A group of self-appointed electoral observers from Canada is calling on the Canadian government to reject the results of Sunday’s presidential election in Honduras. The electoral delegation, organized by the anti-free trade coalition Common Frontiers, says the election was “inconsistent with democratic principles and rife with fraudulent practices.”
With more than 75 percent of ballots counted, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has declared Juan Orlando Hernández of the incumbent National Party the president-elect of Honduras. His 35 percent of votes cast exceeds the 29 percent for Xiomara Castro of the populist LIBRE party, and even Castro has tacitly conceded her defeat.
In articulating its refusal to endorse the election, the Canadian delegation draws attention to the “context” in Honduras. Delegates explain that — with the exception of four billionaires who control the mass media and narcotraffickers who have the resources to bankroll politicians — Honduras is mired in poverty. Moreover, the TSE does not include LIBRE supporters and, therefore, “cannot be considered neutral or impartial.” (Ironically, both prior to the election and in its post-election report, the delegation justified its own legitimacy by underscoring its TSE accreditation.)
Herein lies the rub: if the “context” in Honduras explains why the results of the general election should be rejected, why did the Canadian delegation endorse the electoral process by agreeing to be monitors in the first place?
As I have written previously, the Common Frontiers delegation — along with as many as 280 other activist-observer missions — arrived in Honduras to work in “solidarity” with the LIBRE campaign. If the LIBRE party candidate had come out on top of Sunday’s vote, is there any doubt that these same electoral monitors would have endorsed the results, “context” and all?
Echoing concerns raised by other observers, the Common Frontiers delegation details a number of “electoral irregularities.” These merit further investigation. But so, too, does the delegation itself, which included representatives from labor unions, civil society groups, and academia.
In making clear it would endorse a LIBRE victory only, the Canadian delegation demonstrates a complete disregard for the democratic principles it claims to stand for.
As I see it, that’s fraud.