Honduran elections: setback for the resistance / FRFI 213 Feb / Mar 2010

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FRFI 213 February / March 2010

In the last issue of FRFI we reported on the campaign of the Honduran resistance to boycott sham presidential elections organised by the coup regime for 29 November 2009. Three days after the election, the Honduran Supreme Election Tribunal continued to withhold the official results and claimed a turnout of 61%. Later the Tribunal had to concede that only 49% had voted, fewer than the 55% who voted in 2005 when ousted President Manuel Zelaya, then standing as a ruling class candidate, was elected. However, the turnout has been sufficient for the Honduran ruling class to reassert its authority, even if the only countries to recognise the outcome have been the US, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, Canada and Israel. In recognition of the situation, Zelaya left the Brazilian embassy where he had sought refuge since returning clandestinely to the country in September 2009, accepting an offer of exile in Dominica.

The coup regime pulled out all the stops to maximise turnout: extending voting for an extra hour, attacking peaceful demonstrations that urged a boycott, shutting down anti-coup media outlets and, as reported by farmers in the town of Magdalena, bringing in Salvadorean supporters of the fascist ARENA Party to vote. Honduran employers also threatened people’s jobs if they failed to prove they voted.

Since the elections Honduras has already taken many steps backwards. On 12 January, Congress voted 122 to 5 to withdraw from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). Honduras joined ALBA in 2008, and with its support, President Zelaya had brought 500,000 Hondurans out of poverty, begun a reforestation campaign and was aiming to eradicate illiteracy in the country by January 2010. Rafael Alegria, a leader of the Honduran resistance, summed it up when he said ‘the coup leaders want to return to the past to benefit the empire and the oligarchy.’ Repression continues: on 7 December, a death squad gunned down a group of six known resistance members who were walking down a street in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

However, the resistance is defiant: as Gilberto Rios Munguia, a leader of the youth movement Los Necios, says, ‘the popular national identity is fully summarised in one word: Resistance ... Suddenly consciousness has come, youth take their freedom seriously ... injustice is rejected and now we easily associate the two party system with the oligarchy, injustice with capitalism, coup d’état with fascism, hypocrisy with Obama and imperialism with underdevelopment ... We are advancing and we will win.’

Victory to the Honduran resistance!

Luke Lucas