Memo: Honduras State Employees Forced to Attend Santos Campaign Rally
By Al Giordano (with reporting from Tamar Sharabi in Honduras)
While today's coup-sponsored "election" in Honduras won't settle the country's crisis created by the June 28 coup d'etat, it continues to provide a showcase for the profoundly anti-democratic nature of the regime.
This just in from Tamar Sharabi, reporting from Honduran territory:
Evidence has surfaced that state employees were forced to attend the closing campaign ceremony of Elvin Santos, the ex-Vice President under Zelaya. In the letter, addressed to all department heads of the office of Civil Service, general director Marco Tulio Flores wrote, “I instruct all employees that are fulfilling their duties, without any exception, to attend the closing campaign of the Liberal Party that will take place Sunday November 22 at 9:30am. In a booth at the entrance to the coliseum Xiomara Orellana will take attendance of all personnel of this institution.”
Sharabi also reports that jack-booted regime repression continued right up through yesterday, as a pretext for larceny, too:
On Saturday November 28 military soldiers raided the offices of small business collective RED-COMAL in Siguatepeque, Comayagua, a city approximately 2 hours north from the capital. The Police Commissioner issued a search warrant 15 minutes after the raid began with the purpose of looking for weapons, posters and any documents that call on the population not to vote. Ricardo Bueso, speaking to Radiodelosmenos.org, reported that the military and police stole four laptops along with money from some of the organization’s sales
The National Front Against the Coup d'Etat has called on its participants to remain indoors in a "voluntary curfew" in noncooperation with the fraudulent vote. Should any incidents of violence occur today it won't be from the Resistance, but, rather, the result of the regime's own provocateurs. National presidential candidate Carlos H. Reyes withdrew from the ballot last month, as did many Congressional candidates and one major-party vice presidential candidate: Santos' own running mate on the Liberal Party line is among those who reject this fraudulent process as illegitimate.
We'll keep you updated throughout the day and into tonight as the "mock election" reaches its culmination...
Update 12:16 p.m. Tegucigalpa (1:16 p.m. ET): US citizens and human rights observers in Honduras just made the following announcement:
U.S. Human rights observers from a dozen different organizations around the United States have been in Honduras for several days to observe the human rights environment in Honduras at this time of elections.
Some 20 U.S. Citizens have traveled throughout Honduras over the past 3 days to cities and communities such as Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Tocoa, Santa Rosa de Copán, Choluteca, Comayagua, Siguatepeque y Puerto Grande. In addition, they have visited police stations, hospitals and jails.
In each of these communities they have observed the sistematic abuse of human rights as evidenced by raids, detentions, threats, physical abuse, indimidation and persecution on the part of state security agents. These actions have been mostly directed against citizens identified with the Resistance movement.
These findings and concerns will be shared at a:
TODAY, SUNDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2009 3:00 P.M. (4 p.m. EST)
IN FRONT OF THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY, TEGUCIGALPA
3:33 p.m. Tegucigalpa (4:33 p.m. ET): Coup security forces, while attacking a peaceful demonstration in San Pedro Sula today, wounded the Reuters photographer Herbert Villarreal while he attempted to document the story. Villarreal received twelve stitches in the head as a result of the attack.
4:38 p.m. Tegucigalpa (5:38 p.m. ET): Strike up the Grand Wurlitzer of spin as the Honduras regime tries to take what is, today, looking like 70 percent abstention from the vote and call it "70 percent turnout." They're issuing statements to the press about running out of ink (the indelible sort that voters get on their thumbs so they can't vote twice), polls remaining open an hour later to handle the supposed heavy demand, floated false turnout numbers. But here is what it really looks like this afternoon at polling places throughout Honduras:
Yup. Mostly empty ballot boxes, no lines, polling places as ghost towns. The first media war to be fought tonight will be over which version of the story is accurate. The official sources, of course, will do everything to claim high turnout and a successful "election." Set your BS detectors to the red zone tonight.
4:46 p.m. Tegucigalpa (5:46 p.m. ET): Coup security forces surrounded and arrested Spaniard journalist Mario Gascón Aranda this afternoon as he was reporting the day's events, accused him of meddling in the internal affairs of Honduras and announced they would expel and deport him from the country, according to Radio Globo.
7:31 p.m. Tegucigalpa (8:31 p.m. ET): Exit polls have - and no surprise to readers of these pages - National Party candidate Pepe Lobo as the "winner" of today's mock elections in Honduras with over 50 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos. Various Latin American nations have already said they do not recognize Lobo as a legitimate president, including Uruguay which today elected former guerrilla leader José Mujica in real elections today, not to mention a vast number of Honduran citizens. Claims of voter turnout, results, all of it, of course, can't and shouldn't be believed. And won't be. Nothing is resolved. Today's act of electoral theater was an exercise in futility...