Response by Jean Stoken to troubling Washington Post editorial


The real hope in Honduras

The Nov. 27 editorial “Hope and risk for democracy” ignored serious irregularities in recent elections in Honduras, which challenge the integrity of the electoral tribunal itself, and misrepresented the country’s 2009 coup.

Most egregious, it failed to examine the real risks for democracy in Honduras. Instead it rushed to bestow legitimacy on the National Party and its candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández. It described his “law-and-order platform” without mentioning the party’s key campaign promise — to put a “soldier on every corner” — which would serve only to continue the violence.
The militarization of Honduran society is already alarming, and it has been engineered through the post-coup governments, assaults on the rule of law and corruption of government institutions — including by Mr. Hernández. Journalists and human rights defenders have been targets for repression.
This is not the time to congratulate Honduras on its election and turn attention elsewhere. Nor should the U.S. government use the election as an excuse to continue pouring millions into Honduran security forces, which are killing their own people. Instead, it is time to be vigilant about human rights so the brave members of Honduran civil society, who are the real “hope” for democracy, can continue their work without being killed.

Published December 2

Jean Stokan, Mount Rainier
The writer is director of the Institute Justice Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.