Lunes, 30 de noviembre de 2009
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • DECEMBER 1, 2009

Honduran Election Gains Backing



Honduras's President-elect Porfirio Lobo began lobbying on Monday for international recognition of his victory and an end to the country's diplomatic isolation over the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

A day after winning the controversial ballot, Mr. Lobo, a conservative former rancher, said governments holding out on recognition "are punishing those who went to vote, who do so every four years, and have nothing to do with what happened on June 28."

The election was the country's first since the army removed Mr. Zelaya from office at gunpoint in June, a move much of the world condemned as a coup. Many Hondurans say the ouster was done legally to stop an attempt by Mr. Zelaya to stay in power past his term -- charges he denies.

In addition to Mr. Lobo, Honduras's provisional government has emerged as a winner in the crisis. The de facto leaders of this tiny nation stood up to the international community, got Washington to change course, and appear to have ensured Mr. Zelaya won't return to the presidency.

The U.S. praised the election as credible and said Mr. Lobo would be Honduras's next president. Arturo Valenzuela, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, also kept the pressure on the provisional government to reconcile with Mr. Zelaya, saying more needs to be done to restore full democracy.

"While the election is a significant step in Honduras's return to the democratic and constitutional order after the 28 June coup, it's just that: It's only a step," Mr. Valenzuela said.

Colombia has recognized the results, as have Panama, Peru and Costa Rica. Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, who has been at the forefront of efforts to reinstate Mr. Zelaya, said that while Spain didn't recognize the election, it wouldn't disregard the vote, implying it might recognize Mr. Lobo in the coming months.

Despite opposition to the vote from nations including Brazil and Argentina, analysts expect a growing list of countries to back the results as the only logical way out of the impasse. Turnout was 61% -- higher than in the previous election, and evidence that Hondurans had rejected Mr. Zelaya's call for a boycott.

In the months following Mr. Zelaya's ouster, the de facto leaders of Honduras came under enormous pressure from Washington and other capitals to allow him back into the presidency.

The interim leaders held firm, insisting they were defending their democracy from Mr. Zelaya and his biggest ally, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. Mr. Zelaya had alienated Honduran institutions such as Congress and the courts, as well as much of the middle class, by calling for a referendum to measure voter interest in potentially rewriting Honduras's constitution. Mr. Chávez rewrote Venezuela's constitution to extend his stay in power.

Analysts say the de facto government's defiance wouldn't have been sustainable had the presidential ballot not already been planned for November, just five months after Mr. Zelaya's ouster.

While the U.S. wanted to pressure the government led by interim President Roberto Micheletti into allowing Mr. Zelaya to serve out his term, analysts say Washington decided the vote was the most pragmatic solution.

"Elections were the escape belt," says Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas, a U.S. trade group. "It was the way to put Zelaya and Micheletti into the history books. We didn't support either of those guys."

The biggest loser in the vote may be Mr. Zelaya. In an interview Monday, he continued to chastise both the interim government and the president-elect, Mr. Lobo. Mr. Zelaya said the turnout figures were inflated, and suggested there was voter fraud. He didn't offer evidence of either.

Congress is set to vote Wednesday on Mr. Zelaya's temporary reinstatement. But Sunday's ballot left many lawmakers emboldened to block his return.

"There isn't a chance of him coming back and there never has been," said Maru Landa de Bulnes, a congresswoman from Mr. Zelaya's Liberal Party, who said she will vote against reinstatement.

Write to Nicholas Casey at [email protected] and David Luhnow at [email protected]



Publicado por Corazon7 @ 22:28
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