Honduras Takes Leave of ALBA

The National Congress of Honduras ratified departure from the Bolivian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

The executive decree sent by President Roberto Micheletti was ratified by the majority of Congress with 128 votes in favor, and five not in favor, those being members of the Democratic Unification Party (UD) and the Innovation and Unity Party. Micheletti spoke of leaving ALBA in a Cabinet meeting held on December 15th, and the next day sent a decree to Congress for ratification.

The presidential minister, Rafael Pineda, said the withdrawal does not mean suspending the ALBA trade relations with the countries of this initiative, led by Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez. The relations will continue with Petrocaribe, an alliance that allowed the administration of Manuel Zelaya to buy fuel on credit from Venezuela in exchange for cooperation in various social projects. The decision to withdraw from ALBA was made because “some countries of that organization have not been respectful (toward Honduras) in treatment that befits a country,” said Pineda. Venezuela “threatened to invade Honduras” after the removal of Zelaya, he stated.

Politicians and businesspersons in 2008 opposed the accession of Honduras to ALBA on the grounds that Zelaya was leading the country into “socialism of the XXI century” that promotes Chavez.

The member countries of ALBA, like most of the international community, do not recognize the interim government, nor the elections held November 29th that voted in Porfirio Lobo of the National Party.

Membership in ALBA was ratified on October 9th last year by the Honduran Parliament, then headed by Micheletti. ALBA’s members include Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Honduras joined ALBA on August 25, 2008.

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