Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla received disputed Honduran President-elect Juan Hernández at the Casa Presidencial as part of his whirlwind Central American welcome tour Wednesday afternoon.
The two leaders spoke about “bilateral interests,” the Central American Integration System, and Costa Rica’s upcoming presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
Hernández thanked Chinchilla for Costa Rica’s role in negotiating Honduras’ return to the Organization of American States following the 2009 coup, which left Honduras an international pariah, according to Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo.
“Honduras has experienced a democratic celebration during these [recent] elections. Fortunately, we had visitors, an enormous number of observers. They were the most observed elections in our history, with the most participation in our history. And obviously we are pleased and proud of the Honduran people for this civic celebration that we experienced,” Hernández said during his brief comments to the press.
Costa Rica was Hernández’s second stop Wednesday, after visiting with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.
Hernández invited Central American leaders to visit Honduras on Jan. 27, when he takes office, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.
That is, if his election holds up against a recount called for by his rival Xiomara Castro, wife of deposed ex-President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in the 2009 coup.
Hernández won the presidential election on Nov. 24 with 36.8 percent of the vote, followed by LIBRE party candidate Castro, with 28.8 percent.
Castro claimed “fraud,” leading to the election authority’s recount.
European Union and Organization of American States observers called the voting process transparent and non-problematic.
Castillo told The Tico Times that he did not have any concerns regarding the recount: “They’re allowing the process to take place, to count the votes, so that later the tribunal can make a decision.”
After leaving Costa Rica, Hernández continued on to Nicaragua where he was scheduled to meet with President Daniel Ortega.
AFP contributed to this report.