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Polls Show Conservative Ahead as Honduras Vote Nears

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Posted on Nov 28, 2009
elheraldo.hn

Presidential candidate “Pepe” Lobo, left, has a campaign appearance with Tegucigalpa’s mayor, Ricardo Alvarez.

Honduras’ controversial election for president is Sunday, and conservative candidate “Pepe” Lobo has a clear lead in the most recent opinion polls. The contest, after a military coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya, has little international support.  —JCL

Voice of America:

Opinion polls in Honduras show conservative candidate Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo has a clear lead ahead of Sunday’s controversial presidential election.

Polls give Mr. Lobo of the opposition National Party a 16-point lead over Elvin Santos of the ruling Liberal Party, which ousted its own leader, Manuel Zelaya, as Honduran president in June.

Both Mr. Lobo and Mr. Santos support Mr. Zelaya’s removal from power, a move that brought international isolation to the poor Central American nation.

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By Xntrk, November 29, 2009 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Living in Hawaii, I am always behind the curve on the comments. However, I would like to correct Aaron’s statement about the link to Global Post. I gave that link as a way of accessing documents from organizations concerned about the lead-up to the elections in Honduras. I did not vouch for the site itself, and suggested a different way to get the documents if one distrusted Global Post.

Nor did I post the ‘3 questions’ and Global Post’s answers.

In case anyone wonders, I detest the power brokers of the far-right who manipulate the governments of Latin America.

When I read of the Governing Junta or Cabal in Honduras, I picture the scene in Moon Over Parador where the members of the ‘12 Families’ toast the success of Raul Julia’s scheme to replace the ‘Dictator’ with an American actor.

They look like maniacs, and I think it is a fair portrayal.

That is one of my all time favorite movies, by the way…

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By Samson, November 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

King George III didn’t want our forefathers to hold a constitutional assembly either.  King George sent his soldiers out to raid the colonists who were organizing for such an assembly.  The battles of Lexington and Concorde were the local militia intercepting those troops on the way.

Its truly become a world turned upside down when the US government is working hard to help deny the people of Honduras a constitutional assembly.

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By Samson, November 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

Which side are you on?

Truthdig readers now have a nice view of the options about Honduras.

Representatives of a farming co-opt asking for help .... “The international community should demand respect for human rights in our country, where these rights are being constantly violated. We also demand assurances for the safety of our people and other detained and identified as under watch by security forces.”

Or, Senior Ortiz, representing the coup, who says in this thread ....

“When the government tells you you don’t have permission to protest, and you do it anyway, and throw rocks, and even open fire on armed police and military, what can you expect? In fact, the military have been extremely benevolent ...”

Me, I know I’m on the side of people at the farming co-opt who are asking for help.  And I’m very sad to see that my government under President Obama is not giving them any. Instead, President Obama has taken the side of Mr. Ortiz’s friends.

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By Samson, November 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Can you have ‘free’ elections in this atmosphere?

from AmericasMexicoBlog ....

“Coup Security Forces Raid Campesino Organization Day Before the Elections

Today, heavily armed members of the national police, military and criminal investigation units under the coup regime raided the Honduran farm organization COMAL (Alternative Community Marketing Network) in Siguatepeque, in Comayagua. COMAL is a coalition of 42 small-scale farming and women’s organizations from throughout Honduras.

At 1:40 p.m. about fifty members of the security forces broke into the offices of COMAL. After breaking down the doors with their guns and intimidating the employees, they produced a search order a full twenty minutes later. The offices were ransacked, under an order that stated authorization to search for weapons and “materials that could threaten lives”.

At 2:30 the raid spread to the training center of the organization. Security forces confiscated four computers, including the accountant’s computer. They also took educational materials used in community workshops to analyze the current political situation and publications from the non-violent resistance movement. The soldiers referred to these materials as “proof” of subversive activities. Intelligence agents removed a list of all the people who had attended workshops in the organization and employees. They took the entire petty cash fund as well.

The offices were left in total disarray, employees were stripped of their cellphones and held in the offices during the raid. No one had been arrested at last report. Security forces continued to ransack the offices until 5:20 p.m.

Miguel Alonzo Macias, director of planning and projects for COMAL, stated that the police and soldiers entered heavily armed and nervous. Among the information they took from the offices were computer archives containing photographs of the peaceful marches where members of the organization demonstrated against the coup, “where they can see the faces of everyone of us who participated,” and testimonies from communities describing violations of human rights under the coup. The group fears further persecution.

In a phone interview, Macias stated, “What just happened to us is evidence that basic guarantees of individual human rights and institutional rights do not exist in Honduras. As a result, the objective conditions in terms of the personal security for people to be able to vote freely don’t exist either.”

“It’s important for the international community and international human rights groups to be aware that this is happening and of what kind of military actions are being carried out. These actions are clearly meant to intimidate the population that sees things differently than the de facto regime and that condemns the coup.”

“The security forces have our names, identification numbers, vehicles and photographs. We now have to take precautionary measures to protect ourselves and our families. The international community should demand respect for human rights in our country, where these rights are being constantly violated. We also demand assurances for the safety of our people and other detained and identified as under watch by security forces.”

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By Aaron Ortiz, November 29, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Ardee, you didn’t respond to my arguments about the validity of the election, but about Obama and the pink tide, a less relevant thing

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By ardee, November 29, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Senor Ortiz demonstrates an apparent blindness to opinion that differs from his own somewhat fanciful presentations. As he asked for my opinion of what he postured I will simply repeat my previous, and overlooked by him apparently, response:

His citing of the “pink tide” and his inclusion of Barack Obama as a part thereof is one of the funniest statements Ive read of late. It is certainly true that leftists gain more and more of a foothold in South America, due of course, to the unjust and unfair folks on the right who usurp a duly elected govt., those that Ortiz seeks to defend. Oppressed peoples are likely to vote for reformers.

As to President Obama’s inclusion therein, well, despite Ortiz’ desire to see him hustled onto an airplane in his pajamas it isnt going to happen. Much more likely is that our own govt approved that coup.

This argument, I now add, is between the populist ( me) and the extreme right wing defender ( he) of the business interests that seek to control Honduras as they are fearful of the growing leftist movement in that region of the world.

That right wing business interests already control American governance , and undoubtedly played a major role in the coup that saw Zelaya hustled from his nation in his pajamas is only conjecture on my part, but is based upon historical fact.

That Senor Ortiz continues to distort the facts, rely upon his interpretation of a Constitution that seemingly would allow kidnapping and whatever else serves the purpose of the far right, and claiming that kidnapping and forced exile is a democratic process is pretty damn hysterical.

That right wing thievery of the assets and the democracies needs fear the populace, fears the growing power of Chavez, Da Silva ,Lugo et al is truth itself. Latin America’s leftward tilt began with the arrival of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez a decade ago, then continued with new presidents in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Nicaragua and now Paraguay. To me this demonstrates that the theft of resources to benefit the few already wealthy righties is being opposed by the people who are sick of the shitty end of that stick.

Certainly the act of destroying Honduran democratic process is understandable when considering the way South American history shows plainly that such thievery is rooted in the history of that region. The way this poster attempts to vilify Chavez and insinuate that Zelaya was in the thrall of that leader and that our own President is a leftist as well ( hows that for a cartoonish moment, one that should make all who read his comments consider how much integrity is shown here) is just more right wing propaganda, absurd as all the rest.

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By Aaron Ortiz, November 29, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

The article in question was a blog post, an opinion, not a news article. But that is not so important. What about the arguments I used? What is your response.

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By ardee, November 29, 2009 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

What Senor Ortiz does is seek to discredit any news reportage that counters his own versions of events in Honduras, not untypical when defending the impossible.

His citing of the “pink tide” and his inclusion of Barack Obama as a part thereof is one of the funniest statements Ive read of late. It is certainly true that leftists gain more and more of a foothold in South America, due of course, to the unjust and unfair folks on the right who usurp a duly elected govt., those that Ortiz seeks to defend. Oppressed peoples are likely to vote for reformers.

As to President Obama’s inclusion therein, well, despite Ortiz’ desire to see him hustled onto an airplane in his pajamas it isnt going to happen. Much more likely is that our own govt approved that coup.

Do any here have a hope that the elections will be fair?

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By Aaron Ortiz, November 29, 2009 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

An interesting disclaimer at the bottom of the Global Post Article:

“Global Bloggers are not employed or directed by GlobalPost and the views expressed are the blogger’s own. Submissions are neither edited nor reviewed before they appear on GlobalPost. If you have any comments about a blogger, please send an e-mail to: blogcoordinator AT globalpost.com. To comment on this post, please go to the blogger’s site by clicking on the link above.”

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By Aaron Ortiz, November 29, 2009 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

Thanks Xntrk for the link to the Global Post article.

The article gives 3 reasons not to recognize tomorrow’s election.

1. The people who carried out the June 28 coup will have gotten exactly what they wanted.

But is wanting elections a bad thing? Does this imply that Zelaya did not want elections?

The article says “Honduras’s tiny elite viewed him as a threat and removed him, using the military, through extra-legal means”. But the Catholic Church, the Commisioner for Human Rights, the Congress, The Supreme Court all agreed that he should be removed.

But even if they didn’t, Zelaya did break article 239 of the Constitution, making his removal legal.

2. The conditions for a fair vote were not in place

The article says “In the months before the voting, were some parties or candidates unable to assemble, organize and campaign peacefully? Did they have difficulty gaining fair access to the media? Were supporters of some candidates or political tendencies subject to official repression?”

The interesting thing about this is that the candidates were an integral part of the San Jose and the Guaymuras Accords, and were invited to Costa Rica for the talks.

The people who were arrested were not supporters of a presidential candidate. They were supporters of the Constitutional Assembly, and the boycott of the election.

Even so, Cesar Ham is on the ballot tomorrow, and he is proposing the Constitutional Assembly with no opposition. Only those supporting the boycott are being “harassed”. But promoting a boycott of elections is ilegal, according to article 42 of our constitution.

3. Recognizing the elections will put the United States at odds with most of the hemisphere

Much of the hemisphere has undergone the “pink tide” of which Obama is a part. Yes, relations will strain a bit, especially with ALBA nations. Obama and Clinton have managed to disappoint both sides, left and right, and have taken a very centrist approach. I admire them for that unpopular stance. I think it is the correct one, neither right nor left.

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By mcthorogood, November 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

@Aaron Ortiz: I guess NarcoNews (dot com) is full of shit, or maybe you’re ...

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By Aaron Ortiz, November 28, 2009 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

“What I see is that anyone who goes out into the streets to struggle for democracy or freedom gets beaten or killed. “

Respectfully, how do you know, Samson, that what you are saying is true? Consider that your source may be biased.

I don’t trust my sources. I have found them trying to fool me. I can’t trust the left, because I’ve caught them lying time after time. I can’t trust the right, because they cover the truth up.

Don’t trust your sources. Have you been attacked by the Honduran military? If you haven’t, how do you know that what you say is true?

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By Aaron Ortiz, November 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

“If you would like a list of different sources of facts about the issues in the Honduran election, they are available. However, if your mind is already closed, it matters not at all.”

I read the letist news every day. My mind is not closed. But every day I leave comments on their sites which they refuse to publish. Who’s open minded? Unfortunately the list you supplied is mostly composed of left-wing groups.

The media, and even Amnesty International, have been polarized, for or against Zelaya and are not to be trusted without critical thinking. I don’t trust either side.

When the government tells you you don’t have permission to protest, and you do it anyway, and throw rocks, and even open fire on armed police and military, what can you expect? In fact, the military have been extremely benevolent considering the provocation they have been receiving. Zelaya had been goading the government, trying to force it to respond with excessive force, in order to condemn it of human rights abuses.

I have seen the pictures of the protesters covered in blood. I have also seen the pictures of the burnt out buses and cars, houses and businesses, and the graffiti they have left. I have seen the videos of the police beating up on people. I condemn that. I despise it. I condemn the hypocrisy of the protesters, and the brutality of the police.

My first problem with Samson’s post is his attack on the elections. For there to be a democracy there must be elections. The election is our only way out. It angers me that people say it is illegitimate, because the source of those words is Manuel Zelaya himself.

He says the election is an “invention” the “coup government” has made to “cover up their coup”. But Manuel Zelaya was still in power when the primary elections were held, and all six candidates chosen. See why we must examine everything Zelaya says? He is a liar. This is not a biased opinion. It is a fact. He lies constantly. And when he lies, Reuters, the AFP, CNN and Amnesty international believe him, because they are not Honduran, and don’t have first hand knowledge of the situation.

I also get angry when someone says there is martial law in Honduras. The only moments when martial law was imposed was when Zelaya called for violence. Violence was his only way to wrest the government from Micheletti’s grasp. His suggestions that there is a state of siege in Honduras are no longer true. There have been no curfews for months now.

From the beginning the military’s role in the crisis is a small one, but the media has used the line “military coup” constantly. The ones who deposed Zelaya were the Supreme Court and the Congress. The military simply obeyed. The police force is not very strong in Honduras, and even Manuel Zelaya used the military on protesters on several occasions, even with tear gas. The US under Obama used tear gas on protesters too, a few months ago.

I mentioned family and living there not only because of empathy. I was in Honduras in late July. I lived through the first three years of Zelaya’s term in Tegucigalpa. I know many people, and have many family members living there, and thus I have first hand knowledge about what I am stating, and I am not depending on any medium that might have an agenda.

I apologize for my angry tone. I know that it subtracts credibility from what I say. But how can I allow people to repeat the lies that have caused this crisis in the first place? I know the lies didn’t come from Samson, the lies are Zelaya’s. Forgive me for projecting my anger against Zelaya on you Samson.

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By Samson, November 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Since you are working for the coup, perhaps you could tell us the official orwellian term for Honduras these days?  What I see is that anyone who goes out into the streets to struggle for democracy or freedom gets beaten or killed.  If you want to call that something other than ‘martial law’, I guess you are free in the spirit of George Orwell to do so.

Its certainly not possible to hold free and fair elections in a situation where the military overthrew the previous elected government and still maintains power.  How can you have free elections under military rule?  Or by whatever name you make up for it?

The rest of the hemisphere can figure this out as obvious.

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By Samson, November 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

If your family is ‘safe’ in Honduras, then you are obviously working for the coup.

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By Blackspeare, November 28, 2009 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

What we are witnessing in Honduras is a microcosm of things to come in the USA.  One day a populist/liberal president will be ousted under a military style coup underwritten by the industrial barons.  The spin on the coup will keep the talking heads, both pro and con, busy for months.  But what about the Constitution——that’s another story.

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By ardee, November 28, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

What alternative do we have, restoring Zelaya and bowing to Hugo Chavez with indefinite reelection of an incompetent and divise president?

I believe this statement says all that is necessary regarding Senor Ortiz’ partisanship and lack of devotion to truth. This is not the first time this poster has come here ( and I presume to many other sites as well) in his capacity as propagandist for the coup that overthrew a duly elected President and kidnapped him.

Despite the distortions of fact emanating from this defender of right wing destruction of the democratic process, the restoration of Zelaya is ,in no way, a “bowing” to Chavez. Instead it would be a confirmation of the respect all Hondurans have for the democratic process. Likewise, the phrase,“indefinite re-election” shows clearly how dismissive Ortiz appears to be of that process. If the people elect Zelaya repeatedly then he must be doing something right for their interests.

If the right wing businessmen at the heart of this coup are dissatisfied with Zelaya’s leanings then that dissatisfaction should be expressed in the election process, putting up their own candidate for office and allowing the people to make their choice.

I would offer my kudos to Xntrk for his well researched and accurate post.

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By Xntrk, November 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

In the interest of moving this discussion along, rather than indulging myself in tit for tat argument, I am posting some links about the election process in Honduras. This list of links was published in http://www.globalpost.com

>>3 reasons not to recognize the Honduran elections

...Here are links to several eyewitness reports indicating that the answer to these questions is “no.” Honduras’s 2009 election campaign took place in a climate of fear in which media outlets were shuttered, candidates were put at unfair disadvantages, political activists were intimidated, and examples of military repression were frequent. These reports indicate that the Honduran elections do not meet the standards of Article 3 and 4 of the 2001 OAS Democratic Charter.

  * November 27, Amnesty International: Stock pile of tear gas grenades in Honduras triggers fears of human rights abuses
  * November 26, OAS: Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression Expresses Its Deep Concern Regarding the Situation of Freedom of Expression in Honduras
  * November 25, Washington Office on Latin America / Latin America Working Group: Honduran Presidential Elections November 29th: Basic Conditions for Free and Fair Elections Do Not Exist
  * November 20, May I Speak Freely Media: Fear and Loathing in Honduras: Elections Under Repression
  * November 18, Amnesty International: Amnesty International visits Honduras to assess human rights situation
  * October 30, Human Rights Watch: Honduras: Investigate Abuses, Repeal Repressive Measures
  * September 29, OAS: The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression Condemns the Suspension of Guarantees in Honduras and the Violations of the Right to Freedom of Expression
  * September 28, Human Rights Watch: Honduras: Restore Press Freedom Immediately
  * September 28, Committee to Protect Journalists: Honduras must allow pro-Zelaya broadcasters to reopen
  * August 21, OAS: Preliminary Observations on the IACHR Visit to Honduras
  * August 19, Amnesty International: Honduras: Human rights crisis threatens as repression increases…<<

If you go to the Global Post site, these links are active. They did not transfer as active links here, so I apologize. I suppose you could Google the specific articles also if you mistrust the Global site…

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By Xntrk, November 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Aaron, If National Residency and citizenship came with guarantees of the ability to think clearly, it might matter if Samson were intimately linked to Honduras. However, your post is a clear indication that Country of Origin does NOT confer special understanding.

What is required for a rational discussion is an ability to read and consider the various facts of an issue and then to apply logic to making a decision as to the validity of any one argument.

Empathy helps a bit. But, for many people the most important issue is their own bias, be it class, race, or finances. If you would like a list of different sources of facts about the issues in the Honduran election, they are available. However, if your mind is already closed, it matters not at all.

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By Commune115, November 28, 2009 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

Why is Truthdig using “Voice Of America” as a source? VOA is a US-funded propaganda tool used to transmit pro-US material into Latin America, they run the notorious Radio and TV Marti networks Reagan established to beam into Cuba. VOA has a pretty laughable Iran branch as well.

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By Aaron Ortiz, November 28, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

There is no martial law in Honduras, Samson, the opposition media are calling for electoral boycott, which could, according to the Honduran Constitution, cost them their citizenship (it is illegal).

What alternative do we have, restoring Zelaya and bowing to Hugo Chavez with indefinite reelection of an incompetent and divise president?

Aren’t you comfortable and safe in the US? You don’t, I presume, have family in Honduras, and unlike me, you are not Honduran, or have even lived there. Am I right?

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By Samson, November 28, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Gee, there’s a surprise.

In the midst of martial law, where the military and the police have been out in the streets for months suppressing, beating and killing the opposition, in the midst of a censorship environment where any opposition media is raided and shut down, in the midst of a country where the nation’s elected president has to hide in a foreign embassy to even remain within Honduran borders ...... they hold an ‘election’ that the conservatives win.

What a shock! 

All of this of course orchestrated by that incredible progressive liberal and believer in freedom, hope, and change, President Obama.  All of the OAS countries have refused to recognize these rigged elections.  Only Obama is giving them any international legitimacy.

So, first I was calling them “Chicago-style” elections.  Then it went to “Chicago/Afghan-style” elections.  Now is it “Chicago/Afghan/Honduran-style” elections.

But that’s getting to be a mouthful. So, maybe we should just call these pitiful, rigged elections as “Obama-style” elections.

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