities.
Meanwhile, in her inauguration earlier this year, Xiomara Castro, the first female president of Honduras, ended her speech with a promise to defend the rights of women.
“Honduran women, I will not fail you, I will defend your rights, all your rights, count on me,” said Castro, whose resounding election victory ended a dozen years of conservative rule and generated high hopes for change in a country with one of the highest rates of female deaths and most restrictive laws against reproductive rights in Latin America.
But 10 months into Castro’s single constitutionally permitted term, many are losing faith that her historic appointment will bring the changes they were promised.
“We are in ways losing hope,” said Regina Fonseca, an activist for women’s rights in Honduras. “I believe that at some point Castro will possibly fulfil some of the things, but the reality is that 20 percent of her term has already passed, and at least in terms of reproductive rights we do not see any substantive change in women’s lives up to now.”