Isolated Honduras hunkers down; Zelaya vows action
Politically isolated Honduras braced on Saturday for months of austerity under the weight of economic sanctions imposed after a June coup and ousted President Manuel Zelaya vowed actions to support his reinstatement, Reuters reported.
With the textiles and coffee exporting economy seen contracting this year amid a global economic crisis, the interim government that replaced Zelaya estimates it already has been denied about $200 million in suspended credits.
The United States has cut $16.5 million in military assistance and warned a further $180 million in other aid is at risk; and any repeat of a brief boycott by neighboring trade partners would choke one of Latin America's poorest countries.
"We have to think in terms of austerity and we want to ask the people to do the same," interim president Roberto Micheletti said on Friday. He had asked his finance minister to find ways to cut state spending to ride out the coming months.
The interim government, installed by Congress after widely unpopular Zelaya was booted out of the country in his pajamas last month by soldiers, has resisted international pressure and says Zelaya's reinstatement is not negotiable.
It accuses Zelaya, who ran afoul of his political base and ruling elites in the conservative country by allying himself with Venezuela's firebrand leftist President Hugo Chavez, of contravening the constitution and seeking to illegally extend his rule.