Revolutionary situation in Honduras?

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Salvador Nasralla, television personality and should-be president-elect of Honduras if the votes are ever counted properly, greets police officers who have refused to suppress anti-government protests. Nasralla is a centrist who is allied with a leftist party headed by former President Mel Zelaya. The alliance has a rather minimal program of ending the eight-year dictatorship and cleaning up the rampant corruption in public institutions.

Comes the revolution?

editor’s note

Since the 2009 coup in Honduras, they kill journalists there. There have been 59 journalists slain over these past eight years, and if it is true that Honduran society is a violent one, these were not random acts nor were they the private acts of persons without protection of the government. It’s a death squad regime, one that’s even deadlier for indigenous land rights and environmental activists. The country’s LGBT communities have also been special targets for the death squads. Thus it should come as little surprise that few media organizations that go beyond publishing government press releases were operating in open fashion in Honduras when the voters took the incumbent National Party and a president trying to perpetuate himself by surprise.

But the fraud was pretty flagrant, the country erupted in protests and ordinary citizens and unregistered freelancers stepped into the void where major news organizations might have been. People were shot down, and more people kept up the pressure on the streets. Then the police refused to put down the riots and protests anymore, about one-fifth of the national force gathered at the headquarters of the US-trained COBRA riot squad and under international pressure the Electoral Tribunal backed away from their sneeringly obvious vote count fraud.

Now things are at a pause, or in limbo, with two men claiming to be president-elect and no agreed way forward.

What follow are documents and scenes that have been by and large ignored by corporate news outlets in the United States and Panama. As the crisis has unfolded The Panama News, which has nobody on the scene in Honduras, has been reposting things, mainly by freelancers of the Nasralla camp, on its Twitter feed and Facebook page. This has been enough to scoop the main Panamanian media.

 

fallen
The fallen: Kimberly Dayana Fonseca, 19, was shot dead in Tegucigalpa at a demonstration in favor of Salvador Nasralla.

Lenca people demand Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) step down immediately!

by the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)

For over a week, the people have defended in the streets the will that they expressed at the polls. The flagrant theft that they want to carry out through fraud is undeniable. The people know it and the international community should understand that the narrow interests of Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) and the elite powers that he represents alone are maintaining the crisis by refusing to accept defeat.

It has been clearly demonstrated how the leadership of the National Party, which includes the President of the Supreme Electoral Council David Matamoros, have committed fraud in the presidential elections in order to illegally keep themselves power. Therefore, results from this institution are not and will not be reliable nor in any way credible, and the people have shown as much in the streets.

COPINH is clear that the hundreds of mobilizations, highway blockades, peaceful protests and expressions of resistance go beyond this electoral process. They represent a cry of the people as a whole to move beyond the hatred, violence and submissiveness that have characterized the years of JOH’s government and his other coup-supporting predecessors, years inundated with corruption, impunity, assassinations, approval of spurious laws, handing over of territories, illegal concessions, and poverty and hunger for the majority.

The struggle in the territories and in the streets is the key action in these moments and must continue. The dignity and strength of the people’s struggle in the streets is what has led the National Police and the COBRA forces to set down the arms they were using against the people. We salute this dignified action and call on the armed forces and other repressive state bodies to understand their role as part of the people and respect the actions of that people.

It is clear that the call in the streets is not just about recognizing the obvious electoral victory of Salvador Nasralla, but is above all the cry of the Honduran people to say JOH MUST GO! It is no longer about him recognizing the victory, it is about him stepping down from the presidency and thereby ending the crisis to which our Honduras has been subjected.

COPINH calls on the international community to take all pertinent measures to ensure that JOH’s desperation to maintain power does not lead to more spilling of blood by the Honduran people.

As such, the Lenca people, organized in COPINH demand that:

  • JOH’s government immediately hand over the presidency to a temporary government of national consensus until January 27th, 2018, the day in which Salvador Nasralla will be seated as President.
  • The resistance in favor of recognition of the people’s will as expressed at the polls strengthen and consolidate through territorial organization.
  • That the international community take a side and activate the pertinent mechanisms so that JOH’s desperation to maintain power does not lead to further spilling of blood by the Honduran people.

For the blood shed by Berta Cáceres and all of our ancestors, we demand justice! We demand that end of this killer regime!

With the ancestral strength of Berta, Iselaca, Etempica and Mota we raise our voices full of Life, Justice and Peace.

 

chart
The dashed vertical line is when the Electoral Tribunal said that the vote counting system broke down. The fraud is clear, but the documentation to go back and do an honest count may have been destroyed.

Statement by the Spokesperson of the EU High Representative on the situation in Honduras

issued in Brussels, December 5, 2017

One week after the holding of elections in Honduras, the EU calls for calm and restraint. We expect parties to express their concerns peacefully, using the legal mechanisms available to them. It is essential that the electoral authorities remain open and responsive to possible appeals, including to a transparent re-counting process, if requested by candidates.

The right to peaceful association and demonstration should be safeguarded, while violence needs to be avoided at all times. We deplore the loss of human lives and our thoughts are with the families of the victims. It is imperative that all sides act responsibly and avoid actions that further fuel tensions.

The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) will continue its work to closely observe the next stages of the elections, until the process is concluded, including possible appeals.

Declaration of the OAS General Secretariat
regarding the Presidential Elections in Honduras

issued in Washington, December 6, 2017

The Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) of the Organization of American States (OAS) to the elections in Honduras has informed the OAS General Secretariat about the lack of guarantees and transparency, as well as the accumulation of irregularities, mistakes and systemic problems that have surrounded this electoral process during the pre-electoral phase, election day, and the post-electoral phase, that as a corollary do not allow the Mission to have certainty about the results.

Moreover, it is clear that it is not possible, without an exhaustive and meticulous process of verification that determines the existence or not of an electoral fraud — as has been denounced by the opposition — to restore the confidence of the population in the process.

This lack of trust and polarization have generated unsustainable incidents of violence. The public calls for mutiny and military insurrection made in the post-electoral context are are irresponsible and incompatible with democracy.

With equal force, the OAS General Secretariat deplores the reckless calls for violence and the use of assault rifles in private hands by party leaders.

The OAS General Secretariat also condemns the deaths that have taken place and demands their immediate investigation, while also expressing its condolences and expressing solidarity with the families of the victims.

The suspension of the constitutional rights related to the Decree of December 1, 2017 issued by the Government of Honduras has been justified according to the Constitution cited in the decree considered in extreme situations, such as “the invasion of the national territory, the serious disturbance of the peace, an epidemic, or any other general calamity.” Therefore the OAS General Secretariat considers disproportionate the application of these measures in the face of demonstrations that took place following the already denounced irregularities of the electoral act carried out on November 26, 2017 and requests the immediate lifting of these measures.

The electoral process is the ultimate expression of the popular will, and democracy cannot and should not be undermined by serious irregularities, repression and deaths.

It is imperative that sufficient guarantees be given so that violence can be stopped immediately.

Looking forward, the report of the EOM has demanded a series of actions to reestablish trust, generate certainty and provide guarantees.

Therefore, we endorse the recommendations and conclusions contained in the preliminary report of the EOM. These conclusions have determined, based on technical criteria derived from international standards, the stages that must be completed.

We will move forward with all the steps indicated in the report and provide the essential follow-up.

The presidential candidate Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado has accepted the conclusions and recommendations of the EOM report, and has expressed his commitment to submit the results of the elections to international scrutiny with the accompaniment of international observers.

Unfortunately, despite the technical and scientific basis of the recommendations of the EOM, it has not been possible to reach a signed agreement.

The OAS General Secretariat reiterates that the electoral process in the Republic of Honduras has not concluded, as the full implementation of the following recommendations remain to be carried out:

  • A comparison of the 1,006 records/minutes subjected to special scrutiny with the originals received in order to ascertain whether they formed part of those that were transmitted on-line or those that were processed once they had arrived at INFOP.
  • Verification of the 5,174 TSE records that were not transmitted on the night of the election, along with a recount of the votes in the records showing inconsistencies.
  • Review of the participation in the vote in the departments of Lempira, Intibucá, and La Paz, checking 100% of the polling stations in each of those departments.
  • The establishment of a reasonable deadline for challenging findings. Due to the delays in both the regular and special tallies, the Mission urges the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to be flexible about receiving these challenges and in resolving them with all due procedural guarantees, one by one, after careful and duly substantiated analysis.
  • The publication of the lists of members of the polling stations in the departments of Atlántida, Colón, Cortés, Francisco Morazán, and Yoro.Verification of the soundness/integrity of the Integrated Electoral Vote Counting and Dissemination System (SIEDE) and its components.

If the existing irregularities prove to be of such an extent that it makes it impossible for the process to provide certainty and security in the recount, the Mission reserves the right to make any additional recommendations it deems pertinent on any aspect thereof, without ruling out the possibility of recommending a new call for elections with guarantees that they correct all the identified weaknesses that led to the serious irregularities detected.

The OAS General Secretariat will not abandon the Honduran people and reaffirms its complete commitment to contribute to resolving the differences surrounding the election. For this reason, the EOM remains in place to continue providing technical-political support.

 

PNH Cobras
The police rebel.

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Government of Panama

issued in Panama, December 4, 2017

The Government of the Republic of Panama has closely followed the presidential elections in Honduras and is concerned about the unrest that has arisen.

Panama calls on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to complete the vote count and guarantee the Honduran population a transparent process.

It also calls on the population and the political force to maintain calm and promote social peace and tranquility in the country.

 

UP
Protester at the University of Panama.

 

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