October 2, 2022

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From the “wonderful” American ally to the possible handover of drug trafficking: Juan Orlando Hernandez’s slow-burning decline in Honduras

Eight years have passed from love to hate. The smiling picture when Barack Obama shook hands or the compliments he received from Donald Trump are reminiscent of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who returned to local authorities for his death. Possible handover To the United States on drug charges.

Hernandez is enjoying the moment just weeks after he was ousted from the presidency by two consecutive-ruling Honduras, despite allegations of electoral fraud that were conveniently reduced by Washington at the time.

“This is not an easy time. Nobody wants it.”He heard her say inside An audio Aired on their social networks on Tuesday morning. In that brief speech, with a black screen, he said he was ready to go before a judge appointed by the Supreme Court (SCJ) to hear his case.

Although the process is just beginning, the current point is not surprising to anyone. The twilight period of relations with the White House began at least two years ago, when the label “Narco-State” began to appear in Washington with the name Honduras, but not by the continuous protests of the left in that country. , But due to the testimonies of the Expos before a New York court.

Continuing politician

Juan Orlando Hernandez – or JOH, as the name implies – began as President of the Honduran Congress during the reign of Porfirio Lopo (2010-2014) with whom he shared his militancy. Conservative Partido National of Honduras.

During that period, the coup against Manuel Zelaya in 2009 and the current government of Roberto Michelleti plunged Honduras into international isolation as most countries in the hemisphere demanded the return of the ousted president to power. However he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Lobo’s government.

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Four years later, Lobo’s successor is Hernandez (2014-2018). Upon learning that he had won by the Supreme Election Tribunal, Xiomara Castro questioned its validity As the candidate of the newly formed Freedom Party, the United States issued a statement encouraging the conservative administration.

“We commend the Honduran government for ensuring that the electoral process is generally transparent, peaceful and in line with the wishes of the Honduran people.” he said The then Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Following the blessing of the State Department, Barack Obama was tapped on the shoulder, praising Hernandez’s “conversation” and his “” ability.Achievements“Signing of an anti – corruption agreement with the government and the Organization of American States (OAS); an increase in the budget for social policing;” Social assistance to more than 450,000 families “Government programs and” effective control of spending “

The words of mutual praise were directed from Hernandez to the tenant of the White House at the time. For example, in 2016, he said Obama “leaves the tradition of a different relationship Between Central America and the United States “and with the intention of sending to Congress, he assured that his US representative had taken up the ideas he had proposed in the Coalition for Prosperity program.

Hernandez’s permanent authority was, in fact, a guarantee of the ‘continuity’ that existed during the previous administration, which was convenient for Washington. In fact, the cables revealed by WikiLeaks confirmed that Lobo had discussed all his decisions with the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa.

For example, Lobo’s attempt to appoint General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, who carried out the coup against Zelaya, as defense minister, has been highly controversial. Hugo Lawrence, the US envoy to Honduras, advised the president to include the post and take other steps to avoid creating controversy in the international community. The dynamics would have remained the same in other state affairs.

A “wonderful” man

Despite Hernandez’s promises to improve the living conditions of Hondurans, the truth is that by the end of his first term, more than 65% of the country’s lived in poverty, and social indicators were becoming increasingly dangerous every day. However, he stood for re-election.

In that election called on November 26, 2017, Hernandez faced Salvador Nasrallah, who ran in a coalition with Xiomara Castro for the presidency. Although preliminary figures put the left duo in the lead, the study was halted and it was only when the broadcast resumed that JOH emerged as the winner.

Signs of fraud were such that even the OAS discredited the electoral process and reaffirmed its call for re-election. However, almost a month later, with Donald Trump now in the White House, the United States returned to the old move of recognizing Hernandez as president, garnering extraordinary support with a call to reconsider “abuses” and “strong national dialogue.”

Hernandez accepted his second term in 2018, in September of the same year, creating the first expatriate caravan of more than 1,000 Hondurans who traveled to the United States with the hope of structural violence, poverty, inequality and escape. Lack of opportunities in the home country.

The situation was repeated in the so-called Northern Triangle, which started a phase of pressure from the White House. In a hostile rhetoric, Trump threatened to cut off aid to those countries if they did not stop those migrations.

As a result of this policy of coercion, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala signed the Refugee Cooperation Agreement (ACA), which allowed the United States to deport immigrants to those countries. At the time, an overwhelming Trump was running these Words To Hernandez: “I want to congratulate you and your country I want to tell you that you have done an amazing job. My people who work with you also tell us how much you love your country.

Age of suspicion

Beyond public reports, the decline of the Honduran president’s reputation in Washington began at least two years ago with the accusations of a drug trafficker against his brother Antonio ‘Tony’ Hernandez.

In 2017, a drug kingpin in New York court heard that “Tony” Hernandez had pledged to help recover a government debt with a former company. That report was the first book to drag justice to a federal judge last year Condemned Life sentence for drug trafficking offenses The brother of the President of Honduras is currently imprisoned in US territory.

That judicial process undermined Hernandez’s credibility, and he was still president during the Trump era. US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, along with representatives of both parties, refused to attend the meeting with the President of Honduran. Despite repeated assurances from the president that he was not involved in any of the abuses committed by his brother, the charges eventually reached him.

Last year, Davis Lionel Rivera Maradiga, a witness in a New York court drug trafficking case, testified that the testimony of the former head of the ‘Los Cassiros’ cartel was directly bribed to avoid arresting the Honduran president. And then deported to the United States.His words were recently supported by Capo Giovanni Fuentes Ramirez. Condemned Permanently in the United States

The Period of Charges, When he appeared before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, Hernandez referred to the issue and raised his defense against what he had called.False evidence“.

With the arrival of Joe Biden, the picture changed a bit. Immediately, the Democratic president suspended the ACA, which in practice was used only by Trump in Guatemala. When Vice President Kamala Harris attended Shioumara Castro’s inauguration ceremony, the most important sign was that the screw would not turn when not even a single photo with the outgoing president was included.

At the site of Castro’s investment, a Slogans Heard loudly from the stand and said to Harris: “Take Joe, take Joe!”

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Anthony Blingen Advertising Washington withdrew Hernandez’s visa – already out of power – but barred him from entering US territory “due to corruption.” “No one is above the law”Wrote.

A cup of tea

After a period of support for democratic governments in Honduras to ignore the return of the left, or after Trump’s haste to show the results of immigration with the compulsion of Central America, all that remains for Biden is to take action against a politician. Who has now left power.

The overwhelming response to the referendum in Honduras not only demonstrated Castro’s support, but also closed the cycle of political conflict that began with the coup against Zelaya in 2009, despite his public statements, backed by Washington.

They arrested former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez following a request to extradite him to the United States for drug trafficking.

But the truth is that the persistent complaints of electoral fraud, or the horrific living conditions in Honduran, and the structural causes of violence in that Central American country during Hernandez’s eight years in office did not encourage a change in Washington’s view. The turning point was the word of the former Capose, who was prosecuted in a New York court.

Now, U.S. Justice Department officials are accusing Hernandez of participating in a “violent drug trafficking conspiracy.” Receive several tons of cocaine exports Sent to Honduras by air and sea “from various countries.”

The indictment alleges that “the plot was to smuggle about 500,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States via Honduras,” Hernandez said. He received “millions of dollars in bribes and profits.” On behalf of several drug trafficking organizations in his country, Mexico and elsewhere.

On Tuesday afternoon, Hernandez was taken from his home in a bulletproof vest, handcuffed and taken to the National Police Special Forces office. The scary movie was different from that man a few years ago. Diagnosis Zelaya recommended “nostalgia for power” and “a small cup of tea” for the politician so he could cope after he was thrown out.

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