Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Honduran "Elections" Not Even Clean Enough to Qualify for Int'l Monitoring...

Upside Down World, an independent, reader-supported press site covering Latin America, reports that the Honduran elections have been marred by "a climate of harassment, violence, and violation of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly". Groups such as Amnesty International are decrying police shootings and restrictions on assembly, including "a decree prohibiting gatherings of more than four people." Police are refusing to provide names or details of arrests. Allegations include
...a crackdown on a peaceful march in San Pedro Sula where marchers were tear-gassed, beaten, and detained. Authorities also shot a man in the head at a checkpoint on the eve of the elections, and raided the offices and homes of various civil society groups, including a Quaker agricultural cooperative. Opposition broadcasters had their signals jammed, and the authorities threatened criminal charges for anyone advocating a boycott of the election.
Because going after the Quakers is always a good touch.  Thus, it is no surprise that "all of the major organizations that observe international elections, including the Organization of American States, European Union, and the Carter Center, had refused to send observer delegations to this election." When Carter won't even monitor your elections, son, you're in some trouble.

Belén Fernández reports live from Honduras:
The Virtual Observer section did not include an option to watch oral cellular phone transmission of electoral data, which was the process that had been hyped by the TSE and the Honduran media as enabling rapid determination of the next president and that was based on the distribution of 20,000 specially-purchased phones to electoral tables around the country. Rapidity was less of a priority among other organs of the Honduran state such as the National Congress, which had postponed consideration of Zelaya’s restitution until December and thus underscored the illegitimacy of the elections; as for the effectiveness of cellular transmissions of critical data, this was called into question by the frequency with which Honduran cell phone communications were reduced to such phrases as: “Can you hear me?” ... As for TSE magistrate [Enrique] Ortez’ proclamation that the countries of the world had the moral obligation to recognize the Honduran electoral process, it would seem that moral obligations might also be assigned to electoral magistrates claiming to speak for 7 million Hondurans.
 The U.S. State Department "welcomed Honduras' presidential election as a necessary and 'important step forward' for the country, but said that more needs to be done to achieve reconciliation." 

1 comment:

SJH said...

There's a huge discrepancy in terms of "official" turnout and independent exit polls that measured turnout. The official view is that there was higher turnout than the last election, on the terms of 62%. The independent reports suggest that turnout was closer to 49%. Irregularities like this suggest that the election was, in a word, a sham.

Also, the Carter Center turned down the government. They had requested that the Carter Center monitor the election because that gives the results credibility. But the Center decided that there was too much potential for fraud and refused (although there were Carter Center employees on the ground anyway).