Honduras: History Tends to Repeat Itself

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By Katu Arkonada / Source: Jornada Mexico / The Dawn News / January 28, 2017

Swearing in ceremony of fraudulent President Juan Orlando Hernández (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)

Hegel used to say that the great events (and characters) of the universal history, always appear twice. Marx completed his sentence by saying that they appear once as tragedy and another as a farce.

What happened in Honduras confirms the thesis of the old philosophers that history always repeats itself: the coup d’etat of 2009 to Mel Zelaya as a tragedy, and the electoral fraud of 2017 as a farce.

On June 28, 2009, hooded militaries took president Zelaya in his pajamas and deported him illegally to Costa Rica after keeping him in a joint military base of Honduras and USA (1). Mel Zelaya was accused of carrying out a referendum to consult the population about the possibility of calling for a Constituent Assembly. Though his true crime was turning away from those that brought him into politics; he first was representative of the Liberal Party in 2006, and in 2008 he flipped over by promoting the entry of Honduras first to the Petrocaribe and later to ALBA, a maneuver that allowed the country to increase the minimum wage by 60% in that year.

The attacks weren’t only against a progressive government, but also against the weakest link in ALBA after a decade of emergence of leftist governments in the region. Also, Honduras has a key geopolitical position in the Center America, being used in the 80s as a platform in order to train the Nicaraguan paramilitary and becoming in 2009 a laboratory of the smart power that former secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended; a combination of hard power, the usage of classic coup d’etats by armed forces, with soft power, the political thrust from the Judicial Power alongside media manipulation and informative blackout.

Eight years later, the Liberty and Refoundation Party (Libre) presented itself to the elections in an Opposition Alliance along the Innovation and Unity Party (PINU) and the Anti Corruption Party (PAC), taking the leader of the last party, renown television host Salvador Nasralla, as candidate to president. Juan Orlando Hernández, candidate of the National Party and president since 2013, presented to re-election despite the clear prohibition by the Constitution of Honduras which states in article number 239 (2). For far less than this, Mel Zelaya ended up the victim of a coup d’etat.

On November 27, a day after the elections, the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) made public a report of results in which Nasralla and the Opposition Alliance had an advantage of over 5% over JOH with 57% of the votes counted. In the majority of the world’s electoral systems, an advantage of 5 points with more than the 50% of the votes counted is considered an irreversible tendency. But not in Honduras, where after a suspicious crash of the information system -where 5 thousand acts are not retransmitted- a new recount is offered in which JOH surpasses Nasralla by 1.6 points. The fraud consolidates on December 18 when the TSE gave the final results that showed JOH as the winner with 42.95% over Nasralla’s 41.5%.

All of this in the midst of a curfew decreed on December 1 that left until over 30 deaths by the shots fired by the security forces. It was such a blatant fraud, that even the Organization of American States (OAS), an organization that has no sympathy for progressive governments and whose chief of Electoral Mission was the Bolivarian Tuto Quiroga, former vice president of Dictator Banzer (less suspicious yet), was forced to issue a report on December 17 (3), backed up by a press report of its General Secretary (4), which points out: “Deliberated human intrusions in the information system, intentional deliberation of digital trails, the impossibility to know the number of times the system was infringed upon, open or emptied electoral urns, extreme statistical improbability regarding the levels of participation inside a department, freshly printed and other irregularities in voting bills, added to the tight voting difference between both candidates, make it impossible to determine, with the necessary accuracy, the winner.

A coup d’état that was a tragedy for the Latin American and Honduran people, and a electoral coup that has been a farce for the whole international community.

We must learn from history so that it won’t happen again.

  1. Since the 1950s Honduras has an agreement with the USA in which the latest can freely use any Honduran military base or airport. Only in the military base of Palmerola an estimated 500 marines are settled.
  2. The citizen that has served as President of the Executive power can not be President or Vice President of the Republic. Those that break this disposition or propose its reform, as for those who support it directly or indirectly, will immediately stand down from office and will be disqualified for 10 years for the exercise of any public service.
  3. http://www.oas.org/fpdb/press/segundo-informe-preliminar-moe-honduras-18dic-final.pdf
  4. http://www.oas.org/es/centro_noticias/comunicado_prensa.asp?sCodigo=C-092/17
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