Honduras military tries to intimidate int’l observers

Nov. 24 — A presidential election is taking place in Honduras today that polls indicate will reverse the 2009 coup. Progressive and human rights organizations have reported on the military’s last-minute attempts to intimidate international observers who have come to ensure a fair and free election process.

Elane Spivak-Rodriguez of the Alliance for Global Justice reported to the media: “There was a big raid on a LIBRE headquarters in Tegucigalpa last night (Nov. 23). Police came in with guns. There were international observers there.” There were also reports of military police seizing passports of international observers from Brazil at the Hotel Suites Aurora earlier in the day.

Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, who has played a leading role in the resistance movement, is running for president in today’s elections. She represents the LIBRE [Libertad y Refundación] party, which grew out of the resistance movement to the coup.

Castro de Zelaya has held a lead in national polls over ruling National Party candidate Juan Hernández and is expected to win if the vote is fair. The winner will replace Porfirio Lobo Sosa, who became president in a questionable, military-run “election” some five months after the coup. Castro de Zelaya is the spouse of Mel Zelaya, the president ousted in the June 2009 coup.

The present Honduras government, which is a tool of the oligarchy and the military, also refused entry into the country of Nobel Peace Prize winner and election monitor Rigoberta Menchú.

Besides harassing observers, the military police, who are said to number 5,000 in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, have directly interfered with the election process when 30 of them forcibly entered the LIBRE offices in the Kennedy neighborhood of the capital on Nov. 22.

Observers from the U.S., including activists, lawyers, labor unionists and community organizers have been in Honduras to participate as election monitors and to show their solidarity with the resistance movement there. They include a delegation from the International Action Center.