TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 9, 2013 – A delegation of 55 North Americans, including numerous lawyers, academics, and a sitting judge has issued a report challenging claims that the Honduras election was “peaceful” and “transparent.” The 28-page report documents vote buying, voter intimidation, bias in voting table officers, violence and threats of violence occurring on and before election day, November 24, 2013.
The North Americans were in Honduras with the Alliance for Global Justice based in Tucson, Arizona and the Task Force on the Americas based in Marin, California. Both organizations are members of the Honduras Solidarity Network. The team of 55 delegates was trained and accredited by the official Honduras Supreme Electoral Tribunal and observed the election at 49 voting centers across the northern part of the country.
In the week prior to election day, delegates visited eight communities in four northwestern departments (Cortés, Intibucá, Atlántida and Yoro) to meet with communities engaged in ongoing conflicts over land, territory and natural resources. While the delegation’s report focuses primarily on election day, it also includes observations concerning pre-election day conflict, repression and violence.
“The criminalization of dissent and protest against a brutal development model that promotes land grabbing and environmental destruction is necessary context for understanding the conditions in which these elections took place,” says election observer Tanya Kerssen, Research Coordinator for Food First/the Institute for Food and Development Policy.
While observers were touched by the commitment, courage and enthusiasm of the many Hondurans who participated in this process in good faith, they were also saddened by the numerous discrepancies, lack of preparedness and resources, bribery, voter intimidation, violence and fraud that they witnessed. According to Dale Sorenson of the Task Force on the Americas, the observations documented in the delegation report “demonstrate a clear pattern of systematic undermining of the Honduran people’s right to a free and fair election.”
Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice adds, “we are particularly concerned about the role of the United States in providing material support to and legitimizing Honduras’ post-coup government.” Kaufman adds, “the US Ambassador’s and other official delegations’ quickness to congratulate Honduras on a ‘transparent’ election is particularly disconcerting considering the many irregularities we observed.”
A summary and the full report can be downloaded by visiting: http://afgj.org/honduras-election-monitoring-report
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Send the linked report to your Representative and two Senators or email this press release to them with your own note stating that the recent election did nothing to create democratic conditions, end violence, and establish the rule of law in Honduras. State that US policy of providing police and military aid and training continues to contribute to violence and impunity and should be cut off.
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