Now comes the strange news, reported in La Tribuna, sourced to the Secretaria de Obras Publicas, Transporte, y Vivienda (SOPTRAVI) director Miguel Pastor, that Porfirio Lobo Sosa has "received the highest award from representatives of the World Trade Center".
"The president was the subject of an award that is given only to personalities such as former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and personalities over the years to highlight his struggles to achieve peace in the hemisphere."Say what?! Lobo Sosa struggling for years to work for peace in the hemisphere? Miguel Pastor continues:
"It is the highest award that is given by the World Trade Center, here in the city of New Orleans, that fills us with pride and sincerely, the President felt very excited to receive it."OK, that allows us to somewhat decode what this really is. Porfirio Lobo Sosa has won some sort of prize/award/certificate of recognition from the World Trade Association of New Orleans, a business association whose mission is to facilitate the addition of "wealth and jobs in Louisiana through international trade, port development, and allied activities...". There's no mention of an award in their News section, or their Twitter feed, nor anywhere else that Google can find, nor previous mentions of awards to Reagan or Gorbachev or Kissinger, but maybe Miguel Pastor only meant to people like them, putting Porfirio Lobo Sosa in their league. Good PR move, Mr. Pastor.
Pastor continues describing Lobo Sosa as having sustained important meetings that will generate international support. Among these were meetings with leaders of Louisiana universities, who offered fellowships for Honduran students in the sciences and medicine. He also met with security companies that offered to sell him technologies to make Honduras safer, according to Miguel Pastor. Finally Lobo Sosa worked to encourage international investment.
Later today Lobo Sosa moves on to Florida where he will give a speech at the University of Miami. In the meantime, for those wondering about presidential succession in Honduras, María Antonieta Bográn de Guillén is acting president in Honduras in Lobo Sosa's absence.
I'm strongly reminded of Eva Peron's "Rainbow Tour" to Europe in 1947, where she attempted to meet with numerous dignitaries and heads of state, with mixed results. It was a political failure (except for her meeting with Franco in Spain), made into a public relations success in Argentina. Lobo Sosa's calendar in New Orleans was hardly earth-shaking but it was a good solid set of contacts, more appropriate to a cabinet level official or lower-level government bureaucrat. His highest-level meeting was with Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. To paraphrase from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about Eva Peron, it seens like for Porfirio Lobo Sosa, some sort of coming home in triumph is required no matter how manufactured.