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Countdown to the Honduran Electoral Farce

Countdown to the Honduran Electoral Farce

by Julie Webb-Pullman

No doubt about it – Hondurans are still in the streets demanding the return of constitutional order. Outside the Electoral Tribunal in Tegucigalpa many gathered on Tuesday to cheer on the deputies, mayors, and candidates lining up with their resignation letters in hand, in repudiation of the farce that is called the 2009 elections. Already at least 90 have resigned.

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Deputies, mayors and candidates lining up at the Electoral Tribunal to submit their letters of resignation

From street vendors to specialists in internal medicine, retired people to professionals the resistance has come into the streets again today, as they have every day since the June 28 coup While the corporate media pretend it is business as usual (which if one considers the corruption, exploitation and human rights abuses, it undoubtedly is), that is not true of the tens of thousands whose daily lives have been put on hold for the last five months as they stand up to brutal repression for daring to demand their right to self-determination. Schools have close, teachers not been paid, many businesses have gone broke and been forced to close down.

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Resignation accepted

The resistance is not just about the return of the constitutional President, Manuel Zelaya, but also about the peoples’ right to call a constituent assembly, their right to set up a process to develop a new constitution to replace the present one drawn up during the succession of military juntas controlling the country between the coup of 1963 until 1981, and that favours only a few - the rich oligarchs.

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Street vendor in resistance

Whatever flights of fancy the U.S. media is indulging in to pass off this week’s elections as valid, no-one here is in any doubt that they in no way resemble the free, fair and open process that is the hallmark of a true democracy.

The 4WDs and vans with tinted windows and no number plates cruising the street, and as often as not entering and leaving the heavily guarded basement car-park of the Electoral Tribunal itself, are indicative of the lack of accountability or transparency in the conduct of these elections. Such vehicles are precisely the same ones involved in the snatching of social movement leaders from streets and houses, people who later turn up beaten, tortured, dead – or not at all.

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4WD with no number plates

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now entering the Electoral Tribunal underground car-park

This is the kind of “democratic process” that Obama plans on recognising next week.

And what is the ultimate destination of all of these ‘unmarked’ pick-ups and vans? Perhaps the hospitals, which have been ordered to cancel all surgery this week, to empty the wards, and to stock up on supplies and medications?

Maybe this is just a part of Obama’s health plan – his version of medical diplomacy.

The illegitimate regime is clearly expecting thousands of new patients – is this not an obvious signal that even more brutal repression, on a large scale, is on the horizon?

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Hondurans won't leave the streets until Constitutional order is restored

Where is the United Nations on this? Remember Rawanda, when all the warning signs were there, when even their own staff informed that a massacre was imminent, yet they did nothing? Remember the appalling atrocities that followed – avoidable deaths, mutilations, rapes, torture? Remember the promises when the new Human Rights Council was set up?

In the words of Ms Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the first session of the Council on 19 June 2006, “Too many times the promise of protection has gone unmet. When lives and livelihoods are lost or imperilled, the emptiness of paper guarantees, not backed by the genuine resolve to act, is nothing short of betrayal.”

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Dr Gerardo Diaz

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No number plates, cruising up and down outside the Electoral Tribunal

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150 days in resistance


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