WASHINGTON – The United States’ largest union federation called on Friday on Honduras to conduct a full and transparent recount of votes cast in a Nov. 26 presidential election that still is without a declared winner.
The AFL-CIO also urged the US to cut off all military assistance to the Central American nation over what it described as Tegucigalpa’s repression of its citizens’ basic constitutional rights.
“According to a wide range of sources, the electoral process has been thoroughly tainted by lack of transparency, delays and errors in vote-counting and subsequent violent repression of the population,” Cathy Feingold, the director of the AFL-CIO’s International Department, said in a letter sent to the US State Department.
Feingold, who also sent the missive to Honduras’ ambassador to the US, said “there must be a full and transparent recount of all tally sheets.”
Furthermore, “the recount must be observed by all political parties, civil society organizations and international observers such as the (Organization of American States) and European Union missions,” she added.
“Failing such a recount, Honduras must conduct a new election, after taking effective measures to address the grave problems seen in the recent election,” Feingold wrote.
She went on to say that the US should suspend all military assistance as a means of condemning “the violent repression by Honduras of those now exercising constitutional and human rights of association, peaceful assembly and expression.”
As part of its process to determine the election winner, Honduras’ Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) on Friday was continuing a special recount of 4,753 tally sheets called into question by the opposition.
Opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla, the leader of a left-wing alliance who squared off against incumbent conservative President Juan Orlando Hernandez in the balloting, says the single-round election was marred by fraud.
The TSE, Honduras’ highest electoral authority, still has not declared a winner even though an initial count of all tally sheets showed Hernandez, the National Party’s candidate, with 42.98 percent of the vote and Nasralla, of the Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship, with 41.38 percent.