Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Diplomatic Issues Facing Honduras's Porfirio Lobo Sosa

It would appear that Porfirio Lobo Sosa's administration is not going to get the smooth diplomatic treatment many in Honduras had hoped for. For starters, Brazil's foreign minister, Celso Amorim, said Brazil continues to not recognize the electoral process that brought Lobo Sosa to power, though in a linguistic trick, also claimed that Brazil recognized "states, not governments."

On the other hand, while the United States has moved to recognized Honduras in the wake of elections, it has made it clear that recognition will not be a carte blanche for Lobo Sosa:

The US State Department has rejected Porfirio Lobo Sosa's nomination of Roberto Flores Bermúdez to be the Honduran Ambassador to the United States. Flores Bermúdez was appointed Ambassador to the United States by Manuel Zelaya Rosales, but shortly after the coup on June 28, 2009, switched allegiance to the de facto regime in Honduras.
As RNS points out, it is quite possible that
Lobo Sosa was likely testing the waters to see how much he needed to distance himself from the de facto regime, which he has never denounced. No one who was directly involved in the de facto regime has had their US visa restored. The State Department's rejection of Lobo Sosa's choice as Ambassador means that the United States, like Spain, so far, is rejecting the participation in diplomacy of anyone directly linked to the de facto regime.
I think this makes sense, and I think it speaks better of the Obama administration's approach than many have allowed. I agree that perhaps it could have done more to condemn the coup, but I (semi-paradoxically) also have few objections to the U.S. not directly intervening in Latin America. Presuming the U.S. continues to remain inflexible in refusing members of the de facto Micheletti government to have visas or participate in international politics with regards to the U.S., then I think this is a worthwhile message to send, and offers at least some measure of punishment to those politicians and business leaders who hoped to get well off of the coup.