Photo Essay: Calling for an end to Election Fraud in Honduras Print


Early on the morning of Sunday, December 1, people started gathering at the National Pedagogic University in Tegucigalpa with homemade signs to speak out against stealing of the presidential elections.  This one reads "Stop the Fraud."

Many came to the march directly from the wake of Jose Antonio Ardon, who was assassinated while organizing for this mobilization the day before.  Jose Antonio, known as Emo 2, was a well-known member of the resistance and the Libre party, participating in every FNRP and Libre event as part of the motorcycle group.  Masked men shot him 4 times on the eve of Libre's first mobilization against the fraudulent elections, sending a clear message to intimidate Libre supporters from speaking out.

As always, the motorcycles led the way, with Jose Antonio noticeably absent.

However, his casket and spirit were with the mobilization on Sunday every step of the way.  Speaker after speaker mourned his assassination and pledged to continue the struggle to refound Honduras in his memory.  Former President and coordinator of the Libre Party, Mel Zelaya, remembered not only Jose Antonio Ardon but also the over 350 martyrs of the Honduran resistance movement who have been murdered since the 2009 coup.  At least 18 Libre candidates and activists alone were murdered prior to the elections.  As Zelaya explained, "We don't want murders, we don't want paramilitaries, we don't want death squads in Honduras.  We want peace… We have come here in front of the Electoral Tribunal to demand that they stop murdering us."

Numerous international observers have documented irregularities and fraud in the November 24th elections. The front page of the Libertador newspaper, which showed how the TSE website dramatically reduced votes for Libre in tabulating the numbers from one voting certificate, was blown up and carried throughout the mobilization.

Libre flags were everywhere, as were chants of "Xiomara is our President."

Unfortunately, the OAS and US State Department have legitimized the elections and several countries have already recognized Juan Orlando as President, despite the refusal of 2 of the main parties to recognize the results and documented fraud.  This sign reads "Countries of the world: Have dignity, Don't accept fraud."


People from all walks of life joined the mobilization, with many of them noting to international observers that they had come at their own expense, out of their own conviction that another Honduras is possible, whereas the ruling National Party paid people to come to its campaign events.  One woman shared that her family had always been staunch National Party supporters but even though the National Party paid 100 L per adult and 50 L per child to attend pre-election events, as well as providing food and transportation, nobody in her family voted for the National Party this time around. They do not want a continuation of the violence, economic crisis, and repression that has attacked Honduras the past 4 years and were looking to Libre to make a change. 


As always in Honduras, the police were on hand, guarding the INFOP Center where the Electoral Tribunal is operating from.  Buses of people coming to the mobilization from Olancho and the northern part of the country were detained by the authorities and prevented from arriving.  The drivers of the buses were said to have been threatened with having their registration taken away if they continued to Tegucigalpa.



The military was also on hand and spotted taking pictures of people who were in the streets. 


Yet, there was no holding people back as thousands occupied the street, including one man who hadn't voted in 25 years until this election.  This was the first time he felt he had a choice beyond the traditional ruling parties and he was now out in the streets defending the votes that he and so many others cast "out of love for Honduras."



Libre's presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, now known to these crowds as their President-elect ended the rally.  "We have lost a brother who was always present, so many times we have seen him in the streets with us.  Today we have pain in our hearts and tears in our eyes and it is precisely because of this, and for the 350 other martyrs, that we will not give up.  Because of this we continue.  We believed the false promises that there would be clean elections… Over 1 million people went out to vote for us… They have stolen our victory and implemented fraud.  We will not give up until we achieve… our hope of constructing a better Honduras for all."  


Later that afternoon, caravans headed to the cemetery for the emotional burial of Emo 2, gathering around his coffin to say goodbye to the compañero that so many had become close to during the months in the street following the 2009 military coup.


"He gave his life struggling to free the people of Honduras.  We will continue in this struggle, come what may, and if we too have to give our lives for our children, for those who will come in the future, we will."

The consolidation of the National Party's stranglehood over Honduras through fraudulent elections leaves many Hondurans worried about the increased repression and violence about to unleashed upon them.  It is clear that the lives of those who stand up against fraud, against militarization, against the turning over of their land to the oligarchy and corporate interests, against the privatization of water and other public goods, and against corporate mining and the poisoning of communities, are in danger.