Paraphrasing Lisa Sullivan, School of the Americas Watch Latin America coordinator, the Honduran election last Sunday is another case of political ‘whitewash’ in the American continent.
In this political theater, we have many actors: the corporate media feeding us the wrong information; a U.S. diplomatic corps trying to validate an election led by a militarized coup government; an exiled constitutional president; and the people of Honduras protesting in the streets. Five months have passed since the coup and nothing has changed. As of the most recent communiqué from the National Front Against the Coup in Honduras (see below), the political turmoil in Honduras is far from over. However, the whitewashing has been effective at hiding the truth from most casual U.S. observers, namely that U.S. diplomacy failed to support the democratically elected government in Honduras; that by recognizing the recent election, the U.S. is supporting a coup-directed vote under police state curfews; that nearly 64% of Hondurans refused to vote in a sham election; and that the people of Honduras continue to actively protest the false election results. As a matter of fact, field reports from Amnesty International, the Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH), and a delegation lead by the Washington DC-based Quixote Center indicate that there are many new cases of harassment, arrests and even murder that occurred during the elections. The headquarters of the Via Campesina-Central America, a Grassroots International partner, was broken into on Tuesday. It is the second time that the organization has been the target of violence, following an incident last August when the office facade was riddled with bullets. Contrary to what President Obama claims, the election in Honduras doesn’t “zero the situation.” It reignites a political process that the majority of people in the Americas fear the most: the return of dictatorships. Further, it validates the use of force against free will and democracy. According to a variety of well known Latin American progressive political figures and writers, such as Celso Amorim the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Obama’s administration seems to be continuing Bush era policies toward Latin America. As a result of the mixed messages on Honduras, nine months into his presidency, the Obama administration has lost most of its political capital (credibility) with regard to the potential for change in US Latin American relations. It seems that Mr. Obama’s idea of change was to not intervene against a military coup in Honduras. At a meeting of the North American presidents, Obama replied to a question about whether he would consider intervening in Honduras by saying “Latin America can’t have both ways.” Despite initial hopes that Mr. Obama’s election would be a signal of a new diplomatic era, it is now clear that his administration is devoted to business as usual. Mr. Obama had the opportunity to join the majority of countries in this hemisphere to work towards peace in Honduras, but his administration failed to separate itself from the policies of its predecessors. The argument that a Peace Nobel Prize for Peace to “push him to do more” amounts to little more than another coat of whitewash hiding a weak and business-centered foreign policy. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ COMUNIQUE Number 41 (Grassroots International’s translation) The National Front of Resistance Against the Coup D’etat on the Honduran people and the International community informs: 1. The total failure of the electoral farce created by the oligarchy on November 29th under dictatorial conditions confirms our decision to declare the results of the past election illegal and illegitimate; also, it reinforces our position to disregard the institution of the new government on January 27, 2010. 2. We call all governments, and democratic and honest social movements of the world to reject the results of the electoral farce and disregard the alleged new government that will be installed on January 27. 3. By moving forward with an electoral process that requires legitimacy and legality, the current government intended to guarantee the power of a minority sector of the population and prevent the installation of a National Constitutional Assembly. The National Front represents the alternative to channel the Honduran people’s demands for political participation, and for that, we will continue fighting. 4. We reaffirm that any act that the current de facto government undertakes will not be recognized by the people and we place special emphasis on our refusal to accept any negotiated amnesty for the perpetrators of the violations of human rights. . 5. We would like to recognize the work of the Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) that today celebrates 27 years of work in defense of justice and truth and toward the building of a fair society where Human Rights are guaranteed.