Norwegian People's Aid is among relatively few international organizations working in Honduras and has been in the country since 1985. The work includes support for farmers' organizations, indigenous people, women, and environmental organizations.
During the civil wars in neighboring countries in the 70's and 80's, the country ended up in the shadow of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala internationally.
The country was forced into an important dual role, both as a base for the U.S. and the Contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and for the liberation movement, FMLN, in El Salvador against the dictatorship. The country is still the United States’ main base in Central America.
Honduras’ solidarity effort played a major role for El Salvador. Unlike neighboring countries, they never had a strong revolutionary movement, but Honduras has a long history of trade unions and cooperatives.
In June 2009, the elected President Zelaya was overthrown in a coup. The forces behind justified the takeover by Zelaya’s attempted to expand his legal presidential term through a referendum on a constitutional amendment. But the coup was primarily motivated by the controversial political reforms Zelaya initiated, such as land distribution and 100% increase in the minimum wage, which distanced him from parts of his own party, the power elite and the U.S.
Social organizations and various political parties gathered immediately against the coup. Large, nationwide demonstrations and protests were met with police, military and anti-terror legislation. During the months of the elections were conducted and Profiro Lobo inaugurated as the new President. The new government has since worked to gain international recognition and to implement a neoliberal economic model, while militarization and repression in the country increases.
Monitoring and threats
The country has undergone extreme militarization since 2009 to protect the interests and power of the elites. Today, the military can legally monitor whoever they want in guise of combating organized crime. One way of silencing protests is using the legal system to crack down on civil society by suing human rights activists and people who are part of alternative farmer’s movements and other organizations. Several of our partner organizations have experienced this.
In the November 2013 election, the Right Ving candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez was named winner, with 36% of the votes. Former Presidents Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro, received 29% of the votes. Their party Libre filed charges of election fraud, but the election was approved by national institutions and international observers. There were peaceful protests and demonstrations by Libre supporters after the election, but no violent clashes.