Honduras: Military Takes The Streets After Violent Protests

Honduras has deployed the military in several cities after protests against the government. The protests have left two people dead and a few others injured.

In Tegucigalpa, there were reports of looting as well as attacks on government buildings. The protests in the country are nothing new, they have taken place over the last few weeks. The protests are against President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who began his second presidential term in early 2018.

The protests were sparked by a proposal for education and health reforms. He has also been accused of moving towards an authoritarian rule after changing the constitution to run for another term. In 2015, the Supreme Court in Honduras voided the single term limit for the presidency. The move drew widespread criticism from the opposition.

Juan Orlando Hernandez said at the presidential palace that the army and military police would keep roads open and protect private and public property. In the capital, protesters blocked roads with objects and burning tires.

The protests left at least 17 people injured, with a spokeswoman from a hospital in Tegucigalpa later announcing that two had died from bullet wounds. The hospital did not reveal the condition of the other 15 injured.

The protests have taken place over several weeks but one of the biggest took place on Wednesday. During the day, there were also reports that a riot police squad had withdrawn to pressure the government into announcing more benefits.

The protests did not slow down, even after one side struck a deal with the government. Truck drivers and the government reached an agreement but protesters still took the streets to show their disapproval for the reform proposal.

Critics argue that the reform is not the best route for a change. Education and health have been mentioned as part of the proposal, which opponents say is the beginning of privatization. The government denies that the reform will bring major changes such as layoffs and privatization. They say the changes will bring savings of more than $300 million. The government has said that the money saved will be used towards the two sectors, mostly on primary education and the construction of new hospitals.

The violence and unstable economy of Honduras has forced thousands to flee the country in recent years. A study recently published by El Economista provided a picture of how bad the conditions are in Honduras and its neighbors, El Salvador and Guatemala, which have also seen thousands flee in recent years.

The study reveals that Honduras has an 8.2 percent unemployment rate. El Salvador is second with 6.8 percent while Guatemala has 3.5 percent. Honduras is said to have 72 percent of its workers employed in the informal economy. The monthly wage is around $111, much lower than its two neighbors. 51 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. The country actually had the highest rate in 2012 and while that has significantly decreased in the last seven years, the rate is still very high.