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The Democratic Crisis in Honduras Is Being Ignored

Even though an election was held last week, the people of Honduras have no idea who will lead them.

According to the government’s election commission, the incumbent president Juan Orlando Hernández has won with a narrow lead. However, due to several reports of bribery and irregularities, the opposition party, led by Salvador Nasralla, is accusing the government of fraud. This accusation is upheld by international observers, mainly because of a 36 hour shut down in the election’s tallying computer system that happened just as Nasralla had a five-point lead. An analysis done by The Economist later found a large influx of Hernández votes after the glitch ended.

One anonymous man told NPR’s Carrie Kahn that many of his friends were given twenty dollars to vote for Hernández. Roberto Perez, one of Hernández’s employees, said he was instructed to impersonate a poll worker on election day, but refused to stuff ballot boxes with Hernández notes.

Eugenio Sosa, said to the Guardian,“The fraud can no longer just be called fraud. This is a type of electoral coup against the president-elect, Salvador Nasralla.”

Days of protests have ensued, and residents of the capital city Tegucigalpa have defied the curfew and clashed with police. At least one protester, 19-year-old Kimberly Dayana Fonseca was shot and killed. Because Nasralla has encouraged and participated in these protests, the government is accusing him and his party of inciting violence.

The United States gives Honduras millions of dollars in aid each year, and elite Honduran police are trained by US military. Additionally, Hernández is seen as a strong ally of the United States, and is a good friend to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. One member of trump’s administration recently described Hernandez’s work as “on the cusp of a lot of change and positive development.” If Hernández, a right-wing candidate, loses this election, America will have no other strong right-wing partners in the region, and the use of billions of dollars would be on the chopping board. But the White House has been mainly silent on this issue.

Hernández has been previously accused of human rights abuses, involvement with dangerous drug cartels, turning his cheek to the Honduran cocaine that enters the U.S. and targeting his political opponents and checks on his power.

Yet, American dollars are still being allotted to him, and Washington has maintained a closed mouth.

American politicians need to reevaluate their relationship with Honduras now, and citizens need to stand up in support of a people protesting Hernández’s twisted democracy.

Photo: Reuters, H. Romeo

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