Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New elected president takes office in Honduras as previous one returns to exile

Does anyone else think it weird that the Honduran military ousted President Manuel Zelaya with the backing of political leaders because they reportedly feared he was planning to extend his term in office, and then Honduras' Congress voted a lifetime appointment to the guy they picked to replace him? Of course, Roberto Micheletti, the former legislative leader who took over the presidency on an interim basis after Zelaya was sent out of the country at gunpoint, didn't get appointed president for life or anything like that. He was named legislator for life after taking Zelaya's place until the November election, when Honduras elected a new president, Porfirio Lobo. Lobo, who lost to Zelaya in the 2005 election, was sworn in Wednesday. Lobo promptly signed an amnesty allowing Zelaya to leave the country and go into exile in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The amnesty, passed by Congress on Tuesday, removed the threat of arrest to Zelaya on abuse of power charges but also immunized coup leaders from criminal charges, according to the New York Times . “We are emerging from the worst political crisis in our history,” Lobo said in his inaugural address at the national stadium in Tegucialpa. But Honduras faces huge challenges in the year ahead. No Western nations recognized Micheletti's interim government after the coup and Honduras was been expelled by the Organization of American States. The Times said Honduras lost $2 billion in aid and investment following the coup.

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