Thursday, August 27, 2009

Central American reaction

I've had numerous posts about the lack of Latin American action with regard to Honduras. Lots of talk but not much else. Now I am glad to see something more concrete: AP reports that the Central American Bank for Economic Integration has provisionally frozen credits. The Obama administration is obviously moving at a snail's pace (as per the latest press conference call) but hopefully the combination of multilateral measures will keep the pressure on.

Days since the coup: 60
Days until the scheduled presidential election: 94

12 comments:

Nell 12:16 PM  

The president of the Dominican Republic, whose FM was part of the recent OAS mission, called for more pressure on the coup government, speaking in Santo Domingo to a conference of legislators (18th conference of Central American and Caribbean political parties, per another story). He specifically suggested Honduras' membership in CAFTA be suspended.

Most of the rest of the governments in the region are alarmed and fed up, all the more so in the wake of the now impossible-to-hide refusal of the coup government to negotiate.

It appears that even tiny moves like the visa suspension by the U.S. government encourage actions within the region (since they reduce the sense of pointlessness or even working at cross-purposes with the U.S., which has until two days ago discouraged all suggestions for further action by anyone as "not helpful for negotiations").

Cardinal Rodgriguez met with COHEP yesterday. The military and police high command met with Canahuati the day before. They clearly need more of a push, so it would be an excellent day to end the charade of "legal review" on the coup status, and invoke the sanctions required by law.

Nell 1:14 PM  

On August 11, Bill Conroy was the first to report that money from the Millenium Challenge funds continued to flow in July 2009 to Honduras, while Sec. Clinton (ex officio chair of the MCC board) had earlier found irregularities in the municipal elections of Nov. 2008 sufficient cause to cut off Nicaragua's remaining grant.

Conroy and Al Giordano detailed in an update that a major Honduran project funded through the MCC is a highway for which the construction contract is held by Liberal Party presidential candidate Elvin Santos (painted here as an unfortunate victim of the coup -- because his obvious tacit support for it has alienated Liberal Party voters).

CEPR has used these reports as a basis to study the effect of other coups on MCC funding; in those cases, the funds were cut off within days.

This kind of behavior from the U.S. is what discourages Central and Latin American governments from taking actions on their own.

As we've seen in the last day, small and relatively insignificant gestures of pressure from our government are enough to spur concrete action by Central and Latin American administrations who take seriously the threat represented by this coup.

The regional governments aren't the ones playing games.

(Apologies if anyone has had the same trouble I have in getting the last link in my previous comment to work: the relevant text of the law is at Mercury Rising.)

Nell 1:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joche 3:20 PM  

Honduras can't be suspended from CAFTA - read the CAFTA rules of membership - even the US State Dept agrees.

Nell 4:04 PM  

Not a moment too soon:

U.S. moves toward formal cut-off of aid to Honduras

@Joche: Since the Dominican Republic is a member of CAFTA, presumably someone in the government is aware of the rules governing membership.

Your objection sounds quite plausible. Could you provide an excerpt from and link to the relevant section of the CAFTA membership rules? Many thanks in advance.

Joche 5:32 PM  

@Nell,

I'd love to quote you the whole agreement but unfortunately the US government has decided to remove it from its website - how convenient!

http://www.ustr.gov/Trade_Agreements/Bilateral/CAFTA/CAFTA-DR_Final_Texts/Section_Index.html

However, I can tell you that the US State Dept were discussing it yesterday with journalists and admitted it would be very difficult if not impossible to suspend Honduras from CAFTA.

Nell 6:45 PM  

@Joche: Those are the same State Department officials who've insisted with a straight face for the last six weeks that it was the study of complicated legal issues that kept them from making a recommendation until now for the coup in Honduras to be formally designated a military coup.

In Tuesday's backgrounder the anonymous officials asserted, without citing specifics, that the binding agreement with CAFTA prevents the other members from imposing trade sanctions on Honduras (not suspension of membership, which none of the reporters asked about).

I have no intention of reading the whole CAFTA agreement (which I'm sure is online somewhere, in Spanish if not in English). You're the one asserting that the rules prevent any one country from being ejected by all the others; I said that was plausible, but I'm not going to believe it just on your say-so or that of "senior State Department official 1".

Joche 11:43 PM  

My sources say that the CAFTA agreement does not contemplate a suspension for political reasons. They say that if the US chose to rescind the agreement any measure would not have an effect until next year. They also say Honduras could submit a recourse against this to the World Trade Organization, given that this would be a trade action provoked by a political problem.

Anonymous,  7:54 AM  

So according to these ALBA acolytes of Hugo Chavez, and the 50year old Castro dynasty in Cuba, if Honduras doesn't stay the course toward socialism, they will be isolated and condemned by the world community of leftists.

Honduras has the right to self determination, and no country has the right to meddle and intervene in the internal affairs of another.

I appauld the Honduran people for standing strong against this wild eyed tsunami of ALBA leftists who now are fearful because the tide is turning and the balance of power in Latin America is definitely changing.

Anonymous,  8:04 AM  

The only dictatorships in Latin America are socialist and leftist oriented, beginning with the reign of the Castro brothers in that languishing inner tube republic of Cuba. With Venezuelan oil moneies, Chavez is stupidly trying to finanace revolutions throughout Latin America and the puppets he's able to install then try to remain in power indefinitely.

Socialism is a failed experiment simply because if someone isn't compensated for his work, he simply won't work. Yes, socialism is a great idea 'til you run out of other people's money.

The rhetoric sounds wonderful and it's like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, with will the useful fools chasing after him. Ask the Cubans why they are willing to risk it all to spash over to good ole U.S.A. in inner tubes and flimsy rafts to reach the shores of freedom. Then ask the millions of immigrants would would give anything to come to America.

All socialists are nothing but lemmings, useful fools, or liars trying to fool the naive so they themselves can become the new wealthy (a good example is Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua).

Anonymous,  4:39 PM  

The meaning of interventionism in Latin America is simply the de facto military dictator of Venezuela, Hugo (Chafa) Chavez.

The damned fool is throwing Venezuelas oil wealth down a rat hole, buying all kinds of good for nothing military hardware which can only serve to give him the feeling of a real macho man.

It's so stupid, I guess Chavez thinks he can stand-up to the U.S. who, if they ever wanted to, could take him our with a single battle group. No problemo.

Joche 9:57 PM  

The Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister, Marco Ruiz, today announced that there are no provisions within CAFTA to suspend a country for a political issue.

He also said " I am surprised that it was even mentioned, as the treaty is governed under the standards of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and is known by all ministers of the region."

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