Cablegate: Demarche Request On Honduras Election


DE RUEHC #9005 3221746
P 181559Z NOV 09





E.O. 12958: N/A

1.(U) Paragraphs 2 and 9 contain an action request.

2.(U) Summary: The USG remains committed to finding a
peaceful resolution to the political crisis in Honduras that
results in the prompt restoration of the democratic
constitutional order. As part of that effort, we continue to
pursue efforts to convince the Honduran sides to implement
the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord (TSJA), which includes a
robust and credible international observation effort for
Honduras, scheduled November 29 elections. Department
requests that Embassy Tokyo demarche the Government of Japan
at an appropriately senior level to urge support for
observers and to urge it to follow through on its commitment
to support the Honduran Supreme Election Tribunal,s (TSE)
custodial program to enhance the integrity of the voting and
tallying processes. The Embassy can draw on points in
paragraph 9 below. End summary

3. (U) On October 30, representatives of deposed President of
Honduras Manuel Zelaya and de facto regime leader Roberto
Micheletti signed the TSJA, which provides a mechanism
through which democratic and constitutional order can be
restored in Honduras after President Zelaya was deposed and
expelled from the country on June 28. The TSJA provides for
the establishment of a government of national unity and
reconciliation, refers the question of restoring Zelaya to
the presidency to the Honduran Congress, establishes a
four-person verification commission to adjudicate disputes
over interpretation of the Accord, and calls for the
establishment of a truth commission following the
inauguration of a new government on January 27, 2010. The
Accord is the result of four months of intense engagement on
the part of the international community, primarily by the
Organization of American States (OAS), our partners in the
region, and the United States. The Accord is a Honduran
solution agreed to by both parties and it represents the best
path toward the resolution of this protracted political
crisis in Honduras.

4. (SBU) Before and after the June 28 coup, the United States
maintained its support for democratic and constitutional
order in Honduras and strongly opposed the coup and resulting
limitations on human rights and fundamental freedoms. The USG
refused to recognize the de facto regime, suspended or
terminated certain types of assistance, stopped processing
non-immigrant visas, and revoked visas of key de facto regime
officials and supporters. In addition, Honduras was
suspended from the OAS through a decision of the OAS General
Assembly adopted by consensus. Furthermore, the
Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank suspended
disbursements. With the TSJA in place, Embassy Tegucigalpa
has reopened the NIV section and the USG is considering what
further sanctions may be lifted as the TSJA is implemented
and the democratic order is restored.

5. (SBU) Honduras now turns its attention to implementing the
TSJA and holding free, fair, and transparent elections on
November 29. Step by step implementation of the Accord is
critical to restore the democratic and constitutional order
in Honduras. As a solution by and for the Honduran people,
the United States is strongly supportive of the TSJA, and
will assist in its implementation. The United States is
providing financial assistance to the verification commission
formed in accordance with the TSJA and U.S. Secretary of
Labor Hilda Solis is one of two international members of the
four-person commission. The United States is also strongly
committed to supporting a robust and credible domestic and
international observation of the elections, especially
considering the critical need to restore the democratic order
in Honduras. The TSE is an independent institution which was
in place well before the June 28 coup interrupted democratic
governance in Honduras. The U.S. continued its technical
assistance to the TSE even while imposing restrictions on
other types of assistance as a result of the coup.

6. (SBU) Through the U.S. Agency for International
Development, the United States is providing $1.9 million in
assistance for the entire 2009 election process, including
the primary elections held last November. For the upcoming
November 29 general elections, we are providing $466,000 in
technical assistance to the TSE to strengthen its
capabilities to administer the elections and transmit
accurate results in a timely manner. We are also providing
$635,000 to Honduran NGOs to support their efforts to
organize and train domestic observers and establish a quick
count process to detect signs of potential fraud and
manipulation of election results. The United States is also
planning to furnish about $650,000 to send at least 30
U.S.-based election observers from non-governmental

7. (SBU) Due to the political uncertainty in the months prior
to the signing of the TSJA, NGOs and international
organizations that might have fielded election observers
under normal circumstances delayed preparations to do so. The
USG is moving rapidly to field election observers and hopes
that other governments will either deploy observers of their
own or support efforts of other organizations to do so.

8. (SBU) The Department understands the TSE has been
negotiating with the Japanese Embassy in Tegucigalpa for
months regarding $2.5 million in Japanese Government support
for the elections. According to the information provided to
Embassy Tegucigalpa, the TSE has not yet received any funding
from the Government of Japan. The TSE had been counting on
this aid to fund its &custodio8 program, which places a TSE
representative at each of the country,s polling locations.
These representatives play a crucial role in assuring the
integrity of the balloting process and reporting results to
the TSE.

9. (SBU) Action: Department requests Embassy Tokyo to deliver
a demarche to the GOJ at the highest appropriate level to
achieve the following objectives:

-- Underscore the importance of the November 29 elections
as a critical step to restoring the constitutional and
democratic order in Honduras following the June 28 coup.

- Thank the Government of Japan for their continued
strong interest in Honduras and their pledge of assistance
for the upcoming elections

-- Urge the Japanese to follow through their commitment to
support the TSE,s custodial program as soon as possible.

-- Encourage Japan to send election observers to support a
robust and credible international monitoring effort for the
Honduran elections.

-- Stress that the United States would welcome a decision
by the Government of Japan to send observers on a bilateral

-- Note that while the international community, including
the United States, has many concerns about an election held
while the de facto regime is in control, the USG goal has
always been to help the Honduran restore the democratic order
in their country. We see free, fair and transparent
elections as part of the solution to the crisis.

10. (U) Post should report results of efforts by cable to
WHA/CEN Honduras desk officer Maria Gabriela Zambrano at
202-647-3482 or via email at

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