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VenEconomy : Democratic Honduras



This Sunday, November 29, the winner in Honduras was democracy.

The businessman Porfirio Lobo, candidate for the opposition party Partido Nacional, won the presidency of the Republic with more than 51% of the votes, versus 34% for Elvin Santos of Partido Liberal, Zelaya’s own party. To start with, there are two points worth mentioning: first, that Lobo was the contender who was beaten by Manuel Zelaya in the 2005 presidential elections; and second, that Roberto Micheletti, the president appointed by the Honduran Congress following Zelaya’s removal from office, did not run at these elections, on his own initiative.

The people of Honduras gave demonstrations to the world of their civic and democratic disposition when 1,716,027 of the voters on the electoral roll (61.3%) turned out to vote. This was the highest turnout for presidential elections in Honduras’s democratic history. People ignored the call by deposed President Manuel Zelaya to not recognize the elections and to abstain and they also managed to avoid getting caught up in the violence Zelaya’s supporters tried to generate. In the weeks prior to the elections, Zelaya’s supporters reportedly set off a number of small bombs in public places with a view to terrorizing voters and encouraging them to abstain, so as to be able to claim that the elections lacked legitimacy. This strategy is reminiscent of what happened during the 1963 elections in Venezuela, when leftwing groups used the same scheme of violence –also without success- to prevent the elections from which Raúl Leoni emerged the victor.

The losers in these elections, besides abstention and violence, were Zelaya, his violent followers, and some of the Continent’s leaders, among them Luiz Inàcio Lula Da Silva, Cristina Kirchner, Michelle Bachelet, Rafael Correa, and, most particularly, Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, who came up against another obstacle to achieving their objective of spreading their communist project throughout the Continent.

The Honduran people and their democratic institutions came out the winners from this crisis. First, they scotched Zelaya’s plans (hatched in combination with Chávez) to set up a carbon copy of the Bolivarian project in Honduras, despite all the international pressures and attempts at blackmail by the OAS, the European Union, the United Nations, and the ALBA. Second, they have dismantled –for now- all the traps set by Zelaya’s supporters and his international sponsors to abort the elections and to stop other governments from recognizing the right of the Honduran people to elect their president. Today, the United States, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and Colombia have said that they will recognize the results of the elections in Honduras, and it is expected that the European Union will recognize the new government headed by Porfirio Lobo, once he has been sworn in on January 27 next year.

Now, the Honduran people have two new challenges before them that are even bigger than the ones they have already overcome.

The first is that Porfirio Lobo’s new government will have to get Honduras –the second poorest country in the region after Haiti- to overcome the tremendous economic and social problems beleaguering its population. That in itself is an enormous challenge.

The second is that it will have to consolidate democracy, overcome the divisions in Honduran society, and strengthen the country’s institutions. There is no doubt that Chávez and Fidel will not desist in their efforts to undermine democracy in Honduras in order to set up their communist project there, as they are doing in El Salvador, Peru, and other countries.

Now the battle Honduras has to wage is the battle against poverty and in favor of democracy and freedom

 

VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by VeneEconomy on 12/01/2009. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .

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Petroleumworld News 12/ 02/09

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