Thursday, September 03, 2009

(Not so?) Done deal

The State Department (seems not to have?) finally cut all non-humanitarian aid to Honduras.

"The Secretary of State has made the decision, consistent with US legislation, recognising 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," a state department spokesman said.

So the current question becomes whether the coup government can actually limp along until the elections. This has to hurt quite a bit. How those elections are perceived, both domestically and internationally, is a future question.

UPDATE: Or not? The BBC reported all non-humanitarian aid, while other news outlets like the NYT say it is only $22 million of aid that was previously already suspended.

Meanwhile, the AP says it doesn't know how much aid was terminated.

What a mess. The State Department wants to look firm but cannot even get its story out in a coordinated manner.


Abby Kelleyite 3:02 PM  

They seem not to have made the "military coup" determination, however, and there is some question whether there is any additional aid being cut or whether this is the termination of the aid suspended in June. See, e.g., Reuters:

"It did not say how much aid was being cut but a U.S. official who spoke on condition that he not be named put the total at more than $30 million, saying that all of this had previously been suspended."

Greg Weeks 3:04 PM  

Odd about the conflicting reports. I will correct it.

Abby Kelleyite 3:19 PM  

Here's State's link, though it dioesn't clarify on the aid. The last couple of lines look new, though: Termination of Assistance and Other Measures Affecting the De Facto Regime 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."

John (Juan) Donaghy 4:21 PM  

The first line of the US State Department statement reads: "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."
Does this mean that the State Department recognizes it as a coup?

Greg Weeks 4:26 PM  

That was my first impression, but subsequent news accounts make it sound like they have not. We will have to wait for clarification from the State Dept.

RAJ 5:16 PM  

I believe that what has happened is that the $22 million in aid already suspended has now been terminated; no new aid was either suspended or terminated, but this does put pressure on the de facto regime in advance of the MCC meeting, at which up to $200 million is at issue.

There is still no official determination that this is a military coup (!). The action is described as in response to the de facto regime's failure to take the San Jose Accord process seriously. Not based on the nature of the events of June 28.

In my view, the big news is the third announced point, as covered by NY Times: not recognizing the election in November.

We have been blogging on Honduran reactions.

Kelby,  6:04 PM  

Assuming the coup government hangs on until elections in november, does the international community give up and recognize the new government?

I guess what I am wondering is if this is a merely a push to reignite a compromise settlement,or if they will actually follow through and not recognize any new government?

I can't really see how a regime which overthrew the elected government in a coup would provide the necessary environment for fair elections.

Would elections under the coup government have any legitimacy in the eyes of the Honduran people?

Nell 6:43 PM  

The "State Department" clearly doesn't really want to look firm; if they did, they'd have made the formal coup designation, and they'd have done it a month ago.

This is some weak, weak tea.

Still not a word about the repression and media suppression, still the pretense that the elections have a shred of legitimacy.

Still not actually working with any other governments in the hemisphere. If they were, they'd back an OAS resolution refusing to recognize the elections.

Shameful. Disgusting.

Anonymous,  6:47 PM  

I can't really see how a regime which overthrew the elected government in a coup would provide the necessary environment for fair elections.

That means you think that Alfonsin was not a legitimate president?

Funny how people who claim to understand Latin America forget how many countries in the region had elections under illegitimate regimes.

leftside 6:58 PM  

The "State Department" clearly doesn't really want to look firm; if they did, they'd have made the formal coup designation, and they'd have done it a month ago.

Yeah, so we know the bureacracy is recommending the event be labled a coup. But in this statement they they indicate that is not going to happen. Unofficial sources in the Adminstration quoted by Rueters seem to say it ain't gonna happen. They go out of their way in the official statement to say the circumstances surrounding the coup non-coup as "complicated", ie. Hillary was scared to pull the trigger and back her own experts. Nice.

Seems like they tried to overshadow this very important disasterous point with some window dressing. They "terminate" money that had already been "suspended"... wow, I bet that sends a message of seriousness to the golpistas. This seems to be a replay of something we've already seen. They try to get two bangs out of one timif action.

The only thing that appears still unresolved is the elections. I was heartened to see those words from State about "not supporting the (election) outcome." But that is far from saying that the results will not be recognized, as most of the region has done. Privately, as the NY Times reports, the US and Canadian position still seems to be that the election can be a "solution" to the crisis.

Joche 7:04 PM  


"in advance of the MCC meeting, at which up to $200 million is at issue"

Why don't you quote the correct figures?

As at July 2009, $80 million has already been disbursed leaving a total of £111 million to still be allocated.

Not quite so much as you make out!

jeffkramerak 9:42 PM  

great, now the hundurans are gonna come all to the USA to take over and try to make the USA a little Honduras, this will never end, and they will cont. to expect us to learn Spanish instead of them learning English. A stop must be put to this...Terrible.

RAJ 12:21 AM  

The up to $200 million figure at risk from the MCC was given by the US State Department:

Quoting my blog: the same US State Department sources said the MCC funding was "as much as $200 million"

The use of "" is a convention meaning someone else said it.

Also from the blog, Gabriela Nuñez, the de facto government's secretary of the treasury, sets that at $122 million.

So take it up with the State Department. Or the de facto regime. They both seem to think the funding at risk is more than your attempt to minimize it would imply.

Joche 2:09 AM  


Well, I take the figure from the Millenium Challenge Corporation themselves, who quote $111 million.

And as they are the ones who are distributing the money, I should imagine that they might know a little more about it than you or the State Dept, who obviously both can't be bothered to check first.

boz 6:32 AM  

The State Dept and Obama administration labeled this a "coup" from day one (they signed on to the OAS statement labeling it a coup). They continue to call it a coup.

The question is whether it's a "military coup." The legal distinction of whether it was a "coup" or a "military coup" is what matters in terms of funding and is the decision that has not been made. If they determine is was a "civilian coup supported by the military" or something along those lines, it gives them more flexibility in their options in what steps they can take and when they can take them.

Silly? Yes. But it's Congress's language over the "military coup" and they never defined the term in the legislation.

Greg Weeks 7:21 AM  

On the "military coup" issue, I put the language of the legislation in my June 30 post.

Abby Kelleyite 9:48 AM  

Just for completeness, here's State's daily press briefing link from yesterday in which they try to explain the actions taken. And now we wait for next week's MCC board meeting to see what really happens.

Joche 10:20 AM  


I stand corrected. Gabriella Nunez says that her figure of $122 million includes the $11 million which is due to be debated at the MCC meeting next week. According to the MCC, this money had already been dispersed leaving a fund amount of $111 million but obviously this money is still in the pot.

What a change it is to have a government Finance Minister who is on the ball!

And Abbey, for a more informed account of the terminated aid and non-terminated aid, go to:

leftside 3:11 PM  

Boz - yeah not labeling it a "military" coup gives the Administration the option to do nothing serious. I am sure the golpistas are happy for this "flexibility," which allows Clinto to hide behind some legalese. The only trouble is her lawyers and bureaucrats already leaked that they believe it does meet the definition of a military coup. You have to. No one in the county besides the military has admitted ANY knowledge or responsibility for the act.

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