HONDURAS: “The Elections are Fraudulent” – (Green Left Weekly)
14 November 2009
“On November 29, we are not going to have time to vote”, Juan Barahona, a leader of the National Resistance Front Against the Coup on Honduras (FNRG) told the media in front of the Honduran Congress on November 12, Rightsaction.org said that day.
Barahona spoke on the 137th day of continued popular resistance to the June 28 military coup that overthrew the government of elected President Manuel Zelaya. Barahona was explaining the FNRG’s decision to continue with its call for a boycott of the November 29 general elections organised by the coup regime.
The FNRG, which has led the mass resistance, unites a wide range of social movements, trade unions and anti-coup political groups.
After daily mass protests and strikes since the coup severely affected the Central American nation’s economy, the coup regime led by dictator Roberto Micheletti finally signed an accord on October 30 intended to pave the way for Zelaya’s reinstatement.
Honduran business elites, who had backed the coup, are desperate for a resolution to the conflict. A November Center for Economic and Policy Research report indicated the severity of the crisis: “Jesus Canahuati, vice president of the nation’s chapter of the Business Council of Latin America, estimates that the curfew imposed by the de facto regime [to combat the mass resistance] cost the economy [US]$50 million per day …
“As recently as June, Consensus Economic had forecasted 0.7 percent growth for 2009; by late September this was lowered to negative 2.6 percent.”
However, despite its need to end the economic isolation imposed by other governments and international institutions, the coup regime remains terrified of the consequences of restoring Zelaya on the back of a powerful mass movement of the poor majority.
When the coup regime failed to meet the November 5 deadline to form a government of “national unity” headed by Zelaya, the FNRG and Zelaya declared the deal dead.
Rightsaction.org said: “Honduran people’s pro-democracy, anti-coup movement continues to take to the streets, this time in front of the National Congress to keep up the energy, discuss strategy and reconfirm their commitment to boycott the elections.”
On November 8, independent presidential candidate and well-respected resistance figure, Carlos H. Reyes, said he would pull out of the elections, Rightsaction.org said.
Zelaya and the FNRG have called on governments and international institutions, none of which have recognised Michelleti’s regime as legitimate, not to recognise the results of the November 29 elections and to continue pushing for Zelaya’s return.
However, on November 4, the US government’s chief negotiator in the conflict said Washington would recognise the vote, a November 12 Inter-Press Service article said. Unlike other governments in the region, the US has not broken all ties with the regime. US military ties and most economic aid remain intact.
Despite Washington’s formal condemnation of the coup, the FNRG has accused it of helping to organise Zelaya’s overthrow and of propping up Micheletti’s regime.
The FNRG has raised the fact that all Honduran military officers are trained by the US. It has also pointed out that when Zelaya was kidnapped by the military on June 28, the plane that exiled him to Costa Rica left from a US military base inside Honduras.
IPS said on November 5 that, in stark contrast to Washington’s stance, foreign ministers from the 24 Latin American and Caribbean nations that make up the Rio Group declared at a meeting in Jamaica they would not recognise the November 29 poll. They again called for Zelaya’s reinstatement.
Speaking outside Congress on November 12, Rightsaction.org said Bertha Caceres, a leader of Civic Counsel of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and the FNRG, declared: “We remain firmly convinced that the struggle of the Honduran people is for the re-foundation of our country. We are going to construct a just and more humane country where they listen and where the people make the decisions …
“We have learned the last names of our enemies … It’s the oligarchy, they are our enemies, the transnationals, the gringos, that put in systems of domination, not just in Honduras, but the entire region.”
In a speech to a November 1 public meeting posted at Hondorusresists.blogspot.com, Caceres explained how Zelaya had upset the Honduran oligarchy and multinational corporate interests: “Zelaya said he won’t give out any mining concessions. So these men started condemning him.
“He rejected the acceptance speech the day that he took power sent to him by Carlos Flores Facusse [one of the richest businessmen in Honduras], already written. President Zelaya throws it aside.
“Carlos Flores Facusse is one of the men who decides the destiny of this country.”
She explained how Zelaya’s policy of regulating the oil and gas industry caused “Texaco, Esso and Shell [to] lose more than $200 million” in one year.
As well as increasing the minimum wage by 60%, Caceres said Zelaya also introduced an education bill that improved wages and conditions for teachers despite International Monetary Fund opposition.
Zelaya also advanced the rights of women against the opposition of the Catholic Church by abolishing a ban on the contraceptive pill — which the coup regime has since reinstated.
Zelaya had called for the closure of the US Palmerola military base. His government also joined the anti-imperialist political and trade bloc initiated by Cuba and Venezuela, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
Caceres told the crowd: “Brothers and sisters we should never forget the names of the coup-makers, whether they are transnational corporations, businessmen, or congressmen who serve the corrupt hackneyed political class the Honduran people are tired of.”
On November 8, the general assembly of the FRNG, which meets weekly with large ongoing participation, celebrated the decision to boycott the elections, Rightsaction.org said.
“There is growing anticipation and tension, and speculation as to what will happen on election day. Strategies are being discussed and meetings are being organized in communities and neighbourhoods across the country.
“The coordinating body of the resistance movement is encouraging people to mobilize, boycott and protest on the election day. Community education and organizing continues …”
From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #818 18 November 2009. “