State Dept. on Honduran Elections: The US Has Its Story and No Matter How Stupid It Sounds It’s Sticking To It
Let’s see, nine military guys, one civilian voter, and two civilians too young to vote.
“Election” Day in Honduras, November 29, 2009
Photo: Honduras Indymedia
Ian Kelly, Spokesman
QUESTION: Yes. Honduran elections and Clinton’s conference today. There are still a growing number of Latin American countries, human rights and democracy groups who are voicing their concerns over the outcome of the election, the run-up to the election and the elections in general. And they’re concerned about the U.S. recognition of this election of in the long run. So do you think in the long run, this was a wise decision to recognize the Honduran elections in regards to the new way forward President Obama committed to in Trinidad and Tobago?
MR. KELLY: I think what we did is we pronounced the elections free and fair, that they were conducted in an open and transparent way. They were —
QUESTION: But Mr. Kelly, before the elections, there were a lot of problems with human rights violations, judicial killings, executions.
MR. KELLY: Yeah. And we were – I mean, we were very –
QUESTION: And after that climate, how is it going to be a legitimate election?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. And we were very open about our concerns about some of those actions. But I think that the key for us is that the candidates who ran for election all declared their candidacy well before the coup in June. And the elections themselves were run by an independent body and independent electoral commission. And the Honduran people, they showed their very strong support for the elections by their turnout and their eagerness to express their democratic right. And I think we have to respect that. I think we have to respect the need of the Honduran people to look to the future, and that’s the way we see these elections. Having said that, there’s still a lot to be done in Honduras for reconciliation, and this is why we feel the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord needs to be implemented fully, and there’s still some very important things that have to be done – establishing the national unity government and establishing the truth commission.
QUESTION: And if I could just follow up with that, that tribunal – after post-election found that they went back on their statistics which found 62 percent voted for the incoming government. It was actually barely half of that really did vote in the election. It was blank ballots and some people didn’t even show up, which, you know, calls into question the legitimacy of the election if barely – with more than half the people didn’t come to vote.
MR. KELLY: Well, we’re actually not aware of that. I’m not aware of these kinds of allegations, and if there are these kinds of allegations, they should be thoroughly investigated, because as I say, the – what we have to look for is the future of the Honduran people, and it’s important that whatever government is installed enjoys legitimacy and reflects the political will of the Honduran people. But I don’t – I’m not aware of the specific allegations that you’re mentioning.
QUESTION: And one more thing on that: Representatives from Zelaya’s government here in D.C. at the embassy, including the ambassador, said that – told me that the U.S. has jeopardized its commitments to multilateral engagement with Latin America because of recognizing these elections. Do you have any thoughts on Zelaya’s comments on that as well as the embassy?
MR. KELLY: No, I haven’t seen Mr. Zelaya’s comments, so I’ll defer comment on it.
Yeah. You’ve been waiting a long time.