Hondurans in Washington, DC to protest controversial elections in Honduras
For release: November 27, 2009
- Mario Ramos
- Sergio Moncada
WASHINGTON, DC, November 27, 2009 – In the run-up to the presidential, congressional, and mayoral elections to be held in Honduras in the midst of the worst political crisis to hit Honduras and Central America in more than two decades, activists from Hondurans for Democracy, School of the Americas Watch, Witness for Peace, and other DC-based organizations have announced that they will stage a protest on Sunday November 29 at 1:00 PM (EST). The protest will be held outside of the site in the northwest neighborhood of Mount Pleasant in Washington, DC (3224 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20010) where the representatives of the Honduras coup regime will set up a polling station for Hondurans living in the metropolitan DC area. Five such polling stations are being set up in the U.S. (in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington, DC) as an effort to bolster voting in an election that the international community has condemned as fraudulent. Voting in Honduras is taking place in an atmosphere of fear and repression; in the five months since the June 28 coup d’etat that illegally ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, the Honduran people and the country’s independent press have suffered under the thumb of Honduras’ military and police. As of last month, international and national human rights organizations had registered more 4,000 human rights violations, including 3,000 illegal detentions and 20+ political assassinations.
With the notable exceptions of the U.S., Panama, and Peru, every nation in the hemisphere has tacitly or explicitly expressed that it will not recognize the results of the election. Brazil, Paraguay and global and regional entities such as the Rio Group, the United Nations and the Organization of American States have issued in the last days communiques highlighting their clear rejection of the fraudulent Honduran elections. More than 50 political candidates in Honduras whose names appear in the ballots (including one Presidential candidate, one Vice Presidential candidate, and a growing number of Congressional and Mayoral candidates) have pulled out of the race in protest against the effort to whitewash the coup using elections held in an atmosphere of terror. “I think it’s a disgrace that the United States, and in particular the Obama Administration, has lent these fraudulent elections an air of validity with its promise to recognize their results,” said Sergio Moncada of Hondurans for Democracy. “It’s an affront to all Latin Americans who fled their lands in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, when the official policy of the U.S. was to back right-wing military coups in the region,” added Mr. Moncada. “This will come back to haunt the Democratic Party in the mid-term elections of next year and in the Presidential elections three years from now; the Latino vote, an instrumental one to put Mr. Obama in the White House, will not forget this inexcusable attack on democracy in Latin America.”
While the U.S. Government claims that elections are a “step forward” in getting the country out of crisis, Hondurans such as Mr. Moncada could not disagree further. “The elections that the U.S. Government has chosen to recognize are an effort to validate the affront to democracy in the region that was the June 28 military coup d’etat.” He added, “How is it possible to have free and fair elections in a country where the President elected by his people cannot step out of the confines of the Embassy of Brazil (where he has been housed for the last two months), is subject to relentless and outright intimidation, where the independent press is regularly attacked and shut down at at the whim of the coup regime?” The military troops camped outside of the Embassy of Brazil have had in place an on-going campaign of intimidation targeted at the President and his supporters – in the form of nightly military marches staged outside of the Embassy, ear-splitting transmissions from LRAD sonic devices, and the presence of military snipers outside of the Embassy.
Hondurans for Democracy and other democratically-minded groups in the U.S. vowed to continue fighting to highlight the repression, human right abuses, and overall atmosphere of intimidation and fear to which Hondurans have been subject since the coup. Mr. Moncada said, “This is an outrage and Hondurans and their friends living outside of the coup regime’s sphere of terror cannot let this pass.”Hondurans for Democracy is a DC-based non-partisan grassroots group made up of Hondurans and friends of Hondurans. It was created as a response to the June 28, 2009 coup d’état that ousted democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. The URL for our web site is www.porlademocracia.org