San Pedro Sula
Following his tour of Latin America earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has signed free trade agreements with both Honduras and Colombia.
Negotiations between Canada and Honduras have been ongoing for 10 years now, and while Harper admits Honduras has problems relating to security and human rights, he cannot confirm their association with the government of President Porfirio Lobo.
According to CBC, Harper said: "We know there are significant problems of security and human rights in this country, but we have no information to suggest that those are in any way perpetrated by the government.
"In fact, the president of Honduras himself was a prominent human rights leader in this country, and that's got a lot to do with the fact he was elected president."
Harper also signed a free trade agreement with Colombia earlier this week, despite being criticized about the lack of human rights in the South American country.
He added: “We can’t block the progress of a country like this for protectionist reasons, and you trying to use human rights as a front for doing that.
“I think there are protectionist forces in our country and in the United States that don’t care about development and prosperity in this part of the world, and that’s unfortunate.
“No good purpose is served in this country or in the United States by anybody who is standing in the way of the development of the prosperity of Colombia.
“Colombia is a wonderful country with great possibilities and great ambition, and we need to be encouraging that every step of the way."
Harper announced that Canada will contribute $9.2 million to security plans in Honduras alone.