Honduran Elections in Dispute on International Stage as Protests Within the Country Continue

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Anti-Orlando protesters hold a banner that reads “Out with JOH!” (Image Credit: Landless Worker’s Movement of Brazil/ MST)

By The Dawn News / January 5, 2018

In a press conference on Tuesday January 2, Salvador Nasralla, the candidate of the Hondurean opposition announced that the protests against Juan Orlando Hernández (known as JOH) would resume with a mobilization in San Pedro Sula on Saturday January 6.

A communique  from the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship in which Nasralla participates, which opposes JOH’s inauguration as president of Honduras due to the fraud scandal during the eelections, stated that “We are resuming the mobilizations on a national level. We do not accept the president who has been imposed through fraud and with the arms and complicity of the United States”. They also announced that on the last week of January there will be a total mobilization in every municipality and state of Honduras. They also advised all elected congress-people from political parties included in the Alliance not to participate in the swearing in ceremony of the illegitimate president JOH.


International Reactions

While the opposition protests regain strength after a short pause for the holidays,  support for JOH as president has increased amongst conservative world leaders. On Friday December 22, the Department of State of the United States officially came out and congratulated JOH on his victory in the elections. Following this declaration, several other right-wing US allies followed suit including Colombia, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and Israel.

Yesterday January 4, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released a joint statement condemning the Trump administration’s recognition of the fraudulent election results:

“In advance of the Honduran presidential inauguration later this month, we remain deeply concerned about the legitimacy of the November 26 election. The Trump Administration’s decision to recognize President Hernandez as the winner of the election – despite the overwhelming evidence of widespread irregularities documented by the OAS and European Union electoral observation missions – marked yet another American diplomatic misstep on the global stage.

We encourage former Latin American Presidents Jorge Quiroga and Álvaro Colom to continue their efforts to foster a national dialogue in Honduras that can restore the credibility of the country’s electoral process and foster agreement on long overdue political reforms. It is imperative that Honduran electoral authorities take additional steps to increase citizen confidence in the electoral process and its results.

We are deeply troubled by the extrajudicial killings of protesters committed by the Honduran Military Police and other incidents of violence that have occurred across Honduras since the election. President Hernandez must ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are identified and held accountable. We urge the Honduran authorities to refrain from violence and allow the people of Honduras to peacefully exercise their fundamental democratic rights enshrined in the Honduran constitution and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”


Meanwhile, Chairman of the Organization of American States -OAS- Luis Almagro has continued his opposition of the election results and maintains his demand that Honduras repeat the elections, despite the Honduran government’s refusal. Now Almagro is pressuring the OAS to approve a report created by the OAS election observation mission which declared that it was impossible to determine with certainty the validity of JOH’s reelection due to the irregularities in the electoral process.

Almagro stated: “We believe that it is very important to approve this report to avoid the deterioration of politics, in the sense that in an electoral process everything counts, no matter the dimension of the irregularities or the bad practices that can affect the result.” He added that the report about the elections in November in Honduras are extremely important in light of the great number of presidential elections that are scheduled this year accross the continent.



Whilst world leaders debate whether to recognize JOH’s fraudulent victory, the organized  people of Honduras continue to face heavy repression from the state security apparatus. Since the protests held in late November, at least 30 people have been killed by state aggression in the context of the mobilizations. Amnesty International has accused the government of employing dangerous and illegal tactics to silence whatever voice  speaks against it. ‘The UN and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights denounced tortures of detainees in military installations and have said that “they are alarmed by the illegal and excessive use of force to disperse the protests.”

Activists have continued to denounce that the state security forces have been conducting house raids and detaining people for their participation in the protests.

As Honduras prepares for another chapter of mass mobilization it will be important to remain alert and in solidarity and continue to denounce not only the fraudulent elections but the serious human rights violations committed against the population by the state forces.

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