For Immediate Release

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Jonathan Leaning, 857-719-9789

Honduran Election Must Not Be Stolen, Warns US Human Rights Group: Widespread Violence Feared

BOSTON - Amid initial indications that the Honduran opposition presidential candidate has received enough votes to defeat the ruling National Party candidate, international election monitors and civil society groups are reporting violence and strong indications of fraud during the vote count following the November 26 election.

“It is very disturbing that the ruling government has massively deployed the military across the country, which could lead to widespread violence,” says Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of human rights advocate Grassroots International.  “Now they are positioning themselves to declare victory and instilling fear in the population.”

Since the election last Sunday, the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal had been announcing the electoral tallying results, showing a clear favoring of the opposition coalition party, the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship (OAED).  Two members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Marco Lobo and Eric Mejia, had made statements, including on television yesterday, that an opposition win was irreversible.  However, since 5pm, Tuesday, the Electoral Tribunal has fallen silent on reporting the vote tallying, leading many in Honduras to suspect that a fraud is about to be perpetrated by the incumbent National Party, particularly with the deployment of the military to many parts of the country and media outlets.

“The US Congress and the US Ambassador must immediately call upon the Honduran ruling party to respect the democratic decision made by the Honduran people, and uphold transparency and the rule of law. Fraud and violence must be categorically denounced,” stated Ms. Hong.

Grassroots International partner, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, stated: “Despite all the manipulation, vote buying, clientelism and deceit, the Honduran people have clearly stated that they don’t want to continue to live in the violent situation imposed by the Juan Orlando Hernandez government which represents a continuation of the 2009 coup d’etat and is an ally of the oligarchic economic structures. We call upon the entire international community to be observers of the events that will unfold in the coming days, to avoid a bloodbath in what may be a new coup d’etat perpetrated by the same elite political class.”

Grassroots International urges the US not to repeat its past mistake of supporting the 2009 coup, and instead call for an accurate vote count, and support the rights of the Honduran people as they stand up to voter fraud, intimidation and dictatorship.

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