Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why Recognizing Honduran Elections Is Right

Recognizing the electoral process in Honduras is recognizing the fundamental rights of the people to have a voice.

The elections were programmed by the Honduran constitutional process which dictates that they occur every four years and the last president was elected on November 29, 2005. That candidate was liberal party candidate José Manuel Zelaya Rosales. I will not go into whether fraud did or did not occur then as it is not important to this electoral process which clearly does not include him.

The preliminary vote for the candidates that we have today was held last year in November. The election was held late due to a natural disaster that occurred then. However, while I recognize that there was serious flooding and good reason to delay the primaries many felt that Zelaya wanted to do away with them all together at that time and there was a feeling of uneasiness growing in the population at that time as to his plans of turning over the presidency when the time came. The vote was held though and out of that primary came the following candidates: Nationalist Candidate: Porfirio Lobo Sosa, Liberal Party Candidate: Elvin Santos, Christian Democracy Candidate: Felicito Avila, PINU Candidate: Bernard Martinez (and the first Garifuna candidate ever), and UD Candidate: Cesar Ham. At that time Honduras also had their very first independent candidate: Carlos H Reyes. However, Carlos H Reyes has resigned his aspiration to the presidency. It is clear that on November 29, 2009 elections were scheduled to be held and during that same time frame Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales still held the presidency. So the process is legitimate even though he claims it is not.

The US and some other countries have decided it is difficult to not recognize the voice of the people and to also not admit that the process was one that was scheduled previous to the present government of Roberto Micheletti Baín. One cannot argue that the electoral process has come out of his government with a straight face, because in reality the electoral process commenced during the government of Zelaya. The US and others recognize this complicated situation as well as the recognition of the voice of the people as being a solution to the crisis. It is important to observe the elections because a government cannot determine if they are fraudulent or not if they have not observed the actual process and whether it was a clean election. So the observers are arriving at rapid pace…and we all welcome this. If anything these elections should be closely observed by every country that is involved in this situation to determine the legitimacy of the process and reserve preconceived notions. My only exception to this is that I do not believe it to be beneficial to have observers from the ALBA countries. ALBA has a predefined interest in the elections not being recognized and therefore has an interest in not recognizing the process as legitimate.

In just 5 days and 5 hours we will hold elections to select a new president and move forward from the crisis that has surrounded Honduras since June 28, 2009. However, there are many questions that remain. Many say what happens after elections? Where do we go from here? What happens to Zelaya who is still huddled in the Brazilian embassy and complaining profusely about the situation he has found himself in and the elections? A few months ago he was praising the US and now he is complaining bitterly about their decision to recognize the elections and their decision to respect the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord and the decision of Congress regardless of what that decision might be. Congress has decided to wait until December 2, 2009 to debate on Zelaya and what happens to him. I believe that he has discovered that the vote is not going to be in his favor and therefore he is complaining bitterly about the agreement and backed out of it when he discovered that he could not manipulate the Congress into returning him to the presidency. His ranting has surely not assisted in giving anyone the desire to return him to the presidency or to be convinced that he has repented from previous actions. If anything he seems more determined than ever to continue on with his illegal actions that he had previously undertaken and ended with him being removed from the presidency he held. The Honduran constitution worked and with a united government it has held strong.

It does not really matter whether you are from the right or left at this point, voting is the only thing that matters. Everyone should vote so that the democracy is strengthened instead of weakened. Voting is a duty of every citizen regardless of their political stances and that includes the Resistance. If they hope to have a voice in government and attain their goals…I have to question how they plan on doing those things if they have boycotted the process and have no voice in the government.


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