The president of Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal shows the results of the recount of votes Orlando Sierra/Getty Images

The Regional Repercussions of Honduras’s Botched Election

Once again, a serious breach of representative democracy has occurred in Latin America. Despite all the regional legal tools that have been created in recent years, an unfair and scarcely free election was probably stolen, or at best, tainted to the point that the result cannot be considered reliable.

MEXICO CITY – In Honduras, stolen elections, followed by accusations of fraud, street demonstrations, and military repression, are business as usual. So it wasn’t exactly shocking when the presidential election in late November, marred by numerous irregularities in the vote count, led to all three. But the consequences are likely to reverberate throughout Latin America.

Decades of foreign intervention in Honduras have caused the country’s current predicament. From 1903 until 1925, Honduras faced continuing incursions by United States troops. In the 1980s, during the violent US-backed effort to bring about regime change in neighboring Nicaragua, Honduras was turned into what some in the military jokingly referred to as “the world’s only land-based aircraft carrier.” Today, it functions as an important transit point for drugs shipped from South America to the US.

But, in recent years, there have been efforts by foreign powers to play a more constructive role. In particular, America’s previous president, Barack Obama, committed the US to putting aside decades of mutual recrimination with its Latin American neighbors, and facilitated the development of an Inter-American system of collective defense of democracy and human rights.

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