IMAGINE the howls of rage from Washington and its regional hirelings if an election in Venezuela had been marked by similar skulduggery to the deplorable fraud perpetrated in Honduras.
Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez was paraded as the favourite before polling began, but early results indicated a clear lead for his anti-corruption challenger Salvador Nasralla of the Libre party.
What happened next was unbelievable — the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) simply stopped releasing running results, leaving the contest dangling with Nasralla holding a 5 per cent advantage.
Things moved rapidly, with armoured military columns rolling towards the capital Tegucigalpa as the electoral authorities claimed to have discovered a malfunction of their computers but put the count back on track.
As if by magic, Nasralla’s lead was reduced and then reversed while Hernandez supporters engaged in intimidatory “victory” celebrations even while their candidate remained officially in second place.
It emerged that, during the supposed TSE computer shutdown, security mechanisms linked to the data transmission system had been removed and unvalidated ballot papers were being counted.
Who could dispute Nasralla’s assertion that the presidential election was being stolen by ballot-rigging connived at by TSE president David Matamoros?
Matamoros denies wrongdoing, but, in the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies: “He would, wouldn’t he?”
He deplores street violence that has followed his tribunal’s jiggery-pokery and expects his announcement of the election result to be regarded as the final word on the matter.
If it was up to the US State Department and its puppet Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organisation of American States, Matamoros’s wish would be granted.
The Honduran people were given the democratic right to elect their president but let themselves down by backing the wrong candidate, so the election authorities, backed up by the military top brass, have corrected their mistake — it’s the Latin American way in Washington’s backyard.
Wrong! That’s the way things used to play out when US ambassadors behaved like Roman consuls in the region, secure in the knowledge that national armies, led by officers trained in the US School of the Americas, would “restore order” if people misused their ballot papers.
Cuban revolutionary leaders called their island the “first free country of the Americas” after they put an end to such anti-democratic and corrupt practices with their people’s liberation in 1959.
Recent years have witnessed other uprisings in class and national consciousness, especially since the Bolivarian revolution, led by Hugo Chavez, in Venezuela.
Those rising up understand that the imperialist enemy will stop at nothing to return to the days of US hegemony throughout the region, whether through economic pressure, financial corruption, ballot-rigging or, in the last resort, military coups.
The Honduran people have seen their dreams of democracy dashed before — in 2009, their president Manuel Zelaya, elected just three years earlier, was overthrown by the military and deported to Costa Rica.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — remember her, the “progressive” alternative to Donald Trump? — condoned the coup, revealing the shallowness of Washington’s heralded commitment to democracy.
President Trump will be no different from Clinton and will throw his weight around to persuade peoples and governments in the region, including US citizens, to accept this fraudulent seizure of power.
Hondurans will resist and be supported by friends and neighbours. We must insist that the British government too rejects this self-evident electoral coup.