Honduras and the United States share many common objectives, said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and Western Hemisphere Affairs Eric Jacobstein in recent Congressional testimony.
The election of Honduran President Xiomara Castro in 2021 “presented an opportunity to break with the corruption and democratic backsliding,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Jacobstein:
“Honduras has committed to addressing corruption impunity, and President Castro has invited the UN to establish an independent anti-corruption commission. We applaud this effort, but we urge its rapid establishment in accordance with U.N. guidelines. And we also urge the government to fund existing units that investigate corruption.”
“We applaud Honduras's progress in passing legislation regarding internally displaced persons and also for working with [the United States] on enforcement efforts,” stated Assistant Deputy Secretary Jacobstein.
The United States has a longstanding history of security cooperation with Honduras, including through a U.S. presence in Soto Cano airbase. “We look forward to continuing this cooperation with Honduras,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Jacobstein. But he had a word of caution regarding relations with the People’s Republic of China.
“The government states its foreign policy is to meet its international cooperation needs by opening the door to new countries, including the People's Republic of China,” he said. “But while we acknowledge that diplomatic recognition is a sovereign decision, we note the PRC often makes promises in exchange for recognition that ultimately remain unfulfilled.”
With regard to the economy, the United States aims to mobilize additional investment under Vice President Kamala Harris’ Central America Forward Initiative, which has already brought $4.2 billion in investment commitments and new jobs in Northern and Central America. “Future commitments,” stressed Deputy Assistant Secretary Jacobstein, “will depend on a favorable investment, climate and sound economic decisions.”
Human rights in activists in Honduras “continue to work under threat of violence and death,” noted Deputy Assistant Secretary Jacobstein:
“We continue to call upon the government to protect activists like Miriam Miranda, Jose Ramiro Lara, who face serious threats and to complete timely and transparent investigations into the killings of activists like Haro Bonilla and Ali Dominguez.”
“The situation in Honduras is complex,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Jacobstein, “but we remain committed to a strong bilateral relationship given our two countries’ cultural, economic, familial and geographic ties.”