Honduras elects conservative rancher as new president

posted at 10:55 am on November 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

By all accounts, the national election in Honduras was a rousing success.  Despite a call to boycott by the small band of remaining supporters of Manuel Zelaya, turnout exceeded 60%.  It produced a clear winner, conservative rancher Porfirio Lobo Sosa, sweeping out the liberal government of both Zelaya and interim caretaker president Roberto Micheletti.  Honduras expects the international community to honor its results, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, that may depend on Barack Obama:

A conservative rancher named Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo took the Honduran presidency in elections Sunday, five months after the country’s last elected president was forced out of the country at gunpoint. Now Hondurans must wait to see if the international community, which has been divided over the crisis, accepts the winner as legitimate.

The results gave Mr. Lobo 56% of the vote, well ahead of Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos at 38%, confirming voters’ expected punishment of the Liberals — party of both the deposed president and the interim government that ousted him.

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.

The US only agreed to accept the results of the election after pressure from within Congress over Obama’s policy towards Honduras.  Senator Jim DeMint had stopped Obama appointees from getting confirmation votes in protest over Obama’s decision to sanction Honduras for the so-called “coup,” even after the Law Library of Congress confirmed the legality of Zelaya’s removal from office (although not his subsequent forced exile).   At first, Obama and his State Department objected to holding the elections at all while Zelaya remained locked out of his offices, but eventually — and reluctantly — accepted the use of democracy to resolve the status of government.

The big question remains whether the US will honor that commitment now that Lobo, an opponent of Zelaya and his party, has won such a clear mandate from Hondurans.  The WSJ assumes that the White House will honor it, and that others will follow suit:

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.

But Brazil, which currently hosts Zelaya in its Tegulcigapa embassy, may lead an effort to disregard the elections:

Honduras’ disputed presidential election is likely to set Washington against emerging Latin American power Brazil over whether to recognize the winner of a vote promoted by the leaders of a June coup.

Conservative opposition leader Porfirio Lobo easily won the election on Sunday, but he will struggle to get recognition in Latin America where many leftist governments see the election as a nail in the coffin of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. …

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.

Brazil, which is increasingly flexing its muscles as its economy becomes more powerful, refuses to recognize the vote.

“Brazil will maintain its position because it’s not possible to accept a coup,” President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Sunday.

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.

If Obama had deliberately strategized a way to undermine democracy in Latin America, he could not have done any better than this.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Eh Puck Fay Yull!!

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2009 at 1:51 PM

The poor, very poor, people of tiny Honduras have more balls than all the rest of the world, the smallest and emptiest of all being the Obama ping pongs.

Schadenfreude on November 30, 2009 at 1:53 PM

As for the people of Honduras, a heartfelt Thank You for showing us how it is done.

coldwarrior on November 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM

+1

Congratulations to the people of Honduras.

FloatingRock on November 30, 2009 at 2:01 PM

If Obama had deliberately strategized a way to undermine democracy in Latin America, he could not have done any better than this.

Exactamundo.

Buy Danish on November 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Even a blind squirel finds a nut every now and then, as the saying goes.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Here in Nebraska the saying is even a blind pig finds an ear of corn every now and then… it’s my opinion an ear of corn could do a better job than the current administration – Do we really have to wait 3 more years to get rid of these thugs????

huskerdiva on November 30, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Good show! I’m glad they faced the tyranny and got rid of the guy and put in a seemingly good man.

Tim Burton on November 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM

God bless the Honduran people and screw you to all the leftists in the southern hemisphere!

ThePrez on November 30, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Thank God!

MCGIRV on November 30, 2009 at 3:08 PM

My new 2nd Favorite Place in the world is: Honduras! I wonder if they have an obscure gulch my family could live in…

j_galt on November 30, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Lobo Sosa to Obama: I won.

Hats off to Honduras!

Steve Z on November 30, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Here in Nebraska the saying is even a blind pig finds an ear of corn every now and then… it’s my opinion an ear of corn could do a better job than the current administration – Do we really have to wait 3 more years to get rid of these thugs????

huskerdiva on November 30, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Obama does have big ears. Too bad he never uses them!

Steve Z on November 30, 2009 at 3:43 PM

As much of a big, fat liberal as Micheletti is, he’s worth our whole Congress. Why can’t lefties support the likes of Micheletti, who loved freedom so much he went against his own party’s leader, the UN, and the US to defend it, and has accepted the results of the election he called for, where the opposition won.

Sekhmet on November 30, 2009 at 3:43 PM

As usual, Obama is on the wrong side.

Terrye on November 30, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Sekhmet on November 30, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Agreed. Though I would disagree with much of Micheletti’s politics, IMHO he has been a model of integrity throughout this whole sordid affair. Perhaps his party would have been better off had he been the president rather than Zelaya.

jwolf on November 30, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Hope he has his affairs in order.

Itchee Dryback on November 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Congratulations Honduras for having bigger cajones then the rest of South America (and the current US wimp administration)

elclynn on November 30, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Sarahcuda/Sosa 2012
Viva Conservatives!!!!!

Sapwolf on November 30, 2009 at 6:14 PM

Sosa is a renegade cowboy unilateralist.

Cool!

Sapwolf on November 30, 2009 at 6:15 PM

¡Sí, podemos!

Sapwolf on November 30, 2009 at 6:18 PM

Who’s his VP?

Ricardo Cheney?

dforston on November 30, 2009 at 9:10 PM

Terrific on-the-ground observation of the election in Honduras: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjVjYjU0YjIzYjc5ZjRmNjYyNzc3ZGQ3MGE2MTU4YjA=

onlineanalyst on November 30, 2009 at 10:07 PM

onlineanalyst on November 30, 2009 at 10:07 PM

The money line of the article:

“On November 29, the Honduran people voted for sanity, normality, and a chance to make their own future. It is time that Washington and the inter-American community woke up to this fact.”

coldwarrior on November 30, 2009 at 10:18 PM

elduende on November 30, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I have really appreciated your translations and updates re Honduras. Thank you.

You are decidedly correct in saying that the US ambassador Lorens was undermining the process. He still refers to the ousting of Zelaya as a “military coup.”

Now that the election in Honduras has provided a smooth transition of power and a confirmation of constitutional government, I would hope that any US financial aid that we cut off has resumed and that the disallowed visas are now a thing of the past.

onlineanalyst on November 30, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Deer Comrades Lula, Chavez, y Hermanos Castros,
Wha happond? El revolucion waz no suppoze to turn out theez way! I thought that weeth your support, we would keeck out el contras and make me El Presidente por vida! Now the federali gringos en El Estados Unidos will geev me no mas dinero. Does thees mean I get no mas blondie muchachas to fock? WTF, hombres?
Su Amigo,
MelZel

sawbuck on November 30, 2009 at 11:13 PM

Meanwhile, down Caracas way, our old friend, Chavez, just does his thing…

Russia is building weapons factories in Venezuela and giving Chavez helicopters for his defensive military.

coldwarrior on November 30, 2009 at 11:41 PM

Let’s see…Unconstitutional actions by thug in chief, Honduran people insist on adherence to the Rule of Law, supported by the Judicial branch. Eventual election without ACORN involvement results in election of Conservative leader by wide margin. No wonder BHO’s nose is out of joint. What can American Patriots learn from this??? Bravo, Honduran citizens!

indypat on December 1, 2009 at 7:49 AM

Honduras has made it clear that they are no banana republic. Would we have done as well?

tom on December 1, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Comment pages: 1 2