Hours after Zelaya was kicked out of Honduras for allegedly pushing for a constitutional change to relax presidential term limits – a charge he denies – a new government led by Roberto Micheletti took over. Since then, the two men – Mr. Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy, where he sought refuge after sneaking back into the country Sept. 21, and Mr. Micheletti in the presidential palace – have battled over who should be governing the country. Now they have left the decision up to the Congress, but their resolution will be no quick fix to the economy.
In September, the London-based polling company Consensus Economics reported that Honduras's GDP would decline by 2.6 percent this year, readjusted from a .7 percent decline forecast made just months earlier. Rebeca Patricia Santos Rivera, the finance minister for Zelaya who continues to represent Honduras on the international stage, has said that GDP this year could fall by 4 percent or more. And by some estimates the economy has lost $200 million in investment since June 28 alone.
By and large, despite intermittent protests, life on the streets of Tegucigalpa continues on, as it hums on in San Pedro Sula, the industrial center of Honduras, and the rest of the nation. It is a sense of "normalcy" that Micheletti supporters like to point out. But life is far from normal for many sectors of society.
Anna Rossivel Cruz, head of statistics for the acting Tourism Ministry, says the government cannot precisely estimate how much the political crisis has hurt tourism, but that the numbers of those visiting is down since July after increasing by 7 percent in the first half of the year.
"It has affected us negatively, but we think this drop-off will stop at the end of the year," Ms. Rossivel Cruz says. She adds that this time of year doesn't coincide with a regular drop-off in tourism. "It's not normal to see this."