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Deja vue in Honduras

12 December 2013

There are just too many parallels, both in the evidence of fraud (bringing cell phones into voting booths to show one’s ballot to those who are paying for your vote) and in the response of the opposition, to Mexico’s 2006 and 2012 elections to enumerate.

While Mexico didn’t have nearly the number of “foreign observers” that Honduras did, it did have a U.S. media avid to buy the “official story” and bend the rules of objective journalism too:

Greg McCain: “Inside the Honduran Elections” (Counterpunch, 12 December 2013):

Libre, the party of the resistance movement that grew out of the protests following the 2009 coup d’état, had mass popular support. [...] All the pre-election polls except the ones paid for by the National Party had [Ximara Castro, Libre's Presidential candidate] clearly in the lead.

[...]

You would not know how massive these irregularities were if you only relied on the mainstream press. News outlets such as The Washington Post and the AP’s man in Honduras , Alberto Arce, both declared [Juan Orlando Hernandez of the National Party] the winner before the counting process was complete and the fraud investigated thus promoting the neo-liberal agenda that has devastated this country. [...] To cut him some slack, Arce’s opinions appear to be fueled more by naiveté and a comical obsession with being seen as an “objective” journalist than by any clear cut ideological ax to grind. Perhaps he is just an unwitting conduit of neo-liberal propaganda.

[...]

The irregularities that occurred on Election Day were numerous. Many of them echoed the old machine politics of Chicago where the slogan of the day was “Vote early and vote often,” and whole cemeteries were registered to vote. In Honduras they added the twist of claiming that a voter who showed up to vote was dead and thus could not. As with the internal elections last year, National Party offices were discovered to have boxes full of ID’s needed to vote. Now, just as then, the reports in the press went uninvestigated by the District Attorney…

Vote buying occurred out in the open in numerous places. In the town of Quimistan, Santa Barbara, Marta Concepción (also known as Chonita), the National Party candidate for deputy who was up for reelection in the National Congress, was seen unashamedly giving out 100 Lempira bills to those crowded around her in front of the gate which led to the voting tables at Escuela Francisco Borogan. When she saw an international observer from the US’ Honduran Solidarity Network (HSN), who was dumbstruck by the blatancy of her actions, Chonita stated, “They’re so poor and hungry. I have too big a heart.”

[...]

Further evidence of vote buying occurred in the form of people taking photos with their cell phones of their ballots to prove how they voted so that they could receive their payment. Several members of the HSN delegation at several sites around the country observed this as the camera’s flash went off in the voting booth. The TSE judges at the tables did nothing to annul the votes even though it is a clear violation to have cell phones while voting.

The greatest source of the fraud occurred in the transcribing of the tallies and the transmission of the votes. It was up to the judges at the tables to check each other as the transcription occurred. These are the same judges that were heavily biased toward the National Party who bought the credentials of the smaller parties.

[...]

But perhaps a bigger source of fraud, according to Jose Morales, an expert in design and maintenance of automated information systems, occurred through the software for data transmission and vote counting…

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