Day 22 - 2017 Election Crisis & Fraud UPDATE

- Wednesday, December 20 -

The human rights situation in northern Honduras is so dire that its hard to describe with words. Northwestern cities including Choloma, San Pedro Sula, Villanueva, El Progreso, and the small communities between or around those areas are literally living in a war zone. There are countless videos circulating that show the terror tactics being used by state security forces particularly the Military Police against anti-fraud protesters and the general population. The state is getting increasingly violent around the country but particularly in that area because the resistance is, arguably, one of the strongest. San Pedro Sula area is also the economic center of Honduras. Its the main location of U.S. and Canada-owned sweatshops of all types (automotive, textile, call centers, etc). A lot of the road blocks in that area are also located on the Panamerican highway that leads to the shipping port in Puerto Cortes. Puerto Cortes is the largest shipping port in Central America, and the majority of goods being imported or exported from U.S. and Canadian markets into or out of Honduras, pass through that port.

On December 15th, COFADEH published a list of 22 people that have been assassinated during the electoral crisis since November 30th. This number has increased in the last few days although its hard to say exactly by how much. Based on what the HSN has been able to gather, five more people have been added to the death toll. There are also at least five unconfirmed cases where protesters or bystanders were reported as seriously injured over the last few days and their health status is unknown. Of the 22 cases reported by COFADEH, half have occurred in the northwestern area I describe in the previous paragraph. There have been a total of eight assassinations in the northwestern city of Choloma including 14-year old Katherin Nicole Carranza Enamorado who was killed yesterday.

Katherin Nicole Carranza Enamorado (14- years old) killed in Choloma yesterday.

Katherin Nicole Carranza Enamorado (14- years old) killed in Choloma yesterday.

Every day, Hondurans living in or around El Progreso, San Pedro, Choloma, and Puerto Cortes maintain 24 hour road blocks and protests. The determination of people while facing such extreme repression is indeed inspiring but also very worrisome because of the terror, violence and repression they face as a result. It is clear that people want JOH out of power so badly that they are willing to stand in front of weapons and go to the streets despite the uncertainty that they might not return home.

This afternoon, the Opposition Alliance called for a gathering in Tegucigalpa outside of the headquarters of the Honduran Armed Forces (Estado Mayor Conjunto). Speaking to the crowd, Alliance Coordinator Manuel Zelaya strongly criticized the historical role of the U.S. Embassy in Honduras: "The gringos supported the 2009 military coup and now they are supporting electoral fraud." Standing in the back of a pick up truck carrying a sound system, Zelaya made clear that he is not convinced of the OAS's proposal for a new election. "Calling for elections is an OAS [Organization of American States] trap - we don't need another election, the President elect is Salvador Nasralla" he told the cheering crowd.

Honduras carry crosses at the event today in front of the headquarters of the Honduran Armed Forces in Tegucigalpa today. Each cross represents people that have been killed by state security forces during the 2017 electoral crisis and fraud. Picture by Edgardo Soriano.

Honduras carry crosses at the event today in front of the headquarters of the Honduran Armed Forces in Tegucigalpa today. Each cross represents people that have been killed by state security forces during the 2017 electoral crisis and fraud. Picture by Edgardo Soriano.

In contrast to Zelaya's position, Nasralla, who just returned from Washington D.C. today, seems to support the idea of new elections. Honduran political analysts believe that the OAS's position is an (another) attempt to split the Opposition Alliance by dividing Nasralla and Zelaya's position on the issue of calling for a new election. With good reason considering the OAS's soft position after the 2009 coup, Zelaya does not trust the OAS's proposal.

Some countries, many of which are U.S. allies, have come out and recognized Juan Orlando Hernandez's (JOH) victory. Colombia was the first followed by Guatemala, South Korea, Israel, and Mexico. Its unclear what Spain's position is although JOH seems to think (as per a tweet) that Spain recognized his fraudulent victory. The U.S. has not officially recognized JOH's victory but is suspected to make some sort of declaration on Friday which is five days since the Electoral Tribunal's announcement was made and the time frame in which challenges to the results can be presented. The US's statement demonstrates nothing but all out support for the fraudulent JOH government. Holding up the Honduran legal system as a legitimate form of "challenging the results" completely glosses over the fact that JOH controls the judicary which is the same judiciary that allowed JOH to illegally run for reelection in the first place. It is also the same judiciary that has caused and enabled a 90% impunity rate in Honduras for the past 8.5 years. There is no rule of law in Honduras for any legal issues to be made or challenged. The US is well aware of this. US support for JOH, explicit and implicit, comes of no surprise to the Honduran population protesting in the streets. There is a lot of clarity from anti-fraud protesters about which side the US is on.

As for Honduran social movements, Radio Progreso published an elaborate proposal calling for a new election. The Civic Council for Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) put out a statement rejecting the announcement by the TSE that JOH won the elections. COPINH calls for JOH to leave his position as President immediately, and failing that, new elections supervised by the "international community" that respect the positions and needs of popular social movements. The Platform of Popular and Social Movement of Honduras (PMSPH) call for pressure to foreign governments to speak out against the "electoral coup"; demand that the OAS, European Union, United Nations and the U.S. respect the will of the people who elected Nasralla as their President. Finally, both the PMSPH and COPINH denounce and call for justice of the human rights violations and assassinations committed against the Honduran population and anti-fraud protesters, and call for on-going protests against the fraud.

The Alliance has called for continued protests. In a public letter released yesterday, the Alliance called for protests at specific meeting places in Tegucigalpa over the next few days. Today, as mentioned above, the Alliance called for a protest in front of the Headquarters of the Armed Forces. Student movements from the public university (UNAH) have called a protest at the northern exit of Tegucigalpa early in the morning. In the afternoon, the Alliance is calling on people to meet at three different points in Tegucigalpa and will march towards the U.S. Embassy to "condemn the support to fraud and financing to the repressive institutions that violate human rights." On Friday, the Alliance is asking people to take to the streets again at 6 am. Even though these calls are being made to protest at distinct times and places, its worth mentioning that many people, particularly on the north coast, maintain 24-hour road blocks or protests or spontaneously, especially at night as is the case in Tegucigalpa, meet in the streets to protest.

Protesters in northern Honduras take the shield away from the police and decorate them with "Fuera JOH"

Protesters in northern Honduras take the shield away from the police and decorate them with "Fuera JOH"

Day 19 - 2017 Election Crisis & Fraud UPDATE

- Sunday, December 17th, 2017 -

In La Kennedy neighbourhood in Tegucigalpa shortly after the OAS Electoral Observation Mission gave their declarations. Sunday, December 17, 2017.

In La Kennedy neighbourhood in Tegucigalpa shortly after the OAS Electoral Observation Mission gave their declarations. Sunday, December 17, 2017.

Tonight, the Electoral Tribunal announced official results declaring Juan Orlando Hernandez President elect with 42.95% of the votes and 41.24% for Salvador Nasralla. Almost immediately after, the European Union's Election Observation Mission held a press conference outlining and reviewing the recommendations from their preliminary report issued on December 4th. The mission basically concluded that the TSE had met their recommendations.

Right after the TSE announcement, Hondurans went into the streets all around the country. The Opposition Alliance Coordinator, Manuel Zelaya called for Hondurans to protest in public spaces shortly after the TSE's declarations. The Alliance also held a press conference rejecting the TSE's declaration; calling on the Armed Forces and National Police to follow Nasralla's command; denouncing aspects of the EU's statement; and calling Hondurans to protest, among other points.

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Earlier today in the afternoon, Salvador Nasralla held a press conference in the Tegucigalpa airport outlining the agenda for his trip to Washington DC. Nasralla is now in Washington DC and over the next few days (if he doesn't rush back to Honduras because of today's announcement), planned to meet with the State Department, OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro, former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Lisa Kubiske, WOLA, U.S. Senators, and the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights. The title of the Alliance's communique from tonight reads "they deceived Salvador Nasralla by taking him to Washington."

At 9 pm local time, the OAS Electoral Observation Mission held a press conference (while Hondurans were already in the street throughout the country). The OAS Mission representative read a 13-page report which includes one of the final lines: "the Electoral Observation Mission considers that it observed an electoral process of poor quality and therefore, we can't say for sure that the doubts about the process have been clarified." Before the TSE announced the final results earlier in the afternoon, OAS General Secretary Almagro tweeted twice providing a hint that the OAS Observer mission may come out against the TSE's declarations. His tweets were: "Uncertainty leads me to request not to make irresponsible public declarations until final reports from the OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Honduras" and "Reports from the OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Honduras conclude that serious doubts about results persist. Press conference soon." And then after the OAS press conference, Almagro tweeted: "General Secretariat of the OAS proposes new elections in order to guarantee peace and harmony in Honduras given the impossibility of certainty of the election results." It is unclear as to what will happen next given different statements from the EU and OAS observation missions.

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By the time the OAS press conference concluded, road blocks and protests were growing all around the country. At 10:40 pm, the Platform of Social and Popular Movements of Honduras (PMSPH) reported 88 protests nationwide. As of 11:08 pm, there were 28 road blocks and protests just in Tegucigalpa. People on the street did not seem surprised by the TSE's declarations but were the spark that got them into the streets. The EU and OAS's declarations seemed largely irrelevant and unsurprising to people. Many anti-fraud protesters that I spoke to tonight are saying that this week will be the most important, saying that 'this is it,' meaning they need to do everything possible in terms of protests and actions to stop Juan Orlando Hernandez from winning and taking power. Before today's declaration by the TSE, the Alliance had already called another National Mobilization day for tomorrow, Monday, December 18th.

This is going to be a very difficult week in Honduras.

A few hours after the protests started and late into the night/early morning, reports are starting to come in that military & military police are repressing protesters. COFADEH reports that approximately 20 anti-fraud protesters were detained in southern city of Choluteca. In Tegucigalpa, Honduran media UNETV are reporting that the Honduran military were firing on protesters in the El Sitio neighbourhood. Its still too difficult to confirm a lot of this information because it literally feels like the country is going to explode. 

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FROM PREVIOUS DAYS - Day 15 to 18 UPDATE

Honduran human rights organization, the Committee of the Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) released updated information about the number of assassinations committed by state security forces from November 30 to December 15th. According to COFADEH, 22 people have been murdered, some anti-fraud protesters and some bystanders in various parts of Honduras, many of which are committed by the Military Police (PMOP).

Its hard to overstate just how bad the human rights situation is here. Since the last update on Day 13 and 14, reports around the country about abuses by state security forces have worsened. The number of people assassinated during the electoral crisis and fraud, just does not tell the whole story about the widespread abuses, terror campaigns, disproportionate use of force, and the complete free reign of state security forces, particularly the Military Police, to do what they want, when they want, and against whoever.

Many protesters suffered gun shot injuries during the National Mobilization day on Friday December 15th when state security forces opened fired on protesters. This picture was taken in San Pedro Sula where at least six people were injured. 26-year old Bryan Noe Mejia Gonzalez, an anti-fraud protester, died the following day.

Many protesters suffered gun shot injuries during the National Mobilization day on Friday December 15th when state security forces opened fired on protesters. This picture was taken in San Pedro Sula where at least six people were injured. 26-year old Bryan Noe Mejia Gonzalez, an anti-fraud protester, died the following day.


The terror tactics being used against the population have worsened since Thursday, December 14th. By the National Mobilization Day on Friday December 15th, videos, pictures and reports from all over the country documenting the terror, were circulating. Some of the videos were reposted on the HSN's Facebook. The following are some examples of the widespread abuses and terror being used against the population:

The north coast of Honduras, particularly the San Pedro Sula area (Villanueva, Choloma, and El Progreso) and San Juan Pueblo in the department of Atlantida, have seen some of the worst abuses in the last few days. Testimonies of a woman living in Choloma tells about how Military Police showed up in poor, marginalized neighbourhood in the middle of the night, yelling, shooting their guns and tear gas. She told me that when she took a few steps outside the front of her house to see what the commotion was, Military Police began shooting their weapons at her and she was hit in the leg.

Another community leader and organizer in another part of Choloma had Military Police show up at his house at 5 am as he was arriving home from work. The Military Police broke into his home, dragged him out to the front of his house, threw him on the ground, tasered him, pointed guns at his head, and threatened to disappear him if he continues to go to the protests. Various people from the man's community began crowding around him and the Military Police ended up leaving. The following day, the Military Police broke into his home three times with their faces fully covered with black balaclavas, ransacked the house on one occasion, demanding to know where the same man that they had threatened the day before, had gone. The leader was forced to leave his home but state security forces continue to hunt for him, asking people where he is. The same leader says that other houses are being arbitrarily broken into by Military Police and police in the same neighbourhood and they are calling those that they are hunting for, gang members and looters. These forces show up at random hours including in the middle of the night to terrorize the neighbourhood. This is not a unique occurence in Choloma. Similar incidents have been reported in southern Honduras as well.

This was posted on social media. The picture shows Military Police surrounding Delmer and not allowing people to reach him and take him to the hospital after he was shot.

This was posted on social media. The picture shows Military Police surrounding Delmer and not allowing people to reach him and take him to the hospital after he was shot.

On Saturday, December 16th, Delmer Josue Medina died after being shot by Military Police in Cofradia in the northern department of Cortés on Friday during the National mobilization day. Family members and bystanders report that the Military Police would not give them access to Delmer for approximately an hour after he had been shot.


Similar abuses are being reported in Atlantida. The Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) reported on Friday evening that state security forces were beating and detaining protesters and launching tear gas into residential areas in the northern city of San Juan Pueblo in the department of Atlantida. San Juan Pueblo and specifically, MADJ's training and meeting center have been targeted previously by state security forces. The same is occurring with COPINH, who has sent out communique's outlining repression and targeting against their members during actions that they are participating in, in western Honduras.

CESPAD Report: The Decisive Role of the United States in the Official Results of the November Elections

Written by: Gustavo Irías Sauceda, Executive Director CESPAD, December 10th. With Support from: The Center for Studies for Democracy (CESPAD) & the World Lutheran Foundation

Original Spanish version: http://cespad.org.hn/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Analisis-2-final.pdf

Photo by: Cesar Fuentes

Photo by: Cesar Fuentes

Until the afternoon of December 7th the balance of power widely favored the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, in the struggle to ensure a democratic outcome for the electoral and political crisis triggered by the fraud[1] of November 26-27.

The observer missions from the Organization of American States (OAS), and the European Union (UE), at least until December 7th, went from mere observers to guarantors in the efforts towards transparent results. The missions exercised a veto over the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) by preventing them from making an official declaration about which candidate won the elections. This is due to the fact that these observer missions had detected inconsistencies and “systemic” irregularities before, during and after the elections, concluding that it was impossible to determine which candidate won the elections.

The two international missions provided a number of recommendations which request the following[2] points:

  • A comparison of the 1,006 vote tally sheets (actas) that were submitted to special scrutiny with the original copies of the vote tally sheets.
  • A verification of the 5,174 records that were not transmitted on election night and conducting a recount of vote tally sheets that show inconsistencies.
  • A revision of voting participation in the departments of Lempira, Intibucá and La Paz including 100% of the Polling Stations (MERs) from each of the departments.

In the afternoon of December 5th a surprising statement from the Official Secretary of the OAS indicated that “if existing irregularities prove to be of such an extent”, the Mission “reserves the right to make any additional recommendations it deems pertinent, on any aspect therefore, 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”[3] (italics are ours).

In a report published by CESPAD on December 5th, it is stated that at the moment, the US Embassy supported the recommendations made by the Electoral Observer Missions “on the measures to increase the transparency of the process” (Official Statement from the US Embassy in Honduras, December 4th of 2017).

There was also a statement in a press conference from former presidential candidate Luis Zelaya, acknowledging the electoral triumph of Salvador Nasralla[4]; thus taking from the National Party, a permanent ally during the last eight years of government.


What Happened in the Morning and Afternoon of Thursday, December 7th?

Aside from the highly publicized mobilization from the National Party supporting Presidential candidate Juan Orlando Hernández[5], many pieces were moved on that day towards reversing the uncomfortable balance of power for the current power holders. It is also possible that, within the Opposition Alliance, it was difficult to come to a consensus on next steps in order to take advantage of an extraordinarily favorable moment that the party was going through and settle on initiatives that bring about a democratic solution to the crisis.

What appears certain is that on Thursday, December 7th, the Coordinator of the EU Observer Mission Marisa Matías, disappeared from the post-electoral scene along with Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, the OAS Mission Coordinator. In the place of these missions, without being an electoral observer, U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Heide Fulton took the center stage, assuming a role of quasi-governor in a country that has been traditionally deemed as her country’s “backyard”. This clear media exposure hadn’t happened since the 1980s counterinsurgency war in Central America, a period when US officials never concealed that they make the fundamental decisions in the country.

What is it that happened? It’s not so complex: The OAS subordinated its mission to the interests of regional hegemonic powers; the European Union exited the process accepting the hegemony of the United States of America in this area of the world. By doing this, the Honduran electoral process was left under the geopolitical interests of the US government and not a sovereign decision, of people casting their ballots.

In an unexpected press conference, David Matamoros, President of the TSE, at the side of the US Charge d’Affaires, announced that that TSE had chosen to scrutinize “4,753 vote tally sheets and review the votes from the departments of La Paz, Intibucá and Lempira” under the observation of the OAS, delegates from civil society and the US Embassy, “in order to grant certainty to the country and support the new Honduran president.”[6] This happened without the agreement of the main contending political parties and the TSE worked around a protocol that “would increase the transparency of the process” defining, among other points, the way to approach inconsistencies, the comparison of records and signatures and the use of voter signature booklets.

On the contrary, the TSE’s unilateral position was imposed at a moment where it was most discredited. This was made possible through the open political support from the US Embassy, which enabled the TSE to proceed by performing the final scrutiny of the votes and to declare a winning candidate within the shortest possible time frame. This happened with full support from civil society organizations and NGOs working under US policies implemented in the country.

To complete the panorama, while the recounting was happening, former President Manuel Zelaya Rosales issued a letter where he published a “recommendation” made by the OAS and the US government to candidate Salvador Nasralla that urged him to “disengage completely from former President Zelaya because he’s a Chávez supporter promoting Democratic Socialism” (December 9th, 2017). This last points provides a complete image of how during the last days and hours, specifically in the electoral scenario, the US government mobilized actors, repositioned others and attempted to divide the Opposition Alliance by resetting the balance of power in favor of their geopolitical interests.

The Position of the US Government Before and After the Electoral Process

Publicly, the US government has been silent, a situation that has caught the attention of well-known analysts of the region’s right. Such is the case of Andrés Oppenheimer, who affirmed that “President Trump has done the right thing to strongly denounce the authoritarianism of presidents” from the left in Latin America, “but he should do the same with Honduras’ right-wing president.” Oppenheimer has also regretted the delay from the United States in issuing a statement regarding the “generalized irregularities of the November 26th elections in Honduras”. Concluding that “by ignoring a right-wing autocrat, the United States loses moral authority to denounce autocrats from the left”.[7]

Despite its silence about the elections, the US Department of State just two days after November 26, in the middle of the electoral crisis, certified that the Honduran government “has been fighting corruption and supporting human rights, clearing the path so that Honduras can receive millions of dollars in aid from the United States.”[8] The serious violations of human rights during the protests against the electoral fraud between November 30th and December 5th have not modified this certification, constituting a clear message of support from the US Department of State to the Juan Orlando Hernandez’s government.

Regarding these human rights violations, Amnesty International prepared an in situ report establishing that “the Honduran government is deploying dangerous and illegal tactics to silence any dissenting voices in the aftermath of one of the country’s worst political crisis in a decade including preventing lawyers and human rights activists from visiting detained demonstrators.” It emphasized that “Evidence shows that there is no space for people in Honduras to express their opinions. When they do, they come face to face with the full force of the government’s repressive apparatus”[9]. According to COFADEH,[10] the protests against the fraud have left 14 people assassinated, 844 detentions, among other human rights violations as of December 5th.

Recounting and Final Results of the Electoral Process

On the day before the final recount by the TSE, the US Charge D’Affaires made “a strong call to the political class” to accept the result from TSE and announced that “they are ready to work with the elected candidate”[11].

This reaffirmed the role of the US government as the great elector of this electoral process.

The final recount of the 4,753 vote tally sheets was concluded without novelties, with the same results transmitted on previous days by TSE, reducing the observations of inconsistencies and serious irregularities noted in the moment by electoral observation missions. The result generated from the small recount was the following: 50.11% in favor of Juan Orlando Hernández against 31.54% for Salvador Nasralla.[12] This result was added to the remaining vote tally that were not recounted and resulted in the following: Juan Orlando Hernández (42.98%) and Salvador Nasralla (41.38%), exactly the same result from days before, which was considered irregular and lacking transparency and credibility by national and international actors.

Before the final declaration, the TSE has to resolve the Liberal Party’s legal appeals (impugnaciones) that requests the total annulment of the presidential election results. The TSE also has to resolve the appeal of the Opposition Alliance that demands to annul the count and result of the process, and requests a total recount of all vote tally sheets at the presidential level. However, the issue is not that simple for the TSE. Because in addition, Salvador Nasralla has presented a criminal complaint against David Matamoros for abuse of authority, violation of the duties of a public official, and abuse of authority. If the law is applied, this complaint leaves Matamoros unqualified to resolve the appeals and should be removed from his position. This legal reality has constituted a new battle field of a contested balance of power.

The remaining outcome of this process is widely negative, with an electoral system nationally delegitimized and in the eyes of the international community. As a result, it has caused a deterioration of electoral democracy with a setback of over 30 years in transparency, credibility and peaceful presidential succession. On the other hand, its pertinent that we ask ourselves: In the 21st century, are we returning to a sad and shameful period when foreign powers impose who governs this country?[13]

 Where Are We Going?

We are in the middle of a political and electoral crisis; it’s a fact that final election results, still not made official by TSE, will not be accepted by the Opposition Alliance and even the Liberal Party.

Social objection goes on in the streets and its very likely that when the TSE announces the final winner, civil protest will intensify along different territories, similarly to what was seen on November 30th and December 1st.

Furthermore, the active presence of the National Party’s social base must be highlighted, as well as the economic groups in support of Juan Orlando Hernández’ regime, the corporate media, the Military Police and the Armed Forces.

Prospectively, what is unfolding is the continuation of the political-electoral conflict, now expressed between the population challenging the regime that arose from fraud and efforts to reaffirm and legitimize the continuation of the current government.

This is a political crisis, in the same context of the 2009 political crisis, while the problems that the elite had no will in resolving, with new difficulties generated by the current context. There are common elements throughout: the deterioration of state institutionality and the exhaustion of their democratic content, as well as human rights violations in all varying dimensions. An element adding greater complexity to this crisis is the US intervention in favor of one of the contending forces.

We inevitably move towards greater social and political polarization in a society where, as part of the same democratic crisis, spaces for dialogue and the construction of mutual agreements for democratic governance, are worn out. The country is advancing toward “Africanization”, not only because of its similar levels of poverty and exclusion, but also the high levels of intolerance, authoritarianism and policies of state militarization which make it harder to democratically manage conflicts.

The political crisis has been blown open and is still developing. In this moment, it is too complex to project its duration and outcome without an in-depth analysis that incorporates new and constant developments. Of course, the duration and outcome will depend on the social support base of the regime and the opposition; the policy of alliances (national and international) of each of the forces; and how the legitimacy and illegitimacy of the regimen is constructed. But regardless of its ups and downs and pauses, we face a long-term political crisis that sustains itself in a space where democratic structural deficits limit complex resolutions.

*******

[1] Even though the reports of international observer electoral missions (OAS and EU) never mentioned the word “fraud” their statements in terms of inconsistency and systemic irregularities, as their impossibility to determine who was the winning candidate, point toward the typology of a fraudulent process.

[2] OAS, preliminary report of the Electoral Observer Mission in Honduras. December 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwUFL6Ad1Xc

[3] http://www.oas.org/es/centro_noticias/comunicado_prensa.asp?sCodigo=C-090/17

[4] http://www.elheraldo.hn/eleccioneshonduras2017/1130045-508/luis-zelaya-acepta-derrota-del-partido-liberal-y-felicita-a-salvador-nasralla

[5] http://www.latribuna.hn/2017/12/07/juan-orlando-hernandez-la-voluntad-del-pueblo-hondureno-no-se-juega/

[6] http://confidencialhn.com/2017/12/07/honduras-autoridad-electoral-escrutara-cuatro-mil-753-actas-ee-uu-avala-medida/

[7] http://www.elnuevoherald.com/opinion-es/opin-col-blogs/andres-oppenheimer-es/article188812744.html

[8] http://www.elpais.hn/2017/12/05/ee-uu-certifica-honduras-defensor-derechos-medio-crisis-electoral/

[9] https://www.amnesty.org/es/latest/news/2017/12/honduras-government-deploys-dangerous-and-illegal-tactics-to-silence-population/

[10] 10 COFADEH. Honduras crisis política post electoral y su impacto en los derechos humanos. 2017.

[11] http://www.latribuna.hn/2017/12/10/eeuu-llama-los-politicos-una-determinacion-imparcial-pacifica-elecciones/

[12] http://www.latribuna.hn/2017/12/10/tse-presenta-informe-oficial-escrutinio-especial/

[13] Some examples: In 1911 president Miguel Dávila is deposed, substituted by Francisco Bertrand, resulting from Conferences with Tacoma, with direct intervention from the US Department of State https://histounahblog.wordpress.com/7-4-iii-unidad-honduras-historia-politica-del-siglo-xx-grupo-6-sec-17-03/ Successive invasions by the US to defend the interests of banana plantations keeping or deposing presidents of the republic were made in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 y 1925 (www.laizquierdadiario.com/La-invasion-de-los-marines-a-Honduras)

Day 13 (afternoon) & 14 - 2017 Election Crisis Update

- Monday, December 11 (afternoon) & Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 

On Monday, December 11, the Opposition Alliance held an important press conference that outlined in great detail how the Electoral Tribunal, President David Matamoros and the National Party committed fraud in the elections. There was a significant emphasis on the role of the U.S. interfering to cover-up the fraud. Manuel Zelaya made several references to the "Fulton actas" which are named after the U.S. Charge d'Affaires Heide Fulton because of Fulton's role in legitimizing their validity while ignoring wide-spread evidence or claims of alterations and duplication of these 4,753 actas. These final 4,753 vote tally sheets are likely the last batch of actas that will be reviewed by the TSE. It is expected that the TSE will make an announcement about the results of the elections without attending to demands for recounts and examination of the fraudulent actas. In order words, the Fulton actas will be *absolutely key* in legitimizing fraud and JOH's unannounced, as of yet, victory. 

Opposition Alliance Presidential candidate, Salvador Nasralla presenting at press conference on Monday, December 11. Photo by karen spring

Opposition Alliance Presidential candidate, Salvador Nasralla presenting at press conference on Monday, December 11. Photo by karen spring

In addition, the Alliance went through six major points that extensively outline suspicious activities, unexplained and impossible claims being used to justify JOH's winning trend, and provide clear examples of altered vote tally sheets (actas) and falsified documents. A summary of these will be posted later this afternoon. 

On the same day, Monday, December 11th, the social movement participated in a National Stoppage (paro nacional). I previously sent out a list of where some of the actions were held  but according to what the HSN has collected/heard of through other sources, there were 40 actions in 10 departments around the country: Comayagua, Intibuca, Yoro, Santa Barbara, Francisco Morazan, Cortes, Choluteca, Colon, Atlantida, Copan.

Repression and evictions were reported at various road blockades and protests around the country. To name a few, there were reports of police beating, tear gassing and firing live rounds at protesters in Santa Barbara. The HSN posted a video of the repression in La Ceibita in Santa Barbara on our Facebook. In Choluteca, a man was injured by bullets fired by state security forces and two people were detained.  

protester shot in Choluteca during protests on monday, December 11. photographer unknown. 

protester shot in Choluteca during protests on monday, December 11. photographer unknown. 

On Tuesday, December 12, the Alliance held another press conference where they officially gave the OAS Electoral Observation delegation 14,364 of the electronic actas in the party's possession. The letter that included in the package given to the mission, also highlights other TSE irregularities. Since the Alliance and the Liberal Party have both made claims and presented proof of alterations of several actas, these copies will assist the observation missions in comparing what the Alliance has in their possession with what the Liberal, National party and TSE have in theirs. It is unclear whether and how much the observation missions will review the different set of actas presented by different parties and the TSE.  

In the morning and afternoon on Tuesday, once again, people all over the country took to the streets and blocked roads. The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH) denounced that one of their buses had been stopped by Military Police and briefly detained on the road between the cities of La Esperanza and Siguatepeque. COPINH members were taken off the bus, required to show their ID cards to the Military Police, and who then took pictures of the cards. COPINH's full declaration about the harassment and detentions can be found here.

Brutal repression was reported in El Progreso where National police shot tear gas at protesters, beat people, fired live bullets, and went into houses around the blockade and dragged people (mostly women) out of their houses to detain them. As of late yesterday afternoon, there were still 11 people detained, and 3 women were being held at the station although not under arrest, but as "witnesses" (we are still unclear what that means). Two of the 11 detainees were under age. 

protest and road blockade in el progreso, yoro. photo credit: unknown

protest and road blockade in el progreso, yoro. photo credit: unknown

On the same day (Tuesday) in the evening, the LIBRE party held a press conference to communicate to the Honduran people the following points: 1. Calling for unity; 2. Immediate and permanent mobilization to defend the votes for and victory of the Alliance; 3. National mobilization including blocking all "public roads" called for Friday, December 15 starting at 6 am; 4. Rejecting the interference of the U.S. government that uses electoral fraud and maintains impunity to promote its interests; 5. Permanent support for Coordinator, Manuel Zelaya; 6. Support to President elect Salvador Nasralla, the true winner of the elections.

Also, yesterday at the same time as LIBRE published its communique, Zelaya and the LIBRE party published another letter to Nasralla. The letter states the LIBRE party's "unrestricted support in the defense of the electoral victory" of Nasralla; denounces once again, the interference by the U.S. Embassy to prop JOH up as the election winner; and puts at Nasralla's disposal, "the entire structure of the LIBRE party on a national level to openly confront through struggle, the imposition of the bipartisan dictatorship." The letter also reiterates LIBRE's call and commitment to permanent mobilization/protest “until the regime falls.”

As many of you can imagine reading both the communique and the letter, LIBRE and the Alliance seem to be literally saying ‘this is it.' This message from LIBRE and the Alliance comes at a time when the TSE has been making public statements estimating when results will be announced. So far, TSE President David Matamoros has stated that the latest possible date to announce results is December 23. It is worth mentioning again that the TSE has to resolve 150 “impugnaciones” or motions to challenge/annul the results, and that the TSE does not seem open to attending to the additional demands of the Alliance or the Liberal Party. It is believed that the final actions by the TSE are about superficially fulfilling the demands of the OAS, a strategy that aims to give the TSE and its President, an image of legitimacy and cooperation. 

Manuel Zelaya: U.S. Pressuring to Divide the Opposition Alliance

The following are the translations of public communications between Manuel Zelaya, General Coordinator of the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, and the Alliance's President Candidate and President elect, Salvador Nasralla. The first is a letter written by Zelaya to Nasralla that refers to the role of the U.S. in pressure to divide the Alliance. The second is Nasralla's public response. 

Many international press interpreted the open letter as a clear split between Zelaya and Nasralla. Others took it as a direct, public challenge by Zelaya to Nasralla to be accountable for any decision that he makes, while letting the public know that Nasralla is being pressured by the U.S Embassy. The day after Zelaya's letter was published, Nasralla and Zelaya appeared together in a march in Tegucigalpa. 

The letter also directly quotes OAS representatives who, not surprisingly and not for the first time, attempts to link Zelaya to Hugo Chavez. The statement is yet another reminder of how much the 2017 electoral crisis and fraud is in the eye of the  Latin American storm so often polarized by discussions of socialism versus capitalism; anti-US versus pro-US; pro-Chavez versus anti-Chavez. etc. discourses. This, of course, was a strategy and tactic used after the 2009 military coup against Zelaya who was constantly compared to Chavez in Venezuela, along with the accusation that Zelaya was seeking a second term in office. There has been little to no concern by the U.S. and the OAS that President Juan Orlando Hernandez is indeed doing the exact same thing by running in the 2017 elections as a President candidate despite it being ban by the Honduran constitution. 

nasralla and Zelaya together at an alliance press conference on monday, november 11, 2017

nasralla and Zelaya together at an alliance press conference on monday, november 11, 2017

 

Communication One: Zelaya to Nasralla

From Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales’ Office
Tegucigalpa, M.D.C. December 9th of 2017

US DELEGATES MAKE PRESSURE TO DIVIDE THE ALLIANCE
OF OPPOSITION AGAINST THE DICTATORSHIP

 

Comrades; Honduran people:

I address you in accordance with truth, to communicate that spokespeople from the OAS – the Organization of American States- has made recommendations that the Candidate and President Elect, Salvador Alejandro César Nasralla, “disengages completely from former President Zelaya because he’s a supporter of Chávez and promotes Democratic Socialism”.

US Chargé d’Affaires in Honduras Heide Fulton, has worked during the last forty-eight in order to avail the counting of the fraudulent urns (4753), in spurious recounting, vote by vote, of electoral documents that all Honduran people know have been adulterated in favor of the National Party’s illegal candidate.

I reiterate that this Alliance, built through a gigantic popular effort, has won the elections; defeating the bipartisanship that has prevailed in our Homeland for over one hundred years, however they refuse to hand over the Presidency of the Republic to Salvador Nasralla, who has proposed changes such as lowering fuel prices and energy costs; eliminating tolls, actions that directly impact North American interests.

It is the people’s duty to protest in streets to defend the Alliance’s and Salvador Nasralla’s victory, therefore I call for all of our efforts, to set aside all egoism in lieu of our Country, to fight every day without rest, and to deliver all our strength; until the last consequences.

I personally reiterate that I will never betray my principles and socialist democratic convictions, but I assume the historical responsibility of releasing Candidate Salvador Alejandro César Nasralla, so he makes the decisions that best represent his interest as President Elect.

Ever onward to victory!

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
Former Constitutional President of the Republic
General Coordinator

Communication Two

To the Honduran people and the militancy of the Alliance of Opposition against the Dictatorship:

I would like to refer to the patriotic letter wrote by the Alliance’s Coordinator, my friend President Mel Zelaya.

I agree with his analysis that we have democratically won the urns and Honduran people chose me as their president. Now we have to fight for the acknowledgement of this triumph and it will be the Honduran People who will make their will prevail.

I also acknowledge that this victory couldn’t have been possible without the vision of President Mel Zelaya and the national structure for his Party Libertad y Refundación. I also declare that the party PINU-SD, by participating in the Alliance against the Dictatorship, has played a historic role that the country demands. Through this letter I express my most profound gratitude to LIBRE and PINU for the triumph obtained on November 26th.

I wish to clarify to the Honduran People and international community that as President of Hondurans I will be the person in charge of the reigns of Honduras and it will be my democratic conviction as standard bearer in the struggle against corruption that will oversee the interest of the Honduran people that chose me and this will characterize my presidency. I reiterate that I will surround myself of the best Honduran men and women and I will not fail in my duty to the country and the fulfillment of my campaign’s promises.

I ask the Organization of American States, the European Union in Honduras and the US Embassy in Honduras to demand the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to comply with the measures set by them and us which they aren’t currently fulfilling, in an attempt to rescue the current electoral process. In the case of not doing so in accordance to the two opposition parties legitimately representing the majority of the Honduran people, I ask that they do not only disqualify such questioned Supreme Electoral Tribunal to issue a declaratory of winner but also to recommend that the process be repeated.

Patriotically,

SALVADOR NASRALLA

Candidate Winner Presidential Election

Honduras 2017