Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, asked some very interesting questions in this blog for the Huffington Post. It turns out, however, that the IMF is not disbursing $164 million to the de facto government of Honduras, as Weisbrot wrote. I'm revising this blog in light of that. An alert reader, Nell Lancaster, alerted me to a statement by the IMF that it was not disbursing the money because it does not recognize the Micheletti government. I went to the IMF web page and found a statement confirming this by spokesman David Hawley.
What I wrote in the rest of the blog still stands, though. The Obama administration's response to the events in Honduras clearly reflects a nuanced, centrist approach: condemning the June 28 coup while slowly ratcheting up pressure on the Micheletti government.
Conservatives want the U.S. to support the de facto government. Honduras has long been a reliable ally. Supporting Micheletti, however, would put the Obama administration out of step with the rest of Latin America.
Liberals want the administration to apply the full force of its economic power against Honduras. As Weisbrot has pointed out in columns elsewhere, the U.S. has an arsenal of weapons it could employ against Honduras that remain unsheathed. The Obama administration has not sided 100 percent with Zelaya because most of the main political and legal players in Honduras believe that he had violated the Constitution in the days leading up to the June 28 ballot measure. The fact that Zelaya was an ally of Hugo Chavez obviously hasn't helped his cause.
So a muddled picture in Honduras has led to something of a muddled policy by the Obama administration, as Weisbrot correctly points out. Just another reminder that the world is rarely black and white.