Given that U.S. policy at the international financial institutions reports to the Secretary of the Treasury, Just Foreign Policy asked U.S. advocates concerned with U.S. policy in Honduras: what questions would you like to ask candidates for Secretary of the Treasury concerning U.S. policy in Honduras?
What follows is a lightly edited compilation of the responses we received.
1. Will you oppose funding of Agua Zarca and other harmful dam projects planned over the objections of local communities?
2. Will you ensure that international law is upheld and that local indigenous communities are properly consulted regarding any planned development projects before IFI support is approved for such projects?
3. Given that senior Honduran government officials have been involved in planning so-called "Employment and Economic Development Zones," in which several articles of the Honduran constitution, as well as international laws regarding labor and other human rights would not apply, will you oppose any IFI support for such zones, or for projects in them?
4. In Honduras in 2015, IMF releases praised the administration for its outstanding fiscal responsibility and transparency. At the time there were weekly 'Torch Marches' nationwide involving hundreds of thousands of Hondurans calling for the President to step down after evidence emerged officials had siphoned more than $300 million from the social security fund. The government praised in IMF reports for their "transparency" charged the journalist who released the evidence with treason and tried to jail him for ten years. How do you explain the disconnect between hundreds of thousands of Hondurans and the Honduras portrayed in IMF reports?
5. Many countries where the IMF operates suffer from unsustainably high levels of inequality. Yet the IMF consistently suggests to governments that they improve their finances by enacting measures that would increase inequality, such as by cutting public services, privatizing public services, or increasing regressive taxes, such as Honduras' new private toll collection approved by the IMF. Why doesn't the IMF propose to increase government revenues in ways that reduce inequality, rather than exacerbating it?