zelaya, honduras, honduras coup
AP/Miguel Tovar
Manuel Zelaya, former President of Hondouras.

Has US Support for Ousted Honduran President Zelaya Weakened?

August 06, 2009 04:00 PM
by Anita Gutierrez-Folch
The State Department has issued a letter raising questions about the U.S. government’s position on the Honduran political crisis, leaving many to wonder how the conflict will be resolved.

US Sends Mixed Message to Honduras

When Manuel Zelaya was ousted from office on June 28, many of Honduras’ regional neighbors, such as Cuba, Venezuela and the United States, set aside their individual differences to join in opposition to the coup.

But according to Reuters, the U.S Department of State has clarified that U.S. policy aims to support the country rather than an individual politician. In a letter to Republican Senator Richard Lugar, Richard Verma, the assistant secretary for legislative affairs, explained that the U.S. “policy and strategy for engagement is not based on supporting any particular politician or individual,” Reuters reports. “Rather, it is based on finding a resolution that best serves the Honduran people and their democratic aspirations."

Although President Barack Obama has condemned Zelaya’s removal, Reuters reports that the State Department letter also explained that “severe U.S. economic sanctions were not being considered” against the interim government led by Roberto Micheletti.
According to the BBC, Zelaya feels that the U.S. isn’t doing enough to condemn Micheletti and his government. Meanwhile, after Zelaya symbolically stepped across the border from Nicaragua back into Honduras, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called his actions “reckless” and not “conducive to the broader effort to restore constitutional order."

Obama, on the other hand, has announced a $16.5 million cut in military aid to Honduras, and has threatened to “slash economic aid,” Reuters reports. Obama’s position on the Honduran conflict is a difficult one: “He does not want to show U.S. support for rightist coups in Latin America, but some Republicans in Congress say he has already done too much for the ousted leftist,” according to Reuters.

Background: Manuel Zelaya’s Possible Return Prompts New Curfew in Honduras >

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