Congratulations are in order for Honduras, who endured months of bullying from Zelaya’s allies, and the Obama administration in the wake of their June 28th removal of the Honduran President from power. Although his ouster was ordered by a unanimous Honduran Supreme Court, and approved by the Honduran Congress, the Obama administration called it a military coup and cut off aid to the country, revoked visas of Honduran officials, and threatened to not recognize the results of the elections, which were held yesterday.
The winner is a conservative rancher named Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo with 56% of the vote, beating Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos at 38%. It was expected that voters would punish the Liberal party of both the deposed president and the interim government that removed him.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
While the small Central American nation is expected to get crucial support from the U.S., it will likely continue to face opposition from regional heavyweights such as Brazil and Argentina. The U.S., in agreeing to accept the winner, is now in a delicate position — with Brazil, for example, which is housing exiled leader Manuel Zelaya in its Honduran embassy and recognizes him as president.
Only the U.S., Costa Rica and Panama have said they will accept the winner, though other countries, including Mexico and Canada, appear to be leaning that way as well. The government is betting that U.S. recognition will lead other nations to back down from earlier positions. “They may not recognize the elections Sunday itself, but I believe they will at some point in the future,” Mr. Lobo said Saturday.
Earth Times reports:
Most of the Latin American countries and Spain do not want to recognize the elections staged by Honduras’ de facto government following the ouster of Zelaya in a June 28 coup. But some countries, including Costa Rica, Peru and Panama, see the elections as valid. Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, whose country rejects the elections, said he had discussed them over the telephone Saturday with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had described them as a “step” which needed to be followed by “many more.”
Reuters: United States, Brazil at odds over Honduras crisis:
The State Department called the vote “a necessary and important step forward” after results came in on Sunday but did not say whether Washington would explicitly recognize Lobo’s victory over ruling party candidate Elvin Santos.
I’m trying to figure out what additional steps Honduras needs to take to please the State Department, but I strongly suspect and fear that Obama will be tempted to follow his hero’s lead. Remember his cringe inducing greeting to Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the G20 summit in London, last April?:
Ed Morrissey sees the Obama administration as partly to blame for the effort, led by Brazil, to disregard the elections:
And so we come to the ultimate irony of the entire sordid mess that Obama himself largely created. Obama refused to accept the legality of Zelaya’s removal because Obama considered it an affront to democracy, even though Zelaya violated the Honduran constitution and the Honduran parliament and Supreme Court followed the law in having him removed from office. Thanks to that self-defeating and intellectually vapid policy, Obama has undermined actual democracy in Honduras by giving Brazil, Venezuela, and Nicaragua an opening to ignore the results of a regularly scheduled and honest election and to force Honduras to put a lawbreaker back into office against the will of its people.
MORE on the Honduran election at Fausta’s.