EDITORIAL
Honduran election: a US-sanctioned fraud
volume:  
volume 35
issue 1
February 2014

Within hours of poll sites closing in Honduras on Nov. 24, 2013, Juan Orlando Hernández of the right-wing National Party was declared the presidential winner — and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Kubiske didn’t waste a moment jumping on board.

Independent observers were reporting grave concerns over fraud and intimidation. This included the murders of 20 activists with the opposition LIBRE party in the year and a half leading up to the election; two were killed the day before. Nevertheless, in truly Orwellian fashion, Kubiske congratulated Hondurans on a process she called “peaceful” and “transparent.”

Xiomara Castro, running for LIBRE (the Liberty and Refoundation Party), led in most surveys before the vote. The party immediately contested the result and demanded a recount. Independent reports have bolstered LIBRE’s allegations that as many as 20 percent of the tabulations at voting tables were tampered with. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, on Dec. 13 the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) rubber-stamped Hernández’ victory.

Why does the Obama administration care about Honduras and the facade of a fair election there? Because businesses are anxious to get favorable access to resources, labor and markets. A U.S.-approved coup ousted Castro’s husband, Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, in 2009. Since then, Honduras has been politically and economically in chaos, and that’s not good for investors.

Now Hernández’ National Party is trying to push through a version of “free trade zones” that will offer incentives to transnational energy and mining corporations while bypassing existing protections for workers and the environment.

But Hondurans aren’t taking this outrage in silence. Before the election, indigenous communities met attempts to destroy the environment with militant resistance. In the cities, doctors, teachers, and other public sector workers have gone on strike demanding delayed wages. After the election, the students were the first to hit the streets to protest the sham results.

The Hondurans can’t win justice on their own. It’s going to take cross-border collaborations among leftists and community activists to get the heel of the U.S. government off the necks of their country. And it’s going to take a final renunciation of the profit system to keep it off!