Policarpo Bonilla, is in Washington this week on what he calls "private business" and to lobby against a bill that would loan $10,000,000 to Honduras. However, some Central American diplomats in the Capital express doubts about his stated goals for his US visit and believe that he intends to procure arms for his fellow Latin American liberal and ousted Nicaraguan President, Jose Santos Zelaya.
Bonilla arrived in Washington last night and is staying at the Arlington Hotel. He told reporters this morning that, "I come here simply as a private citizen of Honduras. I am opposing the loan [from the U.S. to Honduras] because Honduras gets nothing out of it. The profit is all the bankers who will handle the bonds. They are secured by the United States, which makes them good as American gold and worth at least 120. The bankers get them for 88, and the rake-off-that is what you call them, is it not?-is all for the bankers; Honduras gets nothing."
Bonilla was President of Honduras from February 1894 until February 1899, serving one term. He founded the Liberal Party of Honduras which has close ties with the Liberal Party in Nicaragua, of which Zelaya was a member of before he resigned in two years ago as a result of instability in the country that required the deployment of US Marines to the Mosquito Coast to protect the lives and property of foreigners. Zeleya and Bonilla are also close friends. Diplomats from Central America believe that Bonilla may be in the U.S. to buy arms for Zelaya, who could be trying to foment rebellion.
If Bonilla is in Washington for something other than the Honduras loan issue, he hasn't worked to hard on it. In addition to talking with reporters at his hotel, he was seen reading a magazine article on coffee raising all morning.
During his discussion with a reporter with the Washington Times, Bonilla offered praise for former Secretary of State Elijah Root: "Mr. Root, he is a great statesman. South Americans think very highly of him. I knew him when I was here four years ago. At least I shall call on him to pay him my respects."
When the former Honduran president is finished with his trip here in Washington, he expects settle down. "No more politics at all. I shall make my future home in New Orleans as a practicing lawyer, making a specialty of South American affairs in a legal way."
Link: Bonilla Here Just to Oppose Honduran Loan [The Washington Times]