Friday, September 04, 2009

US cuts aid to Honduras; Secretary Clinton hopes money talks

Yesterday, in a bold move, the U.S. has cut off millions of dollars in aid to Honduras. The U.S. delayed the decision to cut off aid to Honduras until now in the hopes that diplomatic efforts led by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias would resolve the situation. And although a settlement has been proposed, it has not been agreed to. The settlement is known as the San Jose Accords. It would allow for Zelaya's return to power until scheduled elections in November, but not allow him to run for office.

Arter the announcement made, during Secretary Clinton's one hour meeting with Zelaya, the government of interim President Roberto Micheletti condemned the decision.

The decision to cut off all aid cuts more than $31 million in non-humanitarian assistance, including $11 million remaining in a more than a $200 million five-year assistance program run by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

After the meeting with Secretary Clinton, Zelaya welcomed the move but also made clear that more pressure may be necessary. In an interview with the Washington Post Zelaya said, "When diplomatic action runs out, when the United States indicates it can't do any more, I am not going to simply sit around with my arms crossed." He said he would look for "fighting strategies" and "seek actions on my return that kick the coup plotters out of power."

Here is the full official press statement issued from State yesterday:

The Department of State announces the termination of a broad range of assistance to the government of Honduras as a result of the coup d’etat that took place on June 28. The Secretary already had suspended assistance shortly after the coup.

The Secretary of State has made the decision, consistent with U.S. legislation, recognizing the need for strong measures in light of the continued resistance to the adoption of the San Jose Accord by the de facto regime and continuing failure to restore democratic, constitutional rule to Honduras.

The Department of State recognizes the complicated nature of the actions which led to June 28 coup d’etat in which Honduras’ democratically elected leader, President Zelaya, was removed from office. These events involve complex factual and legal questions and the participation of both the legislative and judicial branches of government as well as the military.

Restoration of the terminated assistance will be predicated upon a return to democratic, constitutional governance in Honduras.

The Department of State further announces that we have identified individual members and supporters of the de facto regime whose visas are in the process of being revoked.

A presidential election is currently scheduled for November. That election must be undertaken in a free, fair and transparent manner. It must also be free of taint and open to all Hondurans to exercise their democratic franchise. At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections. A positive conclusion of the Arias process would provide a sound basis for legitimate elections to proceed. We strongly urge all parties to the San Jose talks to move expeditiously to agreement.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

I don't mean to be the ant at the picnic, but the problem is, the announcement wasn't really for new monetary cuts but rather the State Dept is making permanent the *suspension* of funds from several weeks ago. Given that the de facto regime responded to that by refusing to accept the US-backed San Jose Accords, I'm not sure why the admin. thinks this is going to work- it already hasn't worked.

Post Your Comment Below:

Grab this Widget ~ Blogger Accessories