Former President Zelaya in exile again; clouds of controversy still cover Honduras.
Porfirio Lobo was sworn in as president of Honduras on the Wednesday that would have been deposed former President Manuel Zelaya’s final day in office. Riding in a convoy that included Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez and newly elected Honduran President Lobo, Mr. Zelaya was escorted from the Brazilian embassy where he sought politcal asylum and was ‘confined’for four months after returning to his homeland to seek reinstatement. “We’ll be back,” Mr. Zelaya remarked to the press and the thousands of supporters who assembled to bid their leader farewell. The presidential jet of Mr.Fernandez whisked Zelaya off, with a second jet in which rode family members and some Zelaya advisors departing immediately after.
The political stalemate that held world leaders in suspense and dismay centered around the removal of the rightful president at gunpoint, and his forced exile; then the refusal of an interim government headed by then acting President Robert Micheletti and the Congress to restore Zelaya to the presidency.
The first official action taken by the new Honduran president was to effectively grant a universal amnesty to all who played a role in the June 28th ouster of Manuel Zelaya, including soldiers, judges, and politicians – a move Mr. Lobo states was necessary in order to promote a smooth transition and perhaps healing for the nation. All charges against Mr. Zelaya that had been raised by the Micheletti administration were also waived.
In the aftermath of the political upheaval initiated by the overthrow of Manuel Zelaya, Honduras , as a nation , has suffered socio-economic damages in many sectors that Mr. Lobo is expected to repair. Relations between Honduras and its neighbors will take time and negotiations to return to past status. Sanctions such as limited trade restrictions and credit extensions from some foreign countries have reduced state revenues. Other domestic business losses were estimated at $50 million per day as the political standoff persisted. Although the U.S. and Europe have officially recognized the new Honduran regime, Brazil, Venezuela, Equador, Bolivia,Peru, and other Central and South American/Caribbean countries have withheld their official approval citing the fact that the Zelaya ouster was in affect a coup de etat, and that governmental actions subsequent to that lack legality and are, therefore, unacceptable. Questions continue to arise regarding the true origins of the demise of the Zelaya government. For the world’s third poorest country, the road to recovery will be long.