The new Honduras government is “one step” toward the country’s return to the Organization of American States and recovery of international credit lost during the seven month coup, said the US top diplomat to Latin America.
“We are seeing with satisfaction that Honduras is on the right necessary track to return to OAS and receive world recognition for having restored democracy”, said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela during a political forum in Madrid.
Honduras was expelled from OAS following the June 2009 coup which ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The US, the European Union and most Latinamerica had broken relations with the de facto regime in Tegucigalpa.
Valenzuela said the government of President Porfitio Lobo had formed a national unity administration (naming members of the opposition) and should follow the recommendations established under accords brokered by the US and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, including establishing a so-called truth commission to clarify the circumstances of Zelaya’s June ouster from the presidency and help begin a period of necessary reforms to prevent a repeat of recent events.
The Honduran military deposed Zelaya last year, prompting the country’s suspension from the OAS as de facto leader Roberto Micheletti decided to go forward with planned November 2009 elections. Lobo, the winner of that balloting, assumed the presidency of Honduras last week as Washington remained split from most of Latinamerica over whether the fledgling government is legitimate or should be rejected as the outgrowth of a coup.
Meantime the newly sworn in Finance Minister William Chong, revealed that the administration of de facto Micheletti left office with only “about 50 million in government coffers”.
Chong said the already impoverished country was bankrupt following months of isolation and cut offs of international aid prompted by the coup. He added that President Lobo administration will have to approach international lending agencies like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for loans.