It Will Take More than Good PR to Repair Fractured Honduran Government

Roberto Micheletti is hoping to use words and influence to improve his stature.
Robert Micheletti hopes words and influence will improve his stature in the Americas.

News has come out this week that the new Honduran government has hired a Washington, DC based public relations firm to put a positive spin on the regime’s legitimacy.

The story, first broke by The Hill, tells you a lot about how much things have deteriorated in Honduras. One of the worst impacts is of course on the fledgling BPO sector, which we have reported on several times in previous posts. (I had just filed a post about the rising fortunes of Honduras in June here, when a few days later the coup was initiated).

The new government will spend close to $300,000 for four months of PR support. The firm, Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates, will undoubtedly work hard with national media outlets, including major newspaper and broadcasters, to provide more details into why the coup happened in the first place and why Roberto Micheletti is the right man at the right time.

No amount of PR of course will change the fact that Micheletti defied the country’s democratic framework to usurp power from Manuel Zelaya, who continues to camp out in the Brazilian embassy. (Seen here in this Al Jazeera video reuniting with his family ). I am personally sympathetic to those who argue that Zelaya was basically caught red-handed attempting to protect his place as president by manipulating future election results.

Unfortunately the Washington PR team will only contribute to lengthening an already overdue resolution of the primary issue of who really belongs in power. True resolution will only come when Micheletti truly grasps the bigger picture – that the ongoing turmoil is bringing untold amounts of ecomomic and social dislocation to Honduras as well as its immediate neighbors.

It’s evident that the pressure is growing more intense on the current government. A group of US legislators signed a letter yesterday demanding the return of Zelaya. Speaking to reports Tuesday in Sweden, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvac called on Micheletti and his lieutenants to step down.

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We wish the PR team well, but we should all recognize that trying to cultivate belated support from North America still doesn’t fix the mess in the core of Central America – in the heart of Tegucigalpa.