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Frida Berrigan

Frida Berrigan

Posted: June 29, 2009 06:00 PM

Coup! U.S. Military Support for Honduras


In the last ten years the United States has delivered $18.41 million in weapons and defense articles to Honduras through the foreign military sales program.

Foreign Military Financing, a grant of U.S. funds to foreign militaries, totaled $7.37 million between 2003 and today to this nation of 7.7 million.

International Military Education and Training funds in that same period came to $14.82 million.

Within the context of the tens of billions in weapons deals the United States makes each year and the $4 billion plus doled out through FMF, these tens of millions in military aid and weapons sales over the last decade or so do not add up to a lot in terms of dollars.

But for Honduras, the second poorest nation in very poor Central America, the aid and weapons sales have provided a significant boost to the very same military that stormed the presidential residence and put Manual Zelaya on a plane to Costa Rica in his PJs yesterday morning. And these contributions must be understood within the context of decades of U.S. military support for successive Honduran strongmen, and the United States' use of Honduran territory to wage the Contra War against the Nicaraguan Sandanistas through the 1980s.

In recent years, robust U.S. military support has been replaced with much smaller allotments, but they still add up. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Honduras had a military budget of about $76 million in 2007. U.S. aid, training and support for the Honduran military and police and counter-narcotics assistance totaled more than $10 million, according to data collected by "Just the Facts."