In the presidential elections on Sunday, 26 November, a massive punishment vote gave a heavy defeat to the regime emerged from the June 2009 military coup. President Juan Orlando Hernández of the National Party launched his re-election despite the constitutional ban, by virtue of a court ruling that authorised him to do so. During the campaign, he resorted to the purchase of votes and the worst forms of clientelism, and after his electoral defeat he maneuverer to impose himself through a scandalous fraud.
The electoral authorities postponed the vote count until assuring Hernández victory by falsifying records. In the early hours of Monday, the authorities recognised the candidate of the opposition Alliance, Salvador Nasralla, 45.17 percent of the votes against 40.21 percent for Hernandez, with 57.19 percent of the votes counted. The subsequent count, marked by repeated “drops” in the data transmission system, reduced Nasralla’s advantage, until granting an advantage to Hernández four days later. Although Nasralla is a sports announcer alien to the political sphere and social struggles, with a moderate bourgeois program, he managed to capitalise on the repudiation to the ruling mafia, questioned by its corruption, the austerity measures against workers and popular sectors and for being the direct expression of entrepreneurial power in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in Latin America. In recent years, the mining plunder of imperialism and the construction of hydroelectric plants have caused environmental disasters. The indigenous and peasant resistance was brutally repressed, with the balance of dozens of murders by gangs linked to the bosses and the State. Among them, the famous indigenous and environmentalist leader Berta Cáceres was killed last year. The presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, the third most voted, acknowledges Nasralla’s victory.
In response to the massive protests undertaken by the popular sectors, on Wednesday when the fraud was revealed, the government decreed a curfew between 6 pm and 6 am. Every day there are massive cacerolazos [pot-banging demonstrations] at the beginning of the curfew, in open defiance of the regime and there is an unofficial national strike against the fraud, with commerce and businesses running halfway.
The police and military repression have left dozens of detainees, hundreds of injured and at least seven people killed. However, on the afternoon of 4 December, a very important event occurred, a police mutiny of the so-called “Cobra” group, whose members declared they refused to continue repressing the mobilised people. Clashes between these policemen and repressors loyal to the coup regime were reported.
The opposition leadership, headed by former President Manuel Zelaya, tries to negotiate behind the scenes with the regime and to distance itself from the actions of struggle the popular sectors spontaneously carry out. The conciliatory leadership of Zelaya already had disastrous effects during the fight against the 2009 coup. For four months the deposed president appealed to negotiations with the mediation of the imperialist government of the United States, giving the dictatorship time to consolidate and creating false expectations in an agreed solution. In the last period, the party of Zelaya, Libre [Liberty and Refoundation], has also been playing in the parliament a role totally adapted to the regime. Meanwhile, the US government, the European Union and the OAS keep a complicit silence, waiting to see whether the regime is sustained and manages to control the situation or whether they withdraw support.
It is necessary to build a coordination of workers’ and popular organisations to redouble the mobilisation and deepen the break of the repressive bodies and promote the collapse of the usurping government and to organise the self-defence against the attacks by the military and police who are disciplined to Hernandez.
There is an urgent need for the solidarity of the workers and the peoples of the world with the Honduran people who fight against fraud and in defence of the democratic rights snatched by the 2009 coup. We must demand from all Latin American governments the immediate breaking of diplomatic relations with the government of Honduras and from the workers of all the Central American countries to carry out demonstrations of solidarity with the Honduran people.
Let’s support the rebellion against electoral fraud!
Out with Juan Orlando Hernández!