The Honduran Congress has announced that it will suspend plans for controversial reforms to education and health care, a victory for protestors in the country.
The planned reforms, which critics say would have led to mass unemployment and privatisation, had led to protests against the government by students and healthcare workers. Protests on Tuesday had led to fresh marches and the suspension of a number of educational and health services as unions called for opposition to two reforms agreed last week.
“We have decided to suspend and archive those laws and to invite dialogue with the leaders of the health and teaching associations, with the aim of bringing peace”Mauricio Oliva, President of Congress
Union leaders have agreed to the invitation for dialogue but are expected to ensure that the pressure remains on the government over the coming days and weeks, vowing to maintain roadblocks as students continue to take to the streets.
The recent protests and government suppression led to international attention on Honduras, with the Anonymous hacking collective announcing its support for the protests under the hashtag #OpHonduras
Many of the protestors have suggested that the blame for the ongoing situation in Honduras lays at the feet of the United States following the coup of 2009 that led to the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya, a coup that came following a move toward more left-wing reform in the country. E-mails released by the then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2015 and 2016 showed that the coup was backed by the U.S.
While the dialogue is an encouraging first step, many of the protestors have called for the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernández who was reelected to the Presidency in 2017 after an election that was widely criticised as fraudulent and it remains to be seen if the move is enough to quell popular opposition to his government.