Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 48

Posted by Charles II on September 9, 2009

Update: Hillary makes good on nixing the MCC money:

MCC’s [Millenium Challenge Corp’s] Board today announced that, given recent events in Honduras that are inconsistent with a commitment to democratic governance, MCC will terminate two planned activities in the transportation sector totaling approximately $11 million from its Compact with Honduras. As a result of the meeting, MCC also will put on hold approximately $4 million of its contribution for work on the CA-5 road project jointly funded with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). MCC will continue with existing activities for which funds have been contractually obligated and with the administration of the Compact with Honduras to ensure proper use of funds. MCC also will continue to monitor the situation in Honduras in close coordination with the State Department and other U.S. Government agencies.

Honduras Oye points us to Zelaya’s speech at George Washington University, translated into English and with additional remarks.

El Heraldo proudly reports that Honduras has found yet another tenet of international law to break, applying “preventive prison” sentences to Delmer Castillo, Ismael Zúñiga, Julio Canales, Juan Carlos Rodas and Oscar Canales for participating in the demonstrations in Choluteca. Not for breaking any laws, mind you; just because.
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Pretend-Finance Ministerette Gabriela Núñez says that the unified budget, which is supposed to be submitted by Sept 15th will increase by5.9% to ca. $6B. Revenues are supposed to supply about one-third of the budget. 47% of the budget for the central government, or ca. 26% of the overall budget, is slated for health and education.

MARCHA7

With drums and harps, with pompon and baton dancers, the resistance marched . Nell notes in comments below that Tropigas (see the gorilla) is owned by a prominent coupista, Ricardo Maduro Joest.

David Hawley of the External Relations office of the IMF denied the Finance Ministerette’s claim that Honduras could use the $163M being distributed by Honduras to bolster the nation’s reserves. Hugo Noé Pino, principal auditor of the Executive Director for a Latin American branch of the World Bank explained that the money belonged to Honduras, not to the clown show running the country.

A US Commission, possibly including Adjunct Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, will travel to Central America to investigate the political conditions in Honduras

The adjunct secretary general of the OAS Albert Ramdin has second-guessed the organization by saying maybe they should have waited more than 72 hours after the kidnapping of Zelaya before delivering an ultimatum.

The Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon is being haled before the Supreme Court of Spain for having investigated disappearances in the Spanish Civil War. The ultra-right organization Clean Hands says that he knowingly submitted an unjust decision by declaring himself competent to judge crimes committed during the Civil War. 114,000 people disappeared during the Civil War. Garzon opened 25 mass graves. Since Garzon is one of those who is inclined to bring human rights charges in Honduras, this case has considerable moment.

Moises Lopez Alvarenga of the Superior Court of Auditors says that Gen. Romeo Vasquez will be investigated in the question of what happened to ca. $4.5M that Zelaya says he gave him. Vasquez denies receiving the money. The investigation is in the hands of coupistas.

Adrienne translated a list of people accused of being coupistas

14 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 48”

  1. Phoenix Woman said

    Sad to hear that the right-wingers are getting the upper hand in Spain again after a few decades of freedom. Even sadder to hear that this could hurt the cause of freedom in Honduras as well.

    • Charles II said

      The right wing has really never been out of power in Spain. During and after the Spanish Civil War, they completely destroyed the Spanish left and weakened the center, creating a deeply sick and corrupt society which failed to develop along the same trajectory as Europe and remains one of the poorest nations of Western Europe. Following the death of Franco, the center re-emerged. But even the Socialist Party in Spain is a cautious center-left organization. And the right-wing, even at this low ebb, has considerable strength. Considering that it is the heir of a fascist dictator, it’s fair to make this comparison: what would we say if the Nazi Party held 44-49% of the seats in the German Bundestag? Those are the proportion held by the PP in the lower and upper houses of Spain’s parliament. And, as we see, they still haven’t exhumed the mass graves or brought closure to over a hundred thousand Spanish families.

  2. Nell said

    Pretty funny that the business they’re marching by has a gorilla as part of its advertising. Is that ‘ProGas’? I can’t quite make it out. Odds are it’s owned by a golpista.

  3. Nell said

    Given the prevalence of the gorilla imagery used by the resistance to symbolize the golpistas and their thugs, it’s bitterly hilarious that the Tropigas convenience store chain uses one as part of its advertising. ]

    Tropigas is owned by coup supporter and former president Ricardo Maduro, who was part of the coup delegation that went to DC on July 7.

  4. jo6pac said

    Thanks for IFM update. Things don’t look good and is the us state dept missing in action? I heard alot of words but there not much action.

    • Charles II said

      There’s been a lot more action since a few of us lit a fire underneath their rear ends, Joe.

      The problem is that the amount of money involved is relatively small, just $15M. Think of it this way: Honduras has roughly $2B in Forex reserves. They are burning, very approximately, $200M/month. That gives them on the order of one year to fool around. The burn rate can be increased by measures such as boycotts, cutting funding, rising commodity prices, bank account freezes, creditors raising interest rates, and capital flight. They believe that if they can just hold plausible elections in November that everything will get back to normal. That $15M shortened their calculation by about two days, not enough to be a game changer in itself… but possibly enough to trigger higher interest rates or other effects that could help to bring down the regime.

  5. Nell said

    Like the reporters in the daily press briefing at State, I am irritated and confused. When the MCC funds were first brought up (by Bill Conroy at NarcoNews), and more recently when the formal coup declaration was floated (which it seems Sec. Clinton is determined not to do; I think it’s the military-out provisions they don’t want to activate), the amounts in question were in the $100 million-plus range.

    It’s too late in the day now, but I’m going to look up the amounts tomorrow and see if I can make any sense of today’s announcement.

    Right now it looks a lot like more of the same b.s. we got late last week: trying to puff up tiny steps as something big to avoid actually putting the hurt on Lanny Davis’ bosses. This is to take the heat off critics like us, not to actually pressure the dictatorship.

    • Charles II said

      Yeah, PJ Crowley is getting pretty good practice at being press pinata. They slapped him around good today.

      Here’s the full outline of MCC money; see Schedule A and B. I’m too tired to analyze it.

  6. Nell said

    This is actually the strongest human rights condemnation to come out of anyone in the U.S. government about the coup regime:

    “given recent events in Honduras that are inconsistent with a commitment to democratic governance”

    How pathetic is that?

    • Charles II said

      Well, it’s hard to disagree that martial law, death squads and acid bombing opposition media are “inconsistent with a commitment to democratic governance.”

  7. Nell said

    Wrt Millenium Challenge funds: I was mistakenly thinking about the overall size of the MCC grant to Honduras, which is $215 million for the period from July 2005-June 2010, of which $80 has already been disbursed (through July).

    From the time the program began (disbursement agreement with Honduras signed Sept 2005) through September 2008, only $35 million was released to Honduras. This was the pattern for almost all countries during the Bush administration; Congress slashed MCC funding requests for later years because so little of what had already been appropriated had been spent. The program is strictly for business development, along right-wing neoliberal economic lines, not much of a real antipoverty program, but even at that the Bush crowd only wanted it for PR puffery purposes.

    Faced with the Congressional reaction and an incoming administration interested in reviving the program as a tool of foreign policy, money began to be disbursed more freely. The desire to push funds to Zelaya’s political opponents, especially Elvin Santos, whose company is a prime contractor on one of the highway projects contracted (which represents , may also have been a factor. $45.3 million, more than half of all the money disbursed since the program began, was sent out between October 2008 and the end of July.

    It remains to be seen whether any disbursements were made in August, or whether the NarcoNews and CEPR publicity resulted in a de facto stoppage, now made official by the board. As of August 11-13, when the story broke, the MCC was taking the position that the money would flow unless State formally designated a military coup. The State Dept. line was that the money had been ‘suspended’ until the “review” on that subject was complete. The $6.5 million disbursements in July were made weekly. Conroy provided no link, and the publicly available records on which he based his report may be offline. But if and when we see the records for August, I’ll bet there was at least one release of funds before the story broke, on Aug. 6.

  8. Nell said

    Sorry for the length there. I realize that’s more or less a blog post, but I find it a lot easier to write in a conversation than “from scratch”.

    • Charles II said

      More length is good, Nell. I appreciate the insight that you provide, as can be guessed by the many times I promote what you say to the main post.

      And I will bet that you’re right about payments in August… who knows if they have even be stopped now?

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