By Barry Grey and Rafael Azul
30 June 2009
While publicly opposing the military coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on Sunday, the Obama administration on Monday indicated that it will not cut off aid to the Central American country or demand Zelaya’s reinstatement.
Following a White House meeting with Washington’s closest Latin American ally, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, President Obama reiterated the position that the ouster of Zelaya was illegal. However, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at a State Department briefing that the US government was refraining from formally declaring the removal of Zelaya a “coup.”
Under the Foreign Assistance Act, no US aid can be given to a country whose elected head of government is removed by a military coup. The US is providing Honduras with $43 million in aid this year and maintains a major military presence in the country, including a base staffed by 600 US troops located 50 miles from the capital, Tegucigalpa. The US has also refrained from recalling its ambassador to Honduras.