Tegucigalpa, Honduras: Presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, left, and her husband, Manuel Zelaya, ride on the roof of a car with a coffin containing the body of Jose Ardon, a supporter that was killed a day earlier, Dec. 1, 2013.
Castro’s supporters poured into the streets to demand a vote-by-vote recount of the November 24 election, which was marred by widespread fraud. The country’s electoral commission handed victory to the far-right candidate Juan Hernandez, a supporter of the 2009 U.S.-backed coup against Zelaya.
By Lauren Carasik and Azadeh Shahshahani
Honduras’ contested results from its Nov. 24 election threaten to unleash civil unrest and repression that could further destabilize the country. Amid widespread allegations of fraud, vote buying and voting irregularities, the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) — Honduras’ electoral authority — announced on Nov. 26 that conservative National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez had an irreversible lead. Both Hernandez and left-leaning LIBRE party candidate Xiomara Castro claimed victory on election night.
Castro based her claim on LIBRE’s exit polls that showed a substantial lead. Her husband and former president Mel Zelaya – who was ousted in a 2009 coup – also contested the results, noting that the vote tally from 20 percent of the polling stations announced by the TSE contradicted the actual vote count from polling stations. Anti-Corruption party candidate Salvador Nasralla has also impugned the accuracy of the vote counting process.
In the cloud of election violence and suspicions, outside pressure from the international community, especially the United States, is critical to ensure that democracy prevails in Honduras and to protect those vulnerable to state sponsored repression. However, the signals from the U.S. so far suggests that it is pleased with the results, even if they are tainted by fraud and intimidation.
By Sandra Cuffe
Four years after a military coup deposed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, Hondurans have a chance with their November 24 elections to restore a measure of democracy. The stakes are high: either Honduras will plunge deeper into its vortex of violence and repression, or it will have a fighting chance to begin to re-establish the rule of law and construct a viable economy. On a broader level, the Honduran elections will test whether Latin America’s transition to democracy and social justice will be permitted to advance—in what Secretary of State John Kerry still refers to as “our backyard.”
Updated 9:00 pm: At least 15 people were killed and 95 hurt in Tripoli after a peaceful demonstration calling on unruly militias to leave the Libyan capital turned violent on Friday, an official said.
The militias are holdovers from the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and are a powerful force in the increasingly lawless North African country.
"Fifteen dead and 95 wounded, several of them seriously, have been admitted to Tripoli hospitals," a health ministry spokesman said.
He was unable to give a breakdown between those killed in the demonstration and those who died in a subsequent assault on the militia headquarters.
"It’s total confusion," he said.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras: Mass rally to support candidates of the Libre Party, founded by the Resistance to the U.S.-backed coup, November 10, 2013.
"A Party that is born of the People, a Party which is the People, a People Invincible!" # LibreVencera
Photo: Resistencia Honduras
By Adrienne Pine
The Honduran military and the judiciary both were primary institutional state actors in the 2009 coup against president Manuel Zelaya, whose wife Xiomara Castro is running for president against Hernández on the Resistance-affiliated LIBRE (Liberty and Refoundation) Party ticket. The two institutions have joined forces in the repression and criminalization of social movement leaders.
Military and judicial violence are necessary and central components of the imposition of neoliberal economic policies in post-coup Honduras. In order to legitimate and secure the economic violence effected against Honduran citizens by corporations like AZUNOSA, Dinant, and DESA, the judiciary actively criminalizes opposition to them while the military (along with other state security forces) goes after citizen-“criminals” with an iron fist.