Dear All – This past week 8th Day Center for Justice staff member Erin Cox went with a delegation to Honduras to serve as a protective international presence for the Honduran people wishing to peacefully boycott the elections held this past Sunday.
Honduran civil society has called for a boycott on elections for several important reasons.
One: The coup that unseated the democratically elected Zelaya has not been addressed – the Honduran government has refused to follow requests made by international bodies – including the U.S. – most importantly to recognize Zelaya as the legal leader of Honduras.
Two: A high level of repression by military and police forces has erupted in Honduras since the coup. This has included the enforcing of a curfew, detainment, arrests, torture, and the death of 22 peaceful protesters at the hands of the military and police. How can a democratic election take place when people are being arrested for exercising their right to dissent?
Three: The country has existed in such chaos for the past several months there has been no ability for a normal campaign process to happen. Citizens have not been given a chance to educate themselves and choose between a diversity of candidates.
The reports we have received from Erin have been serious and heart breaking. The police and military were out in huge numbers. They used rubber bullets, tear gas and physical intimidation to prevent peaceful protests. They forcibly arrested leaders of social movements before the day of election on trumped-up charges as well as asking mayors for “lists” of organizers in their communities so these individuals could be “targeted” before Sunday’s elections. And in communities where people were boycotting the vote they used intimidation and threats to force people to the polls.
Democratic? Transparent? Legal? Why is the United States recognizing these elections? Please check out the link below (it is a cartoon story that depicts the lead up to the coup…very useful tool!) and an action to call the White House and State Department and demand we do not recognize this election.
Remember, if the election is seen as legal then all of our military aid will once again flow to Honduras. Do we want to fund a regime that disappears social leaders, tear gasses peaceful assembly, intimidates voters and flies their legally elected President out in the middle of the night? I am thinking no…Much Peace Liz
Action: At April’s Summit of the Americas, President Obama promised Latin America’s leaders a new relationship with Latin America. However, instead of a new direction, President Obama has deeply undercut his promise by failing to take timely, effective action in concert with the OAS to reverse the illegal coup in Honduras.
Equally cynical is the promised U.S. recognition of scheduled coup-regime elections, despite opposition by the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), the 23-member Rio Group, and an active national coup resistance movement within Honduras .
Add to this mix the placement of seven (that’s 7!) new military bases in Colombia and certification that Mexico and Colombia have complied with human rights conditions to receive U.S. military aid despite comprehensive evidence to the contrary. Change we can believe in? Sadly, it does not even appear on the horizon.
Through these actions, President Obama and his top advisors risk driving a whole new generation of Latin Americans to become mistrustful of and hostile to the United States.
For this reason, each of us must give voice in the USA to the courageous civilian coup resistance in Honduras, and human rights defenders in Colombia and Mexico!
To start, please contact President Obama and the State Department this week urging them to reject these coup regime-sponsored elections and their results, and to instead encourage constitutional reform in Honduras to make more inclusive participatory democracy a reality.
Call the White House: (202)-456-1111 or (202)-456-1414 (to email go to www.whitehouse.gov )
Call the State Department: (202) 647-4000 (to email go to www.state.gov)
Tell them: “I AM CONTACTING YOU TO INSIST THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT NOT RECOGNIZE THE MILITARIZED ELECTIONS CARRIED OUT BY AN ILLEGAL COUP REGIME ON NOVEMBER 29. PLEASE FOLLOW THE LEAD OF THE OAS AND CIVIL SOCIETY RESISTING THE COUP WITHIN HONDURAS TO REDEMOCRATIZE HONDURAS”