Honduran 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.
Threatening Actions in Ocotepeque
Human rights defenders from the department of Ocotepeque in the west of the country, reported that on Sunday, November 17 in the town of Walkaya, municipality of Sensenti, after the Partido Nacional [National Party] campaign closure, a caravan of vehicles carrying National Party activists threw high powered firecrakers at a group of Libertad y Refundación (LIBRE) Party supporters who were stationed at the roadside. No injuries were reported, but the witnesses claimed that the action was an act of intimidation.
… The Original Denouncement from COFADEH (in Spanish)
Intimidación en Ocotepeque
Defensoras de derechos humanos del departamento de Ocotepeque, en el occidente del país, informaron que el domingo 17 de noviembre en la comunidad de Walkaya, jurisdicción del municipio de Sensenti, después del cierre de campaña del Partido Nacional en esta zona, una caravana de vehículos que transportaba a activistas del partido Nacional lanzaron petardos de alto poder contra un grupo de simpatizantes del partido Libertad y Refundación (LIBRE) que se encontraban apostados a la orilla del camino. No se reportó heridos, pero los agredidos sostuvieron que la acción se trató de un acto de intimidación.