Friday, August 28, 2009

Obama Administration Moves Toward Cut Off Aid to Honduras

The Obama administration is preparing to make forceful moves against Honduras over their non-coup (Berman Post: Honduras Coup or No Coup, No Coup). As I opined in the first post about this, I admire the move but it is pointed at the wrong target. If we were as forceful in support of the Iranian revolution (Iranian Revolution (GR88)), the outcome may have been much better. Instead, the administration appears to be doubling down in support of a bad move we should never have made in the first place. The democratic system in Honduras worked as it was supposed to and prevented the likely creation of a 'banana republic' with a permanently elected 'president'. We appear to be about moving toward punishing them for protecting their democracy.

"U.S. State Department staff have recommended that the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya be declared a "military coup," a U.S. official said on Thursday, a step that could cut off as much as $150 million in U.S. funding to the impoverished Central American nation.
Washington has already suspended about $18 million aid to Honduras following the June 28 coup and this would be formally cut if the determination is made because of a U.S. law barring aid "to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree."

The official said that $215 million in grant funding from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation to Honduras would also have to end should [Hillary] Clinton make the determination that a military coup took place.
Diplomats said that the United States had held off making the formal determination to give diplomacy a chance to yield a negotiated compromise that might allow for Zelaya's return to power.

Such efforts, however, appear to have failed for now and so the United States is taking steps -- including its decision on Tuesday to cease issuing some visas at its embassy in Tegucigalpa -- to raise pressure on the de facto government.

"The recommendation of the building is for her to sign it," said the first U.S. official said of the 'military coup" determination, saying this was a response to the de facto government's refusal to accept a compromise that would allow Zelaya to return to power ahead of November elections.

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