With the Leftist Honduran government set to convene on January 25, and expected to vote in favor of repealing the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), more American lawmakers are threatening consequences against that country's expected move to hurt American economic interests.
After President Xiomara Castro's administration threatened to expropriate U.S. investment in the special economic zone called Próspera, a $10, 775 billion lawsuit was filed to prevent the Honduran government from backing out of the deal.
Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, who was recently named Chairman of the State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee, told The Floridian that Honduras “faced serious consequences” if they “illegally” expropriated U.S. interests and investments.
“If foreign government officials are illegally expropriating U.S. investment and undermining U.S. interests, then they should face serious consequences including, but not limited to, the removal of their visas,” stated Rep. Diaz-Balart.
When asked if the U.S. Department of State was not doing enough to prevent the Castro government from continuing to govern similarly to Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and Fidel Castro in Cuba, Rep. Diaz-Balart asserted that the U.S. needed to “demonstrate clarity and leadership.
“The United States must demonstrate clarity and leadership. Appeasing tyrants and rewarding malign behavior is dangerous and emboldens the world’s bad actors to continue their reprehensible conduct,” added Diaz-Balart
Diaz-Balart’s threats of sanctions against Honduras were echoed by Rep. Michael Waltz, who has warned of China’s influence in the region and reaffirmed support for sanctions against the Castro government if American interests were threatened.
“Any expropriation of American properties will not only send a deep chill on further foreign investment critical for Honduras’s future economic development, but will also should be met swift and severe sanctions. I hope Honduras does not follow the Cuban, Venezuelan, or Nicaraguan blueprints on how to ruin an economy,” stated Rep. Waltz in a response to The Floridian for comment.
Rep. Cory Mills has also stepped up the pressure against the Castro regime and supports sanctions, as does Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, who was the first to sound the alarm about how the Marxist-minded President Castro was committed to ceasing “economic prosperity” in her country.
“The Honduran people have the right to economic prosperity like any other nation. Part of the United States’ commitment to building this prosperity requires embracing free market principles here and abroad,” said Rep. Salazar. The availability of ZEDEs creates a strong incentive for investment in Honduras, a country that would greatly benefit from increased economic development. The best way to fight socialism in Latin America is to embrace the economic liberties the Castro-Maduro-Ortega axis denies their own people. Expanding ZEDEs and similar economic projects do exactly that.”
If Honduras leaves CAFTA, these “Zones of Economic Development and Employment” or “ZEDEs,” some 120 businesses owned by Honduran and American investors, as well as other foreign partners, will lose their entire investment.