Records Demonstrate that the Secretary Has Hands-On Control of the Fund that Gave $6.5 Million to the Regime After the June 28 Coup
By Bill Conroy and Al Giordano
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
August 11, 2009
In recent days, Narco News has reported that, in the three months prior to the June 28 coup d'etat in Honduras, the US-funded Millennium Change Corporation (MCC) gave at least $11 million US dollars to private-sector contractors in Honduras and also that since the coup it has doled out another $6.5 million.
The latter revelation - that the money spigot has been left on even after the coup - comes in spite of claims by the State Department that it has placed non-humanitarian funding "on pause" pending a yet-unfinished review.
Narco News has further learned - based on a review documents available on the websites of the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the US State Department - that Secretary Clinton, as chairman of the MCC board, is not just a figurehead in name only. She has played an extremely active role in governing and promoting the fund and its decisions.
An August 6 statement by MCC acting chief executive officer Darius Mans praises Clinton and President Obama for their balls-out support of MCC:
Now, well into a new administration and era, I am encouraged by the level of support MCC has been given by Congress and senior government leaders. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, chair of MCC's board, confirms, "President Obama supports the MCC, and the principle of greater accountability in our foreign assistance programs." The Secretary herself has referred to Millennium Challenge grants as a "very important part of our foreign policy. It is a new approach, and it's an approach that we think deserves support." Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew has said, "MCC is getting off the ground and making real progress.
Secretary Clinton's official "blog" at the State Department reveals that the June 10 meeting of MCC's board - just 18 days before the Honduras coup - was on the Secretary's schedule:
Here's what Hillary has on her plate for today, June 10th: 10:00 a.m. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board Meeting and Luncheon.
Last March, the previous MCC acting executive director Rodney Bent wrote:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chaired her first MCC Board meeting this week. I was pleased to be part of this historic transition, and I welcomed Secretary Clinton's active participation at the meeting. Her presence and the presence of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other public and private sector Board members signal the importance of MCC's ongoing commitment to delivering change in the lives of the world's poor.
A recent move by the Clinton-led MCC board documents that the US-funded corporation has already discussed the cutting of funds to another Central American country, Nicaragua, based on criticism of its government, and that this was the topic of MCC's June 10 session, chaired by Secretary Clinton. The Christian Science Monitor reported:
LEÓN, NICARAGUA - US concerns over last year's questionable municipal elections in Nicaragua could be strong enough to cause leftist President Daniel Ortega, a cold-war nemesis of the US, to lose $64 million in development aid.
In a Wednesday meeting with the board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an international development initiative started during the Bush administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discuss whether to cancel the remaining portion of a $175 million compact awarded in 2006.
In December, the US government froze new aid after expressing serious concern about "the government of Nicaragua's manipulation of municipal elections and a broader pattern of actions inconsistent with the MCC eligibility criteria."
At the June 10 meeting, the MCC board approved partially terminating the agency's foreign-aid compact with Nicaragua -- resulting in some $62 million in U.S. foreign aid being withheld from that nation, which shares a border with Honduras. And in May o f this year, the Clinton-led MCC board approved the termination of the agency's compact with Madagascarin the wake of a coup in that nation. However, no such action has been taken by the MCCboard, to date, in the wake of the Honduran coup.
In the context of President Obama's statement last weekend that those who urge the US to take stronger action against the Honduras coup regime "think that it's appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate," calling it "hypocrisy." The revelation that Clinton and MCC have already sanctioned the elected government of Nicaragua and its private sector in ways that it so far refuses to sanction the illegal coup regime of Honduras and its private backers has revealed one important fact: That Washington has already determined that "it's appropriate" to deny MCC funds to a country for lighter and more transient reasons than those that exist to sanction a coup regime in another.
Didn't a certain US President, last weekend, speak the word "hypocrisy" in the context of the US and the Honduras coup?
If "it's appropriate" to sanction Nicaragua for lesser reasons, why not apply the sanction of denying MCC funds to a criminal coup regime in Honduras that Washington claims it has "paused" giving money, but that it continues to fund?