Monday, November 30, 2009
As promised in my post yesterday, I am going to discuss the results of yesterday's Honduran election. Here are the facts:
a) The winner was Porfirio Lobo, of the opposition National Party of Honduras. Mr. Lobo won by a large margin with approximately 56% of the vote. Note: Zelaya won the previous Presidential election with 49.9% of the vote.
b) Zelaya's bid to have voters boycott the election was broadly rejected by voters, with voter turnout estimated at 60%. Note: Voter turnout from the previous vote in 2005, when Zelaya was elected was significantly lower at 46%.
c) As of this post, there is no evidence of irregularities or vote rigging. General opinion is that this election was free and fair.
d) Latin American Response so far: Columbia, Costa Rica, Panama & Peru have said they will recognize the vote. The US has also said it will accept the vote. Rejectors of the vote: Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador & Bolivia.
The statistics above speak volumes. This voter turnout signals that the Honduran public, the most important constituency here, has not stayed away from the polls in protest. They have blatantly ignored Zelaya's Chavez backed campaign to not participate. The margin of victory illustrates they have given the President an exceptionally strong mandate to govern. It greatly pleases me that the Honduran public has openly participated in this process and validated my feeling that the interim government did not commit a gross crime as was implied.
I have not done any detailed research but to my knowledge I do not know of a military coup (as this has been labelled) where an election was organized and held within 6 months by the perpetrators. Not only that, the interim leader lost and openly stepped down.
Now, on the Latin American response: I commend the countries that have immediately recognized the vote. It should be noted that prior to the election, Costa Rica made it clear it would only recognize the vote if it was confident that the vote was free and fair.
Now on the rejectors: Obviously Chavez of Venezuela and his two lackeys, Morales of Bolivia and Correa of Ecuador immediately rejected the vote. This is no surprise. Argentina: This one I will not pass comment on as this governments' issues are deep and will require a full post to explain. This leaves the one country I want to focus on: Brazil.
President Lula da Silva of Brazil is starting to really concern me. This man is leading one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With the success comes responsibility for leadership and stability. He has to move on from protesting like a university student trying to find himself. His strong vocal opposition to the result of this vote today and his recent hospitality to the leader of Iran frightens me greatly. Lula has embraced a leader who is part of a regime that achieved power by blatantly rigging elections, then viciously repressing peaceful demonstrations with clubs, arrests and torture. Now Lula has decided to take a principled stand against a country that has endorsed the election of an opposition party in what appears to be a free and decisive vote. Is something wrong here or am I just missing something?? Please help. My fear here is the Brazilian leaders' behaviour is starting to fall into the pattern of taking on the west. I am hoping this is just a temporary "growing up phase" and not indicative of the dangerous paths of Venezuela, Nicaragua and others. I hope the Brazilian democracy is not under threat. Lets hope the rapid increase in overall prosperity of the Brazilian people due to stellar economic growth will result in a desire by the Brazilian people to be a good standing member of the global community. There is no better way for them to do this than showing Mr. Lula the door in the next general election.
I would very much like to know your opinions on this matter. Feel free to leave a comment below.