I have just returned from Honduras, and I can tell you, there is no possible way that there are the basic conditions for free and fair elections on November 29th.
All over Honduras, youth in resistance, women in resistance, artists in resistance, lawyers in resistance, well-dressed and blackberried political party leaders in resistance, campesinos in resistance, are saying no to these November 29th elections—and for good reason. While many other Hondurans see the elections as a way out of the difficult situation they are in, the problems with this climate must be not be ignored.
How can these elections be fair when one of the few T.V. stations in Honduras broadcasting independent news has its signal blocked and when restrictions placed on freedom of assembly make campaigning difficult? How free can an election be when the same armed forces that backed the June 28th coup, and that have acted to repress protests, are delivering the ballots and safeguarding polling places? And how much choice can people have when a large number of candidates have withdrawn?
Since the coup, the United States government has been, frankly, wishy-washy. While it has condemned the coup and established some sanctions, it has not gone far enough to pressure the regime to step down. After the collapse of the October accords, in which U.S. diplomats helped to almost reach a resolution of the crisis, the U.S. made the fatal mistake of letting the de facto regime believe it could continue in power without cost. This cannot continue—our government must take a stronger stance before another day goes by. Giving a U.S. stamp of approval to these elections will lower the bar for what is considered "free and fair" elections elsewhere in Latin America.