Independent journalists from across Honduras are demonstrating against the state repression of protesters who publicly reject the disputed presidential election results announced December 17, as the United States offered its official recognition of Juan Orlando Hernandez's "victory."
Honduras: Opposition Alliance Summons More Street Protests
The media are demanding the government stop manipulating the ongoing riots and cease closing independent journalistic outlets, local teleSUR correspondent Gilda Silvestrucci reports.
On Friday, the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights urged the Honduran government to "guarantee the right to life, as well as the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly."
At the same time, the United States extended its official congratulations to the incumbent president for his apparent re-election in the controversial polls while calling for "much-needed electoral reforms" and insisting the public should remain calm.
"We congratulate President Juan Orlando Hernandez on his victory in the November 26 presidential elections, as declared by the Honduran
Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE)," said U.S. State Department spokesman Heather Nauert in a missive released by the embassy in Honduras on Friday.
"The close election results, irregularities identified by the OAS and the EU election observation missions, and strong reactions from Hondurans across the political spectrum underscore the need for a robust national dialogue. A significant long-term effort to heal the political divide in the country and enact much-needed electoral reforms should be undertaken.
"We call upon the TSE to transparently and fully review any challenges filed by political parties. We urge Honduran citizens or political parties challenging the result to use the avenues provided by Honduran law. We reiterate the call for all Hondurans to refrain from violence. The government must ensure Honduran security services respect the rights of peaceful protestors, including by ensuring accountability for any violations of those rights."
The TSE finally declared Hernandez victorious following a partial ballot recount, despite widespread allegations of fraud made by the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship party.
Numerous irregularities were also reported by international observers such as the Organization of American States (OAS), which requested new elections.
Hondurans immediately mobilized against the declaration to denounce the "electoral coup," demanding a new electoral process. Protests were heavily repressed by security forces across the country, leaving at least 12 dead and hundreds detained.
As journalists mobilized on Friday, Uruguay's Frente Amplio, a progressive left-wing party, expressed their "solidarity with (Opposition Alliance) candidate Salvador Nasralla and the people of Honduras that decidedly face such fraud."
In a public resolution, the party has asked Uruguay's government not to recognize the Honduran government "emerged of an electoral fraud that goes against the will of the people expressed on Nov. 26."