Honduras has already been stripped of one U.S. trade measure and could face more by the end of August. Now a vote to overthrow the president could be coming to a close.
On Sunday, Honduran voters could by a strong majority choose Lobo over his Honduran rival, Salvador Nasralla. The election was supposed to change the political landscape for Central America’s poorest nation. But the vote was marred by a parallel poll run by the attorney general. It accused President Lobo’s party of electoral fraud.
Although not officially linked to the attorney general’s poll, it raised the specter of fraud once again and the government ultimately decided it was a fraud and set a path to what looked like a Lobo victory.
The overseas vote has already stripped Honduras of its waiver on trade benefits with the United States and is supposed to be revoked by Aug. 30. But if the prosecutor’s poll results hold and Lobo wins the elections, it’s expected he’ll request a re-examination of U.S. trade benefits.
Before the election, that anticipated threat prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to visit Honduras and tell the country’s president that U.S. companies are watching closely.
“Given your government’s cooperation, we will consider your government more, you know, favorably. We will consider you as our ally in our fight against transnational organized crime, and we have that hope, that optimism,” Tillerson said.
But Nasralla, the leader of a political opposition party, has vowed to keep the relationship strong with the United States if he’s elected. The former television sports journalist would call for better cooperation on fighting crime if elected and end what critics call Lobo’s failure to pass a national anti-corruption law.
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