When protests first exploded here in the days following Honduras’ hotly contested presidential vote, residents like Luis Carlos Hernández were swept up in the action. The young lawyer’s home is just a block away from the national vote-counting center, at the heart of the at times violent demonstrations. Amid volleys of rocks and tear gas outside his front door, Mr. Hernández ushered his 11-year-old brother and four-year-old nephew into the bathroom, covering their faces with vinegar-soaked rags to protect them from the chemicals seeping in from the street. “People want to take out these corrupt politicians, they want another system,” Hernández says of the protests that boiled over across the country, demanding more transparency about how votes have been tallied.
Nearly three weeks later, his street is largely back to normal, with late-afternoon traffic jams and vendors hawking avocados and cell phone covers. But it’s clear the country as a whole – which is still awaiting the announcement of its next president – won’t bounce back so quickly.
The ballot count was officially completed earlier this week, with sitting President Juan Orlando Hernández in the lead by roughly 1.6 percentage points. But, under international pressure, the electoral commission (TSE) has been recounting votes from contested polling stations and reviewing evidence of fraud alleged by the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship party before officially announcing a victor.