Honduras congress passed an amendment to Article 49 of the 17-2010 Act which contains the Strengthening of Revenue, Social Equity and Public Expenditure Rationalization. “This commission has held that the identity card is the key document for Honduran citizens in order to prove their identity and nationality and use for such important matters such as applying for a job, making requests to the authorities, applying for passports, contracting with the State and other natural or legal reasons and other personal prerogatives granted, as well as VOTE.”
The new subsection added to Article 49 stipulates: “Citizens across the country who are residents are exempt from the replacement fees of identity cards for a period of eighteen (18) months from the effective date of this decree “. This 18 month period is directly related to the upcoming Honduran elections.
For the next 18 months; Honduras will replace Identification cards without having to pay the 200 lempiras ($ 10.00) established by national legislation, according to the amnesty passed by the Honduran Congress.
The initiative was brought forward by Yuri Sabas (Liberal Party) and motioned forward by the Electoral Affairs Commission, headed by Javier Menocal, who acknowledged that the amnesty has political overtones, but in reality it is adjusted to match the current economic reality of the country.
He said it is a constitutional duty of the State to document citizens, but that this duty would be free of all fees for the next 18 months during the election process, and is necessary to strengthen democracy.
Congressman Fernando Ruiz asked that the amnesty be declared permanent because the poverty level of the country is very high, and it is necessary that the population have access to ID cards. It is noteworthy that the original draft of the law contained a provision stating that if persons initiated the request of identity cards for electoral matters, they would have to pay the 200 lempira fee, but if the request was for personal matters, there would be no fee. That clause was eliminated from the final version.