As the U.S.-backed far-right Juan Orlando Hernández and left-of-center Xiomara Castro de Zelaya both declare victory in the Honduran presidential race, experts urge caution in an election they say is plagued by irregularities, state repression and violence.
“There must be an opportunity to do a full and accurate count and fully investigate reports of irregularities and intimidation and threats by authorities,” declared the Center for Constitutional Rights in a statement released Monday. “Given the context of widespread opposition to the post-coup government and its violent repression of civil society, CCR urges the international community to do everything possible to ensure respect for and protection of Hondurans’ right to free expression, freedom of the press, and peaceful assembly in the coming days.”
As of Monday morning, 50 percent of the vote had been counted, with 34 percent going to Hernández and 28 percent going to Castro. Democracy Now! reports that 18 members of Castro Castro’s Libre party were ahead of the election, making their death toll greater than that of all other parties combined.
Numerous reports from the ground indicate election irregularities.
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Suyapa Portillo, a professor at Pritzer College in Claremont, California wrote from Honduras in a statement:
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