The most important element for successful development is democratic governance, said Mileydi Guilarte, Deputy Assistant Administrator within USAID's Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean in recent Congressional testimony.
“Responsive and transparent governance and an independent judicial system allows people to have faith in their government. Without it, people often emigrate in search of a better environment, creating a vacuum of human capital that impedes a society from flourishing,” she said.
“We work with the current Honduran administration in areas where we find common ground. And ... we engage in frank and open conversations about areas where we have differences,” said Deputy Administrator Guilarte:
“We welcome President Castro's commitment to establishing an anti-corruption commission, and we encourage both the government of Honduras and the United Nations to expeditiously reach a final agreement, to implement a commission that will provide tangible results.”
The United States has been disturbed by the high levels of impunity for attacks on environmental, labor and human rights defenders and the increasing rate at which women and girls are killed in Honduras because of their gender. The United States routinely raises human rights issues with the Honduran government and advocates for robust funding for the ministries of Human Rights Protection Mechanism.
“USAID continue(s) to work with the National Anti-Corruption Council, a Honduran civil society organization that has exposed corruption,” said Deputy Administrator Guilarte:
“This type of civil society oversight channels Hondurans’ demand for transparent and responsive governance. USAID has also worked with the Supreme Audit Institution and the Transparency Secretariat to improve access to public information and oversight capacity in municipal governments.”
With regard to the economy, USAID has championed growth by working with private sector partners, including three of the world's largest coffee buyers who committed $109 million to connect 70,000 farmer households with global markets. That's more than half of all Honduran coffee farmers. And last year, as a direct result of USAID's assistance and these partnerships, the yields of nearly 18,000 farmers increased by about 30 percent, giving hope to many rural families.
With democracy under threat in the region, it is critical to defend democratic values at all times, said Deputy Administrator Guilarte. “For this reason ... USAID will continue to put the Honduran people first, so families, communities and the country as a whole can thrive and prosper.”