US Outrage Grows at Risk of Honduran Election Theft, 50 Groups Join Call
Outraged at the possibility of the theft of Honduras’ election by the discredited current administration, 50 US rights groups have joined call to urge the US to press Honduras for electoral transparency.
Elise Roberts, National Coordinator of Witness for Peace, stated: “As we return from two weeks observing and documenting in Honduras, our concerns about the Honduran electoral process and broader state violence and corruption continue to deepen. We’ve heard testimony of ongoing intimidation through use of US-funded security forces, incidents of fraud and violence at polling places, use of US-made munitions against anti-fraud protesters, and a total lack of transparency about the electoral process. Our partners in Honduras describe this process as the final phase of the coup, endorsed by US support and funding. Now more than ever, Honduras needs the people and government of the US to stand with them, to support independent, credible investigations into the electoral fraud and state violence, and to immediately cut all US funding to Honduran security forces.”
“The US government’s collusion in the Honduras coup of 2009 has resulted in eight years of massive violence, spiraling poverty, and the brutal suppression of dissent. We, as US-based groups, cannot allow the US and Honduran governments to repeat this horrific tragedy of undermining democracy,” stated Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of Grassroots International. “Too many lives are at stake. Democracy is at stake.”
50 US rights groupshave so far joined the call for transparency include Witness for Peace/Acción Permanente por la Paz, Grassroots International, Code Pink, Friendship Office of the Americas, School of the Americas Watch, and the number continues to grow.
Worldwide media reports are multiplying of suspicious electoral tampering of Honduras’ election results by the ruling party which hand-picked the nation’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). Nonetheless, the Chief Magistrate of the TSE, Mario Lobo, appeared to be bucking the trend when he announced late Wednesday that the official results are suspect, casting doubt on official claims of a win by incumbent candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez, of the incumbent National Party.
Up until Tuesday at 5pm, the head of the TSE, Mr. Lobo, had stated that “the winning tendency of the opposition is irreversible.” This announcement was followed by 24 hours of silence from the TSE, at the end of which the TSE unexpectedly claimed that the vote was now favoring the incumbent Mr. Hernandez. Suspicions of fraud have sparked massive outcry and protests across the country, accompanied by heavy-handed deployment of the military across the nation.
“Campesin@s and Indigenous Peoples showed up at the polls, in spite of voter intimidation, outright violence and attacks from the Honduran military, because they are defending their land and their human rights and they want change,” stated Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. “The world is watching again, just as we witnessed the illegal coup from 2009. We cannot allow the undermining of the democratic will of the Honduran people.”
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Here’s the full call for transparency with list of signatories:
Demand Action in Wake of November 26th Honduran Elections
Open Letter to the US Congress and US State Department:
As US-based human rights, grassroots organizing, solidarity, and other civil society organizations, we write to express our deep concern about reports of fraud and state violence during and since the November 26 elections in Honduras. Since election day we have seen images of US munitions that have been used against Honduran citizens asserting their right to democracy. Colleagues and friends from throughout Honduras are sending videos of massive militarization. We write to urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to support credible, independent investigations into any and all claims of state-involvement in electoral fraud and violence during and since the November 26th elections. We reinforce our demand that you immediately suspend all US police and military aid to Honduras.
After the initial release of official results in the Honduran presidential election showed the opposition candidate leading by approximately 5 percentage points based on more than half the returns, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal did not resume releasing presidential election results for more than a day. For comparison, in the 2013 presidential election, the winner was declared with a similar proportion of the returns in. Ever since the updates resumed, the incumbent, President Hernández, has gained ground at a surprising rate and, as of Wednesday afternoon, has passed the opposition candidate, according to the tribunal’s numbers. The long delay, and the dramatic shift in the tendency of the vote count reported before and after that delay, raise serious doubts about the integrity of this election.
The US government has been an ongoing supporter and funder of the Honduran government, including clear US support for the 2009 coup which led to the right-wing National Party taking power, with Hernández as President of the National Congress from 2010-2013. Furthermore, the US has pushed forward the disastrous, failed Plan Colombia model for Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in the form of the “Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle” aid package. This 750 million-dollar project makes conditions in Central America more “favorable” for outside investors, albeit through militarization and political reforms dressed up as anti-drug policies.
If the US has a genuine commitment to democracy, now is the time to demonstrate it, by:
- Ensuring that the will of the Honduran electorate be respected in an honest and transparent, politically independent, accurate vote count by supporting credible, independent investigations into any and all claims of state-involvement in electoral fraud and violence during and since the November 26th elections;
- Ending US security aid to Honduras, including police and military aid, and support for Honduran security forces through the so-called “Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle” program;
- Supporting the human rights of the Honduran people in their effort to stand up to voter fraud, intimidation, and dictatorship; and
- Insisting on respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples (including Garifuna communities) and peasant communities organizing to defend and protect ancestral territories, land, water, and Mother Earth in the face of militarization and repression by the current Honduran regime.
Delegations from La Voz de los de Abajo, Code Pink, and Witness for Peace witnessed and heard testimony of the ongoing intimidation through use of security forces, including US-funded security forces, as well as incidents of fraud and violence at polling places. These continuing abuses underscore the need for the passage of HR 1299, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act – and companion legislation in the Senate – which would suspend US security aid to Honduras until human rights defenders are protected and serious human rights abuses are brought to justice.
We urge you to exert all possible pressure to promote honesty and transparency for Honduras’ election and to advance the cause of HR 1299 and companion legislation in the Senate to suspend the “security” aid that is only making Honduras less secure, including at this critical moment for the country.
Witness for Peace/Acción Permanente por la Paz
Friendship Office of the Americas
School of the Americas Watch (SOAW)
La Voz de los de Abajo
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ)
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC)
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA)
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)
Task Force on the Americas
Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville, KY
Human Rights Observation Honduras
Climate Justice Alliance (CJA)
Latin America Task Force of Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice
Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Samuel Rubin Foundation
Just Foreign Policy
Samuel Rubin Foundation
Cross Borders Network
US-El Salvador Sister Cities
Houston Peace and Justice Center
Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA)
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala/NISGUA
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Food Chain Workers Alliance
Family Farm Defenders
The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice
National Lawyers Guild
Houston Peace News
Ivestor Church of the Brethren Mission and Outreach Team
Rochester Committee on Latin America
Witness for Peace Southeast
Witness for Peace Midwest
Witness for Peace Southeast
Witness for Peace Northwest
Witness for Peace New England
SouthWest Organizing Project
Nagata-Yamauchi Educational Fund
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice
Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA)
UU Faith Action, NJ
Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign
Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Boston
Environmental Association for Latin America
CAFE at UC Berkeley (Central Americans for Empowerment)
Pioneer Valley Workers Center
San Jose Peace & Justice Center
InterReligious Task Force On Central America and Colombia
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