Protesters returned to the streets in Honduras even though President Juan Orlando Hernandez repealed two neo-liberal decrees privatizing education and health care.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s (JOH) decision to repeal decrees that have sparked demonstrations against his government in recent days failed to convince medical professionals and teachers protesters that the government won't private these two sectors.
By Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of thousands of people were protesting throughout the country that now includes includes transportation unions, according to local sources.
On Sunday night, Hernandez overturned two decrees he passed last week that would allow the government to declare emergencies in the public health and education sectors respectively.
The decrees were put in place in order to crack down on teachers, students, medical professionals, and the general public that have been holding nearly continuous month-long strikes in reaction to two laws passed by Congress in late April. The laws, say medical and teacher unions, will privatize the nation’s already defunded health and education programs, and lead to mass layoffs in these area.
The president of the Medical College of Honduras (CMH), Suyapa Figueroa, said Tuesday, "the origin of the protests is due to the fact that the government has systematically and progressively been dismantling the health system, has been precarizing the provision of health services through various laws.”
Hernandez continues to urge protesting teachers and doctors to return to their jobs and invited their directors to participate in the two working groups to improve health and education services.
However, Figueroa said, "there will be no change in their actions until the new decrees are revealed."
The decrees were officially revoked Monday, but protesters said they remained concerned and unions are demanding the health and education sectors be tackled together.
“We are fighting to avoid the privatization of education and public health services that has been attempted with decrees and laws from the powerful, putting at risk the population of a poor country,” said Edwin Hernandez, leader of the Platform for Defense of Education and Public Health, a trade group for public workers.
Amid Tuesday protests, demonstrators are also seeking to establish a dialogue with the national government to clarify details of the rules that will govern the health and education area of the country.
The majority of Hondurans just want JOH out of office after a highly controversial and internationally-recognized fraudulent 2017 presidential election that placed incumbent Hernandez back as head of state.