Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a news conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
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The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Honduras announced recently, after a steamy, stormy period of contention, the election of incumbent president Juan Orlando Hernandez to a second four-year term.
The United States used to care a lot more about politics in Honduras, a nation of nine million people. During the 1980s when the Cold War was still underway and there were Marxist and other militias active in Central America, it often served as a secure base for CIA and sometime American military action against forces in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Now, it is more a question of Honduran immigrants to the United States, fleeing the high crime rate in their own country, passing through Guatemala and Mexico into the United States in search of employment. Some American retirees are attracted there for Honduras’ low cost of living.
Its presidential race, with the vote having taken place on Nov. 26, was vigorous to say the least. Mr. Hernandez, the candidate of the National Party, won with 42.95 percent of the vote in a squeaker over Salvador Nasralla of the Libre Alliance with 41.24 percent of the vote. Mr. Nasralla is a popular sports broadcaster.
There was a considerable amount of disorder, with 12 killed and a curfew imposed, during the counting period, which lasted three weeks. Some 16,000 foreign and Honduran election monitors observed the process. The E.U. team endorsed the results announced by the electoral commission’s conclusion that the results were valid. Inauguration day, with all continuing to go well, will be Jan. 27.
Elections in a poor country like Honduras with a high crime rate and a history that includes a military coup d’etat as recently as six years ago are frequently dicey affairs. This one was no exception. At the same time, Americans can congratulate the Hondurans on having maneuvered their way successfully through the choice of a president, especially in a close race, with reason and eventual peace and order prevailing.
Relative peace and greater prosperity in Honduras contribute to better relations with the United States for a very basic and simple reason: Fewer Hondurans feel obliged to flee to the United States to seek a living wage and healthier living conditions.
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