After Sunday’s first round of voting, the leading candidate in Guatemala’s presidential run-off election next month will be a former comedian. But the anti-corruption wave sweeping Central America is no joke – and has been spreading next door to Honduras.
Guatemalan actor Jimmy Morales has never held elected office. But it’s not surprising that an outsider candidate like him got the most votes. Guatemalans are so angry about corruption that last week President Otto Pérez was forced to resign and faces charges in a major scandal.
So is this is the start of a Central American Spring? Next door, Hondurans accuse their president, Juan Orlando Hernández, of involvement in a scheme that robbed more than $300 million from Honduras’ health system.
“People are dying in the hospitals because they don’t have access to medication," says Julio Calderon, a Honduran-American activist who leads protests against the Honduran government in Miami. "And we as people have to say it: That’s the corruption.”
Like Pérez in Gutemala, Hernández in Honduras denies he was aware of the corruption in Honduras. But the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, James Nealon, told WLRN the U.S. is urging anti-corruption reform there.
“We’re not going to dictate the mechanisms that Hondurans will use to address these problems of impunity and corruption," Nealon said, "but we’re going to support their efforts.”
Honduran-Americans will hold an anti-corruption march in Washington D.C. this Saturday.