Thousands March To Demand Vote Recount In Honduras

Thousands of people marched peacefully Sunday in Honduras’ capital to support opposition presidential candidate Xiomara Castro in her claim that last weekend’s election was fraudulent. The electoral court has declared conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez of the ruling National Party as the winner. The court said that with 96 percent of ballots counted, Hernandez had 37 percent and Castro was second with 29 percent. Six other candidates shared the remaining votes.

Both Castro and her husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted by a coup in 2009, led the protest march from a pickup truck carrying the body of a militant of their Libre Party, who was shot to death hours before the demonstration began.

“We are here to denounce the culture of death promoted since the coup, this can only be a political crime,” said Zelaya, whose removal from office has left Honduras polarized.

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Honduran Election Results Contested By International Observers

These elections were regarded as pivotal for Honduras, as the administration of the ruling National Party has done little to combat the country’s poverty rate which stands at over 60 percent. Instead the National Party has been focused on opening up the country to multinational corporations. This is best demonstrated by the National Party’s passage of a new mining law that would remove the moratorium on the granting of new mining concessions put in place by former president Zelaya in 2008. The new mining law, which was passed earlier this year, was drafted with the help of the Canadian International Development Agency. The law effectively allows for a return to destructive open-pit mining practices that have been linked to numerous human rights abuses and widespread environmental destruction.

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Urgent: Calls To Honduran Authorities Needed Today, Election Intimidation Must Stop

In the last two days, HSN election observers have either experienced or confirmed the following:

Over 30 Military Police wearing ski masks attempted to forcibly enter a LIBRE party office in Tegucigalpa
On multiple occasions, agents identifying themselves as workers of the Honduran Immigration Service, have harassed international election observers, tracking them down at their hotels or training centers to confirm that their documentation is in order. In some cases, this has occurred soon after these same observers have received official Training from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. In one instance, the “agents” were armed and wearing ski masks.
Please contact US and Honduran authorities to denounce these actions that continue to generate a climate of fear and intimidation before tomorrow’s vote. Because of the Urgency of this matter, we are urging Spanish Speakers to CALL HONDURAN AUTHORITIES TODAY and ask them to end all intimidation of voters and election observers. PHONE NUMBERS ARE PROVIDED BELOW!

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US Continues To Be On The Wrong Side Of Democracy

A driving force behind this militarization is Juan Orlando Hernández, the ruling party candidate for president in Honduras’ upcoming presidential election on November 24, who has promised to protect Hondurans with “a soldier on every corner.” Yet he himself supported the military coup that deposed President Zelaya, and this past December, while he was president of Congress, led the so-called “technical coup,” in which the Congress illegally deposed four members of the Supreme Court and named their replacements the very next day.

In the polls, though, Hernández is far behind the front runner, Xiomara Castro Zelaya, the wife of deposed President Zelaya and the leader of a new opposition party, LIBRE, that arose out of massive popular opposition to the coup.

As Honduras hurtles toward its elections, the State Department has yet to denounce the military takeover of policing. U.S. funding for the Honduran police and military has in fact increased every year since the coup.

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International Day Of Action In Solidarity With Honduran Indigenous Defenders

On September 12, three leaders of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) must appear in court to face charges by the Honduran government and a hydroelectric dam company. They are Berta Caceres, Tomás Gomez, and Aureliano Molina. The highly politicized case is aimed at criminalizing COPINH and breaking the strong Lenca indigenous resistance to illegal damming, logging, and mining in their territories.

Beyond the plunder of their lands, forests, and waters, the physical, legal, and political attacks on COPINH members and other indigenous peoples have been increasing rapidly. Assassinations, kidnapping, machete slashing, arrests, and threats are weekly events in the communities which are resisting.

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“They Fear Us Because We Are Fearless”: Reclaiming Indigenous Lands In Honduras

Multinational corporations are moving into Central America to exploit gold and other minerals, rivers, forests, and agricultural lands. One area of high interest in the corporate feeding frenzy is the indigenous Lenca region in the southwest of Honduras. The government has given outside businesses concessions to dam, drill, and cut, in violation of national law and international treaties. More corporations have simply moved in on their own.

The most pressing issue now affecting Lenca lands is a series of large hydroelectric dams which are already under construction. They are part of 41 dam concessions which may soon come under active exploitation. The concessions came thanks to a mining law passed in January 2013 by a national congress that was voted in under an illegal government that took power in the 2009 coup d’etat. The law allows for open pit mining as well as mining in populated areas, which opens the door for large-scale displacement.

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