A new report from Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that Hondurans were better off under the government of Manuel Zelaya. The report notes that Economic inequality in Honduras has increased dramatically since 2010 and that economic and social gains under Zelaya have been largely reversed.
A new report from the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research concludes that the economic and social progress experienced under the government of Manuel Zelaya has been reversed since the coup and the gap between rich and poor in Honduras has expanded dramatically under the administration of Porfirio Lobo.
“There were important economic and social gains under the Zelaya administration that were cut short by the 2009 coup d’etat. Unfortunately, these gains have largely been reversed in the years since, partly due to policy choices of the current government,” says research Associate and co-author Jake Johnston of the new report “Honduras Since the Coup: Economic and Social Outcomes”, which will be released today.
The authors Jake Johnston and Stephan Lefebvre note that in the two years after the coup, Honduras has had ”the most rapid rise in inequality in Latin America and now stands as the country with the most unequal distribution of income in the region. Over 100 percent of all real income gains in 2010 and 2011 went to the wealthiest 10 percent of Hondurans.”
The paper shows that social spending on education and health care increased under the administration of deposed President Manuel Zelaya. While the global recession has played a negative role on the Honduran economic, much of the country´s economic decline since 2010 is a direct result of poor policy choices made by the administration of Porfirio Lobo, who came to power after the coup. Social spending has been steadily reduced since 2010 even as total spending has increased as a percent of GDP.
During the Zelaya administration the poverty and extreme poverty rates in Hoduras decreased by 7.7 and 20.9 percent respectively. Jake Johnston and Stephan Lefebvre research shows that since 2010, the poverty rate has increased by 13.2 percent while the extreme poverty rate has increased by 26.3 percent.
“Considering the rapid increase in poverty and inequality since the coup, it is no wonder that economic issues rated high among voters’ concerns in recent polls,” Johnston said. “Hondurans are clearly much worse off than they were four years ago.”
Whoever wins the upcoming election is taking over a country in deep economic crises and a terrifying security situation. However Jake Johnston and Stephan Lefebvre positively note that contrary to media reports, Honduras’ next president will have plenty of ”fiscal space to return to economic policies that reduce poverty.”
The report comes only three weeks before elections. Xiomara Castro from the new political party LIBRE and wife of ex-President Zelaya is leading the polls.
Read the fulle report here