Op­po­si­tion Protestors Are Hunted Down Af­ter the Hon­duras Elec­tion

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In Novem­ber, in­cum­bent Juan Or­lando Hernán­dez was sup­pos­edly re-elected as Pres­i­dent of Hon­duras. Most Hon­durans dis­agreed with the elec­tion re­sults and ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of rig­ging the elec­tion. Not long af­ter, gov­ern­ment raids on those protest­ing the re­sults be­gan.

Exit polls showed that Hernán­dez only had 44% of the vote. Af­ter re­ports of elec­tion fraud spread through­out the coun­try and in the wake of the elec­tion trans­mis­sion sys­tem be­ing shut down for hours, mirac­u­lously Hernán­dez was de­clared the win­ner.

The Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States had sent ob­servers to the elec­tion but re­fused to en­dorse the re­sults. Those ob­servers re­leased a slate of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties they had ob­served in the vot­ing process af­ter the fact. They said no one could be cer­tain who re­ally won the elec­tion.

With that as a back­drop, right af­ter the elec­tion, those who had backed op­po­si­tion can­di­date Sal­vador Nas­ralla be­gan protest­ing. With a se­ries of ral­lies and marches, they took to podi­ums and took over the streets, say­ing the elec­tion fraud had de­liv­ered the elec­tion to the wrong man. They did so de­spite cur­fews set to block the ral­lies. Those ral­lies con­tin­ued for two full months af­ter the elec­tion, all the way through Jan­uary 27, when Hernán­dez was sworn in for his second term of of­fice.

When the protestors took to the streets, the Hon­duran gov­ern­ment re­acted with a vi­o­lent na­tion­wide at­tack on ev­ery­one protest­ing. Fed­eral forces shot into the au­di­ences to dis­perse them. An es­ti­mated 35 protestors were killed and hun­dreds more in­jured. More than 1,000 peo­ple were de­tained, and a min­i­mum of 22 of them are still in jail.

Those con­duct­ing the raids in­clude the reg­u­lar fed­eral forces, crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fi­cers and a vi­cious U.s.-trained spe­cial forces/death squad or­ga­ni­za­tion known as TI­GRES. That last agency was set up by law in 2013 and con­sisted of Hon­duran spe­cial forces trained both by United States Green Berets from the 7th Spe­cial Forces Group (Air­borne) and by mem­bers of the Co­man­dos Jungla, an elite force of the Colom­bian po­lice that, in turn, came from Hon­duran po­lice and the mil­i­tary.

The per­son­nel for TI­GRES be­gan train­ing in 2014, af­ter Hernán­dez was made pres­i­dent the first time. There was a fol­low-up 12-week Com­mando ba­sic course held by the same train­ing agents the fol­low­ing year. Ac­cord­ing to the United States, a to­tal of 322 agents com­pleted that course, now the ba­sic train­ing re­quired for all TI­GRES.

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