‘Lobo’s Way to the Top’
an interview with Honduras’ presidentail candidate- Pepe Lobo

November 1st, 2005
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] v3-11-interview-Pepe LoboOn February 20, National Congress president Porfirio Lobo Sosa defeated Tegucigalpa Mayor Miguel Pastor with 69.1 per cent of the vote to become the National Party (PN) nominee. Manuel Zelaya, former minister of the Honduran Social Investment Fund won the Liberal Party (PL) nomination, beating businessman Jaime Rosenthal with 55.3 per cent of all cast ballots. A June CID-Gallop poll had Pepe Lobo with 39 per cent and Mel Zelaya with 34 per cent.

Bay Islands VOICE met with Pepe Lobo during his campaign visit to Roatan on October 8 and 9. Unfortunately we were unable to obtain an interview with Mel Zelaya before going to print.

Bay Islands VOICE: What do you think about the Central government getting Bay Islands its own University?
Pepe Lobo: This is very important. You guys are living on the islands isolated and you should have everything that you need: a university, good hospitals. The youth should have everything they need to develop and obtain a job. The University that you guys can plan for should be oriented towards careers that could be practiced and are fundamental here, especially tourism, and real estate.
B.I.V.: This year the lobster diving ban should have gone into effect. As president would you ensure that the ban is enforced and how would you compensate the Mosquitia divers that will lose a source of income?
P.L.: The management of natural resources should be done in a sustainable manner. If we can’t have a medium and long term perspective of developing our natural resources, we won’t be able to generate income for the majority of the population. That’s why it’s important that in Honduras we develop these short, medium and long term plans. Once one of the parties wins the elections there will be a way of reaching compromise with others, particularly the use of our natural resources. This has to be both sustainable and planned.
B.I.V.: What about the lobster divers in particular.
P.L.: We have international agreements that we signed. If we can’t live up to this the risks for Honduras are huge. We have a law and we have to respect it. If the law is in conflict with national interests we have to reform the law so it is not subordinated to just small interests.
B.I.V.: What are you planning about potentially, or limiting migration.
P.L.: We have talked about this issue a lot with our friends here on Roatan. Limiting the internal mobility of people within the country is a difficult subject and something that has to be analyzed in detail. On Roatan, a tourist destination important for all of Honduras, a way of life here should be treated differently. I don’t have an answer what should be done, but it is important to create ways of resolving this problem through administrative means not to create a risk for tourism. The subject of security is fundamental. If you have a high concentration of population the vulnerability to crime becomes higher. We should create ways of controlling that the island doesn’t receive a lot of unemployed.
B.I.V.: Bay Islands are on a transit route for drug trafficking. After several drug-busts in 2003 and early 2004, we have seen no results of drug policing on the island. How would you improve the situation?
P.L.: When Alvarez was security minister, we substantially increased drug seizures in the country. I know that this is continuing. We are on the bridge between Columbia and US. Bay Islands are one route, Mosquitia is another and to control drug trafficking we need international cooperation. It is important for all population to be vigilant because other than the risk of trafficking, there is a risk of developing drug addiction among the general public, something very dangerous. We need to attack the drug issue directly.
B.I.V.: Dou you think that for a small country with few educated people, presidential term limit of four years should be extended?
P.L.: What is more important is a vision of a country in which Hondurans find a compromise. Because it’s impossible to have a party without an absolute majority in congress, to change anything. What causes a problem is not the four year limit. What is the problem is that each government comes and changes trying to pursue a politics of government, not politics of the state. We need to have a stability of direction that transcends the politics of individual governments. The reform of some individual articles in the constitution is practically impossible to change, especially in the case of fundamental ones: 375 and 376.
B.I.V.: You want to reinstate the death penalty. Did you find support for this idea among Bay Islands politicians?
P.L.: I’ll tell you what it is all about. For example in El Progresso a whole family was killed: father, mother was tortured and decapitated. Her organs were dragged-out. The daughter was decapitated as well. This is the type of crime which I maintain my personal attitude of having a death penalty for. The human rights organizations don’t agree with my position, but this [issue] will go to congress and have to pass with required majority votes. If this won’t succeed in front of congress it will appear as a referendum issue. People will have a chance to decide in these clear cases how to apply justice. I haven’t talked about this with local politicians. This is my very personal opinion. I think the people in cases of these abominable, satanical crimes will decide that they want [the death penalty]. [/private]

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