Since the coup d'etat carried on June 28 this year, the opposition in Honduras have organized what is known as the National Front of Peaceful Resistance. Today they organized several acts of disobedience to boycott the elections that will not be recognized by most countries in the Americas -except the United States- and which only included candidates of the officialism, and ignored the popular demand for a ballot that supported a Constitution reform.
Independent observers are sending reports via Internet, including some from the Quixote Center, and they tell about violent clashes between protesters and government forces in Honduras today. There were rumors of a plan for a mass massacre but so far there are reports of one man killed and dozens of detained civilians. President Manuel Zelaya has said that today there has been a voter abstention of up to 80% in some cases.
This exclusive video report by The Real News was posted yesterday and it describes the current situation in Honduras:
International organizations and U.S. based activists have warned of the lack of conditions for fair elections in Honduras, but the Obama administration has said it will recognize the outcome. Lisa Haugaard from the Latin American Working Group has wrote about her recent trip to Honduras:
I have just returned from Honduras, and I can tell you, there is no possible way that there are the basic conditions for free and fair elections on November 29th. / All over Honduras, youth in resistance, women in resistance, artists in resistance, lawyers in resistance, well-dressed and blackberried political party leaders in resistance, campesinos in resistance, are saying no to these November 29th elections—and for good reason.Leaders of the Honduran resistance Bertha Oliva and Araminta Pereira were recently in the U.S. reporting to members of U.S. Congress about the current situation in Honduras that includes a humanitarian crisis, violent repression, military raids and forced disappearances, and tortures that opposition leaders are facing daily. Reports also tell of abuses against Honduran women and over 350 have been killed after being sexually abused.
Teacher and activist Araminta Pereira related horrifying stories of abuses, killings, rapes, corruption, illegal actions of the current Micheletti government in order to continue in power. In her recent visit to NYC, Pereira announced the boycott of the elections as a sign of civil protest.
As a response to reports of human rights abuses in Honduras, U.S. unions AFL-CIO and SEUI have sent letters to president Obama protesting the lack of actions against the Micheletti coup, and its abuses against workers and students. Thousands of scholars from universities and colleges from all over the country have also written to Obama and the U.S. Congress members, demanding to withdraw the support of the U.S. government for today's elections.
Under the motto "Don't Vote, Say No to Elections in Honduras under a State of Terror" Honduran activists are demanding for more international support to the civil resistance. I met with Honduran writer and journalist Roberto Quesada, a former diplomatic in New York city and he is one of the organizers of the resistance movement in the United States. Quesada said in a video interview that Honduras will continue fighting for democracy, which will return to Honduras sooner or later, and that everyone in the U.S. can support this effort.
Most Honduran people are against the Micheletti government, according to Arturo Viscarra, a U.S. attorney of Salvadoran origins, about 60% of civilians are opposing the current coup rule, while 20% remained silent out of fear. Viscarra said that the U.S. Congress have acted divided in the Honduras case, with Republicans supporting the coup and some progressive Democrats have asked Obama to demand the return of Zelaya to power.
Since Micheletti took power five months ago, there have been many reports of violence against civilians including abuses suffered by workers, students, women, elderly and children. The government says there are about 27 people killed, but the resistance members talk about hundreds of missing peoples. Most opposition media and press have been shut down, censured or threatened. Most current news coming from Honduras are produced by manipulated media outlets linked to the coup supporters.
More reports are coming from Honduras, follow news with Twitter, the blog Habla Honduras and special reports from the Quixote Center.