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After Claims Of Electoral Fraud, Hondurans Are Fighting Their Government For A More Transparent Vote Recount

12/04/17 Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

Violence has gripped the nation of Honduras as the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has refused to announce a winner in the presidential election held last week. Hondurans are demanding their government hold a new election, claiming that results from the recent vote are fraudulent. The race for the presidency came down to U.S.-backed incumbent, Juan Orlando Hernández, and challenger, TV star Salvador Nasralla.

One person, 19-year-old Kimberly Dayana Fonseca, was shot and killed in the nation’s capital of Tegucigalpa on Dec. 2 when police opened fire into a crowd of unarmed protesters. According to The Guardian, Fonseca was killed after the Honduran government issued a 10-day nationwide curfew. The curfew forces Honduran citizens to stay in their homes from 6 pm. to 6 a.m.

Here’s what we know so far about the crisis gripping the Central American country.

Salvador Nasralla’s supporters claim that the presidential election is being rigged to make Juan Orlando Hernández the winner.

Nasralla was leading in the polls when the results first started rolling in from the TSE. NPR writes that TSE reporting stalled when 57 percent of the votes were counted. At that time, Nasralla had a substantial lead over Hernández, one the TSE called irreversible. Yet, when the TSE was back online the next day the gap between both the candidates was closing. TSE then reported that electrical issues brought the servers down again before coming back online. Within that timeframe that servers were down, TSE claims Hernández took the lead.

Hondurans are calling on the government to have a transparent recount of the votes.

“If Juan Orlando wins, we’re ready to accept that, but we know that wasn’t the case,” Marlon Ochoa, the campaign manager of Nasralla’s alliance, told Reuters. “We know that Salvador won and that’s why they’re refusing the transparency demands.”

The unrest has led to fires being set across the country and thousands injured in clashes with police forces.

People are being arrested for being outside during the curfew and hundreds have been arrested for looting. Many are comparing the current crisis to the coup that overthrew the government in 2009. Back then, President Manuel Zelaya, who was closely aligned with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, wanted to rewrite the country’s constitution and lift presidential term limits. The result was months of protests and infighting before the military rushed the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa and exiled the president to Costa Rica while he was still in his pajamas.

As a result of the ongoing unrest, the TSE recounted 1,000 votes. However, protesters are demanding more.

Nasralla’s alliance is calling for the TSE to recount the votes in three of Honduras’ 18 voting regions. The candidate has been vocal about having a completely transparent redo of the presidential election to calm the unrest that has shaken the country.

One Salvadoran journalist has called into question the actions of the TSE.

“There are only two possibilities: The TSE is either as incompetent as the Olympic committee or they are committing fraud,” wrote Carlos Dada, the founder of El Faro.

Despite the ongoing turmoil, forced curfew and reports of physical violence against peaceful protesters, the U.S. State Department claims that Honduras has fought against corruption and supported human rights.

As a result, the Honduran government stands to receive $644 million in assistance, according to Reuters. The decision came just two days after the election crisis began.


READ: The Trump Administration Starts Rolling Back TPS Protection For Nicaraguans And Hondurans

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