TEGUCIGALPA – A US delegation of some 50 religious faithful asked Washington on Monday to withdraw its recognition of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez arguing that he was elected “fraudulently,” and expressed their support for a national dialogue to “reverse the election fraud.”
“We call upon the government of the United States to withdraw its recognition of the government elected fraudulently in Honduras,” said Clara White, spokesperson for the Emergency Religious Delegation, at a press conference at the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa, which is being guarded by the military.
The Nov. 26, 2017, presidential election in Honduras was “fraudulent” because the country’s constitution “prohibits the re-election of the current president (Hernandez),” she said, adding that international observers had also said fraud was committed in the vote.
Hernandez on Saturday began his second term in office amid the rejection by supporters of the Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship, headed by Salvador Nasralla, sparking a political crisis with violent demonstrations.
The US delegation demands that “those directly and intellectually responsible” for the at least 40 deaths during the post-election violence “be investigated and put on trial.”
In addition, it demanded that the US suspend cooperation with the Honduran National Police and army, since that aid is “making the crisis more acute” in Honduras and the region and “encouraging the violation of human rights,” according to a communique read by White and Kathleen McTique, the pastor of the Universalist Unitarian Church.
The security forces have arrested more than 1,000 people, “beaten and knocked down” many more, as well as using “prohibited weapons, live ammunition, water cannon with chemicals and teargas bombs inside houses,” said the members of the delegation, who later met with the US Embassy’s charge d’affaires, Heide Fulton.
Both Hernandez and Nasralla have asked the UN to appoint a mediator for a national dialogue to find a way out of the crisis.