Category: In-depth Investigations

Honduras: a waiting room in a fleeing nation

In 2022, around 190,000 people entered Honduras irregularly, the majority of them from Cuba and Venezuela; more people than in the past 12 years. Honduras, a country in exodus, where more than 15,000 people emigrated in caravans, has now become a stopover to the north. At 4,000 kilometers from the U.S. border, in impoverished border towns, migrant inflation, police corruption, and trafficking networks sprout. The new exodus travels the old migration route.

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Bufete del actual ministro Tomás Vaquero representa empresas de Lenir Pérez, empresario señalado de vulneración a DDHH

Honduras’ Guapinol mining project, condemned by the government but defended by top government officials

President Xiomara Castro has officially denounced the Guapinol mine and Palmerola airport projects. They are going ahead regardless, with no interruption to the power and influence of businessman Lenir Pérez, who owns the concessions for both projects. Pérez has already been accused of benefiting from his relations with former president Juan Orlando Hernández to obtain irregular contracts and abuse human rights. Now, Contracorriente has found that Pérez could maintain privileged access to the new government through lawyer Pamela Blanco Luque, partner, and wife of Tomás Vaquero, Secretary of Government, Justice, and Decentralization.

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seguro social ihss Los Kafie: La historia de empresarios hondureños que acumulan consulados honorarios | Honorary Consuls

The Kafies: A story of Honduran Elites, Honorary Consuls, and their dubious international ties

Translated on November 21 •

Honorary consuls are limited-function, voluntary diplomatic actors whose role proceeds for an undetermined period of time. In Honduras today there are 62 honorary consuls, most being Honduran businessmen.This is the story of eight members of the Kafie family who hold honorary consul positions, even as some of them have been implicated in cases of corruption or human rights violations.

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raíces del narcotráfico en la Policía Nacional de Honduras Honduras’ National Police

Between purges and drug trafficking, the uphill battle of Honduras’ National Police

At the entrance to the Metropolitan Preventative Police Unit (Unidad Metropolitana de Prevención – UMEP) in the city of Trujillo in northern Honduras, once the haven of the drug trafficking cartel ‘Los Cachiros’, a vehicle with more than a hundred large caliber bullet holes sits on display.

Honduras’ National Police, a key tool for the narco-state, now struggles to reform itself under the new government.

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Panaco Parque Nacional Cuyamel Omoa Honduras

The death of PANACO: Honduras’ protected site that never was

In the coastal border area between Honduras and Guatemala lies the land once slated for the Cuyamel-Omoa National Park (El Parque Nacional Cuyamel-Omoa – PANACO). In 2011, Honduran environmental authorities, with information and support from different NGOs, proposed that a protected area be created there. The wetlands of the region belong to the second most important coral reef barrier in the world: the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Indeed, the biodiversity of this area and its ecosystem services are so important that, in 2013, Omoa was declared a site of international importance no. 2133 by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (making the region a ‘Ramsar site’). It is now dying in the face of the advance of oil palm and king grass monocultures, under the complacent gaze of Honduran environmental authorities.

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manuel zelaya rosales expresidente asesor presidencial esposo de xiomara castro

Honduran gov’t breaking promises made to Indigenous people and environmental activists

Translated on September 29th | Protests by Indigenous peoples and environmental groups in Honduras have been taking place in Tegucigalpa to demand that the Xiomara Castro government fulfill its commitments, such as ending open-pit mining and destroying a drug smuggling road.

The president has been silent, while her husband, advisor and former president José Manuel Zelaya, remains omnipresent and has even publicly mistreated a representative of Indigenous peoples.

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gobierno de xiomara castro ley de amnistia honduras 2022 El retorno del clan Zelaya Xiomara Zelayas Mel Castro primera mujer presidenta de Honduras 2022 noticias congreso nacional hoy corrupción gobierno honduras 2022

The Zelaya clan returns to power in Honduras

Xiomara Castro became the first female president of Honduras. She ran with the Libre Party, the party founded by her husband, José Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, not long after the coup d’état that ousted him from power in 2009. Castro promised a new future for Honduras after 12 years of National Party autocracy.
However, just a few months after taking office in January, the past has already cast a long shadow over the Castro administration. She pushed through an amnesty for allies of her husband accused of corruption, appointed former Zelaya officials to government positions, and placed several family members in key positions; provoking accusations of nepotism. Now an advisor to the president, Mel Zelaya is increasingly influential in the country’s politics.

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Two NGOs, two diplomats, and the dubious tight-knit circle around the former Honduran president

As detained former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández faces extradition to the United States on three drug trafficking charges, this investigation examines a group of his relatives and friends, who have been partners for years in a maze of charities and companies in Honduras and Florida, multiple of which have no apparent business activity. The paper trail also leads to Panama. The associates – including the current Honduran ambassadors to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, a nephew of the former president, and a former financial consultant to the congress – told us that their ventures didn’t succeed due to a decade-old scandal involving one of their charities, Fundecima.

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Cabaña y casa de habitación en Playa El Edén, Choluteca, 12 de diciembre de 2021.

Climate crisis and water scarcity sees refugees fleeing the Dry Corridor of southern Honduras

The communities in the Dry Corridor of southern Honduras mostly work in the “Coyolito Club” industries: shrimp, sugar cane and melon farming. Companies in these three industries are often the only source of work, but have been accused of human and labor rights violations. They may also be contributing to the environmental deterioration of a region abandoned by its government. All of these factors are driving migrants to flee their homeland.

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Mexican youth employment program in Honduras has serious shortcomings

The Youths Building the Future program was launched two and half years ago, and now nearly 4,000 Honduran youths are working at 130 companies in jobs funded by a Mexican government program. They are paid a stipend that is half the minimum wage in Honduras. Despite its slow implementation, Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador is urging the United States to adopt and fund this model as an incentive for Central American young people to stay home instead of migrating north.

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marchas en Honduras | Antorchas | de las | 2021 | xiomara vence o cancer

Business elites feel hope and anxiety after Xiomara Castro’s victory

Xiomara Castro’s victory on November 28 swept many entrenched politicians out of office and toppled the two parties that have held onto power for decades through shady political deal making. Business leaders who have benefitted from the policies of previous governments now face an uncertain future, as the incoming administration has promised to repeal or revise some of these policies. However, other political and business sectors that opposed the current administration are now hoping for real change.

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Xiomara Castro | 2021 | presidenta | cne 2021 resultado | hn | Honduras | resultados | 2021 | censa | elecciones | generales | conteo | "elecciones 2021" |

Massive voter turnout and a vote for Xiomara Castro turns the tide in Honduras

A climate of uncertainty surrounded Sunday’s general election. But in the end, the day proceeded without violence and ended with the highest voter turnout in the last twelve years. Preliminary results gave Xiomara Castro of the Libre Party a wide lead. Though the country is still waiting for an official declaration, it seems Honduras will have its first female president and break with the two-party stranglehold on political power.

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Small business owners in Honduras feel abandoned

One of the pandemic relief measures taken by the government of Honduras was to secure up to US$2.5 billion in debt to be used for guaranteed loans channeled through a government bank to small and medium-size enterprises. Despite the government’s promises of relief for small businesses, our investigation found that this money has mostly benefited private banks, business conglomerates, and medium-size companies. There has been almost no official relief for microenterprises.

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femicide in Honduras

Femicide in Honduras: women dismissed by their own government

Only 15 cases of femicide in Honduras have resulted in convictions since the country criminalized femicide in 2013. These cases are brought before a justice system that is poorly trained in gender issues, and recent legislation has reduced the penalties for crimes of violence against women. Women who dare to report domestic violence do not receive timely care and attention – they are not safe – and this can end in femicide.

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