Honduras Says That Military Agreements with the U.S. “Remain Firm”
By Dialogo July 22, 2009 Tegucigalpa, July 20 (EFE).- Military relations and security protocols between Honduras and the United States “remain firm,” the Undersecretary of Defense of the Central American country, Gabo Jalil, told EFE today. The official of the new administration headed by Roberto Micheletti, following the coup d’état against ousted president Manuel Zelaya on June 28, indicated that “Honduras is going to respect these relationships with the United States.” As a result of Zelaya’s overthrow, some popular sectors that are demanding Zelaya’s return to power have begun to call on the United States to suspend military aid to Honduras and withdraw its military personnel stationed on the local base of Palmerola, about seventy-five kilometers north of Tegucigalpa. Asked about this issue, Jalil responded that “the military relations and protocols with the United States remain in place” and that so far, “no information has been received” regarding a possible suspension or withdrawal. Honduras and the United States maintain a military agreement dating from 1954, by which multiple cooperation and security programs involving the two countries have been established. The Palmerola Base was built by U.S. military personnel at the beginning of the 1980s as part of the U.S. security strategy in the region during the Cold War. The overthrow of Zelaya, dispatched by the military to Costa Rica, has given rise to a series of protests by sectors demanding his return, which Micheletti’s administration has made conditional on his agreement to stand trial for multiple crimes of which he is accused by the Attorney General’s Office. Zelaya took office on 27 January 2006 for a four-year term.