U.S. delegation denounces election fraud in Honduras

The following statement was issued by members of an International Action Center delegation from the U.S., who served as election observers during the Nov. 24 elections in Honduras.

From Nov. 21 through Nov. 26, seven human rights observers from the International Action Center witnessed and heard testimony about human rights abuses in Honduras.

After reviewing our findings and comparing them to those of other delegations, we are unanimous in our conclusion concerning the Nov. 24 presidential election.

We cannot help but agree with LIBRE [Liberdad y Refundación] Party presidential candidate Xiomara Castro de Zelaya that there is “innumerable proof of the disgusting monstrosity with which they [the ruling National Party — “Partido Nacional” or “PN” in Spanish] are stealing the presidency of the republic from our people in Honduras” to “install a regime that came from fraud.”

Furthermore, we condemn in the strongest terms the hasty decision of the U.S. Department of State, conveyed by U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske, to recognize the election results.

This continues the collaboration between Washington and the current “golpista” [coup-maker] regime, imposed by a fraudulent election months after a 2009 coup that deposed democratically elected President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya.

In fact, on our flight to Honduras, many of the passengers were cadets from the Honduran Military Academy. They had just completed a 35-day paratrooper course at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (aka the School of the Americas) located at Fort Benning, Ga. The U.S. government — the same government that has waged war against Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in the name of democracy and now menaces Syria and Iran — looks the other way while the democratic rights of the Honduran people are being brutally violated!

We were presented with irrefutable evidence of an attempt to steal the election. Some Hondurans we met, who showed us their voter registration cards, were officially declared deceased. Others went to vote in their neighborhoods, only to be told they were on the voter list in a town far away that they had never set foot in. Still others were denied voter identification cards. Jesús Maldonado, a mayoral candidate in Jesús de Otoro, was subject to harassment and intimidation, having been followed around by a person in a car with no license plates.

Only LIBRE supporters experienced these flagrant denials of franchise rights. We were informed of various PN vote-buying schemes. Poor voters were given vouchers to exchange for cash, but only if the PN candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández, won the election.

What we witnessed was consistent with reports from the National Lawyers Guild, the Honduras Solidarity Network, the School of the Americas Watch, an LGBT delegation and the Canadian group Common Frontiers — who, with other grassroots organizations, had more observers on the ground than the European Union and the Organization of American States combined. Moreover, at least one EU observer has challenged the official EU/OAS statement that the process was “transparent.”

We also could not help but notice the expressions of mass support for the LIBRE Party, from the capital of Tegucigalpa to remote rural areas. Only through massive fraud could the Supreme Electoral Council (Tribunal Supremo Electoral or TSE) have declared Hernández the winner.

Any claim that this was a peaceful election process is wholly false. Two LIBRE party activists were assassinated the day before the election after leaving an electoral training session. Prior to that killing, 18 LIBRE Party candidates and activists had been assassinated. Since the TSE declaration there have been at least three assassinations. This is what four more years of PN rule represents!

The International Action Center demands Washington break all political and military ties to this illegitimate and criminal Honduran government and that Congress take immediate steps to block recognition of the fraudulent election results.

We stand with the people of Honduras as they take to the streets, echoing Xiomara’s declaration that “we will defeat them [the golpistas] in the streets; we already beat them at the polls.”