Monday, November 30, 2009

Recognize the Honduran Elections

The Presidential election in Honduras was Sunday. Turnout is reported as fairly high (61%) and Pepe Lobo appears to be the clear winner. Many in the Latin American blogosphere are urging that the US not recognize the elections or normalize their relations with Honduras (here is an example).

I just don't understand that. This was a regularly scheduled election.  To the best of my knowledge, neither of the candidates complained that their campaigning was being restricted or that conditions for the vote were unfair. There were tons of rich country observers monitoring the elections. Neither candidate was a "Zelaya guy".

I agree that Zelaya never should have been deported. I am not totally sure whether or not his removal from office (as a separate issue from his deportation) was legitimate. But I don't see how these issues justify not recognizing the results of this election.

Nor am I sure at this point what would satisfy the folks who are advocating non-recognition. 
Are they asking for the election results to be tossed and Zelaya returned to office open-ended? 

Do they think that if Zelaya is re-instated and new elections were held in a month that the outcome would be different?

This is just speculation on my part, but I think Honduras is paying for the past sins of previous US governments in the region. We did horrendous things in Guatemala and Argentina (to name a couple cases I am familiar with), and now people who disagreed with and protested against or grew up resenting our government because of these heinous acts are having their day even though the current situation is not remotely similar.

One of the funniest (at least to me) reasons for not recognizing the results given in the blog post I linked to above is that we should not do so in the name of supporting regional consensus. Meaning I guess that the Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua bloc should have veto power over US policy in Latin America.


kerokan said...
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kerokan said...

One could argue that recognizing these elections would mean accepting the coup-makers' preferred outcome and not inflict on them any costs for the coup. This failure to punish these coup-makers today may encourage other potential coup-makers tomorrow. I am not sure what the US could do to punish the coup-leaders at this point, though.

John Thacker said...

One could argue that recognizing these elections would mean accepting the coup-makers' preferred outcome and not inflict on them any costs for the coup.

When the coup-maker's preferred outcome is to have the normal election in the country, and the deposed president's preferred outcome was to upset the Constitutional order and not hold the regularly scheduled election, it's pretty stupid to prefer something just because the deposed president wanted it.

kerimcan, are you really that in favor of an imperial Presidency?

Tom said...

kerimcan, like NPR, persists in calling events in Honduras a "coup" and the Makers of it need to be punished. These Makers, dear kerimcan, are the Honduran legislature acting in concert with their supreme court. The military was never in charge (excepting the deportation). It was Zelaya who was making a stab at seizing unconstitutional power and it's not up to the U.S. to punish him.