San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Obama hails Honduras democracy return, meets Lobo

U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday hailed the restoration of democracy and constitutional order in Honduras, as he welcomed President Porfirio Lobo two years after a coup rocked Tegucigalpa.

Obama said that Lobo’s leadership had helped restore constitutional order and a commitment to free and fair elections, and smoothed the reentry of Honduras into the Organization of American States.

“What we’ve been seeing is a restoration of democratic practices and a commitment to reconciliation that gives us great hope,” Obama said.

“Of course, much work remains to be done, and I’m looking forward to a excellent conversation with President Lobo about how we can be helpful in ensuring that human rights are observed in Honduras.

“We will discuss ways in which our two countries can work effectively together to deal with the security situation that exists not only in Honduras but throughout Central America,” he said, referring to the drugs trade.

Lobo said that he was grateful for Washington’s friendship and the way in which the Obama administration had spoken out against the 2009 coup.

“At a time of great crisis, you were there to help, and you were there to help us restore the family that is our nation,” he said, saying he had tried to push unity, reconciliation and democracy in his country.

Former Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was ousted in 2009 in a military coup sanctioned by the Honduran legislature and the supreme court after calling for a referendum to rewrite the constitution.

The interim regime that ousted Zelaya held elections and Lobo took office in January 2010.

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