Monday, November 30, 2009

US Should Recognize Honduran Election

Honduran President-elect Porfirio Lobo

Honduras conducted a peaceful election Sunday, and the result was that conservative candidate Porfirio Lobo emerged as the victor over Elvin Santos, who conceded defeat and pledged to help the new president in any way possible. Interim-president Roberto Michelotti immediately agreed to hand over the reins of government to Lobo.

As for those "mass demonstrations" that our news media is trying to portray, my Honduran sources, who have communicated with family members in-country, tell me the protests were quite small and isolated.

In spite of the results, Argentina, Brazil and, of course, Venezuela declared the results "invalid" since their preferred man, the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, stilled holed up in the Brazilian embassy, was not a candidate.

And does the Obama Administration recognize the result? Well, that is not entirely clear since the State Department had first indicated their willingness to accept the will of the Honduran electorate then backed off a bit.

"While the election is a significant step in Honduras' return to the democratic and constitutional order ... it's only a step and it's not the last step," said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela.

Apparently, the State Department wants the Honduran Congress to hold some sort of referendum on the previous removal of Zelaya.

Honduras should tell the State Department and Mr Valenzuela to shove it. Of course, that would mean that US aid to Honduras would remain suspended.

Normally, any sane US administration would immediately welcome and recognize the results. The problem is that this administration is more in tune with folks like Hugo Chavez. They inexplicably took Zelaya's side when he was forcibly removed from power-in accordance with Honduran law-after trying to circumvent the Honduran constitution. Nevertheless, it is time for the current administration to accept the results and restore aid to Honduras. Normally, I am not a big supporter of foreign aid, but it seems to me that our strategic interests dictate a good relationship with the new Honduran government. This is a country that now stands on our side. We should stand on their side.

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