The Jesuit priest Ismael Moreno, director of Radio Progreso, has stated that there is a coup d’etat under way in Honduras, following the official verdict of the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) on Sunday, hailing Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) as President of Honduras, with 42.95% of the votes in the election held on 26 November.

We must remember that the candidate of the Opposition Alliance, Salvador Nasralla, achieved a 5% lead on election day, with 57% of the ballot boxes counted, obtaining 45.17% of the vote, against 40.21% for Juan Orlando Hernández.

The TSE’s presentation to the OEA electoral observers

However, despite this trend, regarded as ‘irreversible’, the TSE did not publish the final result that night, nor the following day. Instead, after a number of days, after making surprising changes to the results, in the midst of various irregularities, it declared Juan Orlando Hernández to be the candidate with most votes. The opposition declared the electoral process a fraud.

A lengthy interview with Padre Ismael Moreno from May 2017

The Jesuit priest Ismael Moreno said, “If the observer mission of the Organization of American States (OEA), which no-one could accuse of being left-wing, maintains its doubts about these elections, it is because in Honduras there has been a fraud so immense that no manoeuvre, however sophisticated, can conceal.”

“In Honduras we are now completing the implementation of a full-scale coup d’état, election-style. This has been concocted over a number of years, in formal and informal meetings directed by the president JOH, with the explicit or implicit backing of the Embassy of the United States of America,” continued Moreno.

The Electoral Tribunal (TSE) proudly showed off its software, although this curiously went down at the key moment of the vote counting.

Let us not forget that since the coup d’état of 2009, led by graduates of the School of the Americas [the main US training programme for Latin American military officers], Honduras has suffered continual violations of human rights. Over 123 human rights defenders have been murdered, among them Berta Cáceres.

In the last few weeks alone, in the midst of protests against this electoral fraud, COFADEH has denounced the assassination of 14 persons by the security forces or military, plus 51 persons injured.

Father Moreno has called on the Embassy of the United States to make its position clear, and “not continue to give its blessing to an electoral coup d’état which leaves utterly defenceless all of us defenders of human rights who seek freedom of expression through independent media.”

Following the TSE announcement. the opposition parties have called on the Honduran people to mobilise and demonstrate against electoral fraud and in defence of democracy.

Father Moreno concludes his statement, “The die is cast. All roads lead towards confrontation and violence. The ball is now in the court of the international community: either they help us to find a different result from the one ‘authorised’ by the TSE, or they must accept that we drown in a state incapable of government.”

Pablo Ruiz. Observatorio por el Cierre de la Escuela de las Américas – SOAWatch

Translated for LAB by Mike Gatehouse

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