96. Honduras Elections Afflicted by Social Injustice

Author: Kerianne Durkin, Sophomore

Honduras’ presidential elections were plagued by accusations of social injustices, including large scale voter fraud, intimidation, and political assassinations.
Elections were held Nov. 24, 2013. That evening Juan Orlando Hernández of the National Party was announced the winner with a plurality of 36.8 percent of the vote. According to official election records, Xiomara Castro only received 28.79 percent of the simple election vote.
Castro, the wife of the former ousted President Manuel Zelaya, claims that electoral officials manipulated the elections by falsifying tally records to give Hernández the advantage. Workers in polling places across the country are supporting this assertion by stating there were voters with false identification and others buying votes. 
According the Honduras Election Monitoring Report published by the Alliance for Global Justice, activists and candidates were present at polling stations to intimidate voters. Witness for Peace reports that prior to the elections political activists, particularly those part of the Libre party, were harassed, threatened or assassinated for their political involvement. Assassinations have continued since Honduran citizens have started protesting the results.
Most demonstrators are supporters of the Libre party and the Castro campaign. Isabella Aplicano, a graphic design student from Tegucigalpa, Honduras witnessed some of the protesting.
“A group of people started gathering at UNAH (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras) and they started to throw rocks at people and classes had to be cancelled for the rest of the week to keep everyone safe,” she said. “It has not been easy, and in the local news they keep repeating how these were peaceful and clean elections. Most of us are starting to doubt this statement, myself included.”
David Bishara Soliman Avila, a medical student at the Public University in Tegucigalpa, Honduras also experienced the backlash of the election fraud.
“There were riots in my university actually,” Avila said. “And the rioters were mostly the followers of Xiomara, which don’t really know how to do peaceful and intelligent protests, just mess and chaos. The university was closed for two days thanks to them.”
Intervention from international community, particularly the United States will be crucial for Honduras’s democracy to prevail. The country’s political state is facing a crisis that could destabilize the entire system. Voting in a free and fair election provides citizens the opportunity to be equal.  By hosting elections with fraudulent results, the government of Honduras is denying its people a basic democratic right.
Castro supporters are adamant about the fraud being addressed. The election tribunal agreed to hold a recount, but has yet to do so.  All presidential candidates and their parties must decide on the most efficient and transparent way to conduct the recount before the tribunal can start. 
Citizens throughout the country are upset about the allegations of fraud, blaming the corrupt government for another situation in which it let its people down.
“When people take your voice, you expect to be heard but it doesn’t feel that way here,” Aplicano said. “Here, they take your voice and twist it to make to their ad

 

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