Tuesday, December 3, 2013

HONDURAN ELLECTIONS AFTER US OCCUPATION...MILITARIZATION AT THE BALLOTS! After a moment, when I had taken possession of my position as president of Voting Station 2686, in the Minerva School, there was a verbal altercation between the police officers and Mr. Pinto that reached the point where Mr. Pinto and his cronies ended up intimidating and kicking out the members of the community police force.Once we were without police protection, they began to threaten my compañeros and me, telling us we should leave the voting stations and the polling place. They confiscated the national identity card and electoral worker credential of one of my compañions by threatening to kill her, and they tried to intimidate me at gunpoint to sign the tally sheets and ballots before leaving the table, which I did not agree to, and finally they forced me to give them my electoral worker credential and national identity card.We managed to leave the community. In the door of the school there were people asking voters whom they planned to vote for, and if it was not for the National Party candidate they simply were not allowed to enter.
Another issue is the financial incentives used by the National Party to get people to vote for them. For instance, just outside a large voting center in Danli, the National Party was distributing its “La Cachureca” discount card, shown in the photo at right. This card provides people who register with the National Party discounts for cell phone use, medical care, and other needs. The International Federation for Human Rights reported on how the La Cachureca card is used to shift votes to the National Party. We also have received reports of a government program that is supposed to provide aid to people in poverty being manipulated by the National Party, which is currently in power. One woman denounced that she had received one of these checks before the election that was dated the Tuesday after the election; she was told that there would only be funds to cash it if the National Party won.
We are extremely concerned about statements by the US State Department that observers found the process to be "generally transparent." There are reports by numerous international observers of dead people able to vote, vote buying, and problems with vote counting, not to mention that the TSE has selectively tallied the vote reports while leaving many votes uncounted. The above examples is just part of what our delegation saw; delegations across the country reported fraud, including vote buying, which is described in the Honduras Solidarity Network preliminary report.
 The State Department's statement goes on to encourage Hondurans to "resolve election disputes peacefully through established legal processes" but fails to mention the fact that the ruling parties control the highly politicized Honduran justice system. Just a few months ago, the National party's presidential candidate, in his role as president of the Congress, led an extremely irregular process to name a new Attorney General in the middle of the night, stacking the Justice Department in his favor just prior to the elections. Prior to that, he also led Congress in the firing of 4 Supreme Court justices who had gone against his interests, and replaced them with 4 new Supreme Court justices.

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