As El Salvador sinks into violence and authoritarianism, another country takes a comparable, straight edge "anti-crime" approach.
On November 24, the Honduran government announced a plan for the temporary suspension of constitutional rights and a deployment of security forces in two crime rigged cities. Besides the capital Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula will be implementing the approach. Honduras has been struggling with a rise of extortion, leading to fear among the population and a mass closure of small to medium sized businesses.
Human rights activists who have been criticizing the rise of authoritarianism in Central America are warning to ensure the upholding of human rights. Honduras has a history of violence by security forces and a lack of accountability. Nevertheless, many civilians are welcoming the measure. Though the approach is often compared to El Salvador's extreme militarization and totalitarianism, experts doubt that the measures will have a comparable impact. They believe that widespread human rights violations could endanger the internal peace within the center-left coalition governing the country. Furthermore, the comparison lacks validity since El Salvador, with its massive military and police force as well as its enormous prison capacity, is far more militarized than Honduras. Another impactful difference between the two countries is the takeover of the judicial branch by the Salvadoran government, enabling it to prosecute without hearings.
Still, the fear of unhinging authoritarianism is a strong indication of danger. Many are speculating the iron fist approach could overshadow the government's plan of legal reforms like resource upgrades aiming to dismantle gang leaders and cracking down on money laundering, which is believed to have a long term impact.
As the deployment of special forces proceeds, it is likely to be implemented in more cities as well.