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Archive for February 15th, 2011

Honduran dictatorship, day 405: “Does the U.S. have a Policy Toward Latin America?”

Posted by Charles II on February 15, 2011

That’s the way Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela headlined his testimony to Congress: “Does the U.S. have a Policy Toward Latin America?” Evidently, it’s a question that’s on many people’s minds. Here’s what he says about Honduras:

During 2010, Honduras made significant progress in strengthening governance, promoting national reconciliation, addressing some of the problems of human rights violations, and restoring diplomatic relations with many countries in the hemisphere. As President Lobo has said, he has sought to redirect the country on a path towards democratic normalization following the disruption of the institutional order that took place in June 2009. In our view, he has prepared the groundwork for the restoration of Honduras to the Organization of American States. The U.S. Government is supporting Honduras through robust programs managed by several agencies, including the Departments of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and USAID, and we will seek new ways to support the country’s efforts to achieve its economic development objectives….In El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation has spent almost $800 million in recent years modernizing farms and building or improving hundreds of miles of highway.

So, we can now answer the question: The US does have a policy toward Latin America, and that policy is to dissemble. There has been, for example, no progress toward addressing human rights violations. As Human Rights Watch noted:

Honduran authorities should take concrete steps to end impunity for abuses committed after the country’s 2009 coup, and to curb ongoing attacks against journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today….No one has been held criminally responsible…Security forces obstructed investigations of abuses…

There’s lots more– RAJ and RNS have been covering spiraling food prices and the likely degradation of one of Honduras’ archaeological treasures by building an airport to bring in tourists from cruise ships. Adrienne, as always, has covered the human rights stories like white on rice. Brother John reports on the murder and wounding of two men in his neighborhood. And, alas, I don’t have the time to do anything more than applaud their good efforts.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America, State Department | 2 Comments »

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