Many now have reason to want Manuel Zelaya to come home
Mar 10th 2011 | TEGUCIGALPA
SINCE the confused morning in June 2009 when its president was marched to the airport at gunpoint and sent packing, Honduras has been creeping back towards something resembling normal political life. Porfirio Lobo, a conservative who was elected president in a reasonably fair contest five months after the coup, is popular at home. Most of the world now recognises his government, meaning that the vital tap of international grants and loans to one of the poorest and most violent countries in the Americas has been turned back on. Last year the Honduran economy was restored to growth, which many forecasters think will accelerate this year and next.
Yet political life in Tegucigalpa, the higgledy-piggledy mountain capital, cannot get back to normal until relations are patched up with Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, the left-wing former president, who remains in exile in the Dominican Republic. As long as Mr Zelaya is away, a hard core of governments, including Brazil, Argentina and left-wing allies of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, will have nothing to do with Honduras. While they freeze the country out, Honduras has little chance of rejoining the Organisation of American States, a regional group that is one of the remaining obstacles to a normal existence on the international stage. And since Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, is one of those who still boycotts Honduras, previously routine co-operation among Central America’s leaders has got harder.