Rubio Condemns Political Violence in Honduras

Rubio Condemns Political Violence in Honduras

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
|
November 6, 2023

The United States and Honduras' relationship has been shaky since the ascension of the anti-American President Xiomara Castro de Zelaya. Recently, her supporters attacked members of the opposition party on their way out of Congress, which received condemnation in a statement by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

For context, President Castro's Libre Party elected interim Attorney General Johel Zelaya through a Libre-majority committee, despite the party being in the minority in Congress overall. To appoint a new Attorney General, 86 votes out of 128 are necessary in the full chamber of Congress. Technically, however, Honduran law stipulates a new AG can be appointed through the committee mentioned above if the post is empty.

Despite this, the previous Attorney General's Deputy was already in the spot, leading to the opposition National Party members accusing Castro's government of committing an illegal power grab.

On Tuesday, as several National Party members left the Congressional building, pro-Libre colectivos attacked, injuring Congressman Antonio Rivera. "Colectivos" is another word for Citizen Participation Roundtables, a system influenced by the Sandinistas' Citizen Power Councils in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega. In theory, they are community groups encouraging state participation. In practice, however, colectivos function as Libre's enforcers, attacking the opposition through lawfare or violence like their Nicaraguan counterparts.

In Sen. Rubio's statement, jointly prepared with Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), he criticized Castro for seeking "to undermine the separation of powers in Honduras," calling upon President Biden to "fully deploy the tools authorized by Congress under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and other legal authorities to impose sanctions on all those seeking to undermine democracy in Honduras."

Additionally, Sen. Rubio reiterated the necessity of 86 votes to appoint a new Attorney General, saying, "The voice of the Honduran people must be respected."

In January, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Representative Cory Mills (R-FL) both called for sanctions against the Castro regime in Honduras as they attempted to expropriate American businesses in the country, with Rep. Diaz-Balart suggesting officials involved should have their US visas revoked.

More recently, Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) heavily criticized Castro, "When somebody tells you they don’t like the United States and they don’t like capitalism, listen to them, and act accordingly."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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