San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Honduras President Says Parlacen Not Needed

TEGUCIGALPA (AFP) – HonduranPresident Ricardo Maduro this week saidhe considers the Central AmericanParliament (Parlacen) “unnecessary,” andasked Congress to suspend Honduran paymentsto the organization.“I am not here trying to violate internationalaccords. I am serving theHonduran people, and I am serving themwell by avoiding unnecessary costs. TheCentral American Parliament is unnecessary,”Maduro said.“For this reason, in the 2005 nationalbudget proposal we send to Congress(next week) there won’t be any moneydesignated for the Central AmericanParliament,” the President announced.Maduro said that Honduras, by cuttingoff Parlacen, will save $1.6 million a year,which will be used to fund other areas.“I am not against Central Americanintegration; just the opposite,” Madurosaid. “President Maduro and allHondurans will continue to be at the vanguardof Central America, but we can’tspend funds on institutions that don’t provideany benefit to the Honduran people.”Maduro said the decision to suspendfunds to Parlacen will have “compleximplications,” but explained Honduras isfacing a budget crunch and can no longerjustify funding an organization that “hasnot produced any concrete results foryears.”Parlacen is represented by 20 deputies– including many former Presidents –from each country of Central America,except for Costa Rica, which never joinedthe organization. Parlacen, based inGuatemala, hands down non-binding resolutions,and has been criticized as ineffectiveand a waste of money for years.A Honduran pullout of the organizationwould leave only Guatemala, ElSalvador and Nicaragua remaining inParlacen, and could ultimately prove to bethe coup de grace for the embattled court.

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