Take Action in Defense of Democracy in Honduras
The crisis in Honduras in the wake of the November 26 election continues. As documented here by Rick Sterling the evidence suggests strongly that the ruling National Party tampered with the voting process to ensure victory for Juan Orlando Hernandez:
After midnight on election night, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) stopped posting updates and effectively shut down for the next 36 hours. The TSE’s president, David Matamoros Batson, said the TSE had received 13,000 tally sheets but was missing 6,000 from the total. With just over 18,000 total, this does not quite add up. Then two hours later, Matamoros increased the number of missing tally sheets to 7,500.
When updates resumed, mid-day last Tuesday, the results consistently favored the incumbent right-wing President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The opposition lead steadily diminished then disappeared.
The leader of the Opposition Coalition against the Dictatorship, Salvador Nasralla, denounced the apparent malfeasance and protests commenced across the country. Police and military have sometimes responded violently. Numerous unarmed Hondurans have been killed over the past five days.
On Monday, more than a week after the election, the TSE announced results giving a narrow victory to the incumbent National Party President Juan Orlando Hernandez. As mass protests continue, the opposition has demanded a recount of all the tally sheets received after the TSE shutdown.
The situation continues to evolve. Protests have continued. The police, remarkably, announced that they would no longer enforce a curfew or prevent peaceful protests. A welcome respite after 10 days of state violence that left at least 13 people dead and hundreds detained.
The United States has some responsibility for events. It has provided military and police assistance to Honduran forces, despite years of evidence of complicity with human rights violations since the coup in June of 2009. Just this week it was announced that the Trump administration had certified Honduras as making sufficient strides in the protection of human rights to continue to receive aid – close to $55 million in the upcoming fiscal year. The Obama administration made a similar certification last year, claiming that Honduras had made significant progress to “protect the right of political opposition parties, journalists, trade unionists, human rights defenders, and other civil society activists to operate without interference.” A description sorely at odds with events on the ground.
As events continue to unfold we join with other human rights and solidarity organizations to demand that the U.S. government respect the democratic process. We invite all of you to contact your members of congress and demand that the U.S. respect the democratic process in Honduras.
You can call the U.S. Capital Switchboard to directly contact your Senators and Representatives: (202) 224-3121. Get their phone numbers and email addresses; send them copies of this and other information; politely insist that they agree to any and all of the following demands; share your efforts with the media, family, friends and networks.
In the short term, the U.S. government and politicians must:
- Publicly condemn the multiple acts of documented electoral fraud being carried out by the corrupt, military-backed government of Juan Orlando Hernandez and the National party;
- Publicly condemn the suspension of constitutional rights, the imposition of a curfew and the acts of police and military repression happening across Honduras against anti-electoral fraud protesters and other citizens;
- State unequivocally that the government of Juan Orlando Hernandez and the National Party will be held fully accountable for any and all electoral fraud and repression taking place;
- Immediately suspend all economic, military, police and other “security” related relations with the corrupt, repressive government in power;
- Advocate for a complete recount of ALL votes, carried out under full national and international supervision, or a new run-off election is held under full national and international supervision.