Honduras: Australia should not recognise the fraudulent elections or the military regime
A second letter to Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith
To: Stephen Smith
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600
Tel: 02-6277 7500 Fax: 02-6273 4112 Email: Stephen.Smith.MP@aph.gov.au
Cc: Electorate office
953A Beaufort St, Inglewood WA 6932
Tel: 08-9272 3411 Fax: 08-9272 3477
December 3, 2009
Dear Mr Smith,
On November 29, the Honduran dictatorship that overthrew the legitimate President Manuel Zelaya held farcical elections in an attempt to give the brutal regime a "democratic" and "civilian" face. We are writing to you to urge the Australian government to take a public stand of not recognising these elections or the current Honduran regime.
The elections took place under conditions of extreme repression. Anti-regime media was harassed or shut down. Opponents of the regime organising peaceful protests were attacked by the military or police. Some anti-regime activists have disappeared or been killed in the lead up to the vote. This follows the military's brutal repression of pro-democracy activists since the June 28 coup, in which dozens have been killed or disappeared, and thousands detained.
An August poll by a Honduran polling company revealed that the majority of Hondurans rejected the coup and that support for the regime it established was extremely low (only 17%).
Zelaya and the broad pro-democracy united front in Honduras, the National Resistance Front Against the Coup (FNRG), argued that no free vote could possibly occur under these circumstances and called for a boycott of the elections.
The dictatorship has officially claimed a high turn-out, with the Supreme Electoral Commission (TSE) stating that, with 98% of the vote counted, abstention was only 38.14%. However, Congressperson Elvia Argentina Valle released a statement in which, based on the actual number of votes compared to the number of registered voters, the real abstention rate was revealed as 62%.
The TSE was forced to admit it had erred and that only 56% of the vote had been counted when it announced the winner and the participation rates; a further sign of the utterly farcical nature of this poll.
Calling on the international community to not recognise the elections, the FRNG announced on November 29: "You don't need glasses to see what is in front of your eyes. Nation-wide monitoring by our organisation proved that the level of abstention during the process is at least of 60-75% percent, which is the highest in our national history."
We draw your attention to the open letter GLW initiated and sent to you following the June 28 coup, which has been signed by a range of academics, trade unionists, social justice activists and concerned citizens. After this fraudulent vote, the requests made to your government are more relevant than ever.
Those were to:
* join governments across the world by clearly denouncing the coup and demanding Zelaya be immediately restored as president;
* cut all diplomatic, political, cultural or economic ties that the Australian government may have with Honduras until Zelaya is reinstated;
* join the Organisation of American States in refusing to recognise the outcome of any elections organised by the illegal coup regime;
* demand the immediate release of all political prisoners; and
* pressure the United States administration to act on its verbal criticisms of the coup and cut all ties with the coup regime, and end its ongoing training of the Honduran military.
We would like to reiterate these demands. In particular, we would like to emphasise the importance of taking the lead from the OAS and the United Nations and refusing to recognise the November 29 poll as a legitimate, free vote. As such, the government formed on the basis of these fraudulent elections should not be recognised.
Yours for democracy,
Stuart Munckton and Emma Murphy
Green Left Weekly editors