In An Atmosphere of Repression… "What Elections?"

Sunday, November 22, 2009
Day 148

Today at the Popular Resistance Front assembly, community leaders from around Tegucigalpa reiterated that they will not participate in next Sunday’s elections, leading rallying cries against the election, and in favor of a constitutional assembly: “elecciones no; constituyente si.”

As electoral propaganda touting Liberal and National party candidates litters Tegucigalpa, members of the resistance continue to articulate that to participate in these elections would only legitimate the coup d’état that took place in Honduras nearly five months ago. They continue to assert that any elections held by the illegitimate de facto regime are null and void, and that they will neither participate in them nor recognize the results. And they continue to state unequivocally that resisting false gestures of democracy made by a repressive and illegal government is, for them, a matter of dignity. “Dignidad, dignidad,” chanted those gathered at the assembly; and a handful cried out “What elections??”

The atmosphere in Tegucigalpa is growing increasingly tense, as people expect heavy police and military repression next weekend. At the resistance assembly today, resistance leader Juan Barahona reiterated the movement’s peaceful nature: “No one here is struggling to die,” he said, “but struggling to live. This struggle is peaceful; we don’t want confrontation with anyone.” Referring to rumors that the military is planning large-scale violence, he said “the plan of a massacre is their plan, not ours.”

Barahona advised members of the resistance to stay home next Sunday, election day, for their own safety. “We won’t make it easy for them,” he said. “If they want to kill us, they’ll have to do it in our own homes.”

These expectations of large-scale repression and warnings to stay safe at home are symptoms of just how un-democratic this electoral process is. In what democratic country does election time require a health-care-provider alert, with all medical personnel on call?   Yet the United States has affirmed that it will recognize this political charade as a legitimate electoral process, despite the utter lack of “free and fair” conditions.

No matter what happens next Sunday, the resistance will continue to struggle for a constitutional assembly, and for real social transformation – transformation that involves more than deciding which of two wealthy men will become the public face of an unchallenged oligarchy. The assembly will meet again in two weeks.