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October 22, 2009
No aid to illegitimate governments: punishing the people?

In Honduras two years ago then-President Manuel Zelaya launched an ambitious program to bring government services to mountainous areas inhabited by Tolupan indigenous people. The initiative was funded primarily by foreign donors.

But since Zelaya’s ouster in a coup late June, most foreign donors have cut off aid to Honduras’ de facto government. If the Honduran political crisis continues, the legitimacy of next month’s elections will be called into question.

This would mean that the cessation of foreign aid could continue, leaving many impoverished communities to fend for themselves.

Craig Mauro of Al Jazeera English reports from the village of La Ceibita.

Should the United States cut off aid to governments it considers illegitimate, if ordinary people end up suffering?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please remember to be respectful and on-point in your comments. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.

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46 comments

#46

Thank you WorldFocus for the oportunity to voice my opion in this important matter.

First, WorldFocus news report is very wrong in reporting the events taken place in Honduras as a coup. Just as it was not a cuop when Gerald Ford replaced Richard Nixon back in the early 70s, due to the impichtment dictated by the US’s supreme court and congress. So, please stand corrected dear WorldFocus. I’m shure your progran editor will take notes in this matter.

As for the wanted to be “Neodictator”, (Like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Fidel Castro in Cuba}, Manuel Zelaya, undaughtebly under the coaching of these hoodlands,(blood suckers of the poor and murderers of the human spirit of the Latinamerican peaple), He should consider Himself a very lucky fellow. In my opinion, He should have been arrested and trial for treason and as a resolt, probably shot afterwards. And all of it done under the laws of the country.

As for the decision of the US and other countries to denide recognition of the interine president and his cabinet or goverment, that’s just ridiculous. For one, I personally don’t think that the US and any of the European goverments has the right to first, intervine in the politics of any sovern nation. Just as they won’t allow any medling in their own countries internal afairs.

At the end, I think, this is just the very old plan of Fidel Castro, coming out thru the junior “neocomunist” Chavez of Venezuela, to have the whole of Latinoamerica away from the influence and semicontrol of the US. Furthermore the Obama administration, either don’t know or care as to what exactly is going on throuout Latinamrica and somewhat the world, except in Irack, Akfanistan or Midle East. Maybe, and just maybe, He (Obama) will waik-up to what Hillary Clinton and “Hers” US State Department is “Not Doing” in regard to forein afears ie Honduras and the most of Latinamerica. Again I hope it’s not too late when They, at the State Department and the white house Wake-Up since congress is either under some kind of spell or asleep.

#45

Rebecca of World Focus, thank you for your response on this blog. It is good to know you check the blogs. So I would like to answer your post. You said “the United States, the Organization of American States, and the European Union have all condemned the ouster”. In other words, the point you are making is: ‘if everyone is calling it a coup…it must be a coup. How could so many people be wrong?’ Well it really would not be the first time in history that a large group of people believed an incorrect idea (i.e. the world is flat, Hitler was good for Germany, etc.). Judgement based on what everyone else is doing has hardly proved to be a good standard. Inaccurate ideas can easily be molded with MONEY and the right PR until they are widely accepted as true.

If I were in your situation, I would try to look beyond the well structured soundbites and ask questions like:
What events lead up to Pres. Zelaya being removed from office? Why has Chavez played such a dominate role in all of this? What does Chavez have to gain by Zelaya staying in office? What does Chavez have in Venezuela that make world leaders cater to him? (I’ll answer this one for you: OIL and influence) Why has Chavez taken such an interest in little inconsequential Honduras and Pres. Zelaya? How did Chavez himself extend his term of office in Venezuela? How was Chavez’ power takeover similar to the way Zalaya attempted to ‘extend his term’? Why have countries like El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc. all attempted and succeeded in following Chavez’ playbook in holding similar illegal elections? Isn’t Chavez the leader who, among MANY other things, shut down radio stations and TV stations that criticized him in Venezuela?

How did the Honduran members of Congress, the military and the Supreme Court all feel about Zelaya’s unconstitutional attempt to extend his time in office indefinitely? Why would members of Zelaya’s own party (his life long friends) beg him to stop his plans with Chavez and eventually feel the need to remove him from office the night before his illegal election was to be held? Is current president Micheletti a member of Zelaya’s own party? Isn’t a military coup when the military takes and RETAINS power? Once the military fulfilled the court order to remove Zelaya from the country, wasn’t power immediately turned over to Micheletti? According to the Honduran Constitution, isn’t the elected head of congress (Micheletti) the one deemed to act as an interim president? Isn’t it true that after the legitimate presidential election in Nov. is held, Micheletti will go back to his seat in the Congress, will NOT run for presidential election, and has nothing personally to gain by being the interim President?

Rebecca, if I were you I would follow the money trail. For example, why was Zelaya paying his supporters to protest in Tegucigalpa $500 (10,000.00 Honduran Lempiras – if you can’t tell this is a huge amount of money for the people in Honduras, they could live off that money for months)? Where did all that money come from? Was there really a plane from Venezuela that was completely full of American Dollars? Why would Chavez feel the need to send so much money to Honduras right before Zelaya’s special election? Why were the voting ballots flown in from Venezuela and why were they already filled out with votes in support of Zelaya’s proposed term extension? In what ways was the wording of Zelaya’s term extension proposition changed the night before the election? Why did Zelaya attempt to get the military to enforce the election? Why did the head of the military refuse? Why did Zelaya fire the head of the military? By what means did Zelaya win the allegiance of the police force who guarded the ballot boxes and would not allow them to be inspected as directed by law? What was Zelaya hiding? Why was the general public not planning on voting in Zelaya’s ‘special election’, was it really because they felt it would be too dangerous?

The real question here is what would have happened to the Hondurans if they had NOT removed Zelaya from office the night before his ‘election’? Finally, WHERE WAS the United States, the Organization of American States, and the European Union leading up the illegal election that threatened their constitution?

Once you get some real answers to the questions above, I think you will see as I do, that Hondurans and their removal of a power grasping leader is something that should be heralded as a courageous fight to retain their constitution and freedom. Even more amazing is their continued tenacity to stand united as a people against such powerful opponents who should know better. It is sobering to see how such powerful organizations of the world are willing to shun a small poor country who successfully stayed off tyranny in an effort to placate a more powerful, oil rich country that clearly does not share the values that founded this country.

#44

US should recognice the transitional goverment in Honduras, Zelaya was removed by his own goverment, his pretencions were ilegal & unconstitutional plague with corruption & greediness. There was a hi level of insecurity in the all country. Hondurians felt treaten by Zelaya’s ways leading the country into an unknown feature. The people of Honduras deserve respect and recognicion of their own decisions. They believe the constitusion was made to be respected and that is all they want.(The Goverment is transitory looking for a recogniced elections)

#43

Hi, I am with Worldfocus and we are following this discussion with interest.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was forced to leave the country in June. Supporters of Roberto Micheletti – now leading the de facto government in Honduras – argue this action was not a coup because Zelaya had broken the law by seeking to extend his time in office. However, the United States, the Organization of American States, and the European Union have all condemned the ouster.

Worldfocus – along with most media organizations – referred to this event as a coup.

We want to hear what you think.

#42

I think that this is an on-going problem with aid that is sent everywhere. It often is lost in Beureucratic Snafu’s or doesn’t get to the people who actually need it. My concern is that nothing is ever mentioned about how population pressures are outstripping resources all over. I grew up in a rural area of America and have struggled with health problems for some time. If it were not for help from others (ie friends and Family) I would be without a place to live and would go hungry. I would love to have children but it’s not possible without resources. Why did your reporters story focus on a woman who has had five chldren. With respect: I think that therein lies a lot of the worlds problems.

#41

I think help is fine if we send the money with a person to distribute the care directly to the people that need it, and not to the Govt.

#40

I think it should be a case-by-case basis. The current leaders of Honduras aren’t interested in taking away aid given to its countrymen by the world community as much as it is interested in taking away the exiled president’s quest for expanded power. Other countries with questionable governments, a la North Korea, not only take away people’s own rights but also the foreign aid.

#39

Yes. If not, we’re accomplices in crime.

#38

We should not continue to aid, support and train the Honduras military to show that we our not behind the illegal coup of a democratically elected government as we were in Iran, Chile or more recently in Haiti!

#37

Some coup! The Honduran Supreme Court legitimately ordered Zelaya’s exile for violating the constitution. At least in this case, no, the United States should not cut off aid to Hondurans.

#36

The current government of Honduras is NOT illegitimate. Therefore the question above is NOT a legitimate question. The poor people in Honduras have always suffered including under the rule of Manuel Zelaya. “Ordinary people” is not an appropriate usage for the population of Honduras, as they are ALL ordinary, and they ALL suffered under the rule of Zelaya in one way or another unless they were included in his unlawful, greedy “in” group, family, or helping him deal in heavy drug trafficking. I have seen it firsthand. Zelaya was removed under a democratic process, just as he was elected. However, after he was elected, he took a far left turn and became a puppet of Communist Hugo Chavez. This is all KNOWN information. Again, would you like to rephrase your question?
I remain respectful of your broadcasts,
Linda Scott
214-320-1963
linda@cayoscochinos.com

#35

The US need to inform it’s foreign policy with an ethical notion of justice – not mere economic considerations.

Aid or economic sanctions ought to be based on the legitimacy of the government under question. The final criteria ought to be based on the will of the people of such a country.

Often there is a conflict between the former colonised and the indigenous population. Often there’s scant respect for indigenous cultures by exploitative entities.

#34

Yes, it would be nice if Hondurans received aid and food, but if they have to choose between aid and freedom, hands down they will and have choosen freedom (80% of Hondurans believed Zelaya should have been removed from office according to an independent Gallop poll). They need our support for their fight for democracy more than they need a handout. A handout is temporary, freedom will enable them to be able to provide for themselves.

#33

U.S. Obama administration is currying favor with Chavez at the expense of the poor in Honduras. Obama should be ashamed of denying help to the poor especially since Honduras’ justified removal of Zelaya from power was in full accord with their democratic constitution.

#32

Aid to Hunduras should be given only by Red Cross, United Nations, or some other direct aid. not to the illegitmate governments they do not help the people anyway. America don’t even help its poor like it really should, so they don’t know how to help others in the world, cause they surpress they own poor people in the modern way. I have a multi million dollar business plan, to create jobs all across america and the world, that could aid the poor people in Honduras, but I can’t get the funds to implicate it, cause I’m a poor american and they don’t want me to get the credit of implicating a brillant plan, to combat the jobless market and aid the poor people in our world, I would marry one of them poor hondurains to bring them to america, to have a chance at a good life.

#31

I was very surprised at the way World Focus covered what is happening in Honduras. Why can’t you look deeper and find the facts instead of regurgitating the skewed version of this story? I am moving to Honduras in Jan. and I was in Honduras when the so called ‘Coup’ happened in June. Everyone I talked to in Honduras was grateful that Zalaya was removed before his illegal election took place since. It was common knowledge he had bought off the police and his sham of an election was rigged. Yes, I hate to see people suffering needlessly but they would have been in a much worse condition if Zelaya implanted himself permanently with the help of Chavez’s money and tactics. Remember it was members of his own party, the supreme court, the congress…EVERYONE who was trying to stop him for the entire month prior to his removal. It is ironic that the USA is trying to punish Honduras for removing their threat to democracy, when it was the USA who helped the Hondurans write their constitution which excluded a claus for impeachment. Hondurans did the best they could and are upholding democracy the best way they can, yet the USA/UN is trying to force them into the socialism of Chavez and croonies. We should be celebrating their stand against Chavez, not condemning it. Bravo Catrachos!

#30

As pointed out by #1 Martha and #14 Howard, WorldFocus is falsely reporting that Zelaya was removed in a coup. In fact, he was constitutionally removed by order of the civilian government for acts of treason. Shame on every politician and agency punishing the people of Honduras for preserving their legitimate constitutional government!

#29

As the President was removed by his govt (Honduras’ legislature and supreme court) for unconstitutional acts, the US could resolve the matter simply by acknowledging that no coup occurred.

#28

Yes, I agree with Sharon—we should find other (humantarian) ways to support the people, and use this economic leverage to effect change.

#27

Since the poor, particularly in rural regions are suffering, and we do not know if funds given for aid would go to help these people, I think some kind of grain, rice and other type of aid should be given, but only given my Red Cross and other aid groups who are allowed to give it directly to the people by permitted cargo planes and then on trucks supplied by the government with the aid workers on-board doing direct distribution. It is a shame that so many have to suffer because of illegitimate governments and dictators.

#26

To Dustbindiva :
“about time to stop supporting government officials and heads of state who their people.”
What are you talking about, which government in Honduras did that to their people???

#25

The ousted president wanted to change the constitution. He was planning to break its country law. What right the US have to intervene? What we are going to tell these poor people when he’ll come back and start a dictatorship like Hugo Chavez?

#24

If not now then when? Our track record to do the right thing is dismal so we should also sit around the camp fire and sing “cum baya?” Let us cut the pretentious “sitting-on-the-fence” stance and ditch one side (really doesn’t matter which one) to shine the spotlight on our principles.

#23

No; we don’t know enough about the situations to judge these “illegitimate” governments. I do know, for example, that the “illegal” government in Fiji is much better for ALL of it’s citizens than the corrupt legitimate government it overthrew. In Fiji, illiterate villagers are given Kava by corrupt government officials in order to buy the villagers vote. I don’t believe this makes for a well-informed voter. The Indian population is terribly mistreated by the “legitimate” governments. Hence the 3 or 4 coups in the past 30 years.

#22

I believe my country has an obligation to the poor of our Latin neighbors. We need to find a way to funnel aid without supporting the government. From my own limited perspective i believe the USA is responsible for many ills of our Southern neighbors and should do everything in our power to rectify them.

#21

It is an axiom of sports that when A hits B and B hits back, the officials punish the defender rather than the aggressor. That is the case in Honduras, where Zelaya attempted a coup against a ruling of the Supreme Court and failed. The army removed him for his violation. Following the lead of Hugo Chavez, America and most of the world ignored Zelaya’s illegal action and punished those who protected the rule of law. This knee-jerk reaction to the idea than anything the military does is ipso-facto bad is truly Orwellian!

#20

Zelaya is another bolshevik who was ready to pull the plug on Honduras and join the left of his buddies in Nicauraga and Venezuela. The poor should not suffer because of his attempt at revolution.

#19

Definitely Yes. Everything I read points to we are supporting the illegitimate military and political leaders. What are we wasting so much time for?

#18

NO! The U.S. has a moral obligation to aid the poor of Central America. It’s responsible for decades of rape of these countries. Read THE OPEN VEINS OF LATIN AMERICA and learn the history of the United
Fruit Company in Latin America.

#17

Cutting foreign aid in this case is good. People in Honduras will continue to resist the coup, and they will continue to push for social change in Honduras. The US needs to change its image of supporting only the most repressive elements of Latin Amwerica.

#16

The removal of Mr. Zelaya from office was not as you described a coup d’etat (coup d’etat – a sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force) as it was carried out by the military under a legal decision by the Honduran Supreme Court that Mr. Zeyela was acting in an unconstitutional manner.
The military acted legally and did not take power but the civilian elected official who, under the Constitution was next in line for the presidency, became the President all in accordance with Honduran Constitution.Unfortunately ,the liberal,leftist media, including World Focus, continue to support a corrupt individual who was attempting to continue in office illegally,unconstitutionally and in defiance of the Constitution of Honduras which would have been a real coup d’etat. The decision by the United States and all other nations to cut off aid to a legitimate government and the people of Honduras borders on the inhumane.

#15

Absolutely. We should find other ways to help the ordnary people. Most aid never reaches them anyway, if the government is corrupt.

#14

The US should not cut off aid to Honduras, and the removal of Pres Zelaya was not a coup as you reported but a legal action of the parliament and court taken to protect the people from a tyrant. Why should we punish local people for that? As to the proper response of the US to other countries your question is too broad.

#13

The only reason the US giving money for “aid” in that region is to keep our corporate farms running. The farms should be nationalized and ALL aid cut so the money can be spent to help America get out of our depression.

#12

We should cut off all aid until our economy improves,jobs are restored and we extract ourselves from these destructive wars. Our foreign policy needs a complete overhaul.

#11

Yes, definitely, it is about time to stop supporting government officials and heads of state who torture and starve their people. I wouldnt be surprised if the US School of the Americas didnt have a hand in removing Mr. Zelaya.

#10

Yes,definitly America has suffered at the hands of illegal governments actually useing its poor citizens as CHEESE in the TRAP–for money(alone)..if other countries wish to take a pursuit of money and actions to pull a population together against such political-ideas(such as a ramson)like throw..they should find their community in some station like the UN/but not that the UN should force or ask that contributions continue..politics is a dirty business..populations should be able to understand the benefits of moving towards democracy–and NOT–become BAIT.

#9

How would the US tax payers know that the illegitimate governments would use the aid for those in need?

#8

Ben,
Are you serious. The USA doesnt care about democratic principles. It just cares about lobbyists; ie China, Israel and anyone else that is willing to pay the appropriate price.

#7

Cut off the aid to illegitimate governments, period. Cut off aid from the United States to the other countries that will not support democratic republics, or do not support the United States or her interests. The United States should take care of business in her own back yard, and not be the caretaker of the worlds problemes. Especially when the world could’nt give a Damn about the United States.

#6

Mr. Zelaya has been supporting Chapo Guzman for years. I would like to see a news organization bring this to light. Why is the world supporting a drug dealer? Oh but they are supporting Karsai and his brother so I suppose this is consistent policy.

#5

HonJura, prat tell, where is it? I know HONDURA. Why is your news caster maligning the name of a country? Will the management please take action to correct this situation? If she cannot pronounce the proper names correctly, she should not be representing the WorldFocus.

#4

I usually enjoy watching your news reports to get a different perspective however, your reporting on This topic was way off. Why does the news reporting have to be so biased. It was not a coup as much as a politician usurping the power in order to stay in power.

#3

I think we should cut off aid because – typically if the government is illigement then it is probably overwhelmingly not liked by the people that the government in question is in power. I think that the US ought to curtail a lot of foreign aid because in “most cases” it really does not perform anything worth while. The other reason is that our country is in dire straight economically with nearly double digit unemployment and 1 in 6 people (PER – ABC NEWS) living in poverty. How can we continue to be the world bank, world food producer/supplier of everything as sooner or later the well runs dry and who is there to help the average American. Our US politicians are very good at doleling out money to foreign countries and some of that same money comes back to our politicians and business in one form or another. Yes, we need to stop all foreign aid at least for the interim. JW @ USA

#2

Yes, by all mean we should cut off aid to governments it considers illegitimate. Maybe, we should likewise cut off aid to our supposed “friends” like Mr. Karzai – the attempted election stealer. Whatever happened to dangling the $ carrot to governments we can get along with, not just another whose whole regime seems to be falling apart before our eyes, taking our hard earned money with them. Our government should be ashamed!

#1

Mr Zelaya’s term in office did not help anyone but himself. It is a lie and there is misinformation campaign about what Mr. Zelaya represents. In fact he is a traitor of Hondurans. He pretended to help the poor and at the same time enrich himself with the public money. He is a shame for Hondurans and the best that can actually happen is that he is gone, so foreign aid can be restored and directed to the people who needs it. Ordinary people suffer either way because they are used by corrupted polititians like Manuel Zelaya.

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