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We express our great concern regarding current events in Honduras around its national elections. The atrocious handling of the Honduran election by its Supreme Electoral Tribunal appears to indicate a flagrant attempt to rob the Honduran voters of self-determination and falsely maintain Juan Orlando Hernandez’s National Party in power. Hernandez has responded to the mass protest against him by suspending civil rights, police and military violence, and the killing of protesters.

At least 14 deaths and many more injuries have been reported in attacks by police using live rounds on protesters. There have been widespread reports of arbitrary detention and torture of detainees. In an attempt to curb protest the government has suspended normal rights, imposing a night-time curfew, which has been rejected by nationwide noisy protests from inside and outside houses, and in some places been broken en masse. Parts of the National Police has refused to enforce the curfew, a clear sign of the strength of popular resistance.

Vote Counting Fraud & Incompetence

Honduras’ Supreme Election Tribunal is responsible for counting the votes. Like Honduras’ police and judiciary system, it has been staffed by those friendly to Orlando Hernandez – its president David Matamoros is a member of the National Party. Before the 26th November election, the Supreme Election Tribunal test ran its counting systems, demonstrating their effectiveness and speed. However, the vote was followed by an unprecedented 9 hours silence before early results on Monday with 59% of votes counted showed the Opposition Alliance’s Salvador Nasralla with a 5% lead. 2 members of the Tribunal said this statistical trend could not be reversed.

This was followed by another unprecedented 24 hours where counting stopped, with no explanation given. Counting was only restarted when the Organisation of American States (OAS) “negotiated” an agreement whereby Nasralla and Hernandez both signed declarations to accept the final result. Immediately afterwards the Tribunal computer system had an unexplained 5 hour black out. When counting restarted from Wednesday 29th to Friday, the new votes had inexplicably reversed the trend, favouring Hernandez, and at the final count gave him a lead by 1.59% margin over Nasralla.

Prior to the elections, the US Economist reported on a 2 hour recording, purportedly from a Nation Party secret “Plan B” training event for its friendly election staff, giving explicit instruction in how to interfere with the vote in Hernandez’s favour. By buying vote counting table seats from representatives of minor “paper” parties, the powerful National party was able to have the dominant vote in counting disputes. With this power of numbers, they could use blatant tactics such as spoiling opposition votes without being caught out – according to the training recording. But the irregularities in the central counting office suggest the interference went right to the heart of the Election Tribunal.


The blatant irregularities led to an outspilling of anger and popular protest across Honduras, which goes on now. Immediately, reports and videos of violence started circulating. Honduras has been heavily militarised by the National Party in the 8 years since a military coup brought it to power – with huge military funding from the US. From Wednesday onwards these armed authorities have been turning their guns on the civilian population, in a replay of the 2009 coup.

On Friday 1st Hernandez suspended normal civil rights and declared a curfew for 10 days between 6pm and 6am. This led to a night of violent clashes between protester and authorities, including multiple videos tagged on Youtube as the “noche negra Honduras” (“black night Honduras”). UK newspapers reported on the killing of a 19 year old girl on Saturday morning, reports suggest at least 14 people have been killed to date. But this may just be the tip of the ice berg of injuries and death, with reports of state torture and mass detention.

In response to the fraud and curfew, the population has come up with a protest that is typically Honduran – in its mix of angry defiance, jubilant self-expression, and commitment to peaceful methods. As of Saturday post curfew, Honduras became saturated by the sounds of the “cacerolazo” mass noisy protest – people banging their pots from inside or outside their houses. Nonetheless, the violence and arrests continued.

An End In Sight

On Monday 4th the Election Tribunal announced the end of their count, including a partial recount, putting Hernandez ahead of Nasralla by 1.6%, but saying they would not call a final winner. The Opposition Alliance has called for a total recount, or a run off re-vote between Nasralla and Hernandez. COPINH – the indigenous Lenca organisation whose leader Bertha Caceres was assassinated last year – is among civil society organisations demanding a transitional government prior to the inauguration of Nasralla as president in January.

Later on Monday, the Honduran commitment to peace found an unexpected and dramatic outlet. Units of the Cobra riot police and national police started releasing statements that they would no longer obey the government in its repression of the peaceful Honduran people. An emotional press release from the Cobra’s demanded the international observers respect the will of the Honduran people and that the election be counted vote by vote. They stated “our position isn’t political, we simply want peace and tranquillity, and we will only achieve this respecting the sovereign will of the people”. That even the police are rejecting Hernandez’s attempt to take the election suggests that Honduras may finally – after years of staggering corruption and deafness to opposition voices – be on the cusp of change.

Honduras’ people are, en masse, refusing to accept the Electoral Tribunal’s count. Whatever measures are taken, it is clear that a more transparent process is needed, without interference from the current Honduran Election Tribunal. Western influence in Honduras – from the US with UK & Canadian backing – has long supported the repressive right wing, providing military funding and silence in the face of outrageous corruption. In COPINH’s statement they demanded “That the international community take a side and activate the pertinent mechanisms so that JOH’s desperation to maintain power does not lead to further spilling of blood by the Honduran people.”

We demand the UK government & political parties highlight instead of ignoring the violence in Honduras. That we put pressure on the Honduran government to enact a fully transparent recount or re-election in accordance with the will of the opposition. That we stop our support of the Honduran government’s years of authoritarianism and corruption, and pressurise the US to do the same.

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Or even better contact our UK parliamentarians about this now, by email, letter or phone:

  • Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP (Conservatives, Uxbridge and South Ruislip)
  • Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP (Conservatives, Rutland and Melton)
    • Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
    • House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
    • Tel: 020 7219 5204
    • Fax: 020 7219 2529
    • Email:
  • Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP (Labour, Islington South & Finsbury)
    • Shadow Foreign Secretary
    • House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
    • Tel: 020 7219 5676
    • Fax: 020 7219 5955
    • Email:
  • Fabian Hamilton MP (Labour, Leeds)
    • Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
    • House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
    • Tel: 020 7219 3493
    • Fax: 020 7219 5540
    • Email:
  • Tony Lloyd MP (Labour, Rochdale)
    • Officer of the All Party Group on Central America
    • House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
    • Tel: 020 7219 1267
    • Email:

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