Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Honduras Election and Aftermath

3772744335_a9a4e95e72_b, originally uploaded by HablaHonduras.

Compare and contrast:

Ian Kelly Department Spokesman for U.S. Department of State

We commend the Honduran people for peacefully exercising their democratic right to select their leaders in an electoral process that began over a year ago, well before the June 28 coup d'etat. Turnout appears to have exceeded that of the last presidential election. This shows that given the opportunity to express themselves, the Honduran people have viewed the election as an important part of the solution to the political crisis in their country.
We look forward to continuing to work with all Hondurans and encourage others in the Americas to follow the lead of the Honduran people in helping advance national reconciliation and the implementation of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord. Significant work remains to be done to restore democratic and constitutional order in Honduras, but today the Honduran people took a necessary and important step forward.
Lisa Sullivan, Human Rights Observer for School of Americas Watch - Electoral observer as part of the Quixote Center Accompaniment Delegation
In the days prior to the elections we scattered to different cities, towns and villages, meeting with fishermen, farmers, maquila workers, labor leaders, teachers and lawyers, as well as those who were jailed for carrying spray paint, hospitalized for being shot in the head by the military, and detained for reporting on the repression. [...]
As elections were in full swing in the morning, our delegate and nurse practitioner, Silvia Metzler visited Angel Salgado and Maria Elena Hernandez who were languishing in the intensive care unit of the Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa . Both had been shot in the head at one of the many military checkpoints, no questions asked. Doctors give Angel a zero possibility of survival and he leaves behind a 6 year old son. Maria Elena has a better chance of recovery, but it will be a long road. She was selling snacks on the side of the road to support her teenage children when caught by military bullet.
Quixote Honduran Elections Delegation's blog (+ images)
A peaceful march of over 500 people was just culminating at the Central Park of San Pedro Sula when a large armoured tank with high pressure water cannons mounted on the top pulled up at the rear of the march - along with a large truck full of military troops. The 500 peaceful, unarmed protesters turned around to face the tank and troops - and in unison, they sat down in the middle of the street. The truck retreated 2 blocks.  The soldiers got off the truck, and began to put on gas masks.  Everything went silent - and suddenly the crowd was attacked with water cannons and gas.  People are fleeing. There are wounded and detained.
The official US position shares little in common with reality. Unfortunately, the situation is much more like the picture Eva Golinger paints.
The true divides in Latin America - between justice and injustice, democracy and dictatorship, human rights and corporate rights, people's power and imperial domination - have never been more visible than today.  [...] The handshakes, smiles, gifts and promises of "no intervention" and "a new era" made by President Obama himself to leaders of Latin American nations last Spring at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Trinidad have unraveled and turned into cynical gestures of hypocrisy.  [...]
Washington stands alone, with its right-wing puppet states in Colombia, Panamá, Perú, Costa Rica and Israel, as the only nations to have publicly indicated recognition of the electoral process in Honduras and the future regime. A high-level State Department official cynically declared to the Washington Post, "What are we going to do, sit for four years and just condemn the coup?" Well, Washington has sat for 50 years and refused to recognize the Cuban government. But that's because the Cuban government is not convenient for Washington. The Honduran dictatorship is.

For an illustration of the two faces of the Honduran elections see the Guardian picture feature.

Hat tip to Dan Archer (who is responsible for the brilliant Archcomix, and whose Twitter feed I've been following) for bringing to my attention some of the above sources.

I should also point out that Rick B beat me to the punch on this one (despite some similarity, I didn't notice his post until I was about to post this - honest).

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