During the last few weeks there has been a lot of news about the relationship between the United States and Honduras.
So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to clarify what the United States is working on.
Our focus is on building prosperity, improving security, and strengthening democracy to benefit both countries.
With international companies looking to decarbonize and strengthen their supply chains, Honduras has a historic opportunity to attract business, investment, and jobs here.
In a world where all countries compete for international investment, the United States is the only country that actively encourages investment in other countries.
In Honduras and northern Central America, we are doing this through Vice President Harris’ Call to Action initiative.
Thanks to this initiative, almost two billion dollars of new investments were announced at the Summit of the Americas.
A large part of these investments is destined for Honduras.
Unfortunately, some policies are complicating your chances of success.
For example, the strategy with the energy sector.
Also, the not very successful reforms of the hourly employment law.
And the messages from the government about the need to reduce or eliminate investment incentives.
Without a doubt, all these actions are sending a clear message to companies that they should invest elsewhere, not in Honduras.
But this should not be the case, since an economy that benefits all requires private sector investment.
It also requires educated workers, quality infrastructure, and access to financing.
Through USAID, the Treasury Department, and the multilateral development banks, the United States is working to improve schools and education, reduce vulnerability to climate risk, and provide credit to micro, small, and medium-sized businesses.
Rather, an inclusive economy also requires a commitment, both from the government and the private sector, to legal certainty.
It requires the observance of property rights, both land rights and intellectual property.
These are the conditions that attract investment, both national and international.
Those are the conditions that create employment and hope for people to find their future here, instead of attempting the perilous journey north.
We are deeply concerned about reports from companies, both US and Honduran, of increased land invasions and digital piracy.
Even the United States Congress is concerned about the treatment of foreign investment in Honduras.
We will continue to exercise our right to meet with U.S. investors and advocate for the resolution of trade disputes in accordance with the state of trade law.
The private sector also has to do more for Honduras, especially in the area of education.
With the collapse of the school infrastructure, contributions to rebuilding schools are as important to the future of their own businesses as they are to the well-being of the people.
Our promise is also to support the Castro Administration’s fight against corruption.
Because corruption in the government, private sector and individuals is killing Honduras.
It is essential for the future of Honduras.
In this regard, the United States strongly supports an international anti-corruption mechanism.
Such a mechanism responds to the desire of the Honduran people, and the government’s commitment, to eliminate corruption and increase transparency.
From our perspective, for the CICIH to function, it must be empowered to act:
- as independently as possible under Honduran law;
- with the resources it needs to be effective; and
- as quickly as possible while there is still momentum and public hope for this effort.
Respect for human rights, labor rights, and freedom of the press are also essential elements for the democratic and social development of Honduras and the entire region.
Marginalized populations, including women and girls, indigenous, Afro-descendant and LGBTQI+ populations, often experience discrimination and high levels of violence. We are committed to working with partners in the region, including civil society.
With these partners, we promote respect for the human rights of all people in Honduras.
But for that, we need to work with the Honduran government.
Together we can strengthen the country’s institutions to combat the high levels of impunity and restore the confidence of the population and the ability of the authorities to bring the guilty to justice.
We are focusing on countering the violence, extortion, and crime of gangs, drug traffickers, and criminal organizations.
If we invest more in the professionalization of the security forces, we strengthen our community for all. These are our promises to Honduras today, tomorrow, and always.
And finally, since we’re talking promises…
The United States and Honduras partner for the Enduring Promise 2022 mission.
As part of the mission, the United States Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, will arrive in Puerto Cortés on Tuesday, November 1.
Once the ship is there, the United States Embassy, our soldiers from Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base and the United States Southern Command will be collaborating with the Honduran government to provide medical, dental and veterinary assistance in the north coast of the country.
The visit of the USNS Comfort is another example of our cooperation to ensure Honduras as a home where all Hondurans enjoy health.
Not to mention that since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States has donated more than 5.8 million doses of vaccines to Honduras, 18 ultra-low temperature freezers, and more than 65 million dollars in supplies and technical assistance to combat COVID-19.
And that our Joint Task Force Bravo has provided medical care to 11,000 Honduran patients so far in 2022.
In the end, esteemed and dear AmCham colleagues, what I want to tell you is the following:
Don’t let the noise of social media distract you from the reality of our deep commitment to seeing Honduras succeed.
Thank you very much.