On Dec. 16 de facto Honduran president Roberto Micheletti Bain sent the National Congress a proposal for Honduras to withdraw from the Venezuelan-inspired Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America trade bloc (ALBA). De facto presidency minister Rafael Pineda Ponce said the move only concerned ALBA and “will not affect in any way commercial or other types of relations that have been maintained, or the importation of oil or anything connected to PetroCaribe,” a system through which Venezuela provides oil to other Caribbean countries at favorable terms. Honduras currently receives 20,000 barrels a day; it pays 60% of the cost in 90 days and the rest over 25 years at just 1% interest a year.
Deposed president Manuel Zelaya called Micheletti’s move “insolent” and charged that the de facto government had wasted “more than $100 million coming from ALBA and Petrocaribe.” He noted that Micheletti was president of the Congress when it approved Honduras’ entry into ALBA in August 2008; Honduras joined PetroCaribe in January 2008. Congress won’t take up Micheletti’s proposal until it resumes its sessions in January. (Honduras Laboral, Dec. 16; Página 12, Argentina, Dec. 17; Adital, Dec. 18)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 20