Being a witness to election aftermath in Honduras

NCR Editor’s note: Tom Webb is traveling with an ecumenical delegation to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Jan. 24-30 to witness the repression against peaceful demonstrations to the recent presidential election. National Catholic Reporter will continue to have reports from the delegation in the coming days.

by Tom Webb

SAN PEDRO SULA, HONDURAS —An ecumenical delegation of 50 U.S. citizens journeyed Jan. 24 to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to learn more about the furious national political turmoil following the mid-December announcement by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal declaring incumbent president Juan Orlando Hernández the winner of the Nov. 26 election.

Delegates representing 48 different denominations, religious communities, faith-based advocacy groups and Latin American solidarity networks from 13 U.S. states gathered at the Sisters of Notre Dame Retreat Center in El Progresso in northern Honduras for an overview of the current state of Honduras, to learn more about the events leading to and following the election and hear the witness of local groups of their experiences over the past several weeks. They were joined by four people from Canada, Colombia, El Salvador and Argentina.

Ordinarily, one would not expect such turmoil within days following a presidential election. The opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, of the Alliance of the Opposition Against Dictatorship party, was winning the election by about 5 percentage points a day after the voting ended. But then the computer system used to tally the votes suddenly and inexplicably went down.

About 36 hours later, the vote count resumed. President Hernández had substantially cut the lead of Nasralla. By mid-December, following a re-count, Hernández was declared the winner by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal with 42.9 percent of the vote. Nasralla gathered 41.2 percent…

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