The Sham Elections in Honduras

The Sham Elections in Honduras

On Sunday, when Hondurans go to the polls to elect a new president, Barack Obama's administration may be tempted to congratulate the winner, gradually resume normal diplomatic and economic relations with the successor government to the deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, and thus enable the de facto government that drove him from office to erase the remaining stains of its coup d'état.

Yield not unto temptation. This election is taking place in a political environment contaminated by repression, violence, and fear. If the U.S. government recognizes the vote, it will grant the de facto regime led by former parliamentary head Roberto Micheletti a legitimacy it does not deserve; it will needlessly lengthen a crisis that is hurting Honduras, its people, and its prospects for real democracy; and it will harm the U.S. image in the region. Most importantly, there is an alternative to this "see no evil" strategy.

What has transpired in Honduras in recent weeks has eliminated the prospects for free and fair elections. Actions specifically aimed at suppressing political organizing for the election, including mass arrests, illegal detentions, and violence -- documented by respected international groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights -- have yet to be investigated or prosecuted by the Honduran attorney general's office.

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