The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) believes that the Organization of American States' (OAS) decision today to suspend Honduras' membership marks a difficult and sad moment in the political crisis that has rocked Honduras since the military coup on Sunday, June 28. Nevertheless, it was a necessary step given the acting government's intransigence to take steps to restore democracy and constitutional order in the country.
"The decision of the member states of the OAS, including the United States, to suspend Honduras' membership is a clear sign of the body's commitment to adhering to the principles laid out in the Inter-American Democratic Charter," states WOLA's Executive Director, Joy Olson.
US officials had stated that they would wait until OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza reported back to the General Assembly before making any decisions regarding US assistance to Honduras. "Given Honduras' suspension from the OAS, the US government should now follow suit and suspend all assistance, as required by US law," affirms Olson. The Foreign Assistance act requires that aid be suspended after coups d'etats.
In 2009, the United States provided over $46 million in assistance to Honduras through the foreign operations budget, including $3.5 million in its Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact and over $21 million in development assistance. "Honduras is the third poorest country in the continent and it relies heavily on foreign assistance. It's sad that it got to this point," said Olson.
WOLA also continues to express its concern about reports of press censorship and human rights abuses against protesters of the coup, social leaders and members of the media in Honduras. "The deterioration of the human rights situation in Honduras should be a priority for the international community," Olson concluded.