TEGUCIGALPA — Honduras woke up Monday with three presidents: one elected, one on vacation, and another hunkered down at the Brazilian Embassy.
Manuel "Mel" Zelaya is claiming electoral fraud from his perch at the embassy, while newly elected leader Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo faces a daunting a task: He has to convince the world that he is the legitimate president of Honduras, even if his election took place under a de facto regime denounced here and abroad.
"These elections were convened under a military dictatorship," Zelaya told The Miami Herald in a telephone interview Monday. "There has been violence against my supporters. The people in charge of the Supreme Elections Tribunal are not independent; they were put there by the coup leaders...All these conditions do not create a fair election."
But there was some good news for Lobo on Monday. The United States recognized his government without flat-out saying so. And Colombia, Panama and Peru recognized his victory, as did Costa Rica. As more nations than expected recognized Lobo's triumph, the former congressman, cattle rancher and University of Miami graduate was under greater pressure than ever to take steps to show he will end Honduras' five-month political crisis.
Still, part of Lobo's challenge would be getting the nod from a longer list of countries. On Monday, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Venezuela said they would not recognize the election.
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