For Some Hondurans, Elections Change Little
On the eve of Honduras' "free and fair" elections, a handful of men and women from the community of Guadalupe Carney, Honduras, held a silent vigil. Earlier that day, someone in a neighboring community had received a call from a family member in the army: troops were surrounding Guadalupe Carney on all sides, in preparation for an "arms raid." A call was put in to Guadalupe Carney's local radio station, and word spread quickly through the community grapevine. In a small, bare, concrete room lit by a single candle, these residents waited in fear into the next morning - Election Day.
Fortunately, no soldiers were seen in Guadalupe Carney on November 29, and people went about their daily business. Posters hung on walls throughout the community urged members not to participate in the electoral process. Very few did, in conjunction with a nation-wide resistance campaign that boycotted the elections, demanding that Roberto Michiletti's de facto government reinstate deposed president Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, and that the country continue with the "constituyente" - a process that, many steps along the line, could lead to the rewriting of the Honduran Constitution.
Even if residents of the collective farming community had wanted to vote, many are afraid to leave its confines to travel to the nearest polling site. A lengthy land dispute between the small farmers, or "campesinos," and nearby landowners has aligned the powers that be - the local business elite and the state forces that their money controls - against the community. This means that leaving the village comes at the risk of legal persecution and even death.