Honduras: CAFTA investors want “stability”

On July 11 seven US trade associations—including the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the US Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) and the US Chamber of Commerce—sent a letter to US president Barack Obama on the situation in Honduras. The letter stressed the “particular importance” Honduras has “for the US textile and apparel supply chain” and called it “the linchpin to the Western Hemisphere supply chain for this sector. Honduras is the third largest market for US textile mill products (US exports were $1.4 billion in 2008), the fourth largest supplier of apparel to the US market and the largest DR-CAFTA [Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement] supplier to the United States.”

The trade associations said nothing about restoring democracy or the constitutional order but emphasized the need for “[p]redictability and stability,” which “are absolutely critical to US companies, especially in these difficult economic times.” (Fibre2Fashion, July 11)

In contrast, a July 9 letter to US secretary of state Hillary Clinton signed by 35 Latin America experts from US universities insisted that “[a]nything less than the urgent restoration of President Manuel Zelaya to office would be an usurpation of the will of the Honduran people.” “[C]oncessions of any kind to the coup government…would create a terrible precedent, showing other anti-democratically minded and power-hungry individuals that it can be worthwhile to carry out a military coup in order to advance their political agendas,” warned the authors, who included Harvard emeritus professor John Womack, author and filmmaker Saul Landau, Central America expert Hector Perla, and authors and Central America experts Greg Grandin and Dana Frank. (El Financiero, Mexico, July 9; Common Dreams, July 9)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 13

See our last post on Honduras.