USA backs re-election of Honduran president despite vote controversy

President Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the victor, but the opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla claims fraud and came to Washington earlier this week seeking support from the USA government and the OAS.

The Honduran electoral tribunal declared Hernandez victor of the November 26 election last weekend amid strident opposition protests over the vote count in the impoverished Central American country, which is a major hub for drug trafficking. Supporters of his opponent, Salvador Nasralla, have protested the results.

The day before thousands of Hondurans protested in front of the USA embassy Tegucigalpa and demanded the immediate departure of the current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez.

The U.S. government backed the re-election of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández on Friday, despite objections from the Organization of American States, which had called for a new election after its election observers had found widespread irregularities.

"Thus far, the State Department's response to events in Honduras has been inadequate", reads a letter sent to Tillerson by the 20 members of Congress and shared with reporters by Rep. Norma Torres, a Democrat from California. In a statement, spokesman Heather Nauert also urged all sides to refrain from violence in the unrest that has claimed at least 17 lives. By mid-week some 27 people had died in clashes, according to local human rights group COFADEH.

"We call upon the TSE to transparently and fully review any challenges filed by political parties".

"With the decision by Washington, I am no longer in the running", Nasralla told the HCH television station.

Nasralla said the USA decision reflected Washington's strategic concerns over a leftist government in Honduras.


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