Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended a five-day tour of Latin America March 5 with a stop in Guatemala, where she promised the assembled Central American leaders more Drug War aid—and repeated her call for them to recognize the new government of Porfirio Lobo in Honduras. “We support the work that President Lobo is doing to promote national unity and strengthen democracy,” Clinton said at a news conference, announcing that the US will restore aid to Honduras. Lobo himself attended the meeting—seeming to signal a step toward normalizing relations with Guatemala and El Salvador. Costa Rica and Panama, also in attendance, have already recognized the Lobo government. The Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega, who did not attend the meeting, is unlikely to do so. Also on hand were the presidents of Belize and the Dominican Republic. (NYT, CSM, March 5)
Venezuela’s foreign minister, Nicolás Maduro, called Clinton’s effort a “failure,” and said she had come to the region “to intrigue, to try to divide the countries that are working for the unity of our continent, to try to create doubts about the process of democratic transformation that lives in countries such as Venezuela.” President Hugo Chávez said Clinton was following the example of her predecessor Condoleezza Rice, likewise accusing her of coming to the region “to intrigue, to sow discord.” (La Jornada, Mexico, March 5; AP via Univision, March 4)
See our last post on Central America.