On January 27, amidst wide scale public protests across the country, right wing National party leader Juan Orland Hernandez (JOH) was officially inaugurated as President of Honduras, for the second time.
Since the official announcement made on December 4, 2017 by the electoral tribunal that JOH had won, tens of thousands of Hondurans have taken to the streets weekly to call attention to the fraudulent nature of the electoral process and to demonstrate their complete lack of support for the incumbent president, These protests have been met with ongoing police and military attacks which have used tear gas against protesters in residential areas and live bullets killing at least 20 people.
Numerous arrests have occurred during this time including the January 12 detention of Edwin Espinal who faces a laundry list of trumped up charges and is currently being held in a maximum security prison where he is being denied visitors. Espinal has been the target of police repression and violence since the 2009 political/military coup d’etat. In 2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered protective measures for him and his family and renewed those measures in 2013. (See below for an urgent action related to his case.)
The ongoing human rights abuses and Canada’s quiet support of the problematic elections and the incumbent president continue to raise serious concerns. A recent Op-Ed piece endorsed by 28 Canadian labour and social organizations, including MSN, argues that “by recognizing Juan Orlando Hernández as the Honduran president, the Liberal government has rewarded human rights violations and placed the interests of a handful of Canadian corporations over the most fundamental rights of the Honduran population and stability in the region.” (See below for link to the full Op-Ed).
List of organizations that endorsed the Op-ed:
Americas Policy Group | Anakbayan Toronto | Association québécoise des organisations de coopération internationale (AQOCI) |Atlantic Region Solidarity network | Centre Justice et Foi
Centre for Philippine Concerns | CoDevelopment Canada | Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL) | Development and Peace - Caritas Canada | Canadian Union of Public Employees – CUPE | Femmes de Diverses Origines/Women of Diverse Origins | Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec – FTQ | Groupe Solidarité Justice (CND) | Inter Pares | Les Soeurs Auxiliatrices du Québec | Maquila Solidarity Network | Mer et Monde | Migrante Ontario | Mining the Connections Working Group, Maritime Conference, United Church of Canada | Miningwatch Canada | Nobel Women's Network | Philippine Solidarity Group-Toronto | Project Accompaniment Québec-Guatemala, Montréal | Public Service Alliance of Canada, PSAC | United Church of Canada | United for Mining Justice | United Steelworkers | USC Canada
For more information and to take action:
MSN's backgrounder on fraudulent electoral process
Demand the immediate release of Edwin Espinal and all political prisoners
Op-Ed: Le Canada abandonne la population du Honduras – Le Devoir (in French) | Trudeau continues Harper’s betrayal of Honduras – Ricochet (in English)
Fiery protests erupt as contested Honduran president starts new term – CBC News
Honduras: The never-ending coup (1/2) - The Real News video by Jesse Freeston
In militarized Honduras, delegation speaks truth to power to US Embassy – National Catholic Reporter
For ongoing information, please visit Radio Progreso (Spanish only)
Statement by the OAS General Secretariat on the Elections in Honduras
Letter from the Jesuit Conference of Latin American Provinces (CPAL) to the OAS (in Spanish)
Honduras: Government deploys dangerous and illegal tactics to silence population - Amnesty International Report