U.S. Congressman Mike Pence issued the following statement regarding the State Department’s recent decision not to recognize Honduras’ upcoming presidential elections and revoke the visas of Honduran government officials:
Since the dawn of the American experiment, the American cause has been freedom and in that cause America has never been silent.
In light of our proud national tradition of supporting the spread of freedom, rule of law and democratic institutions around the world, I am disappointed that the President and his Secretary of State have devoted so much effort to undermining democracy in Honduras. The President should be supporting the legitimate authorities in Honduras as they work to preserve self-determination in their country rather than aligning himself with virulently anti-American foreign leaders like Hugo Chavez, the Castro brothers and Daniel Ortega.
Not only has the U.S. State Department announced that it will not recognize the upcoming elections in Honduras over the objections of the four leading presidential candidates, but it revoked the visas of Honduran government officials who were invited by Members of Congress to come and brief them on the ongoing situation in Honduras.
These policies do not measure up to the best traditions of our democracy and send precisely the wrong message to those who are fighting for freedom in Honduras and around the world.
I urge the Secretary of State to reverse this harmful course of action, drop the insistence on restoring Zelaya to power despite his unconstitutional efforts to seek a second term, restore the visas of Honduran government officials, and support those officials working for free and fair elections in Honduras.
Last week, Congressman Pence joined House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Ranking Member Connie Mack and other Members in introducing H. Res. 749, a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Secretary of State should support Honduran authorities working to ensure free and fair elections and the President of the United States should recognize the November 29, 2009 elections in Honduras.
Congressman Pence also signed a letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging her to reconsider her decision and issue a visa to Honduran Foreign Minister Carlos López Contreras so that he can have the opportunity to travel to the United States and meet with Members of Congress.