Support Resistance in Honduras
No to U.S. Interference & Recognition of Illegitimate Elections!
Voice of Revolution denounces the U.S. backing of the coup government in Honduras and the illegitimate November 29 elections organized by the coupists and defended by the U.S. The U.S. government, through its refusal to stop funding and break ties with the coup government, ensured the coupists remained in power from the June coup until the November elections. Then, without elected President Zelaya being restored to power as agreed, the U.S. recognized the elections organized by the coup government. These took place under military dictate and in the face of massive attacks on civilians. The elections were denounced as illegitimate by the Honduran people, their President Zelaya and countries of Latin America and those worldwide. Again refusing to stand with the will of the majority, U.S. recognition of the elections sanctions this fraud and goes against democracy. It is an attempt to give permanency to the U.S.-backed coup dictatorship by claiming they have now “taken the positive step” to hold elections! This is the “new” face of U.S. diplomacy, where coups are instigated, supported and then legitimized, all while claiming to support democracy.
The people of Honduras showed their contempt for such democracy by boycotting the elections and standing firm in their fight for a Constituent Assembly. Their resistance has made clear that democracy today means that the people themselves must decide such fundamental issues as the constitution of the country.
According to Rafael Alegria, the coordinator of the National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’Etat, the winner of the November 29 elections is the mass movement supporting ousted President Manuel Zelaya. “The people answered the call of the Resistance to defeat the coup,” Alegria said. “We salute all the Honduran people, all the Resistance, tomorrow [December 1] we will continue with a people’s assembly to make a caravan,” he added. “We are very happy with the answer of the people. We are on a good path and for a real power of Resistance, as a great movement of the country,” he said.
In an interview with local radio station “Radio Globo,” just after the elections, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said that according to information at his disposal the abstention rate during Sunday’s illegitimate election was as high as 65 percent. “The Honduran people did not accept the electoral process as valid. They did not feel it belonged to them,” Zelaya said.
Saying the “winner of the election was the abstention of the people,” Zelaya added: “Today we defeated [coup leader] Micheletti at the ballot box, we defeated the violence at the ballot box.” He was referring to the fact that the candidate of the opposition National Party Porfirio Lobo won the illegitimate election for president. According to a preliminary report issued by the coup’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Porfirio Lobo won the elections with 55.9 percent of the vote cast.
Recent reports also indicate that, following behind the U.S., Costa Rican President Oscar Arias called on the international community to recognize the general elections in Honduras. Arias told CNN that not recognizing the winner of the general elections of Honduras would be even more harmful to the country, which is already submerged in a political crisis since the coup of June 28 against Zelaya. During a phone interview, Zelaya emphasized that Arias does not know the suffering of the Honduran people.
With this stand Arias, the U.S.-proposed mediator between Zelaya and the illegal coup government joined the U.S., Canada, Panama and Peru as the countries declaring that the elections were democratic no matter the circumstances under which they were held. This fully reveals the fraudulent character of U.S.-style democracy, which favors the most corrupt oligarchs abroad and the most corrupt monopolies, like the military monopolies, at home. U.S. refusal to take actions to cut funds to the coup government and to publicly insist on Zelaya’s return, and now recognition of elections carried out by a coup government, further show that when the U.S. speaks of “restoring democracy,” they do not mean recognition of the will of the majority and their resistance, but rather, restoring the use of coups and the illegitimate governments they put in place.
This reality was emphasized at the summit of 22 Ibero-American countries that took place at the end of November in Estoril, Portugal, where the Latin American countries condemned the elections. “What is at stake is whether we validate or not a new methodology of coups d’etat,” said Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, whose country was seeking a rejection of the elections along with Bolivia, Cuba, Brazil, Spain, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay, Guatemala and Chile. “We do not recognize those who carried out the coup” that ousted Zelaya on June 28, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca told the German press agency DPA.
Peoples worldwide are taking their stand with the Honduran resistance and also considering the problem faced by the peoples of advancing the fight for democracies that favor the peoples.
The National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’Etat successfully mobilized an extensive boycott of the elections and has continued work to hold a constituent assembly. Zelaya said that without the necessary conditions to guarantee the citizenry the universal right to vote directly, secretly and free of coercion or threats, the electoral process is unviable and unlawful. He said, “If a dictatorship promotes, runs, coordinates an election, it becomes illegal. It is a precedent that had never been set in Latin America, which has already witnessed 80 coups, but they culminated in a new Constitution, not in an illegitimate call for elections, like this.”
Many candidates from different parties joined in the boycott. On November 13, Prensa Latina reported that San Pedro Sula’s Mayor Rodolfo Padilla joined the list of candidates refusing to participate in the elections. Padilla, who was seeking re-election in the country’s second most important city, asserted that if institutionality is not restored, it would be impossible to hold transparent elections as demanded by the people and the international community.
“As the situation in the country does not meet the conditions noted, it is contrary to my principles, convictions and values to legitimate electioneering processes that intend to consolidate abuse, crimes, and outrages perpetrated by those responsible for the coup,” he asserted.
As of mid-November, those candidates boycotting the election for president, parliament and local offices included some 110 mayoral candidates and 55 candidates for deputies of different parties, as well as some presidential candidates. The first to withdraw was independent presidential candidate Carlos H. Reyes, after denouncing the present electoral process as an ongoing farce to legitimate the de facto regime. “Definitively, constitutional order has not been restored nor President Manuel Zelaya reinstated and we can not participate in the elections under such conditions. This would be legitimizing the putschists,” Reyes explained.
Venezuela’s Minster of Foreign Affairs Nicolás Maduro on November 26 remarked to the press that, “The Venezuelan government will not recognize the electoral process and its results. We instead call on the international community to make efforts and support President Zelaya and the Honduran people to organize free elections,” Likewise, he referred to the pre-electoral process in Honduras as “rigged and offers no guarantees to the people. There is not freedom of expression in Honduras. They control the press and radio and TV stations. There is brutal repression against social and political leaders and no guarantees that a natural process can be developed with transparency.”
Maduro questioned the U.S. government’s stance regarding the Honduran elections as it is the first to criticize elections for perceived faults in different South American countries. “It is very serious that the right in this continent thinks it can violate and break the rules of democracy, destroy and subjugate a progressive people,” he added.
A letter from President Zelaya addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama on November 14 calling for Obama to take prompt and proper action by taking a stand for new U.S. relations with Latin America by opposing the coup has only received the indirect reply that the U.S. will be recognizing the election and its results.
Supporting fraudulent elections organized by U.S.-backed forces, whether in Honduras or in Afghanistan, cannot hide the character of U.S.-style democracy. Indeed, the situation in both countries shows that the U.S. is attempting to hide its tyranny against the peoples under the banner of democracy, using elections as one means to do so. Reality on the ground is revealing the failure of U.S.-style democracy and its outdated character. The peoples everywhere are instead demanding democracy that empowers the people and favors them. Voice of Revolution salutes the heroic efforts of the peoples of Honduras and worldwide to advance this battle for democracy.
More Revelations of Electoral Fraud Compound Illegitimacy of Coup Regime
The U.S.-backed coup regime in Honduras, despite being thoroughly exposed as illegitimate and anti-democratic, especially after the “elections” on November 29, continues its attempts to create “facts on the ground” to establish credibility for itself and the fraudulent electoral results, while continuing to repress the Honduran people and their resistance.
Prensa Latina on December 1 reported:
“Manipulation of figures, tampering with ballot boxes and other irregularities were discovered in the electoral process held on Sunday in Honduras under the coup, according to analysts and media. Honduras had an election process marked by abstentions despite manipulation of the results by representatives of the de facto government when stating that 61 percent of the electors had gone to the polls, said investigator and Honduran sociologist Ricardo Arturo Salgado.
“He said in his visit to Tegucigalpa he was able to verify a very low attendance at the polls. The world should know that this was not a democratic process, added Salgado. He denounced the repressive atmosphere, the militarization and the censure before and after elections. [...]
“In San Pedro Sula, the country’s second most important city, polling stations seemed to be empty. Security forces compelled citizens to vote and brutally crushed a peaceful demonstration, said the intellectual Jorge Miralda. According to El Tiempo several electoral packages were opened. In other places the indelible ink to mark the fingerprints of those who voted ran out; however the process did not stop, making it possible for electors to vote more than once.”
Honduras Indymedia reported on November 30 that “On Monday morning, Honduras has three presidents, with the apparent victory of ‘Pepe’ Lobo Sosa in Sunday’s election. The opposition media, candidates and the ruling classes insist on lies, that not only Pepe has won, but with a massive turnout at the polls, denying even the company contracted by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that projects a turnout of 47 percent, with the insistence that up to 80 percent of Hondurans went to the polls – a ridiculous lie that explains why the streets and schools were found empty on this day of ‘civic celebration.’[...]
“Now comes the hard part. Police and power structures are already building the image of the resistance as terrorists and openly say that the arrests and raids will continue, to fight this ‘new criminal element.’ [President Zelaya] is still in the embassy and the popular movement now faces a period of restructuring and reorganization, to seek new strategies for mobilization, organization and above all, education on the drafting of the new constituent assembly.
“[A demonstration] of hundreds of cars took to the streets [in Tegucigalpa] in a caravan of resistance that went through several neighborhoods, everyone with their fingers up, free of ink spots, screaming, ‘Dignity, Dignity...’”
In related news, on December 2, the Honduran Congress convened itself to debate and vote on the matter of President Manuel Zelaya’s restitution. The coup regime claims that this was done as part of fulfilling the conditions of the San José Accord, the entirety and overall spirit of which it violated. A strong military presence was deployed outside the Congress to suppress the Resistance, which was demonstrating in the streets around the Congress building. Similar repressive operations were put in place across the country in anticipation of a negative decision by the Congress.
The website hondurascoup2009.blogspot.com reported on the results of the vote: “Congress committed another unconstitutional act when it voted this evening on a motion to again ratify its Decreto 141-2009, which removed Zelaya from office (not a power granted them by the constitution) and installed Mr. Micheletti as de facto president. The motion was introduced by the Nationalist Party, which held a meeting this morning and agreed to vote as a block of 55 votes in favor of this motion. They only needed 9 Congressmen from another party to join them to block the restitution of Zelaya, but in fact the measure had substantial support from members of the Liberal Party as well. At 7:11 pm Tegucigalpa time, a simple majority of the Congressmen had voted for the motion, with the vote continuing.
“The Honduran Congress today thumbed its nose at the rule of law, at the U.S. State Department, and the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord. [...]
“Final vote: 111 votes for the motion, 14 against, with 3 Congressmen absent.”
Adding to the absurdity of the situation and criminality of the coup regime, the same website reported on December 4 that President-Elect Lobo is continuing to try and reanimate the corpse of the San José Accord:
“The next farcical step in the ballet choreographed by the State Department is being danced in Honduras. Porfirio Lobo, the president-elect in the election of last Sunday, called on Roberto Micheletti to form a government of national unity and reconciliation, as the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord called for a month ago. Lobo said this government should be formed independently. Lobo said that this was vital for his recognition.
“Lobo said he understood that there were different opinions circulating about the accord, like that of Ricardo Lagos, but that that was normal, and that all parties should press forward to comply with the agreement.
“’With the decision of Congress, we are complying with the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord...and pending is the formation of a government of reconciliation and the truth commission.’
“Tiempo perceives Lobo as asking Micheletti to [form] the government, but there is ambiguity in the reporting over just who Lobo thinks should form the government, and be part of it. What is clear is that Lobo does not believe Zelaya himself should be part of the government, since he said after the election ‘Zelaya is history.’”
(Prensa Latina, Honduras Indymedia, hondurascoup.blogspot.com)
The National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’Etat in Honduras this Monday rejected any kind of dialogue with Porfirio Lobo, the winner of Sunday’s disputed elections and announced that its members will maintain their street actions until the constitutional order of the nation is re-established, beginning with the return to power of Manuel Zelaya.
Speaking from the headquarters of STIBYS (Union of Beverage and Related Industry Workers) in Tegucigalpa, the former presidential candidate, Carlos Reyes, said at a press conference that “we will continue rejecting any dialogue with the coup participants.”
Reyes pointed out that the road to take against the coup is “resistance” and that the objectives now are to restore constitutional order and return Manuel Zelaya, the legitimate head of state, to power and “in case we don’t succeed in this, to try and establish a constituent assembly.”
Rafael Alegria, a peasant leader and one of the leaders of the Front, for his part called on the Honduran people “to maintain its permanent mobilization” in the streets, rejecting the electoral fraud and demanding a constituent assembly.
“The Resistance is growing stronger and is being consolidated while the regime that arose from [Sunday’s] elections is spurious and completely debilitated and for this reason we have nothing to discuss with this regime,” the leader pointed out, asserting, as well, that the abstention rate in this Sunday’s elections was over 60 percent.
The Resistance declared its rejection following declarations by Lobo after his “triumph” when he called on the Honduran people to maintain a national dialogue that is “open, without dismissing anybody.”
At the same time, Alegria pointed out that the confrontations that took place during the illegal electoral process in San Pedro Sula in the north between the police and demonstrating supporters of Zelaya left a total of 48 arrested, a young girl missing and six wounded who needed to be hospitalized.
The controversial general elections that were held November 29 took place without the support of a large part of the international community, which considered that they occurred within a framework of a constitutional breakdown.
National Front of Popular Resistance Against the Coup d’État Denounces Fiasco of Electoral Farce
November 29, 2009: It is with total satisfaction that we announce to the Honduran people and to the international community that the electoral farce staged by the dictatorship has been unequivocally defeated due to the pathetic show of voters at the ballot boxes, to the extent that the coup regime’s Electoral Tribunal had to extend voting an hour later until 5:00 pm.
What is obvious does not require glasses. Monitoring performed by our organization on a national level shows us that the abstention level was a minimum of 65 to 70 percent, the highest in our country’s history, which means that barely 30 to 35 percent of the electorate voted. In this way the Honduran people have punished the coup candidates and the dictatorship, who are now in the predicament of having to show international public opinion a number of voters that didn’t exist. We denounce the fact that for this reason, they resorted to fraudulent maneuvers like the presence of Salvadorans involved in the ARENA Party, brought here to vote in our country, as was denounced by the peasants in the municipality of Magdalena, Intibuca. And we have to expect that they will attempt to increase the electoral volume through the use of electronic manipulation.
The desperation of the de facto regime is such that it brutally repressed the peaceful demonstration that took place in the city of San Pedro Sula, which resulted in numerous comrades wounded, beaten and detained; as well as reports of one person missing. We are informed that a reporter from Reuters was included among the wounded and reports include the detention of two priests from the Latin America Council of Churches who were involved in observing the human rights situation.
Considering that these results represent a great victory for the Honduran people, the National Resistance Front invites all the resisting Honduran people to celebrate the defeat of the dictatorship tomorrow.
We are calling for a Mass Assembly in Tegucigalpa tomorrow, Monday, November 30 from 12 noon.
(Translated from original Spanish by TML Daily)
December 1, 2009: The constitutional president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, announced December 1 that he will not accept his return to power in order to legalize the disputed elections that took place Sunday and he insisted that the process must be declared void in order to return to institutional legitimacy in the country.
“I will neither return to legitimize the coup nor to endorse a process that is totally null and void,” Zelaya stressed in declarations to Radio Globo. Zelaya added, “Neither can a return under the conditions of legalizing this electoral fraud be accepted by somebody like myself who is fighting for principles.” He likewise reiterated his allegations that the abstention rate was higher than 60 percent versus the 61.3 percent participation rate that the coup government’s electoral authorities of Honduras are claiming.
The elections that took place under a regime that was put in place through a coup d’etat in June were characterized by a low participation rate that, according to estimates from local pollsters, was somewhere around 40 percent.
The constitutional president indicated earlier that the de facto government, led by Roberto Micheletti, inflated the electoral results and he expressed his surprise at the exaggeration of the data announced by the Electoral Tribunal of Honduras, which according to figures from the National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’Etat are not true. “We are extremely surprised at the way this election was blown up to convert it into a lie for the Hondurans,” Zelaya stated from the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa [...] Zelaya reiterated that the electoral activities proceeded in a Honduras whose population was “terrorized” and without “freedom to express itself” because of the military presence throughout the country, and said that the review of the data will demonstrate that the elections were “flawed by fraud, illegality and motive.”
President Zelaya who has been sheltered in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa since September 21, declared, “I will not surrender although they are threatening me, although they want to humiliate me because I’m defending a cause (...), the cause of the people of Honduras.”
The campaign of terror carried out by the dictatorship against the popular sectors is coming into being just as predicted and denounced by Andrés Pavón, president of the Honduran Human Rights Commission (CODEH), a few weeks ago. The attack perpetrated with military arms against the politician and businessman from Olancho, Ulises Sarmiento, was just the beginning.
Today is the burial of the body of the teacher Luis Gradis Espinal, a teacher from the resistance of the south of the country. His body was found yesterday, tied and executed, after having been reported disappeared by his family. Witnesses are sure that he was detained by the police and military in one of the many search operations taking place around the whole country.
In the city El Progreso, the police are carrying out intense operations in the homes of the leaders of the Resistance, and they claim to have found a small arsenal of arms in the house of a teacher, arresting even a German citizen. Among the arms they report several finds of nails that according to the police spokesperson would be used to make traps to puncture the tires of cars and stop the trucks carrying electoral material. In the same zone, the communities Tacamiche and Silím report that they are surrounded by hundreds of military soldiers.
In the city Danlí, several young people were kidnapped by the army causing terror among the population who fear for their lives. According to the denunciation from the family members, they have been recruited forcefully for military service. At the same time, in the same city, a human rights investigator was placed under arrest for hindering the work of the police operatives.
Today at night Milton Jimenes Puerto, the close collaborator, ex-minister and friend of President Zelaya who had been underground since the 28th of June was arrested. The arrest of Jimenez is the first arrest order issued for a political prisoner linked to the inner-circle of the Zelaya government and serves as a reminder of what could happen if Mel dares to leave his diplomatic safe haven.
The police this week imported a huge arsenal of arms including 10,000 tear gas grenades, 5,000 rubber bullets and a new anti-riot tank worth $12 million dollars. According to the report by the secretary of security, the objective of acquiring it is to defend the right of the people to elect their authorities.
Nonetheless, it is hard to believe that all of these actions are being carried out with the goal of securing the elections. The Honduran elections are far from being recognized by the majority of the countries of Latin America and though the United States, Perú, Colombia and Panamá (the ultra-right arm of the continent) have said they will recognize the new president, what is certain is that this will bring tension amongst the different governments that are already extremely divided.
But who comes out the most damaged from the Honduras effect is the Obama administration, which has sacrificed the possibilities of a more egalitarian foreign policy, of cooperation amongst nations, for an imperial realpolitik that has always separated the United States from the subcontinent. Lula da Silva has already stated his disillusion with the turn to the right in the foreign policy of the U.S. president and reminds him of his promise made just six months ago and broken now because of Honduras, of constructing a new relationship between the United States and Latin America.
And although there aren’t real international observers for the elections, (the regime is pleased with the arrival of the insignificant Concerned Women of America who are coming, together with the “State” of Taiwan, as observers and witnesses to the transparency of the Honduran electoral process). What is true is that the eyes of the world will be on Honduras this weekend.
The Resistance knows that the elections are an important recourse to save the dictatorship by transferring the authority to a front person who with a certain degree of legality will conclude the political project of the coup d’etat. It also knows that because they are so important the dictatorship will seek to defend them with all the necessary force. And that is the trap, because if the despotic Micheletti regime, with or without him in from of the government, carries out an unprecedented action of repression to guarantee the elections on the same day that the eyes of the world will be carefully watching his actions, he runs the great risk, not just of the elections not being recognized, but of them being contested by the international community.
So what then does the dictatorship seek with its terror campaign?
The government that wins in these elections will inherit an extremely difficult country to govern. If we combine a debt of close to 10,000 million lempiras with the private bank of a country with an index of 10 percent annual interest, the lack of real possibilities of external financing to cushion the crisis, a contraction of close to 4 percent of the national economy, plus the devaluation of the currency up to 50 percent, an increase in taxes and a lack of cash to pay salaries, in addition to an unhappy and organized popular sector, we get a government lacking internal and external legitimacy, extremely weak, only sustained by the armed forces and the police.
The oligarchy needs to eliminate the political opposition to consolidate its new project of domination. That elimination can only occur through terror, killing and genocide. Nonetheless, they once again commit the same error that they committed on the eve of the 28th of June. They under-estimate the creative capacity, the transformational capacity of the struggle, the combativeness of a people that has identified its enemy and understands, this time even more clearly, that a path towards national liberation, towards the re-founding of Honduras, has begun.
“What are we going to do, sit for four years and just condemn the coup?” — A senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, to reporters in Washington.
The true divides in Latin America — between justice and injustice, democracy and dictatorship, human rights and corporate rights, people’s power and imperial domination — have never been more visible than today. People’s movements throughout the region to revolutionize corrupt, unequal systems that have isolated and excluded the vast majority in Latin American nations, are successfully taking power democratically and building new models of economic and social justice. Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador are the vanguard of these movements, with other nations such as Uruguay and Argentina moving at a slower pace towards change.
The region has historically been plagued by brutal U.S. intervention, seeking at all costs to dominate the natural and strategic resources contained in this vast, abundant territory. With the exception of the defiant Cuban Revolution, Washington achieved control over puppet regimes placed throughout Latin America by the end of the twentieth century. When Hugo Chávez won the presidency in 1998 and the Bolivarian Revolution began to [take] root, the balance of power and imperial control over the region started to weaken. Eight years of Bush/Cheney brought coup d’etats back to the region, in Venezuela in 2002 against President Chávez and Haiti in 2004 against President Aristide. The former was defeated by a mass popular uprising, the latter succeeded in ousting a president no longer convenient to Washington’s interests.
Despite the Bush administration’s efforts to neutralize the spread of revolution in Latin America through coups, economic sabotages, media warfare, psychological operations, electoral interventions and an increasing military presence, nations right across the border such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala elected leftist-leaning presidents. Latin American integration solidified with UNASUR (the union of South American nations) and ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas), and Washington’s grip on power began to slip away.
Henry Kissinger said in the seventies, “if we can’t control Latin America, how can we dominate the world?” This imperial vision is more evident today than ever before. Obama’s presence in the White House was erroneously viewed by many in the region as a sign of an end to U.S. aggression in the world, and especially here, in Latin America. At least, many believed, Obama would downscale the growing tensions with its neighbors to the south. In fact, he himself, the new President of the United States, made allusion to such changes.
But now, the Obama administration’s “Smart Power” strategy has been unmasked. The handshakes, smiles, gifts and promises of “no intervention” and “a new era” made by President Obama himself to leaders of Latin American nations last spring at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Trinidad have unraveled and turned into cynical gestures of hypocrisy. When Obama came to power, Washington’s reputation in the region was at an all-time low. The meager attempts to “change” the North-South relationship in the Americas have made things worse and reaffirmed that Kissinger’s vision of control over this region is a state policy, irrespective of party affiliation or public discourse.
Washington’s role in the coup in Honduras against President Zelaya has been evident from day one. The continual funding of coup leaders, the U.S. military presence at the Soto Cano base in Honduras, the ongoing meetings between State Department officials and the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, with coup leaders, and the cynical attempts to force “mediation” and “negotiation” between the coup leaders and the legitimate government of Honduras, have provided clear evidence of Washington’s intentions to consolidate this new form of “smart coup.” The Obama administration’s initial public insistence on Zelaya’s legitimacy as president of Honduras quickly faded after the first weeks of the coup. Calls for “restitution of democratic and constitutional order” became weak whispers repeated by the monotone voices of State Department spokesmen.
The imposition of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias — a staunch ally of neoliberalism and imperialism — to “mediate” the negotiation ordered by Washington between coup leaders and President Zelaya was a circus. At the time, it was apparent that Washington was engaging in a “buying time” strategy, pandering to the coup leaders while publicly “working” to resolve the conflict in Honduras. Arias’ insincerity and complicity in the coup was evident from the very morning of Zelaya’s violent kidnapping and forced exile. The Pentagon, State Department and CIA officials present on the Soto Cano base, which is controlled by Washington, arranged for Zelaya’s transport to Costa Rica. Arias had subserviently agreed to refuge the illegally ousted president and to not detain those who kidnapped him and piloted the plane that — in violation of international law — landed in Costa Rican territory.
Today, Oscar Arias has called on all nations to “recognize” the illegal and illegitimate elections occurring in Honduras. Why not? he says, if there is no fraud or irregularity, “why not recognize the newly elected president?” The State Department and even President Obama himself have said the same thing, and are calling on all nations — pressuring — to recognize a regime that will be elected under a dictatorship. Seems that fraud and irregularity are already present, considering that today, no democracy exists in Honduras that would permit proper conditions for an electoral process. Not to mention that the State Department admitted to funding the elections and campaigns in Honduras weeks ago. And the “international observers” sent to witness and provide “credibility” to the illegal process are all agencies and agents of empire. The International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, both agencies created to filter funding from USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to political parties abroad in order to promote U.S. agenda, not only funded those groups involved in the Honduran coup, but now are “observing” the elections. Terrorist groups such as UnoAmerica, led by Venezuelan coup leader Alejando Peña Esclusa, have also sent “observers” to Honduras. Miami-Cuban terrorist and criminal Adolfo Franco, former USAID director, is another “heavyweight” on the list of electoral observers in Honduras today.
But the Organization of American States (OAS) and Carter Center, hardly “leftist” entities, have condemned the electoral process as illegitimate and refused to send observers. So has the United Nations and the European Union, as well as UNASUR and ALBA.
Washington stands alone, with its right-wing puppet states in Colombia, Panamá, Perú, Costa Rica and Israel [and Canada — BF], as the only nations to have publicly indicated recognition of the electoral process in Honduras and the future regime. A high-level State Department official cynically declared to the Washington Post, “What are we going to do, sit for four years and just condemn the coup?” Well, Washington has sat for 50 years and refused to recognize the Cuban government. But that is because the Cuban government is not convenient for Washington. The Honduran dictatorship is.
The Honduran resistance movement is boycotting the elections, calling on people to abstain from participating in an illegal process. The streets of Honduras have been taken over by thousands of military forces, under control of the coup regime and the Pentagon. With advanced weapons technology from Israel, the coup regime is prepared to massively repress and brutalize any who attempt to resist the electoral process. We must remain vigilant and stand with the people of Honduras in the face of the immense danger surrounding them. Today’s elections are a second coup d’etat against the Honduran people, this time openly designed, promoted, funded and supported by Washington. Whatever the result, no justice will be brought to Honduras until Washington’s intervention ceases.
After five months of political chaos in Honduras, repeated attempts to reach a negotiated agreement for restoration of Constitutional order have failed due to the defiant recalcitrance of the Micheletti coup regime and the complicity of the U.S. State Department. Given this impasse and the deepening human rights crisis, it is widely recognized that conditions for holding free, fair and transparent elections on November 29, just days from now, do not exist.
Recognizing this dilemma, in late October the United States rushed a high level State Department delegation to Honduras, bringing Micheletti back to the table and brokering the October 30 “National Reconciliation Agreement” requiring the reinstatement of President Zelaya by November 5. However, in a move paralleling the behavior of the Micheletti regime, a few days later, State Department officials reversed their position, stating that the elections would be recognized by the United States with or without restitution of President Zelaya, effectively breaking the accord.
In a press release on November 5, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint who had been using a procedural tactic to hold up the Obama Administration nominations of Arturo Valenzuela and Tom Shannon, suddenly announced that he was withdrawing the hold because he had reached an agreement with the Administration relative to the situation in Honduras: “I am happy to report the Obama Administration has finally reversed its misguided Honduran policy and will fully recognize the November 29 elections. Secretary Clinton and Assistant Secretary Shannon have assured me that the U.S. will recognize the outcome of the Honduran elections regardless of whether Manuel Zelaya is reinstated.” A subsequent announcement by Senator Lugar confirms that in fact the United States intends to recognize elections sponsored by the coup regime without prior restitution of Zelaya. Lugar also announced that the State Department is funding election observer missions from the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.
Lugar also used his statement to encourage Brazil in particular to consider that “recognition of the election will be the only way for Hondurans to look beyond the 5-month-old crisis.” Just a few days ago, the Brazilian foreign minister warned of a “deterioration” of U.S. relations with South America. Brazil is one of 25 countries in the Rio Group, which issued a declaration on the same day of DeMint’s statement, declaring that this important group of countries will not recognize a government resulting from Honduran elections if Zelaya is not restored prior to elections.
Late last week, President Zelaya announced that he will not accept restitution at this late date in order to not be used to legitimize the elections. In a letter to President Obama renouncing the possibility of a return to office in the days prior to the election, Zelaya wrote, “...3500 people detained in one hundred days, over 600 people beaten and injured in hospitals, more than a hundred murders and countless numbers of people subjected to torture directed against citizens who dare to oppose the regime and express their ideas about freedom and justice in peaceful demonstrations. All this converts the November election into an anti-democratic exercise under an uncertain state of lawlessness with military intimidation for large sections of our people...” Zelaya’s assessment of the illegitimacy of elections under current conditions is shared by large majorities in Honduras and the international community. The broad based national resistance movement has called for a total boycott of the elections. Participation in the elections has become a kind of ethical litmus test for all candidates. Candidates who run are widely considered to be supporting the coup, placing tremendous pressure on candidates to withdraw.
The first candidate to withdraw was Carlos H. Reyes, a well know Independent Party candidate for President and leader of the resistance movement against the coup. His popularity has surged as revulsion to the violence perpetrated by the coup regime has impacted communities and homes throughout the country. Some strategists believe that had a reinstated President Zelaya endorsed Reyes, he could have won the vote, but would have lost due to fraud. After consulting with grassroots assemblies in different parts of the country, Reyes announced his decision to step down. Last week, the popular Liberal Party mayor of San Pedro Sula announced that he was stepping down as a candidate, in spite of his healthy lead in the polls. Another 110 mayoral candidates and 55 candidates for Congress are reportedly pulling out of the election, and the number continues to grow. Both the leftist UD and the PINU parties are split, with many Congressional candidates stepping down, but the party leadership wanting to stay in the race. These small parties have the most to lose, as they risk losing the position of their party on the ballot.
The UD party has suffered severe criticism for not -withdrawing. Their active involvement in the resistance movement morally obligates them to withdraw, but some party leaders see this moment as an opportunity to win more contests than they normally could. However, as the pressure mounts it seems that withdrawal from the elections by the party is imminent, although not yet certain.
With just days to go until the elections, tensions are mounting in Honduras. Micheletti has threatened those encouraging abstention with lengthy prison terms. The resistance movement has called a civic strike for the entire week prior to elections, widespread protests beginning on November 20 and a full boycott on Election Day. This comes in a context of heightened levels of state terrorism. Recently, the military issued a letter to every mayor in the country instructing mayor’s offices to compile lists of inhabitants of the municipality who have been working against the coup. The letter asked for the list to be compiled immediately and stated that each mayor would receive a follow up visit. Mayors who do not comply with this order also risk consequences. This systematic profiling of the population is a blatant violation of human rights and dangerous signal of the levels of repression to come.
In declaring that it will recognize the coup regime sponsored elections on November 29 without prior restitution of Constitutional order, the United States has emboldened the coup regime, betrayed a lengthy negotiation process and endangered the lives of millions of Honduran citizens who are committed to democracy, human rights and the rule of law who will boycott elections they consider to be illegal.