An end of Honduras' political crisis rests in a “frank, effective, creative” dialogue between current President Juan Orlando Hernandez and ex-candidate Salvador Nasralla, the Honduran Bishops’ Conference said Monday.
In an open letter addressed to both Hernandez and Nasralla, the Honduran episcopate stressed the importance of transparent communication between the parties and all sectors of society. The religious delegation stated “the absence of dialogue” was the actual cause of the nation’s current political crisis.
"If real, rational and altruistic agreements are not achieved in the short term, violence will intensify, there will be more military, and police repression and the number of fatalities will increase," the bishops said, warning that the economy would also be negatively affected.
"The economy of the country will be paralyzed; poverty will increase, the population will be further divided, which could lead to a situation of ungovernability," the letter said.
The congregation of bishops suggested a respectful, earnest and fair exchange between the two politicians to give proof to their love of the Honduran people. This meeting should avoid awarding concessions to either party in order to quell the region's anxiety and settle on a solution which best suits the society.
Hernandez proposed the initiation of talks, inviting the Opposition Alliance leader and former presidential candidate in accordance with the bishops’ requests.
Nasralla, however, has not wavered, maintaining the opposition’s plans to host a massive, indefinite protest beginning January 20 to demonstrate against the alleged fraudulent November election. Following much deliberation and ballot recounts by international and national electoral groups, the incumbent president was announced the winner of the year’s presidential election on December 17.
Nasralla said Monday that Hernandez should wait on holding or limiting Congress, adding that any dialogue should be about the “theft of elections” as proven by a report from the Organization of American States (OAS).
In December, Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) declared Hernandez the president-elect with a total of 42.95 percent of the votes, just 0.43 percent more than Nasralla. The news sparked protests throughout the region which has resulted in hundreds of arrests and dozens of deaths and injuries.