The United States stepped up pressure Thursday against the de facto government of Honduras, formally terminating millions of dollars in aid to the country for failing to adopt a Costa Rica-brokered reconciliation plan intended to end the Central American country´s more than two-month-long political crisis.
“Restoration of the terminated assistance will be predicated upon a return to democratic, constitutional governance in Honduras,” according to a statement from the U.S. State Department.
The pulled aid totals as much as $22 million that would be funneled through a broad range of assistance programs, according to a report in The New York Times.
The U.S. also hardened its tone against the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti – who was named president after the June 28, court-ordered overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya – now labeling the ouster a full-fledged “coup d´etat.”
The U.S. State Department said it would not recognize the result of presidential elections slated for November as long as the accord drafted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias isn´t met.
“At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections,” the government statement said. “A positive conclusion of the Arias process would provide a sound basis for legitimate elections to proceed. We strongly urge all parties to the San José talks to move expeditiously to agreement.”
The announcement came after an hour-long meeting between Zelaya and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, newswire EFE reported.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Núñez, Micheletti´s finance minister, said the aid was meant to assist in programs including roadway works and a project to help some 18,000 Honduran farm workers, according to EFE.