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Honduras: Despite spin, US still funding coup regime (Read 481 times)
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Honduras: Despite spin, US still funding coup regime
Sep 27th, 2009 at 4:41pm
By Bill Conroy
26 September 2009

Despite recent the US State Department media show of cutting aid to the coup regime in Honduras, millions of taxpayer dollars continue to flow into the Central American country

The US government’s policy toward the de facto government that now rules Honduras can best be described as two-faced — expressing rhetorical outrage publicly while quietly continuing to prop up the putsch regime economically behind the scenes.

The US government has declined to officially declare that the June 28 overthrow and exiling of democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was carried out via a “military” coup d’etat — thereby avoiding the invocation of a US law that would mandate a draconian cut in US aid to the Honduran government.

In its diplomatic dance with terminology, the state department, under the leadership of Hillary Clinton, is telling the media that what happened in Honduras on June 28 was a “coup d'etat” — without the “military” modifier.

In earlier September, for the second time since the June 28 coup, the state department played up US press coverage of its efforts to ratchet up the economic pressure on the de facto Honduran regime, led by Roberto Micheletti.

But despite the media show, nothing has changed. The US government continues to send millions of dollars in foreign aid to Honduras, which continues to be ruled by an illegal, thuggish junta.

The board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US aid agency funded by taxpayers and chaired by Clinton, said on September 9 it had voted to terminate US$11 million in funding for Honduras and “put on hold” another $4 million in assistance.

But was it really an aid cut?

MCC spokesperson Sarah Stevenson told Narco News that as part of the agency’s $215 million compact with Honduras, as of August 31, MCC had “committed approximately $191 million to contracts; approximately $91 million has been disbursed” — actually sent to Honduras.

She added that the $11 million in funding terminated involved money not yet committed under contract.

A simple math computation tells us, then, that MCC still has some $100 million in contractually committed funding to deliver to the putsch regime in Honduras between now and the end of 2010.

Reports released by the Honduran Central Bank revealed the MCC has delivered $10.7 million to Honduras since the June 28 coup — including $3.8 million in late August.

And the balance of the MCC funding can be expected to continue to flow into Honduras, to the benefit of the putsch regime, to the tune of an additional $100 million, in the months ahead.

Within days of the June 28 coup, the US said it was suspending some $20 million in assistance to Honduras. Then, in early September, the state department began beating the drums again over its plans to terminate some $30 million in aid to Honduras — which includes the $11 million in terminated MCC funding.

However, the state department-trumpeted aid cuts involved no new money between the July and September announcements. A senior administration official said on September 3, announcing the $30 million aid suspension: “The [$20 million in] aid that was — as you know, that was suspended right after the coup … was formally terminated today.…

“The MCC is another [$]11 million, which had already been suspended, and we are working very closely with MCC looking in terms of formalising that.”

So, since the time of the coup, the US has done little more than repackage and rebroadcast in the media the same aid cuts to complement its rhetorical position of being against the coup.

But behind the scenes, the economic effect of the aid cuts has been little more than symbolic posturing.

Despite the media show, no matter how you cut it, at a minimum in the case of MCC and USAID combined, Honduras is still in line to receive more than $130 million in US tax dollars.

And that continues to be the case even though the country is now ruled by a coup regime publicly deemed illegitimate by the US government — and is not recognised as legitimate by any nation.

That is the story not being told by the mainstream media.

But this two-faced US policy toward the Honduran coup regime is really nothing new in the history of US/Latin American relations. The US government seeks to undermine Latin American democracies when it proves convenient (and in the interest of the oligarchs in control of the region’s crony capitalism).

In that dynamic, the legitimate Honduran President Manuel Zelaya crossed a line in allying with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. This included Zelaya's decision to join the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) —initiated by Venezuela and Cuba as an alternative trading bloc to US-backed “free-trade” initiatives.

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger was brutally honest about the US diplomatic reality in Latin America. Decades ago, he said of the left-wing Chilean government of democratically elected President Salvador Allende of Chile (overthrown in 1973 in a bloody US-backed coup): “I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.

“The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

This fundamentally anti-democratic foreign policy appears to continue to be the status quo.

[Abridged from]
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