National Election Outcome is Uncertain in Honduras, but There’s Progress at Local Level

New Orleans   Almost all of the headlines from Honduras in the wake of the recent election have been very, very troubling. The earliest reports indicated that a more progressive party and candidate was leading the voting decisively over the incumbent who had won the presidency in the wake of the United States backed golipista coup pulled off by the conservatives to steal the seat from the popularly elected president. This coup has roiled politics in Honduras for years, even as some stability had returned. Later as the reporting on the vote count stretched out from days to over a week, the incumbent’s party claimed to have been re-elected by 50,000 votes. Recounts are now being demanded because of these and other irregularities in both the voting and the tabulation. Protests are widespread given the uncertainty, and both sides are claiming victory.

ACORN has been organizing in Honduras for years in Tegucigalpa as well as in San Pedro Sula and the working-class suburbs in this industrial city, sometimes touted as the most dangerous in North America. The issues are rock solid and often have centered around winning basic city services in the colonias like potable water, recreation centers, paved streets, and school improvements. The issue of security has been particularly intense in our neighborhoods, and they were regularly among the most impacted, as threats to families forced many to send children fleeing to the US border during the refugee crisis poorly handled by the Obama Administration. ACORN has pushed the government on this issue, and even won some support from the First Lady directly in helping repatriate children that were in holding camps in the US after having been caught at the border.

Nonetheless, the election brought all of these tensions around the coup, the disenfranchisement of low and moderate income people, and the continued outrage over the undermining of Honduran democracy to the surface. In a lesson that speaks to the United States experience, the resistance, so to speak, continued to burn as hot coals even when the flames were no longer as visible to outsiders past the ring of fire. Reports of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of women being motivated to run for office in elections post-Trump, find an analogy in the awakening of grassroots political interest and involvement in Honduran communities as well.

Recently, in a call with ACORN Honduras organizers, we came to understand something more of the full measure of the changes and continued reactions at the grassroots level where the coup polarized and politicized so many. In San Pedro Sula and its suburbs four ACORN members had been elected as representatives to the national Congress, Sherly Ariagas, Edgardo Castro, Samuel Madrid, and Patricia Murillo, who was one of the founding leaders of San Pedro Sula ACORN. Four city councillors were elected, one in Tegucigalpa, and others in the San Pedro Sula working class suburbs of Cholomo, Progresso, and San Antonio Cortes. ACORN members and supporters were also elected as mayors in Macuclizo and San Antonio Cortes.

Certainly, it says a lot about ACORN’s work and organizing in Honduras in recent years, but no matter how the national election is finally determined, perhaps more importantly, these kinds of election victories, multiplied many times over throughout the country at the local level, also speak to a wave of change that is coming in Honduras that will not be stopped and cannot be stolen.

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Congressman Al Green is Serious About Trump Impeachment

New Orleans   Before you say anything, let me be clear. We’re big Al Green fans. Huge, simply, huge! Houston’s Democratic Congressman Al Green has been our go-to-guy for the last dozen years, whenever Local 100 United Labor Unions or ACORN needed help on anything, anytime. When there was a resolution in Congress to ban ACORN, Al Green wasn’t voting for it, even as many of our friends folded like cheap suits. When ACORN International wanted a delegation of Korean mayors and legislators to meet a Congressman, who do you think agreed to meet them? Al Green, that’s who. When Local 100 has a leadership conference anywhere within shouting of Houston, and sometimes even in New Orleans, who has keynoted unfailingly? Yes, Al Green. When we needed help to fight for better remittance policies and against payday lending, Green took our cause to the House Financial Services Committee. He brought us to his office to discuss a national living wage bill and an increase in the federal minimum wage. He represents Houston, but was born and raised in New Orleans. Don’t ever tell me that we don’t support Congressman Al Green.

So, were we surprised when Al Green took the floor of the House of Representatives and formally offered Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump? Heck no, he had told us last June in Houston that he was going to ask that Trump be impeached then. It was just a matter of time, and the time had obviously come. Al Green had had enough.

The Washington Post catches the weight and drama of Green’s move:

Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) came to the House floor at 12:13 p.m… to offer articles of impeachment under special House rules requiring a floor vote; he returned to the floor at 1:34 to force that vote. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered a motion to table the resolution, which was adopted on a 364 to 58 vote. Every lawmaker who opposed the motion was a Democrat, as were four others who voted present.

The top two House Democrats both voted to table the resolution after coming out against Green’s effort shortly before the House voted.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) issued a joint statement opposed Green’s push, though they stopped short of calling on Democrats to vote to kill it.

 

The leadership’s argument was to keep working hard to oppose Trump initiatives and to let the special counsel proceed with investigations into Russian collusion in Trump’s election. They had made the argument before, and Green was not to be dissuaded this time.

So, sure, it’s also not a surprise that he got beaten, but he got 57 other recorded votes besides his own for articles of impeachment, and that’s something, even if 12% is a long way from a majority. Don’t tell me that Mister Hypersensitive in the White House didn’t notice that as well. Win or lose, it’s not a good day in the West Wing when there’s a vote to impeach you for malfeasance in office.

Notice has been served, and, we know Congressman Al Green, so trust us, this is serious, and he’s not going away, so someone in the White House better straighten their act up and do it ASAP.

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