<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Al Giordano

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US State Department and Millennium Challenge Corp. Contradict Each Other Over Honduras Coup Aid

In Interviews with Narco News, MCC Says It Keeps Funding Coup Regime Because State Department Hasn’t Told It to Stop

By Bill Conroy and Al Giordano
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

August 13, 2009

US State Department spokeswoman Laura Tischler and Millennium Challenge Corporation spokeswoman Sarah Stevenson sharply contradicted each other over aid to the Honduras coup regime in interviews this week with Narco News.

Tischler claimed that State has adopted a policy of “suspending programs we would have to legally terminate” if State declares the situation in Honduras a “military coup” under section 7008 of the US Foreign Operations Law. And she reiterated that the suspension of all such funds is still in place because State has not concluded its determination as to whether it will define the coup legally as such.

Stevenson, of the US-financed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) contradicted Tischler when she said, “MCC’s enabling legislation requires it to cut off funding if the State Department declares it is a military coup. But in the case of Honduras, the State Department has not officially declared it a coup, so the provision has not been triggered yet.”

Got it? The State Department says that all funds that would be shut off to the Honduras regime upon the invocation of Section 7008 have to be held back pending that determination. While MCC admits that its funding of the coup regime would be cut off by Section 7008, but freely concedes – in contradiction to State’s claims – that it continues pouring millions into the Honduran Central Bank.

Maybe somebody should get the US Secretary of State to sit down with the chairman of Millennium Challenge Corporation and get the two US agencies on the same page. Let’s see, the Secretary is Hillary Clinton… and the MCC chairman is… Hillary Clinton! Gee, could somebody please get those two in the same room to get this matter straightened out?

On July 7, the US State Department announced:

“We are suspending, as a policy matter, assistance programs we would be legally required to terminate if the events in Honduras are found to have triggered section 7008.”

But Stevenson confirmed to Narco News that MCC has granted $6.5 million dollars since that date: $0.9 million on July 9, $0.3 million on July 16, $3.7 million on July 23 and $1.6 million on July 30. Honduran Central Bank records disclose the same: that the US government corporation MCC handed $6.5 million directly to the Honduran coup regime after the State Department claimed it was no longer happening.

So while MCC admits that Section 7008, once triggered, would prohibit its funds from flowing to Honduras, and while the State Department admits that any such funds that it would stop have supposedly already been “suspended,” how is it that the former has not yet obeyed the latter’s orders?

Hey, let’s get Secretary Hillary Clinton to sit at the same table with Chairman Hillary Clinton and see whether a little “diplomacy” might get the two of them to agree with each other to make US policy’s deeds match its words. Or maybe they could call each other at 3 a.m. on the red phone. But, really, how seriously is Latin America supposed to take the US government if Clinton can’t even come to agreement with herself?

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America