Friday, May 24, 2024

U.S. Limits Visas in Honduras Following De Facto Government's Reluctance to Sign the San Jose Accord

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department announced it would be suspending non-emergency, non-immigrant visa services for Hondurans.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the U.S. will only provide visa services to potential immigrants and emergency cases at its embassy in Tegucigalpa. This announcement follows a refusal to negotiate by the condemned military coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28th.

The Obama administration has advocated for Honduran authorities to accept the San Jose Accord proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. The accord would have allowed Zelaya to return to office until elections are held in November.

Roberto Micheletti who is heading the de facto government has refused to accept the Arias’ plan.

Kelly said the visa decision was intended to show support for an Organization of American States’ delegation that was in Honduras on Monday to try to persuade Micheletti to accept the Arias’ plan.

Kelly said in a written statement, “In support of this mission and as a consequence of the de facto regime’s reluctance to sign the San Jose accord, the U.S. Department of State is conducting a full review of our visa policy in Honduras.”

He added, “As part of that review, we are suspending non-emergency, non-immigrant visa services in the consular section of our embassy in Honduras, effective August 26.”

An anonymous U.S. official said that the visa decision was “a signal of how seriously we are watching the situation” and said Washington was re-considering U.S. policy towards Honduras.

The Micheletti-run government has resisted international pressure to reinstate Zelaya. However, Micheletti told OAS’ chief, Jose Miguel, Insulza and foreign ministers from Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic that there would be a presidential election in November, even if other countries don’t recognize the result.

Earlier this August, 16 Democratic Congressman wrote to Obama urging to him to freeze the assets of the coup leaders while a group of Republican senators has tried to hold up confirmation of State Department appointments due to the administration’s support for Zelaya, a supporter of Venezuela’s leftist president Hugo Chavez.

The U.S., a long-time ally of Honduras and the country’s top trading partner, has suspended some military aid. No other sanctions have been imposed to date.

New York Times

Voice of America


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