San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica president expects more to recognize Honduran elections

Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo launched his campaign for international recognition as the Honduran president-elect, touching down in Costa Rica on Tuesday.

After campaigning in his home country for well over a year, he´s initiating a new movement for votes on the international front.

Dozens of international players and heads of states have yet to recognize his victory in the Nov. 29 elections, saying that certain protocol must be met before Lobo´s election is valid. Many continue to call for the restoration of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, despite Honduran Congress´ rejection of his reinstatement in a vote last Wednesday.

During Lobo´s visit to San José on Tuesday, Costa Rica President Oscar Arias said he was proud to be the first head of state to officially accept Lobo as president-elect.

“The Honduran people have been punished enough. They have suffered much,” said Arias, who acted as mediator during the initial months of the Honduran crisis. “They can´t be punished more.”

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli was also present on Tuesday to offer Lobo congratulations and his assistance.

Arias expects other heads of states to follow their lead: “It´s still early for them to change their opinion,” he said. “But I think their position will change (in time).”

Meanwhile, Lobo pledged to try to implement much of the Tegucigalpa-San José Agreement – an accord drafted as an exit to the crisis – before he steps into office, to ensure the transition is “fluid.” Yet, he dodged the question of whether Zelaya would be granted amnesty.

Political amnesty? Yes, he said. But amnesty in the courts would be left to congress.

“I hope everything is normalized well before Jan. 27,” he said, “and that all parts of the San José Agreement are put in place. I hope (at that time) that Honduras is in agreement with the international community.”

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