"Trade associations and companies both inside and outside of Honduras have stepped up their lobbying efforts in Washington," reports The Hill. U.S. companies are hoping "to protect their operations in Honduras while more business groups from the Central American nation have turned to Washington lobbyists to keep [ousted President Manuel] Zelaya out of power." In a letter to Barack Obama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Apparel and Footwear Association and other retail and textile industry groups urged the U.S. president to "maintain ... close commercial ties and economic engagement," as "Honduras is the third largest market for U.S. textile mill producers." Kimberly-Clark and Seabord, U.S.-based companies with Honduran ties, have similar concerns. The Honduran industry group Asociacion Hondurena de Maquiladores has hired two U.S. lobbying firms, Cormac Group and Vison Americas. Its lobbyists include former Bush administration officials, Jose Cardenas and Roger Noriega, who are "support[ing] the efforts of the Honduran private sector to consolidate the democratic transition in their country," according to lobbying disclosure forms. Noreiga was "a key figure in the overthrow of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004," reports Democracy Now!
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