Thursday, December 15, 2011

Never Mind

Porfirio Lobo Sosa announced Wednesday morning that if Honduras didn't qualify for the Millennium Challenge grants competition this year, next year he would consider withdrawing from the competition for chance at $200 million in program funds and projects.
They told me that I should defer (another year). What's going on? I have been thinking of telling the Vice President (Maria Antonieta Guillen) that she should say that in the following year we will waive it, because they show that they don't behave well, what it is, it isn't fair. When they want to help, they help. There are countries that don't go around with so many things.

He added:
My mother had a saying. She told me: "My son, do good and don't look at anyone else". When you want to help, you help; this gives me, I don't know, I feel at times as if someone said I have money but if you want me to give it to you, do this and that. I'll tell you something: I received this country not at zero, but at minus 10....

Talking about what he felt were too-demanding requirements, he said:
We haven't hidden the weaknesses that we have, all the will, the affection and gratitude, but I feel that it shouldn't have to do with passing an exam. If the brother who is there is not able to investigate, because I recognize, I have the will to clear things up, but not the capacity.

He also criticized the United States for its lack of support for developing the investigative service of the police in Honduras:
I have never hidden my concern with what has happened with the journalists. Never, either, have I hidden that we don't have the ability to investigate... if a country wants to help us and knows that we have a problem with investigations, then what they should do is say "Look sir, I will send you a contingent of 50 investigators to clear up the crimes."

That left the Presidential Minister, Maria Antonieta Guillén to clean up the mess. Late Wednesday she read a statement to the press that said (in full):
The government of the Republic recognizes the good relations with the government and people of the United States and thanks them for the support and resources they've given which support the different program and projects that benefit our people.

At the same time, we would like to emphasize the positive impact that the first Millennium Challenge grant compact left for our compatriots.

The government of Honduras is making a great effort to reach the agreed levels in security, human rights, and the struggle against corruption.

It is in the permanent interest of the people and government of Honduras to agree to new or existing programs that will contribute to the well being of the Honduran people.

She went on to say:
"There's no contradiction between what I said, and what he (Lobo Sosa) said. They have helped us a lot."

Honduras's previous evaluation, in 2010, disqualified it in part based on measures of corruption, freedom of information, and economic activity.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that they would not be included in the current Millennium Challenge Corporation funding either.

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