Honduran Election Body Refuses to Authorize Rigoberta Menchu as Electoral Observer

RigobertaMenchúHonduran Election Body Refuses to Authorize Rigoberta Menchu as Electoral Observer

Honduras’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE, in Spanish) rejected petitions from the Rigoberta Menchu, Garzon Baltazar, and former Panamanian President Martin Torrijos to be official election observers in this Sunday’s Presidential polling. The government stated that the three internationally known figures were not serving in any official governmental capacity, and had ideological leanings that disqualified them from the job.

Rigoberta Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize and has become a symbol of equality and justice throughout the Central American isthmus. She has served as an official election observer in multiple elections throughout the region, most recently in the 2009 vote in El Salvador.

Garzon Baltazar is a noted Spanish judge known for his prosecution of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Martin Torrijos served as the elected President of Panama from 2004-2009.

The Honduran TSE approved the three dignitaries for “election accompaniment,” an invented status distinct from  official observation that allows participants to be present at polling stations, essentially as guests of a specific political party. Menchu, Baltazar and Torrijos were invited to apply for observation status by former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who is the national coordinator of the left-leaning LIBRE party.