In the Telenovela that is Honduras, the latest chapter provides us with a positive turn of events.The Presidential election is over and Porifirio Lobo of the National Party led with 56 percent of the votes, defeating Elvin Santos of the Liberal Party which had 38 percent. The interesting part of this is that both former president Manuel Zelaya and interim president Roberto Micheletti were members of the Liberal Party.
The National Party is more of a center-right party than the Liberal Party. It seems that most Hondurans are ready for a change of party as well as presidents.
Former president Manuel Zelaya, the troublemaker who started all the drama called for a nationwide boycott of the elections. His calls were rebuffed. Election officials said that 60 percent of registered voters voted in this election, higher than the previous election. 400 foreign observers from the USA, Latin America and Europe were on the ground.
So now we can all be happy about Honduran Democracy beating back the sneaky hand of Socialism? Not so fast. Yes, this is great turn of events. Yes, President Lobo, who will take office in January of 2010 has asked for all of Hondurans to unite so that they can move on from the very controversial power transfer last June.
The fight is not over yet. It all depends on the United States. First, it sided against interim President Roberto Micheletti, then it said it would support the election that took place last Sunday. But it's been quiet from Washington D.C. Some Latin American countries such as Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia have supported the election. Others, such as Brazil, Argentina and Spain have not. Mexico and Canada are on the fence but they will probably follow the USA's lead on this one, assuming that we show leadership on this one. It goes without saying that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is angry but he has his own issues with his crumbling state run economy. He should put down his copy of "Das Capital" and pick up a copy of "Wealth of Nations."
But I digress............
Honduras needs the USA to lead and boldly support this election so that most of the world can follow. People's lives are at stake here. Honduras has a poverty rate of 70 PERCENT. SIXTY PERCENT of it's exports go to the USA. They send us everything from bananas to Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear.. One million Hondurenos in the USA send money home to Honduras. Honduras might only have 7 million people but they need jobs to pay the bills like everyone else on this planet.
We haven't heard the last of Zelaya. The Honduran Congress will meet as early as tomorrow about reinstating him temporarily until January. If this happens, I fear that he might not want to step down when he needs to but we will see. He can finish his presidency as a stateman or as a divisive politician. It's up to him.
The USA needs to lead the way on bringing Honduras out of the Diplomatic Deep Freeze.