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HSN Elections Action Alert: Denounce Intimidation and Harassment of International Observers and LIBRE party members

SOAW: HSN elections Action Alert: Denounce Intimidation and Harassment of International Observers and LIBRE party members

In the last two days, HSN election observers have either experienced or confirmed the following:migration visit 003

  • Over 30 Military Police wearing ski masks attempted to forcibly enter a LIBRE party office in Tegucigalpa.
  • On multiple occasions, agents identifying themselves as workers of the Honduran Immigration Service, have harassed international election observers, tracked them down at their hotels or training centers to confirm that their documentation is in order. In some cases, this has occurred soon after these same observers have received official observer training from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. In one instance, the “agents” were armed and wearing ski masks.

Please contact US and Honduran authorities to denounce these actions that continue to generate a climate of fear and intimidation before tomorrow’s vote.
Below you will find draft messages in English and Spanish to send:

To the US officials:
State Department, Director of Central America affairs-
Scott Hamilton:

State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor-
Charles O Blaha:

Honduras Embassy, Human Rights Attache-
Amanda Johnson-Miller:

Dear Mr. Hamilton, Mr. O Blaha and Ms. Johnson-Miller:
I am writing to express concern about the attempt by over 30 members of the military police to forcibly enter into the LIBRE offices in the Kennedy Neighborhood of Tegucigalpa on the night of November 22nd.
I’m also writing to express concern about repeated instances of harassment of international election observers by persons identifying themselves as Honduran Government Immigration Service Agents on 22nd and 23rd.

  • On November 22nd, four people identifying themselves as Honduran Immigration agents, arrived at the offices of ERIC-SJ (Equipo de Reflexión Investigación y Comunicación – Honduras) , asking to see members of the HSN/AGJ delegation of international observers in Honduras for national elections this Sunday.
  • Later on November 22nd, the same group of agents disrupted an election observer training of the HSN/AGJ delegation at the La Fragua retreat center in Progreso, Honduras. Without prior warning, the officials intimidated observers by demanding to see everyone’s passports and observer credentials.
  • Today, November 23rd, at Hotel Suites Aurora in Tegucigalpa, several persons some armed and dressed as civilians with ski masks and others wearing Immigration Authority t-shirts came to the hotel reception asking for passports for the people in the lobby, as well as asking for all International Observers to come to the lobby. They proceeded to ask the observers questions, look through their passports and, in some instances, took personal records.

I call on you as US State Department officials to express concern to the appropriate Honduran authorities. These actions do not contribute to the climate necessary for the Honduran people to express their right to vote without fear or intimidation. Please keep me posted of any actions you take and responses from your Honduran counterparts.

I will continue to follow the activities on the ground in Honduras closely.



Please contact the following Honduran Authorities
Ministro de Seguridad, Arturo Corrales:
Phone: 011-504.2220.5547

Ministra de Justicia y Derechos Humanos, Ana Pineda:
Phone: 011-(504) 9982-6801

Estimada Sra. Pineda y Estimado Sr. Corrales :

Les escribo para expresar mi preocupación por el intento de mas de 30 miembros de la policía militar de entrar forzosamente en la sede del partido LIBRE en la Colonia Kennedy de Tegucigalpa en la noche del 22 de Noviembre.

Tambien, les escribo para expresar mi preocupación por varios incidentes los días 22 y 23 de Noviembre de hostigamiento de observadores internacionales por personas identificándose como agentes del servicio de migración del Gobierno de Honduras.

· El 22 de noviembre alrededor de las 7:00 de la noche, cuatro agentes de la Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería del departamento de Yoro, ingresaron a uno de los salones del Centro de Capacitación La Fragua que forma parte de las instalaciones del Equipo de Reflexión Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC) de la Compañía de Jesús ubicado en la ciudad de El Progreso, Yoro. Los agentes irrumpieron en el local y procedieron a requerir las acreditaciones que les otorgó el Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) a unas cien personas.

· Hoy, 23 de Noviembre, en el Hotel Suites Aurora de Tegucigalpa, 6 personas vestidos de civiles, armadas y con pasamontañas, junto con 3 personas con camisetas de la Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería, llegaron a la recepción del hotel, pidiendo que tod@s los observadores internacionales se presentaran para revisar su documentación y hacerles preguntas.

Obviamente, estas acciones no están consistentes con el compromiso de su gobierno de conducir el proceso electoral en un ambiente libre de intimidación y miedo. Espero que ustedes actúen para parar este tipo de actividad inmediatamente. Seguimos pendiente de la situación en Honduras.



Telesur report: Armed Men Intimidate Electoral Observers and Companions in Honduras

Telesur report:

Armed Men Intimidate Electoral Companions Honduras

Original article (spanish)

Translation by La Voz de los de Abajo

This Saturday morning, six armed men entered a hotel in Tegucigalpa and intimidated international electoral accompaniers from El Salvador. Despite this incident , the accompaniers stated that they will continue to monitor the elections, with the goal that Hondurans can freely exercise their right to vote.

On Saturday, a group of six armed men stormed the Aurora Hotel in Tegucigalpa ( capital of Honduras ),  in an attempt to frighten international observers that will be present this Sunday during the Honduran general elections.

The TeleSur special correspondent in Honduras, Madeleine García , reported via the social network Twitter that the incident occurred at 10H30 local time on Saturday, when ” six armed men entered the Aurora Hotel, which is near the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa, the Capital ” .

“In the lobby of the hotel were mayors and deputies, who form part of the delegation of 40 international observers from El Salvador ,” said Garcia in hes account @ madeleintlSUR .

The journalist quoted  Deputy Nidia Diaz, who was with the group and explained that ” When 6 armed men entered, 3 other men arrived wearing Immigration shirts”. “I approached the men from Immigration and told them that we had entered Honduras legally yesterday and with credentials ,” said the deputy.

Diaz, cited by Garcia, described the event as “an act of intimidation that cannot occur within a process of free and transparent elections.”

” What happened today is a violation of the law, because as election accompaniers, we have legal rights,” said Diaz.

In addition, she said that ” the men were at the hotel for 45 minutes and left when more people came to support us.”

Despite the incident , Diaz said ” We are going to continue in Honduras,  standing by the people in this process to exercise their rights ” .

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal ( TSE)  signed an agreement with major media outlets on Wednesday, in which the press has agreed not to broadcast polling results of surveys or exit polls before Sunday 19H00 local time ( 01H00 GMT Monday) .

The TSE estimates that more than three million people go to the polls, but actual registered voters equal more than five million persons older than 18.


Alarming escalation in the intimidation towards International Election Observers and Accompaniers in Honduras

Today around 10:30-11am in Hotel Suites Aurora in Tegucigalpa 5 men and 1 woman armed civilians dressed men with ski masks offered no identification, another 3 were wearing Immigration t-shirts, who went to reception.

Masked Honduran Immigration Agents who arrived demanding credentials of international electoral observers and accompaniers.
Masked Honduran Immigration Agents who arrived demanding credentials of international electoral observers and accompaniers.

They asked for passports for the people in the lobby who were here, as well as asked for all International Observers to come to the lobby, asked them questions and looked through their passports and took personal records. They took 2 passports from Brazilian international observers without explaining why. When they asked why, they say “because yes we can”.

They explained they were tourists and still they took passports without credible cause.

The Brazilians felt threatened “with fear, they can do whatever they want” they did not go up to the rooms but according to all present they were told that “they could go up to their rooms anytime”. Everyone felt a state of fear and intimidation, and very shaken up.

Later, the two Passports were given to me by an immigration officer, without even asking to return to the right person, whom they took them from.

This is an international outrage that this is happening during this election process and we are concern for what this may foretell for the transparency process tomorrow during elections.

One observer said that when she asked a soldier who he was, he said he could not identify himself, that he was under the command of Manuel Escobar Mejia.

We are extremely concerned for the safety of the International Observers and anyone here to witness the process of the elections.

Please stay tuned to what is going in Honduras and please be aware of the intimidation to International Observers.

Live updates Facebook and Twitter


Video testimony and english transcript from attempted military police raid on 22-nov-2013

More videos on the Honduras Watch Youtube Channel

Question: What happened?
Answer: We were in a meeting with congressional candidate Gilberto Rios two blocks away from here. We were in the meeting with the collective from our community when we saw two cars full of military police go by. And he told me no you’re just tense. So we went into the meeting and we were there a half hour and then we left because we were going with the same candidate to another meeting with other people and we were about to go in when they told us that they were trying to take over the headquarters of the party here in the Kennedy neighborhood.

So we went out but we were already surrounded with a military police line that went from Gilberto Rios’s house to the headquarters and they had two cones in the street, to make it seem that they had a checkpoint. But then when they saw that people were starting to arrive to the headquarters, we came as some of the first but others were already starting to come and so we came and when the police saw that there were people starting to come, then they pointed their rifles at us like this, they pointed them right at our faces they pointed them at us like this and they looked up at the headquarters with terrible eyes filled with hate, looking up at the headquarters like this and with their hands like this in this position. Then some sisters and brothers who are observers put on their observer identification and their vests and when they saw that we had people they left but still aiming at us.

Question: About how many of them were there?
Answer: They filled up about two blocks it was a lot of them.
Like three cars full of military police. Because for them to fill up two blocks it was a lot of them.

Question: And it was military police?
Military police and the car said Tazon de Seguridad but it didn’t have plates.

Answer: And the raiding of the other houses you were telling me about?
Yeah they went to the houses neighboring the headquarters here but we don’t know what they talked about with the people. But several groups of them came up we didn’t know what they wanted. Like to put us down and make us think… well we don’t know but they aimed at us like they were going to fire, that was their position.

Question: And any commentary to close with in general after these type of incidents are you afraid, any message for the world from the Honduran people?

Answer: Yeah we have been through this through the coup d’etat of 2009, we dealt with tear gas, we dealt with bullets, we dealt with a lot of things and we’ve been through this and I don’t think they can scare us. We don’t stop having certain fear for our lives, right, but we’re willing to keep going forward with this project and not get distracted. The people from the LIBRE party and the National Front of Popular Resistance are people who are very committed to this project and nothing and nobody is going to make us go backwards.


COFADEH: Military Police Try to Break into LIBRE headquarters in Tegucigalpa

Military Police Try to Break into the LIBRE Party Headquarters in the Kennedy Colony of Tegucigalpa, Honduras

(translated by La Voz de los de Abajo)

The Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras ( COFADEH ) denounces that the night Friday, November 22 , military police attempted to break into the headquarters of the party LIBRE party in the Kennedy Colony of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

A few minutes before ten o’clock, three patrols of military police arrived , with approximately 12 troops in each patrol. Covering their faces with balaclavas , the troops began to surround the location , intimidating the four people who were there at the time.

Upon calling other members of their party, neighbors from the colony arrived and word of the situation spread through various media. The military police troops left , driving past the house of a candidate of the LIBRE party. Neighors, media and International Election Observers, responding to the news, remained at the headquarters.

* ” We will not forget and not forgive the acts nor the perpetrators” COFADEH *
Human Rights Monitoring Project for the 2013 Electoral Process

* Telephone : 3347-7819 / 9720-5673
* E – mail: * /


Press Release: Observers from the United States and Canada Travel to Honduras for November 24th Elections

For Immediate Release:

Human Rights Crises Continues

Observers from the United States and Canada Travel to Honduras for November 24th Elections

 Organizations from the United States and Canada are taking more than 160 people to Honduras to serve as election observers and human right observers for the upcoming national elections in which a new political party (LIBRE) founded out of the opposition to a 2009 military coup will be participating for the first time. The delegation is organized by the Honduras Solidarity Network – Alliance for Global Justice and the participants come from organizations, churches and communities from more than 8 states as well as from Canada and El Salvador.

 “Our goal is to accompany the people of Honduras in their electoral process and as they seek social justice in their country”, said Chuck Kaufman of Alliance for Global Justice, “ we are very concerned about an atmosphere marked by extreme violence and harassment against the political opposition, journalists, human rights defenders, small farmers and indigenous communities and the role of US security aid in that crises.”

 The elections are taking place at a time when international and Honduran human rights groups are expressing alarm at the conditions in Honduras and for the possibility of fair and free elections.

  • On October 28th Honduran human rights organizations testified at the Organization of American States’ Human Rights Commission on the threats and attacks against their members and on November 4th Amnesty International published a letter sent to all of the presidential candidates in which Guadalupe Marengo the Americas Deputy Programme Director stated that “The human rights situation in Honduras is dire and the future of the country hangs in the balance,”( ).

Participants are available for interviews. Please contact the press contacts listed above for more information.

In the USA
Michael Bass
Cell: 510-432-2555

In Honduras
Alexy Lanza
Cell: 312 848-7092

Download PDF: Press-Release-7-Nov-2013


Presente! Update on Honduras Oct 2013 from Honduras
“I want to see justice for the assassination of my son. I don’t want there to be any more blood of Hondurans in the streets. But how will the murders stop if there is no justice? Without justice, they aren’t afraid to keep murdering young people….”

These were the words of the mother of Isy Obed Murillo, a 19-year old who was murdered by the Honduran armed forces when they shot live bullets into a massive mobilization of hundreds of thousands demanding the return of Honduran President Mel Zelaya following the 2009 SOA-graduate led military coup. Since the coup, Honduras has transformed from a country that was making progress under President Zelaya to the world’s most violent country.  Social movement leaders, journalists who speak the truth, members of the LGBTQ community, and those who demand justice are the targets of murder, repression, and death threats.  The military patrols the streets of the two largest cities and operates numerous checkpoints throughout the country. The police are widely recognized to have ties to death squads and the military patrols the streets of the two largest cities and operates numerous checkpoints throughout the country. Even so the US continues pouring millions into the post-coup regime, especially in military “aid.”  In this climate of violence and repression, neoliberal policies have been forced upon the Honduran people – whole swaths of land are planned to be the site of “model cities” run by corporations, rivers that Indigenous people depend on have been concessioned to corporations, the rights of teachers have been decimated, and the oligarchy and international corporations are grabbing land and resources all over. Standing up against any of this means risking your life and that of your family.  Impunity reigns as 98% of murders reportedly go unpunished and the justice system is a joke.  As Isy Obed’s mother said, without justice, the murders – whether by the police, military, or third parties – don’t stop.

It is in this context that I am serving as an SOA Watch activante in Honduras, accompanying social movements, those who have lost family members, and those who stand up for human rights.  SOA Watch’s primary partner in Honduras is COFADEH, the Committee of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, a human rights organization that stands up for justice – along with many others – in the face of intense repression and sophisticated surveillance.  We have spent time standing outside the courthouse with the family of Ebed Yanes, a 15-year old who was murdered when a 2011 WHINSEC/SOA grad presumably gave the order to shoot and whose murder by the military was covered up by four SOA grads who are high ranking military officials.  We have spent time with the Indigenous community of Rio Blanco, where an SOA-graduate commanded military unit is occupying Indigenous territory to protect the interests of multi-national capital.  And we have had our hearts broken in the Bajo Aguan, where over 100 campesinos (small farmers) have been murdered since the coup, the majority by a virtual army of private security guards, the military, police, or hired hitmen as powerful landowners seek to grab more and more land and campesino cooperatives find themselves evicted and repressed.

For many in Honduras, their hope for rescuing Honduras is the new political party, LIBRE, coordinated by ousted President Zelaya and formed out of the resistance movement to the coup.  LIBRE leads in the polls and enjoys widespread support.  However, the powers at be are not willing to give up easily what they have taken away from the Honduran people. Leaders in LIBRE have been assassinated and threatened. LIBRE activist Silvia Aguiriano de Sarmiento, her sister, and bodyguard were murdered as they were driving back from a LIBRE meeting by armed men reported to be carrying AK-47s. Anibal Barrow, a journalist who expressed his support for LIBRE and interviewed LIBRE candidates on his TV program, was forcibly disappeared from his car and his whereabouts unknown for 16 days.  His body was finally found buried near a lake in decomposing pieces. One must ask, how can there be free and fair elections when opposition leaders are murdered and journalists who interview LIBRE candidates turn up in pieces?