I have heard three distinct arguments supporting the critical need to be part of the Organizations of American States:
1) Obtain recognition at the international level as a country and thus gain a voice and vote in international forums and treaties, including OAS itself.
2) Gain access to financial resources
3) International recognition as a moral and ethical imperative that help Honduras qualify as a state.
Let me examine the first argument.
b. President Lobo Sosa delivered an official statement at the Millennium Development Goals Summit on 20 September 2010. http://www.un.int/wcm/content/site/honduras/pid/21702?newsContainerId=33006
c. We have opened new diplomatic relations. On September 30, 2010, Honduras Ambassador at the United Nations (UN), Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, signed a formal opening of diplomatic relations with her counterpart from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ambassador Flores Flake also signed a treaty with Montenegro on July 9 2010.
d. The Ministry of Foreign Relations (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores) lists more than 35 countries where we maintain a Embassy or a Consulate. Note that many of these serve at itinerant representatives for Honduras, and thus some serve more than one country at a time.
So, the argument that we are not being recognized by the international community is wrong. In fact, the only countries which do not recognize us and with whom we had relations before are the usual suspects: Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and a couple of other ALBA countries, plus the OAS as an organization. If I missed anybody, please add via comments.
Let me examine the second argument.
a. According to the Project database at the World Bank there are 21 active projects and 3 projects in the pipeline for Honduras. The last project approved at the World Bank for Honduras was the 0.4 million US$ project titled “Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) in the Greater Tegucigalpa Area”. This project
was approved on March 23 2011. Previous was a 2.55 million project given to FHIS on September 7 2010.
b. Similar situation at the Inter American Development Bank. Last project approved was a 38.2 million US$ given to the Education Ministry on April 26, 2011. Previous project approved was a 1.5 million US$ given to Technical Planning and Cooperation Ministry on March 23, 2011. Total number of approved projects is 35 projects in implementation using loans provided by the IADB, 3 of them given after December 1, 2010. There are 100 projects total in implementation using loans, grants, investment or guarantees provided by IADB.
c. Have there been resources that the country has definitively lost due to the political instability? Yes, there are several fund sources which are in fact closed such as those from ALBA and Petrocaribe. Other sources may have been lost, but I am not sure anybody can estimate a dollar value. In fact the World Bank and the IADB paused operations for a while, although many of the pending projects were extended to compensate for the administrative decision to pause project implementation. There are some funds that donors both at the WB and the IADB where the donor has some control over its approval to a recipient. Then, its a matter of pursuing other pockets of funds...
However, if the World Bank and the IADB continue providing resources to Honduras, then the door is open to other sources of financing. The argument that recognition by the OAS is a requisite to accessing funds simply does not wash very well and/or is limited to a set of donors, which of course includes the usual suspects listed above.
Let me examine then the third argument.
This is perhaps the most difficult argument to deal with as it implies a lot of subjectivity in terms of what qualifies a country as a recognized state by other countries. If this were a valid argument then we would have to disqualify Cuba who has not been a member of the OAS for roughly 40 years after being expelled by the organization. One could conceive an argument that Cuba was unjustly expelled from the OAS, yet the original reasons for expelling Cuba for violating the principles of the OAS Charter remain. Is Cuba then a lesser state because it is not an OAS member state? Obviously not, so the same principle should apply to Honduras who now is fully complaint with the OAS charter, and who has complied with all the requests and conditions put forward by the OAS.
In other blog contributions, I have suggested strongly that we think even more why we want to be a part of such an organization in the first place? I still need more information that will convince me that it is indispensable for Honduras to be part of OAS,in other words, that the advantages of being part of the OAS outweigh pursuing alternatives such as bilateral relations and other international forums which are more welcoming so much that it is a desirable option.