All Power to the Honduran Masses!
Honduras conducted its most recent general election on 26 November 2017. Salvador Nasralla of the broad-left Libre-PINU alliance challenged the right-wing incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández of the National Party (PNH). Notable for corruption and repression of opposition activists, the National Party was expected to lose its mandate to the ever-growing left-wing movement. In fact, the first tallies on the night of the 6th indicated just that. However, in a surprise move, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) suspended ballot counting at the midnight hour. Throughout the rest of the week, the TSE would release contradictory and unverifiable recounts, all claiming a narrow victory for Hernández.
The Libre Party (short for ibertad y Refundación) is the parliamentary outgrowth of the National Popular Resistance Front. From 2011, it has stood as the strongest representation of those political currents opposed to the 2009 United States-backed coup ousting former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya. The downfall of the Zelaya regime marked the start of the decline of the Pink Tide, a regional wave of socialist and anti-imperialist political victories in 21st century Latin America. Libre’s ideology marries democratic socialism with Latin American regionalism. This dual current stands against both the dominance of neoliberalism as a means to keep capitalism alive and the persistence of imperialism, in particular from the US. PINU, a much older centre-left party in Honduras, joined the larger Libre Party to oppose the Nationals in the past general election campaign.
The currently ruling National Party (PNH) has a 115-year old history of preserving the stability of the Honduran state, whether that benefits or hurts the Honduran people. Such a conservative outlook has transformed the PNH into a comprador alliance of neoliberals and neoconservatives who are willing (if not only compelled) to embezzle money, repress progressive, pro-indigenous and environmentalist movements and sell out the country to the United States. Since the 2010 elections following the ouster of Zelaya and the acting presidency of Roberto Micheletti, the PNH’s main role is to execute the restructuring of imperialism and capitalism in Latin America amid the late-2000s economic crisis. In practice, this means precarity for the working andagrarian masses served up with a façade of meritocracy and equal rights. Former president Porfirio Lobo set the stage of this reorientation, passing the responsibility onto Hernández in 2014.
In defiance of the neoliberals in the PNH and their anti-democratic machinations, the Honduran masses took to the streets demanding the ouster of Hernández and a return to democracy. The rank and file of the Libre-PINU alliance, national trade unions and radical parties form the core of this opposition. Initial manifestations were met with swift and harsh police repression. However, by 4 December, significant sections of state security forces refused orders from Tegucigalpa. They themselves manifested against violence done in the name of Honduran capital.
Unfortunately, the masses do not only struggle against their national government. To win out against neoliberalism, Honduras must defeat imperialism. They must challenge the United States and its proxy of the Organisation of American States (OAS). The European Union (EU) too must face their wrath. Both the OAS and EU condemn the electoral process of November 2017, but forget their complicity in the post-Recession immiseration of Latin America and their (not-so-)tacit support for the 2009 coup that started it all. The blood shed in Honduras is on their hands, and it will not wash away.
Meanwhile, opposition candidate Nasralla still defends his electoral mandate and calls for negotiations between all major parties to resolve the political crisis. Yet the movement that put him at the height of power is relentless. This popular pro-democratic movement will not stop until Hernández is unseated and his regime is rolled back, lest Libre be forced to concede to the Nationals, therefore blocking the very movement they claim to represent. Given the high-level stalemate, those police forces which did not join the masses in struggle aim to keep it in check. The demands and movements of the people are met with bullets and tear gas. Whatever happens between the people and the state, the TSE’s decision to uphold November's electoral process and to reject all accusations of irregularities will shock this war of attrition.
The Honduran working masses have demonstrated their unity against the anti-democratic Lobo/Hernández regime. May their struggle result in complete victory! May they enact popular justice on the PNH, the EU, the OAS and the US!
Our responsibilities as comrades abroad are to keep abreast of the truth in Honduras, dispel OAS-US lies, and to provide whatever material support the democratic partisans in Honduras possible. Regardless of the gains and losses of their movement, we must practically defend Honduras from neoliberalism and imperialism!
- Honduras Election: One of the Worst Elections in Recent Memory - Real News
- Network Hondurans Launch a National Protest Against Election Results - teleSUR
- Honduran democracy on the brink - Al Jazeera
- Nationwide Protests Meet With More Police Violence - TeleSUR
- US Pressuring Honduran Opposition to End Protests - The Intercept
- Honduran Electoral Body Rejects Alleged Vote Irregularitie - TeleSUR