Friday, November 27, 2009

Sobre as eleições nas Honduras

What has transpired in Honduras in recent weeks has eliminated the prospects for free and fair elections. Actions specifically aimed at suppressing political organizing for the election, including mass arrests, illegal detentions, and violence -- documented by respected international groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights -- have yet to be investigated or prosecuted by the Honduran attorney general's office.


Lists of anti-coup activists have been compiled by local mayors and given to the military. The government's telecommunications commission has continued to block pro-Zelaya media outlets, forcing them to play reruns of old cowboy movies rather than news critical of the coup regime.

All of this while the Micheletti government reinstated a state of siege last weekend and intimidated opponents by announcing that it has trained hundreds of Honduran lawyers to prosecute individuals participating in a boycott of Sunday's vote.

Here's the number Zelaya has to beat: 1.5 million valid votes. Below 1.5 million, there is no doubt that his boycott is a success and no amount of spin that can change that fact for the de facto government. That will mean at least half a million people, 25% of the expected electorate (and possibly more) chose to actively protest by not voting when they would have otherwise. That number would create a legitimacy problem for the next president and almost certainly force a change in action by the de facto government before the inauguration.

Here's the number the de facto government has to beat: 2.4 million valid votes. At 2.4 million, they'll cross the 50% mark in turnout, beat 2005's turnout and be able to proclaim it the highest raw number turnout ever in Honduras. At that point, the boycott is statistically irrelevant and they get to say more people voted than voted when Zelaya was elected in 2005.

Here's a scenario that's likely to happen. The valid vote total number is going to come in somewhere between 1.7 and 2.3 million valid votes. The Zelaya supporters are going to proclaim their boycott a massive success, saying that over 50% of voters didn't show up, the lowest turnout in recent history. The election supporters are going to proclaim the boycott a failure, saying that Zelaya's supporters consisted of less than 10% of voters, maybe 300,000 people who would have voted who didn't show up. Both sides will disagree over the interpretation of the results the same way they have disagreed through this whole process and nobody changes their mind or feels politically pressured to change their actions.

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