EXPLAINER: Ex-Honduras leader long in US prosecutors' sights
Former Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández was arrested at the request of the United States on drug trafficking charges Tuesday and a Honduran judge will decide if he is eventually extradited to stand trial in the U.S. While Hernández was president, he was untouchable for Honduras’ co-opted justice system and successive U.S. administrations made no move alienate him.
A stunning fall for ex-Honduran president wanted in US
The arrest of former Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández and the images of a leader shackled and paraded before cameras like a common criminal are a stunning reversal for a man who for years seemed impervious to growing allegations of corruption.
US wants life in prison for brother of Honduras president
“The defendant was a Honduran congressman who, along with his brother Juan Orlando Hernández, played a leadership role in a violent, state sponsored drug trafficking conspiracy,” prosecutors wrote. AdThe U.S. government wants Tony Hernández to give up $138.5 million in “blood money” from his drug trafficking and pay an additional $10 million fine. They say he also sold weapons to drug traffickers, some of which came from Honduras’ military, and controlled drug laboratories in Colombia and Honduras. They allege that among those bribes was $1 million from notorious Mexican capo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to Juan Orlando Hernández. In those, Fuentes admitted knowing drug traffickers but denied having paid any money to president Hernández.
Accountant testifies he saw Honduras president take bribes
The accountant said he felt fear seeing Hernández and a drug trafficker sitting at the same table. “I was seeing the candidate for the presidency meeting with a drug trafficker,” he said. That alleged drug trafficker was Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez, whose New York trial is in its second week. The accountant testified that that movement of drugs would be done with the help of the military and police. In another meeting at the company’s offices without Fuentes Ramírez present, Hernández boasted about siphoning money from Honduras’ social security system, the accountant testified.
Hondurans await results in primary elections
(AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)TEGUCIGALPA – Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández’s name keeps popping up in the New York trial of an alleged drug trafficker. And one of the candidates running to replace him in Sunday’s primary elections has been convicted in the same court of laundering money for the same cartel. Polls closed at 5 p.m. and the vote count had begun, but there was no immediate word on when results would be available. Political analyst and three-time former presidential candidate Olban Valladares said the elections are an opportunity for Hondurans to begin to free themselves of failed leaders. But voters will also choose the candidates who will compete for the 128 seats of the National Congress in November, as well as 298 local governments and other positions.
Drug trafficker says he bribed Honduras president
FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2020, file photo, Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez arrives for the swearing-in ceremony for Guatemala's new President Alejandro Giammattei at the National Theater in Guatemala City. AdThe accusation came in the third day of testimony in the trial of alleged drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez. U.S. prosecutors have made it clear that allegations against President Hernández would arise during the trial, though he has not been charged. During that trial, the president was accused of accepting more than $1 million from Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Alvarez said that he had never taken money from Rivera Maradiaga, who called the politicians he allegedly bribed “narco-politicians.”Ad“I don’t have anything to hide,” Alvarez wrote.
US prosecutors allege Honduras president helped move drugs
“They plotted to send as much cocaine as possible to the United States,” Gutwillig said of the president and Fuentes Ramírez. But much of the prosecutors’ artillery appears aimed at Hernández, who they said helped Fuentes Ramírez’s drug trafficking along with other high-ranking officials. Prosecutors have previously said that Fuentes Ramírez paid Hernández $25,000 to be allowed to move drugs through the country without interference. He says that the allegations against him come from drug traffickers seeking revenge and looking to lighten their sentences. He has said Fuentes Ramírez had weapons and body guards because Honduras is a dangerous country.
Honduras leader warns drug cooperation with US endangered
FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks to the reporters as he leaves a meeting at the Organization of American States, in Washington. Newly proposed U.S. legislation introduced Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, targets Orlando Hernandez as allegations of ties to drug trafficking grow. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)TEGUCIGALPÁ – TEGUCIGALPÁHonduran President Juan Orlando Hernández says that antinarcotics cooperation with the United States could “collapse” if U.S. authorities believe “false testimony” accusing him of cooperating with traffickers. Earlier this month, U.S. prosecutors filed documents in an upcoming trial suggesting the president himself was under investigation. One of his numerous brothers, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, was convicted in New York of a drug conspiracy in 2019.
Honduras leader warns drug cooperation with US endangered
FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks to the reporters as he leaves a meeting at the Organization of American States, in Washington. Newly proposed U.S. legislation introduced Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, targets Orlando Hernandez as allegations of ties to drug trafficking grow. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)TEGUCIGALPÁ – TEGUCIGALPÁHonduran President Juan Orlando Hernández warned Wednesday that antinarcotics cooperation with the United States could “collapse” if U.S. authorities believe “false testimony” in U.S. courts accusing him of cooperating with traffickers. He suggested that traffickers were trying to manipulate U.S. authorities into helping them take vengeance on the Honduran officials pursuing them. One of his numerous brothers, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, was convicted in New York of a drug conspiracy in 2019.
Proposed US legislation would target Honduras president
FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks to the reporters as he leaves a meeting at the Organization of American States, in Washington. Newly proposed U.S. legislation introduced Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, targets Orlando Hernandez as allegations of ties to drug trafficking grow. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)MEXICO CITY – Newly proposed U.S. legislation targets Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández as allegations of ties to drug trafficking grow. As the administration of President Joe Biden seeks to return the issues of corruption and human rights to relations with Honduras and other Central American countries, a group of Democratic senators says the U.S. government’s relationship with Honduras must change. Under the administration of President Donald Trump, immigration overshadowed everything else in the relationship.
US motions expand drug claims against Honduras president
(UNTV via AP)NEW YORK – U.S. federal prosecutors have filed motions saying that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández took bribes from drug traffickers and had the country's armed forces protect a cocaine laboratory and shipments to the United States. The documents quote Hernández as saying he wanted to “'shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos' by flooding the United States with cocaine." The motions filed Friday with the U.S. Southern District of New York do not specifically name the president, referring to him as “CC-4,” or co-conspirator No. During that trial, the president was accused of accepting more than $1 million from Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán — an accusation repeated in the new motions. At this time, CC-4 was pursuing election as the President of Honduras as a member of the Partido Nacional de Honduras (the “National Party”),” the motion said.
Macron is the latest world leader to catch COVID-19
French President Emmanuel Macron reacts as he meets Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, the presidential Elysee Palace announced on Thursday. DONALD TRUMPPresident Donald Trump announced in October that he and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus. BORIS JOHNSONThe British prime minister was the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19, after facing criticism for downplaying the pandemic. Other top officials in former Soviet states who were infected include Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Trump joins growing list of virus-infected world leaders
He was moved to intensive care in April after his virus symptoms dramatically worsened a day after he was hospitalized for what were called routine tests. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP, File)JOHANNESBURG – President Donald Trump has joined a growing group of world leaders who have been infected with the coronavirus. BORIS JOHNSONThe British prime minister was the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19, after facing criticism for downplaying the pandemic. Other top officials in former Soviet states who were infected include Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. GAMBIAVice President Isatou Touray tested positive in July along with the ministers of finance, energy and agriculture.
U.S. implicates Honduran president in drug trafficking as it seeks his help on immigration
Even as the Trump administration moved ahead on a controversial immigration agreement with the Honduran government, U.S. law enforcement has indicted another senior Honduran official on drug-trafficking charges that implicate the countrys president. AdvertisementThe president, who has denied wrongdoing, has continued to maintain close relations with the White House and has been received in the Oval Office by President Trump on several occasions. On Thursday, the Trump administration took a step toward implementing that agreement by publishing it in the Federal Register. The Trump administration appears to be moving toward relying more heavily on Honduras to take the migrants it doesnt want. Critics of the Trump administration were quick to note the dichotomy between how it deals with the Honduran president on immigration and how federal prosecutors view him.latimes.com
Trumps message to Central America: Want ventilators? Help us with immigration
When it comes to supplying ventilators and other coronavirus aid to Central America, Trump administration officials say they are not playing favorites. AdvertisementJust spoke to President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, Trump tweeted. The Trump administration has refused to condemn what many in El Salvador and the rest of Latin America see as Bukeles increasingly autocratic tendencies. Kozak said administration officials have given constructive advice to the parties in El Salvador but have chosen not to make public pronouncements. But the Trump administration has cut off its funding to one of the other main champions in the battle, the World Health Organization, accusing it of bias in favor of China.latimes.com
At odds over immigration policy, Trump administration suspends New Yorkers' travel passes
REUTERS/Jorge CabreraWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration has temporarily barred New Yorkers from several programs expediting security checks when they enter the United States, widening a dispute over a New York state law limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told reporters the states lack of security cooperation with federal immigration authorities necessitated the suspension of such travel programs as one known as Global Entry. He assailed the state over a law passed last year limiting the information the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, which issues drivers licenses, could share with federal immigration authorities. U.S. President Donald Trump has made his immigration crackdown a focus of his 2020 re-election campaign. Trump criticized so-called sanctuary jurisdictions during his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.feeds.reuters.com
DHS suspends New York state access to travel programs over 'sanctuary' law: Fox
REUTERS/Jorge CabreraWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will block New York state residents from most of its trusted traveler programs in response to a state law that limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News on Wednesday. DHS will suspend the ability of the states residents to enroll or re-enroll in programs such as Global Entry, which allows faster processing for pre-approved travelers entering the United States, Wolf said in a related letter to New York State officials. The suspension will also apply to programs that allow for expedited travel to Canada and Mexico, as well as a program for commercial truck drivers. Trump criticized so-called sanctuary jurisdictions during his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. Wolf singled out a New York law that blocks the states motor vehicles department from sharing information with immigration enforcement agencies, saying the lack of security cooperation from the state necessitated the suspension of the travel programs.feeds.reuters.com
Does Trump support democracy in Latin America? Critics say it depends whos in power
A president in Latin America skirts term limits to run for office again. AdvertisementGeopolitical concerns, of course, have often beat out principle when it comes to U.S. policy in Latin America, most notably when the region was a Cold War battleground. There, the Trump administration opposed Evo Morales, the left-wing indigenous leader who has frequently denounced what he considers U.S. imperialism in the region. Trujillo, a 36-year-old former state representative in Florida, was appointed to his post months after the Honduras election controversy. The Trump administration would like to remove Nicolas Maduro, the countrys socialist president, saying it seeks to restore democracy.latimes.com
U.S., Honduras discuss temporary work opportunities for Hondurans
Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan shakes hands with Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez before a bilateral meeting at Soto Cano Air Base in Comayagua, Honduras July 2, 2019. Presidency Honduras/Handout via REUTERSWASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The United States and Honduras are discussing how to increase temporary legal employment opportunities for Hondurans in the United States, as the governments work to hammer out details of an immigration agreement. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has waged a campaign in recent months to seal immigration deals with the Northern Triangle countries of Central America - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - from where many immigrants arriving at the U.S. southern border set out. Guatemala has signed a so-called safe third country deal with the United States that requires asylum seekers who travel through Guatemala on the way to the U.S.-Mexico border to ask for refuge in Guatemala first, instead of in the United States. They recognize Honduras progress in the areas of security and migration.feeds.reuters.com
Why Hondurans are taking to the streets or leaving the country
CNN videoTEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Dead protesters, a "failed state" and accusations of high-level drug trafficking. While many Hondurans continue to leave the country in search of a new life, members of a variety of groups from across society are making their feelings known in the streets. His brother Antonio was arrested by US investigators on drug trafficking charges in November 2018, but he has denied the charges. Violence has flared during the recent protests after Hernandez put soldiers on the streets, leading to widespread condemnation. Honduras saw homicide rates more than double between 2005 and 2010, and became the world's most murderous country in 2012.