Protests against Honduras President Xiomara Castro brought thousands into the streets of Tegucigalpa, the national capital, on Saturday. The demonstrators were protesting against Castro’s attempts to appoint new public officials without a congressional vote.
The demonstration was specifically sparked by the governing LIBRE party’s election of interim public officials, including a new chief prosecutor, Johel Zelaya, on 1 November 2023. Though temporary positions, these individuals were not elected through a congressional vote, but through a committee vote where Castro’s left-wing LIBRE party hold a majority. In congress, her party does not hold a majority. Under the Honduras Constitution, the Honduran Congress must elect a new Attorney General with a minimum of 86 votes. The opposition claimed the lack of a congressional vote in these elections was an unconstitutional attempt to hand-pick public officials, and protested “in defense of democracy.”
Protestors were seen waving and wearing the Honduras flag as they marched and blared horns. Posting about the protest via X, leader of the opposition party David Chavez, commented “Here it is not about candidates or political parties, it is about Democracy and Freedom!!”
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has condemned the actions of Castro’s government. In a statement issued prior to the protests, US Senators Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Issues, said regarding the issue:
We are deeply concerned by the LIBRE Party’s attempt to consolidate power in Honduras. Unilaterally appointing an interim Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General undermines the confidence in Honduras’ democratic institutions . . . We urge all parties to negotiate a solution to this crisis and elect an independent Attorney General in accordance with the Honduran constitution. With rising violence and impunity in the country, Honduras needs a strong and capable Attorney General.