WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Issues, today released the following statement on the undemocratic power grab and political violence in Honduras.
“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, especially after months of negotiation. Furthermore, the acts of violence by LIBRE-sponsored ‘colectivos’ against opposition members of Congress is unacceptable; violence will not resolve this crisis.
“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. Just as the United States has done in Guatemala and El Salvador when power was inappropriately consolidated and the popular will of the people subverted, President Biden should be ready to take appropriate diplomatic or economic actions if Honduras does not change course. The voice of the Honduran people must be respected.”
The Honduran Congress is required to elect a new Attorney General with at least 86 votes. Negotiations between parties to find a consensus candidate have stalled. On November 1, the LIBRE ruling party in Honduras instead used a procedural workaround to place its preferred candidate in an interim role, temporarily consolidating LIBRE’s power. Comparable legally suspect and undemocratic actions in neighboring countries of Guatemala and El Salvador have resulted in actions by the Biden Administration, such as targeted sanctions and suspension of foreign assistance to the security and justice sectors.