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September 17, 2009

Honduras: muddled picture = muddled policies

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.

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Comments

jaime chavez

The truth of the Zelaya affair is slowly coming out.
Honduras has saved a generation;the price we are paying is peanuts compared to the damage Zelaya and Chavez
were ready to impose upon us.
It is ironic to see Bill Clinton making his best efforts for Haiti and Hilary coercing Honduras to poverty.

James

Mel Zelaya repeatedly and continually violated the Honduran Constitution. He ignored the findings and rulings of the Honuran legislature and its Supreme Court. There's no way he deserves to be re-instated, even if that were possible, which it's not.

Interested

So Jamie, James: How are you guys enjoying the 24 hour curfew and the newly imposed ban on free speech? I am curious how the people are coping, since it is my understanding that most Hondurans need to leave their houses to work and if they don't work they don't eat. Are you just ignoring the curfew or what?

And what exactly was the price that Zelaya and Chaves were ready to impose on you?

I think most people outside of Honduras are interested in facts on the ground. Can you share?

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1206608578

Dear 'interested',
You obviously have a limited knowledge on Honduran affairs......the Honduran populus, DOES NOT WANT Zelaya...he's done nothing for the country.......secondly, any 'leader' that requires one of his illiterate supporters to carry his HAT, aside from (more importantly) trying to change the honduran constitution to grant his continued 'milking' of its presidency - does NOT BELONG in power!!!

Interested

Mr. Facebook:

Can you give us some specifics?

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Inside South America is written by Jim Wyss, the South America bureau chief for the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers.

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