Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Sanctions

Various news reports at lunch time today report that Phillip Crowley, US State Department spokesperson, stated today that the US was considering further sanctions against the Micheletti government. Reuters went a step further and reports that State Department staff have recommended to Secretary of State Clinton that the coup against Manuel Zelaya be declared a military coup, which would automatically trigger further sanctions. Among the funds that would have to be cut off are those the Millenium Challenge Corporation has promised to Honduras, nearly $176 million. The MCC money has continued to flow to Honduras since the coup took place, with payments reported in July; and the Chairperson of the board that decides whether or not the funds continue to flow is Hillary Clinton in her role as Secretary of State.

Do the sanctions already in place work? The press who interviewed State Department experts by phone on the 25th about the visa cutoff for tourist visas seemed to think this would have little effect. They suggest that cutting off business visas would be more effective, but also note that that they expect most business people would already have multiple-entry business visas. However, statements today by Amilcilar Buines, head of COHEP, a business association, suggests that cutting off tourist visas may have had a significant negative effect on the business sector. Enrique Núñez, the president of another business association, ANMNPHI (Associación Nacional de Mediana y Pequeña Industria de Honduras) said

"This thing with the visas has a large negative effect, primarily because it affects the purchase of basic materials needed for production processes in small and medium businesses."

Jorge Canahauti, head of the association of Maquila owners suggested that the government needs to find an intermediate position that it can get behind.

Adolfo Facussé, president of ANDI, the Asociación Nacional de Industriales de Honduras, said that any punishment that involved affecting Honduras's membership in CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, as was recently suggested by the President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández, "would be the ruin of the country". However, he notes they would rather "resist the pressures of the United States and eat tortillas and beans for a year rather than return to the way things were, under the influence of Hugo Chavez".

Carlos Kattán, head of the National Congress's Foreign Affairs committee, argues this cannot continue for long because the visas bring in $500,000 a month in this embassy, and he mistakenly believes the embassy is required to pay for itself through user fees. He argues that the US is only protecting its interests in the approval of Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil.

Update: Radio Globo claims that the US government will, tommorrow, freeze the bank accounts of the principal coup participants, starting with Roberto Micheletti Bain's account in a Houston, TX Wells Fargo bank (they read off the account number over the air).

Radio Globo is also reporting that an official communique from the Zelaya government states that the the G-16 country election supervision is being withdrawn, which will prevent G-16 country recognition of the November 29th election results.

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