Tegucigalpa, Dec 30 (EFE).- Elaborate effigies of outgoing two-term President Juan Orlando Hernandez and other unpopular politicians will be burned at midnight on Dec. 31 in what has become a year-end tradition in Honduras.
“Allow me to say that it’s a way to express toward them the bad feelings of everyone for all the negative actions they take against the people,” upholsterer Luis Lagos tells Efe outside his workshop on the south side of Tegucigalpa.
For 18 years, Lagos has been one of the many artisans across Honduras who donate their time to create the effigies.
Besides Hernandez, the politicians selected “with all respect” to be sacrificed symbolically as 2021 draws to a close are congressional speaker Mauricio Oliva and Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry “Tito” Asfura, who declined to seek a fourth term in favor of what would turn out to be failed bid for the presidency.
“It seems that they achieve power to aggrandize themselves, to enrich themselves and carry out so many atrocities,” Lagos says of politicians.
“All of that enrages us, it’s something that strikes us very badly, because education is bad, there is no work, there is no security, we are very badly off in health with all this from the pandemic,” he says.
With the burning of the effigies, Lagos says, Hondurans can “erase all the negative things and bad vibes” and look forward to seeing the winner of the Nov. 28 presidential election, Xiomara Castro, “transform all of those negative things into positives for the good of the people.”
Castro, the wife of former President Mel Zelaya, is to be inaugurated on Jan. 27.
Along with the effigies of Hernandez, Oliva and Asfura, Lagos and his team fabricated a helicopter for the tableau in front of the workshop.
“I made the helicopter for people to interpret as they wish,” Lagos tells Efe. “It’s possible that they (the politicians) can grab an aircraft to take them somewhere in the country, it’s equally possible that (the helicopter) could come to take them away.”
Some in Honduras speculate that the soon-to-be former president could be extradited to the United States to face charges of collaborating with drug traffickers.
His brother, Tony Hernandez, was sentenced in March in the US to life in prison after being convicted of smuggling nearly 204 tons of cocaine into the country over the course of 15 years.
The court heard testimony that Tony funneled millions of dollars in bribes to President Hernandez, who denies the accusations of drug links and denounced his brother’s sentence as “outrageous.”
Lagos also made a figure of President-elect Castro, who will play the part of “witness” to the burning in effigy of her political foes.
“It’s like a warning: if she also follow the same steps as these officeholders, she will experience the same situation. This time she will just observe the burning,” Lagos says. EFE gr-ac/dr