Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has said that 2018 will be the “year of liberation” for the Honduran people.
In a written statement posted to his Twitter account, head of the Opposition Alliance invited everyone to “continue to take to the streets” until the “capitalist dictatorship” of President Juan Orlando Hernandez “has been defeated.”
Carta de fin de año al pueblo HONDUREÑO : el heroísmo es continuar en las calles hasta derrotar la dictadura . pic.twitter.com/wgedOMYXeP
— Manuel Zelaya R. (@manuelzr) January 1, 2018
In his message, Zelaya said the Opposition Alliance and the Honduran people “will construct a better way with our own hands” against the “illegal dictorator” Hernandez, whose “criminal acts” of electoral fraud and protester killings are supported by the United States and other international governments.
“We won’t rest, but will battle on all fronts until the sublime moment arrives and we can celebrate,” announced the former president.
He accused the Hernandez of being the leader of an “organized crime” ring that is “violating the Constitution and laws of the Republic, impoverishing the country” and helping the rich accumulate more wealth while leaving the general population with inadequate healthcare and education.
Hernandez was announced the official presidential winner on Dec.17 by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, TSE, the government agency charged to oversee electoral processes in Honduras. He allegedly won with 42.95 percent of the votes, just over Opposition Alliance candidate Salvador Nasralla’s 41.42 percent.
These two were the frontrunners in the Nov. 26 Honduran presidential elections that have been rocked by domestic and international allegations of fraud and “irregularities.”
As late as Dec. 27, Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, OAS, was calling for an election redo because of evidence of countless acts of fraud on part of the TSE during and after people went to the polls in late Nov. 26.
He ceased his initiative after the OAS permanent mission and Hernandez’s foreign minister accused Almagro of “inserting” himself in the nation’s sovereignty and overstepping his judicial boundaries.
Nasralla and the Opposition Alliance presented evidence of over 100 counts of electoral irregularities committed by TSE employees and its director, David Matamoros. Nasralla continues to insist he won the presidency and that the TSE worked in collusion with Hernandez to rob the Opposition Alliance candidate of his post.
Also tweeting late last night was the Honduran priest and civil rights activist, Ismael Moreno, saying he has received “accusations that put his life in risk.”
The well known priest, who was a close friend of government-murdered activist Berta Caceras, ended his tweet asking, “is this the open dialogue that President (Hernandez), backed by the U.S. ambassador (in Honduras) is talking about? Is this the kind of dialogue endorsed by corporations, some churches and sectors of the so-called, “official civil society.”
The School of the Americas Watch, SOA Watch, says that the government is falsely accusing Moreno, and several other human rights activists in Honduras of having ties to “narcotrafficking” in order to “detract” from Moreno’s work.
Moreno has been an outspoken critic of Hernandez, whom Moreno said has created an “authoritarian democracy that will become a dictatorship” for Honduras.
Hernandez’s first term, which officially ends this month, has been littered with alleged corruption and impunity. During his first electoral run in 2013, Hernandez and his National Party of Honduras, PNH, reportedly siphoned off US$90 million from the Honduran Social Security Institute to pay for his campaign against candidate Xiomara Castro, Zelaya’s wife.
In total, the PNH reportedly stole US$300 million from the social security system while Hernandez was president of the Honduran National Assembly. Hernandez claims the party received US$150,000 in illicit funds, but took no responsibility.
Since the polls closed Nov. 26, military and national police forces have killed at least 30 demonstrators who accuse Hernandez and the TSE of rigging the electoral results.
The image of Hernandez was a popular effigy burned throughout Honduras in the country’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.