One year of the Lobo Administration

Current President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo
President Porfirio Lobo

Lets check the achievements of the Porfirio Lobo Administration: Honduras managed to stabilize its economy after the consequences of the 2009 political crisis. It achieved recognition from many nations, after the erroneous perception of a COUP D’ETAT. This is a very important step.

The Lobo administration had a good start in 2011, boosting major development projects, such as Charter Cities, hydropower projects located by the Patuca river, and the Jicatuyo and Llanitos hydroelectric projects. He also inaugurated the Wind Energy Project of Cerro de Hula.

But the way the Lobo administration has been handling the political issues seems to be mistaking. After getting from Congress an amnesty decree for political crimes supposedly committed by both sides of the 2009 conflict, President Lobo has been stubborn in his intent to get for Mr. Manuel Zelaya an state of total impunity in all the charges levelled against him. This interference in the affairs of the judiciary makes him look bad among those in Honduras that wish for greater respect for the law. I am of the opinion that the main cause of the political crisis of 2009 was the open disrespect of Mr. Zelaya for the legal order, and President Lobo seems unable to apply that lesson to himself.

The stubbornness with which President Porfirio Lobo brings up the subject of re-election produces anxiety to a section of the population. It is believed in Honduras that Zelaya’s illegal attempts to allow re-election were the cause of his overthrown. One would think that an issue that causes so much tension would be abandoned, but that’s not what President Lobo thinks. So much for peace an reconciliation.

The amendments to the article 5 of the Constitution, allowing for the people the possibility to be consulted on the issue of re-election makes many people nervous. Some people wonders if President Lobo is following the steps of Zelaya, who in his eagerness to promote the “fourth ballot box” was forcefully removed from office.

Porfirio Lobo says the Honduran people gave him a clear mandate at the ballot boxes, to fight for peace and reconciliation. But President Lobo has a strange idea of what reconciliation means. He believes, apparently, that reconciliation involves passing over the legal system and the separation of branches, in his attempt to favor the side of Zelaya. Lobo believes he can appease the groups that support Zelaya, but the reactions of these groups, both nationally and internationally, show the opposite. This complacency with the inflexible Zelayistas makes him look weak in the eyes of many Hondurans.

More worrisome is the fact that he has given the National Agrarian Institute in the hands of the Zelayista Cesar Ham, who apparently has used his position to aggravate the agrarian conflict in the Bajo Aguan instead of solving it. But President Lobo refuses to dismiss this minister, because of his distorted idea of the “national reconciliation” concept, that he identifies as a distribution of government positions.

President Lobo is also criticized for creating the new Secretariat of Human Rights in times of economic crisis, when the State can not afford to create more bureaucracy. But President Lobo did it, because he believes this new ministry will appease the human right agencies which have echoed the slanders against Honduras in this issue.

An action much criticized by the public opinion was the removal of Mr. Federico Alvarez’ citizenship. Mr. Alvarez is a naturalized Honduran of Costa Rican origin, who was notable for his criticism against the Lobo Administration in La Tribuna newspaper. Public opinion has interpreted this action as an attack against freedom of expression. The government argues that Mr. Federico Alvarez didn’t have his documentation of naturalization in order.

Despite his clear preference in favor of those who sympathize with former President Zelaya, and his denigration of those who oppose him, President Porfirio Lobo likes to define himself as a moderate politician, far from the extremes of Left and Right. But the truth is that, despite coming from a historically conservative party like the National Party, President Lobo has a clear leftist tendency, which leaves the old guard of the National Party somewhat perplexed.

Hopefully in 2011, President Lobo will focus on development projects for the country, relegating the Zelaya issue. Too much has been done to appease Honduras’ enemies.