The people of Honduras have spoken. More than 60% of the voters turned out to put their ballots in those 3 boxes, one for President and Vice President, one for Congress and one for local elected officials. The majority of the votes went to Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo. It's not so much who won the election since they both had pretty much the same platform...improve the quality of life, create more jobs, repair the streets. It's more about the fact that people really really wanted to vote in this election. That 60% is a huge number...and it doesn't even take into account the Hondurans who live in the United States and who voted in any of the many cities who had voting polls set up. People were heard to say they flew HERE from the states to cast their vote in their home town. How many times have you heard that about a US election? This is a big deal for this wonderful country.
There were stories about citizens in their 70s and 80s who had never, in their lives, voted for a president. They were coming to the polls in their wheelchairs. One lady who had lost both legs below the knee came in a taxi and the poll workers brought her ballot out to the taxi. One scene on TV showed children in the polling place, excited to see their parents cast their votes. It was, for most Hondurans, a day to remember and a real lesson for the young.
Tonight, as I sit writing, Congress is voting on whether or not to reinstate Mel Zelaya. The vote that was just cast was the deciding vote as it resulted in a majority. There will not be a Mel Zelaya back in the Casa Presidencial! Someone send him the rest of his belongings! Chances are, they won't all fit in the Brazilian embassy, where he is still camped out, probably with head in hands right now, wondering what his next move should be. Mel, may I make a suggestion? Just as you snuck back into the country, figure out a way to sneak back out. I don't think this country wants to deal with you any more, even if it's you defending yourself in a court of law against the numerous allegations for which there is a warrant for your arrest. Sure, many would like him to pay for his injustices, but just as many want their lives to begin to heal and that means no more violence. No more demonstrations. No more anger. No more Zelaya.
This country wants to move on. They need to have a light at the end of the tunnel that's not another train coming at them in the form of more violence if Mel should be brought to trial. I can't imagine the scenes in the streets if that should happen. Let's hope that someone comes up with a really good final chapter to this story.
Shortly after Zelaya was whisked off to Costa Rica on June 28th, I said that Hollywood should jump on this story and make a movie. Sean Penn as Zelaya, Gene Hackman as Roberto Micheletti...and of course, Sally Fields would have to play me. What a historical time to be serving at the American Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I wouldn't have traded this for anything!