In 2009, Honduras marked record voter turnout (over 50 per cent of registered voters) in a widely scrutinized election. Over 55 per cent of the popular vote was cast for the president who subsequently assumed power.
The now-governing party won an absolute majority of seats in Congress. All four other parties accepted and endorsed the electoral process and its outcome. The entire electoral process was overseen by the independent electoral tribunal, a process launched prior to the primaries in 2008.
While Honduras faces many challenges, this election, along with ongoing efforts of many public institutions, from the electoral tribunal to the Supreme Court to the Human Rights Commission, to uphold the nation’s constitutional system of checks and balances, underpin the democratic system in the country today.
Two recent columns in the Yukon News suggest something quite different.
In one column, the present government of Honduras is characterized as a “de facto government” that is alleged to be behind a “wave of state-sponsored repression and assassinations.”
In the other column, the 2009 election is described as “extra-constitutional and engineered by the country’s elites with U.S. backing.” Many other assertions are made, some of which submit correlation as causation, as “brutal evidence” that an illegitimate election has been followed by a domino-effect of violating human rights and rule by “shock therapy tactics.”
All this, we are to conclude, establishes the lack of pedigree on the part of the government and its institutions as a framework within which Honduras should address the issues it faces as a nation, a condition which calls for “the restor(ing) of democracy to the country.”
Dismissing the outcome of an election in which the majority of Hondurans participated as a democratic right can be used to serve certain political agendas or shore up particular world views. However, such caricatures of conjecture are a profound disservice to maintaining and advancing democracy in this hemisphere.
A citizen of both Canada and Honduras