Honduran presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla of the Opposition Alliance has promised to create a national day to memorialize Berta Caceres if he's elected.
Caceres was a lifelong human rights and environmental activist. She represented Indigenous Lenca people from western Honduras. Caceres was assassinated in her home on March 3, 2016. According to a recent independent report, her assassination was plotted by the Honduran military and high-level officials from the Energy Development SA, or DESA, company just after Caceres had successfully helped stop the construction of a major DESA hydroelectric dam on Rio Blanco in Lenca territory.
In 2015, Caceres was awarded a Goldman Environmental Award for her work.
Nasralla said in a press conference, “This is an initiative to officially name Jan. 27 as Berta Caceres Day for defending Honduras’ land. She’s a national hero."
In addition to commemorating Caceres, Nasralla reiterated his dedication to creating the International Anti-Corruption Commission, supported by the United Nations, if elected. Of 176 countries, Honduras had the 123rd-highest level of perceived corruption in 2016, according to Transparency International.
Nasralla’s biggest rival, sitting President Juan Orlando Hernandez of the National Party, already admitted to being a part of an embezzlement scheme that siphoned US$300 million from the Honduran national health service to government officials and to his 2013 campaign coffers.
Corruption and legal impunity are the reigning “operative system” in Honduras, according to a recent Insight Crime study. That being said, Nasralla has promised to create a more independent judicial system, which has been largely co-opted by Hernandez and the executive branch.
Additionally, Nasralla said he will combat poverty in Honduras as president, which affects more than 60 percent of the population. He also wants to improve the country’s education system, saying "the major problem is that with such high poverty, people don’t have access to education." He proposes to make education and quality healthcare free and to reduce the national sales tax by three percent.
The Opposition Alliance candidate ended by saying he wants to improve business conditions for entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers, according to Yahoo News.
The Opposition Alliance is comprised of three parties: Libre, the Anti-Corruption Party and the Innovation and Unity Party. The party is a coalition of socialists, social democrats and centrists who coalesced to defeat Hernandez and his National Party monopoly on political and economic power. Nasralla’s other main opponent is Luis Zelaya from the Liberal Party.
More than six million Hondurans are registered to vote within the country and approximately 50,000 in the United States. Hondurans will also vote for vicepresident, 128 National Assembly members and 298 local-level mayors.