The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x 115; Mark Weisbrot, (202) 746-7264

IMF May Withhold $164 Million Allocated to Honduras


IMF spokesperson Bill Murray indicated today that the Fund may not
allow the de facto government of Honduras to have access to $164
million dollars that it was allocated on August 28.

Rebeca Santos, Finance Minister for the constitutional government of
President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, told CEPR that their government
had received assurances from the IMF that the de facto government would
not be allowed access to these funds.

When asked if he could confirm this, Mr. Murray indicated that he could
not officially do so, but also said "you should go with what you were
told" by the Finance Minister.

"If this happens, it would be the most important economic sanction to
date leveled against the de facto government that seized power in a
military coup on June 28," said Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of CEPR.

The funds are part of an allocation approved by the IMF for all member
countries. The IMF decided in August to make $283 billion available in
order to counteract the world recession. The money would be allocated
to the IMF's 186 member countries according to their quota at the Fund.

The money would be particularly important for the Honduran de facto
regime for two reasons: First, the country has been losing reserves
since the coup. The net international reserves of the Honduran Central
Bank have shrunk by over $300 million, from $2.4 billion to $2.1
billion in the two months since the coup. This could be a problem for
the de facto government and its management of the economy, which has
been hard hit by the uncertainty and international isolation since the

Second, the U.S. State Department announced yesterday that it would
terminate some $30 million in aid to the Honduran government. This move
would have very little impact if the de facto government had access to
$164 million of new funding from the IMF.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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