The Honduran electoral crisis

Cuffe TF Honduras photo 2 678x381

After weeks of protests, a general strike against the result of the manipulated elections of 26 November began on 21 January. Called by the Opposition Alliance Against The Dictatorship, organised by ex-president Zelaya, it continued for a week until 27 January when it blockaded roads around the capital’s national stadium where Hernández was reinstalled as President for an unprecedented second term. Tear gas drifted across flaming barricades in clashes between police and angry protesters. The opposition boycotted Hernandez's inauguration, and held a symbolic swearing-in for its presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla on the same day.

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Honduras: Election impasse after threats and intimidation

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 236 December 2013/January 2014

The Honduras 2013 presidential and congressional elections were held on 24 November. With less than two-thirds of the votes returned, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal reported that the ruling right-wing National Party’s candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez had won, leading the count with 34.16% of the votes, whilst Xiomara Castro Zelaya of the LIBRE Party had 28.53%. This is despite the fact that Castro Zelaya, the wife of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, led the polls throughout the campaign.

That evening hundreds of protesters blocked streets in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa in support of Castro Zelaya, who was claiming victory until ‘every ballot is examined’. The LIBRE party (Liberty and Refoundation) was formed in 2011 from the National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP), built in opposition to the 2009 coup against President Zelaya, who is now barred from standing for election. Significantly, President Zelaya was toppled by Honduran businessmen and military leaders, soon after Honduras had joined Cuba and Venezuela in ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for Latin America). Castro Zelaya’s campaign demanded the return of pre-coup policies, which included social reforms such as free education and a 60% increase in the minimum wage.

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Honduras: mass resistance to sham elections

FRFI 212 December 2009 / January 2010

The Honduran people have organised a boycott of the coup regime’s sham elections due on 29 November. They reject a US-brokered deal which calls for ‘reconciliation’ and requires the coup regime’s ‘President’ Roberto Micheletti to step down for the four days before the elections in an attempt to make the poll seem legitimate. Organised through the National Front Against the Coup, the people demand a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution, which currently represents the interests of the rich companies and landowning elite. Mass resistance has made it impossible for the regime to consolidate its power; it remains isolated internationally.

The US supports the regime militarily and financially, but has failed to legitimise the coup. Under its 30 October deal, both ousted President Zelaya and the coup regime agreed that Zelaya would return to office before the election. But there was no formal timetable set for the required Congress vote, and the Congress president announced the decision would be made after the election. The US State Department insisted that this decision did not undermine the accord. ‘Since the accord never actually gave any kind of deadline...scheduling the vote on 2 December...isn’t necessarily inconsistent,’ a US spokesperson said. With Zelaya now also calling for an election boycott, hundreds of candidates have withdrawn from the process. Amongst them is the independent left-wing presidential candidate Carlos H Reyes who said he will not participate in a fraudulent process, leaving two pro-coup candidates to contest the presidency.

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Honduras: masses mobilise against coup regime

FRFI 210 August / September 2009

On Sunday 28 June, Honduran military leaders led a coup against President Manuel Zelaya on the orders of the reactionary Supreme Court. At dawn, over 200 troops went to the President’s home and told him to surrender or they would shoot him and his family. The soldiers seized him and he was exiled to Costa Rica. In the weeks since, the coup regime has increased repression of the Honduran people, hundreds of thousands of whom have been demonstrating on the streets for Zelaya’s return. The two-faced response of the US has made clear their role in the coup, while Zelaya has been supported by the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA) of which Honduras is a member.

Zelaya was originally elected as a representative of the business elite; he is a member of the Liberal party in a country which has strong military and economic ties with the US and, as Fidel Castro said, he ‘cannot be accused of being either a Marxist or a communist’. However, since the end of 2007, he had begun to adopt some more progressive positions, clearly under ALBA’s influence. With ALBA’s help, Zelaya had brought 500,000 Hondurans out of poverty, begun a reforestation campaign and was aiming to eradicate illiteracy in the country by January 2010.

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President Zelaya returns to Honduras

FRFI 211 October / November 2009

On the night of Sunday 20 September, after two days of travelling secretly through the mountains and countryside of Honduras, elected President Manuel Zelaya returned to the capital city of Tegucigalpa. His appearance in the Brazilian embassy, 86 days after he was ousted in a military coup on 28 June and expelled from the country, has electrified the mass of the Honduran people who rushed to surround the embassy before being forced away by the rubber bullets and tear gas of the coup regime’s police and military.

Zelaya’s return represents a humiliating defeat for US imperialism: for its intelligence services, who knew nothing about the plan for his return; for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose department had given the coup government tacit support, and for President Obama, who had been unable to restrain the hawks in his administration. The Reuters view that, by opening its door to Zelaya, Brazil is placing ‘a high-risk bet that could harm its regional leadership ambitions’ completely misses the point: had Brazil not done this it would face marginalisation within the Organisation of American States and other groups where the US now holds little or no sway. As Brazil’s President Lula told the UN General Assembly on 23 September:

‘The international community demands that Mr Zelaya return immediately to the presidency of his country and must be alert to ensure the inviolability of Brazil’s diplomatic mission in the capital of Honduras.’

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