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The Honduran government has quietly been sending government representatives to lobby on the Hill. If you recall, then-Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales, who is now caught up in the latest police scandal, visited back in April. This time it was Coordinator General Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro. (His position being a cabinet-level equivalent of the U.S. President’s Chief of Staff.) He was told by at least one staffer on Capitol Hill that the Honduran government should acquiesce to calls for an independent international investigation. The cast of characters that Honduras has sent so far have not impressed those in Washington, “[N]o sensible person would trust [them] with a ten foot pole,” said a person with knowledge of at least one meeting. As well, the Honduran government has refused to accept a recently released report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that is critical of Honduras and the shameful record of impunity and violence in the country, claiming it is biased.
On May 9, Hernández Alcerro announced an investigation into “foreigners who participate in protests and incite violence” in Honduras. This was in response to COPINH’s peaceful march to the presidential palace days before during which government forces violently repressed a few dozen protesters with tear gas, riot police and water cannons. Hernández Alcerro’s new investigation is part of a coordinated campaign targeting human rights observers/defenders in Honduras who work for international non-governmental organizations.
Most recently, the government has taken to pulling tv licenses from channels that have allegedly failed to pay fees (Spanish). This, coincidentally, includes Globo TV, the main government opposition channel.
Former Pres. Lobo’s son is charged with drug trafficking
Former Honduran president Pepe Lobo’s son pled guilty to drug trafficking in New York on May 16. “Fabio Lobo has now admitted in court that he conspired to import thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States. Whether you are a street-level dealer, a member of a cartel, or the son of a former foreign president, drug dealing is drug dealing.”
This is yet another example on a growing list as to why the Honduran government cannot be trusted to adequately conduct professional criminal investigations: they are complicit in criminal activity and impunity reigns. Lobo’s father was elected president of Honduras in late 2009 after a military coup ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya. Porfirio Lobo left office in January 2014, when Juan Orlando Hernandez assumed the presidency.
MACCIH sputters to life
The Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras — known by its Spanish initials MACCIH — slowly began to sputter into motion late last month. Alex Main shines a light on its increasingly controversial and already turbulent existence:
“…the fact that both the Honduran government and the OAS Secretary General had tried to involve MACCIH in an investigation that had nothing to with the body’s mandate, and had attempted to do so before MACCIH had even come into existence, left a very bad taste in the mouths of Honduran human rights defenders and anticorruption advocates.”
Lastly, Berta’s mother, Doña Bertha is doing as well as can be imagined. She receives visitors daily keeping her spirits up but also making her a bit tired. Overall she is in good health and as strong as ever. She and Berta’s children send their gratitude for your overwhelming support.
How can you help?
Go to BertaCaceres.org and donate to Berta’s children, mother and COPINH. The money is needed to keep pressure on both the US and Honduran governments. You can also sign up for the newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. The more people we educate about what is happening the more Berta’s legacy can bring about true change and her death be not in vain.