Friday, September 4, 2009

US Stops All Aid to Honduras

Months after President Manuel Zelaya was removed from office by the Honduran military and a day after he met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the US decided to cut all aid to Honduras, which includes $4.9m from USAID, $8.96m from the State Department, and $1.7m in military aid.  Additionally, $11m from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation would be cut.  The State Department has not recognized the removal of Mr. Zelaya as a coup because of the “complicated nature” of constitutional issues surrounding the conflict, but it continues to call on Honduras to reinstate Mr. Zelaya as president in accordance with a plan brokered by Oscar Arias, the President of Costa Rica and a well respected leader in Latin America.

USAID Probes Allegations of Bribes in Afghanistan

USAID has begun an investigation into allegations that a vast portion of its funds in Afghanistan is being used to pay the Taliban for
security. According to the Global Post, agencies operating in Afghanistan are paying bribes as high as 20% of project funds to
Taliban leaders in exchange for a promise of security in especially volatile areas of the country controlled by the Taliban.  The system
of corruption is believed to be so extensive that the Taliban has offices in major cities to negotiate with developers on the exact
amount of bribes to be paid given the location and nature of individual projects.

Aid Worker Freed in Chad

A Greek aid worker with Medecins Sans Frontieres was released in Chad after being kidnapped on August 4th.  There is no word on the identity of the man or the kidnapper.

Somali Refugee Camps “Barely Fit for Humans”

Robbert Van den Berg, a spokesman for Oxham International harshly criticized Somalia’s neighbors and the international community for the terrible conditions in Somali refugee camps.  In a statement, he said that “Somalis flee one of the world’s most brutal conflicts and a desperate drought, only to end up in unimaginable conditions in camps barely fit for humans.”  The Dadaab camp in northern Kenya, built to house 90,000 refugees, currently holds about 280,0000 refugees and lacks basic amenities such as access to clean water.