jump to navigation

Understanding US Assistance to Honduras, Post-Zelaya September 17, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
Tags: , , , ,


The people of Honduras celebrated their Independence Day this week amidst the ongoing constitutional crises that lead to the removal of President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009.  Since that time, Roberto Micheletti’s interim government has failed to garner any significant international support as the Organization of American States (OAS), the UN General Assembly, and the US have called for Mr. Zelaya’s immediate return.

Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton have stated that what took place in Honduras was a coup d’éta, yet unlike the OAS and the UN, the Administration has not officially made the declaration.  The Department of State has avoided this determination because Section 7008 of the FY 2009 Foreign Operations Bill prohibits appropriated funds “to be obligated or expended in any country whose elected head of state is deposed by a military coup.”  This means that only assistance programs with “not-withstanding authority” could be used, such as counterterrorism, counter-drug, disaster assistance, and humanitarian assistance.

Despite this, State recently announced that it will formally terminate US assistance to the Government of Honduras, therefore increasing pressure on the de facto Honduran government.  This termination follows the suspension of US assistance to Honduras in June, immediately following Mr. Zelaya’s removal.  Below is an itemized list of terminated programs and amounts.

Terminated Assistance to Honduras

($ in thousands)

International Affairs: State / USAID

Foreign Military Financing (FMF)


International Military Education and Training (IMET)


Global Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)


Development Assistance/ Economic Support Fund (DA / ESF)


Global Health and Child Survival (GHCS)


Independent 150 Agencies

Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)


Department of Defense

Section 1206


Total Terminated Funding


BFAD has taken each section and more fully explained the context surrounding these cuts.

US Assistance to Honduras: International Affairs: State/ USAID

US Assistance to Honduras

In the International Affairs budget, programs for Honduras receive, on average, about $41 million ($40.5 million in FY 2008; $43.2 million in FY 2009).  The bulk of US assistance to Honduras supports programs in Global Health and Child Services (GHCS) and Development Assistance (DA).  In FY 2008, GHCS and DA accounted for 69 percent of total assistance for Honduras; in FY 2009 GHCS and DA totaled 80 percent.  PL 480 Title II food assistance programs made up 25 percent of programs in FY 2008, and 19 percent in FY 2009.  Security assistance programs (INCLE, IMET, FMF) were the smallest portion of US assistance, totaling 5 percent in FY 2008 and 3 percent in FY 2009.  Honduras does receive, however, Section 1206 funds, explained in detail below.

The FY 2010 request for Honduras is $68.2 million, 58 percent higher than FY 2009 enacted level.  The large increase is for the new Food Security Initiative in the Development Assistance (DA) Account, which would provide technical assistance to help small farmers increase productivity.  DA would also support initiatives to reform key trade and investment policies to open marks and take advantage of CAFTA-DR.  In breaking with past fiscal years, the administration did not request any PL 480 Title II food assistance for Honduras.

The administration stated that it will terminate $6.5 million in FMF, $361 million in IMET, $1.720 in PKO, $8.970 million ESF/DA and $2.7 million in Global Health and Child Survival.  Some humanitarian assistance, such as PL 480 Title II food aid, will remain active, as the recipients are the people of Honduras, not the government.  The decision to suspend and then terminate funds has come at the end of the fiscal year, so the terminated amount is what had not been previously obligated.

Millennium Challenge Corporation

In 2005, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year $215 million compact with Honduras that supports agricultural diversification and the improvement of the national highway system.  According to MCC, over $191 million has been disbursed or committed to contracts under the compact; approximately $25 million remains and has yet to be committed to programs or activities.   The administration announced it would terminate $11 million, but the Board of Directors vote to terminate funding; Secretary Clinton is on the MCC board.

US Assistance to Honduras: Section 1206

Section 1206 provides the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, the authority to conduct or support programs that build the capacity of a foreign country’s military and maritime security forces.  Section 1206 programs are implemented in a variety of countries and support mostly counterterrorism initiatives.

Programs in Honduras are part of the Caribbean Basin Train and Equip, which focuses counterterrorism and maritime security in several countries in the region including the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Nicaragua.  In Honduras, supplies and training have included patrol boats, arms, vehicles, communication equipment, tactical tracking systems and technical assistance.

Section 1206 requires that the Department of Defense (DOD) notify Congress before it initiates any activities in foreign countries.  The following chart lists the amounts requested for Honduras.  These programs were fully funded, as a recent CRS report listed the obligated funds for the Caribbean Basin programs which match the requested program amounts.

Section 1206 Funds to Honduras

($ in thousands)

Fiscal Year


Notification Request

FY 2007

Caribbean Basin Train and Equip


FY 2008

Caribbean Basin- Capability Enhancements


FY 2008

CT Unit Train and Equip for OEF-CCA




The administration stated that it will terminate $1.7 million of remaining Section 1206 funds.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: