Honduras ties with China, Venezuela, Cuba and Russia concern U.S. Senate

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By Marco Echevarria

Senators urge Xiomara Castro to demonstrate commitment to democratic norms and concern for closer ties with China, Cuba, Venezuela and Russia

Honduras’ close bilateral relations with the People’s Republic of China, Venezuela, Cuba and Russia keep Democratic and Republican senators of the United States concerned, who bet on democracy prevail in the Central American region.

A report by the upper house of the U.S. Congress to which EL HERALDO and LA PRENSA had access records the concerns of the senators who were pronounced before parliament, following the visit of five U.S. officials to Honduras and Guatemala in the late 2023.

Dick Durbin, a Democratic senator for the state of Illinois, was part of that delegation and while acknowledging that progress has been made in the fight against corruption, there are some determinations from Xiomara Castro’s government with those three countries.

Guatemala and Honduras have fought conflicts, corruption, marked inequality and fragile democratic governments. Many of us have forgotten that, until the 1980s, much of Latin America was ruled by military dictators, sometimes with the support of the United States during the Cold War, Durbin said.

He said that, after Castro’s election in 2021, many expected that it would bring much-needed changes after decades of misrule and instability, following the two consecutive terms of Juan Orlando Hernández, who is now facing a drug trafficking trial in the United States.

“Although (Xiomara Castro) repeatedly claims to be an ally of the United States and being closely aligned with our values, there have been some actions on the part of his transitional government that raise serious concerns about commitment to democratic norms and, unfortunately, closer ties with China, Cuba, Venezuela and even Russia,” Durbin said.

He assured that: President Castro still has the opportunity to show that we can work together for the common values we share. I hope she’ll take that path.

The delegation during the visit to Honduras also included Senators Tim Kaine, Jeff Merkley, Laphonza Butler and Congressman Delia Ramírez.

On that occasion, they were received by Castro and government officials, deputies of the National Congress, businessmen and civil society organizations fighting corruption.

On his side, Ohio Republican Senator Warren Davidson warned of China’s efforts to replace the United States as a commercial partner of Honduras pose a threat to national security near our southern border.

She recalled that on September 21, 2023, the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, spoke at the United Nations, where she boasted that her nation had officially opened relations with the People’s Republic of China.

He also condemned the sanctions on communist countries, such as Cuba and Venezuela. These are worrying statements by President Castro, especially when combined with the actions of her government.

He also considered that the influence of the People’s Republic of China is growing rapidly in the backyard of the United States. I urge the Biden Administration to reaffirm the principles of the Monroe Doctrine and protect American interests in the Western Hemisphere.

On March 26, 2023, Honduras and China established formal diplomatic relations. This decision marked the end of Honduras ' diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan, which had been maintained since 1941.

At the moment, Honduras and China are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the aim of expanding the market for goods and services between the two nations, eliminating tariffs and taxes for imports and exports, respectively.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Heraldo