Elections took place yesterday, November 29th, in Honduras with National Party leader Porfirio Lobo declared the winner. But elections carried out
- under a state of emergency
- with visible military and police presence
- by a government installed by a military coup
- with a significant civil society movement opposed to the coup calling for abstention
- and with the deposed President still deposed and holed up in the center of the capital city in the Brazilian Embassy
are no cause for celebration.
With your help, we sent a strong message to the State Department before the elections. We and the Washington Office on Latin America sent the State Department a joint memo about the lack of conditions for fair elections, and we were backed up by over 800 messages sent in by activists like you. But the U.S. government has chosen to ignore the serious problems with the elections. So, we've adapted our message and now you can send them a fax telling them what the next steps should be.
We need to make sure that they can't ignore the restrictions of civil liberties and human rights violations that marked election day and the months leading up to it, chronicled here by the Center for Justice and International Law. They need to hear reports like this one that the Quixote Center's delegation sent out at 1:30 pm on election day:
"A peaceful march of over 500 people was just culminating at the Central Park of San Pedro Sula when a large armored tank with high pressure water cannons mounted on the top pulled up at the rear of the march–along with a large truck full of military troops. The 500 peaceful, unarmed protesters turned around to face the tank and troops–and in unison, they sat down in the middle of the street. The truck retreated 2 blocks. The soldiers got off the truck, and began to put on gas masks. Everything went silent–and suddenly the crowd was attacked with water cannons and gas. People are fleeing. There are wounded and detained."
How can any government even pretend that under these conditions the election could be fair?
Click here to tell our government to stick to its principles, and not lift the sanctions on Honduras until civil liberties and human rights are respected, violations are investigated, and an inclusive national dialogue is launched to strengthen Honduran democracy.
If the United States chooses to go ahead with business as usual, it not only will be going against the majority of nations in the hemisphere, but will also be sending a message to the whole world that we will quickly trade in our principles for expediency when it comes to democracy and human rights in our foreign policy.
Let's make them listen before it is too late.