Category: News

Honduran police accused of illegally detaining Guapinol human rights defender

Last night, Arnol Javier Alemán, one of the eight Guapinol defenders who had been released in February 2022 after spending 29 months imprisoned in a process characterized as arbitrary, was detained by the Honduran National Police. According to the defense attorneys’, the police have stated that there is still an active arrest warrant for Arnol within the police system. The defense attorneys’ expressed their disappointment over the absence of a protocol between the Judicial Power, the Police, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office when a person is released. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras (OHCHR) also expressed concern about this detention.

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How will the country defend itself against these multi-million dollar international lawsuits?

Six international claims against the Honduran State were submitted to arbitration at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an institution that is part of the World Bank and based in Washington D.C. Some of these claims were brought forward by the investment firm Zede Próspera, and two Norwegian renewable energy firms, Scatec and Norfund. While international arbitration experts are concerned about the defense of the Honduran State, the government questions the legality of the disputes since it doesn’t recognize ICSID’s jurisdiction.

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Straightening my hair for survival

Rosy Flores always wanted to be a criminal lawyer in El Progreso, a small and violent city in northern Honduras. Ten months passed before she decided to quit her job, a profession where women face a glass ceiling and threats come from all sides: from the accused but also from her fellow lawyers.

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Is Honduras still a narco-state?

An investigation by Contracorriente revealed the effects of drug trafficking in the communities of El Merendón, in northern Honduras, where villagers still fear Geovanny Fuentes despite his arrest and sentence in the United States. Fuentes used public institutions to carry out illegal activities and his case showed how rooted criminal organizations are within the Honduran State. Is Honduras still a narco-state? Contracorriente discussed this issue on Twitter Space.

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The Bukele effect: Honduras under curfew after violent week

The death of 46 inmates in The National Female Peninntenciary for Social Adaptation (PNFAS in Spanish), the murder of Ericka Julissa Bandy, in broad daylight in a bakery in San Pedro Sula, and the murder of 13 people in a pool hall in the Lopez Arellano sector in Choloma were the most shocking events of a week that registered more than a hundred homicides. This past week was one of the most violent weeks Honduras has experienced in recent years. President Xiomara Castro’s reaction was to militarize penitentiary centers and issue a curfew in the municipalities of San Pedro Sula and Choloma. Both actions are not well received by different groups of societies, such as local businessmen and family members of the prisoners. The Mayor of San Pedro Sula described the curfew as a shot in the arm for the country’s economy.

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Don Pedro, an environmentalist veteran, continues to defend Honduras’ western lands despite growing threats

Pedro Pinto, 67, has spent over half his life defending the environment in the western region of Ocotepeque, Honduras. In November 2022, two of his vehicles were burned by an unknown party, he suspects that they were enemies of his work as an environmental defender. In Honduras, protecting the environment is a deadly risk; between 2002 and 2014, 111 environmentalists were killed in the country.

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Fiscalización del género y la sexualidad

The determinants of Honduras’ gender and sexual norms

Shortly before May 17, the international day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, I’m writing this article to reflect on something that has gained momentum in the last few years and doesn’t seem to stop. But to put it in context, I think it is important to mention some background information to better illustrate the situation:

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The ‘three gifts’ that Xiomara Castro’s government owes Honduran women

On January 27, as President Xiomara Castro’s government marked one year in office, feminist activists counted 365 femicides over that same period – one for every day of 2022. Indeed, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, femicides and violent deaths of women in Honduras increased 51% in 2022. Reporting on the government’s achievements, Vice President Doris Gutiérrez said there were “three gifts” Castro must yet deliver to the women of Honduras: the Law Against Violence towards Women, the Safe Houses Law and reforms to the Penal Code. 

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Shucri Kafie

Shucri Kafie loses honorary consul title following investigation report

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) announced that after their special «Shadow Diplomats», an investigation in which Contracorriente participated in collaboration with the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP), multiple governments announced the termination or revision of their honorary consul titles. The government of Jordan announced the ending of the position, which was served by Honduran businessman Shucri Kafie, which was in the role as Honorary Consul of Jordan in Honduras since 1984.

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«States of exception, in general, are difficult to sustain»: Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary of State

In an exclusive interview for Contracorriente (CC), Undersecretary Uzra Zeya (UZ) spoke about her government’s support to Honduras on issues of education, security, migration and human rights and about the conditions of the United States to support the installation of an International Commission against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (CICIH) to strengthen the anti-corruption efforts in the country.

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Concesión petrolera en La Mosquitia Drilling for Oil in La Mosquitia

No Transparency, No Consultation: Drilling for Oil in La Mosquitia

An oil concession held by BG International Limited (BG Group) in Honduras’ Miskito Keys (Cayos Miskitos), home to the indigenous Garífuna community, is under question by that community. Garífuna leader Miriam Miranda says BGI Group’s exploration and exploitation project began, and continues, without carrying out a free and informed prior consultation with the Garífuna – an obligation under the law which requires such consultation with any region’s indigenous people.

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Afro-Hondurans desalojo en comunidad garífuna de Islas de la Bahía Melissa Martinez ofraneh

Afro-Hondurans violently evicted from their ancestral lands on Honduras’ Caribbean coast

Translated on November 13

•  Last Monday a violent eviction on Honduras’ Caribbean coast left six members of the Garífuna community detained and several injured, according to the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña – OFRANEH). The National Police and Armed Forces carried out the eviction citing complaints against the community for the alleged crime of land usurpation.

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Honduras' freedom of the press Honduras' freedom of the press Libertad de prensa en Honduras

Executive decree on media raises concerns over Honduras’ freedom of the press

Translated on October 24 • 

The creation of the General Department of Information and Press by executive decree of the Xiomara Castro government has raised concerns about threats to the freedom of the press in Honduras. Minister for Strategic Planning, Ricardo Salgado denied to Contracorriente that it marks the beginning of dictatorial control of information in Honduras an,d joined many in the government in saying that criticism of this law is part of a campaign to destabilize the Castro government.

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National Police Academy Tragedy honduras policias intoxicados anapo 2022

Secrecy and Brutality at the center of National Police Academy Tragedy

Translated on October 12, 2022 | Last month, three young people died and 31 were hospitalized during a training session for aspiring auxiliary officers at the National Police Academy (Academia Nacional de Policía -ANAPO). For now, a definitive version of what happened is not known, nor have the autopsies of the deceased been made available. Relatives of those affected and experts are sure that the training involved excessive force.

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Ofraneh denuncia racismo institucional e inoperancia del Ministerio Público 2022 noticias hoy protesta manifestación movilización garifuna denuncian al estado por discriminación garifunas desaparecidos 2020 miriam miranda asesinados secuestrados donde están los garifunas en honduras

Activists denounce institutional racism in Honduras

On August 9, the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña – OFRANEH) held a demonstration at the Justice Ministry, petitioning the state of Honduras regarding the lack of investigation into the forced disappearance of four indigenous Garífuna people. There hasn’t been any progress on the investigations despite exhortations from the Inter-American System. At the demonstration, OFRANEH also denounced racist and denigrating treatment by state officials.

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Cómo es vivir en Honduras siendo parte de la comunidad LGBTI+ población lgbtiq lgbt en Honduras 2022 marchas movilizaciones como celebras trans que es Tegucigalpa

A discussion: what is it like to be part of the LGBTI+ community in Honduras? 

One year after the decision in the case “Vicky Hernandez and Others vs Honduras” where the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (ICHR) ruled in favor of the LGBTQ+ community and led President Xiomara Castro to apologize on behalf of the Honduran government for the killing of trans activist, Vicky Hernandez, in a public ceremony in May, the fight of the LGBTQ+ community for equality and gender recognition continues. In a Twitter Space organized by Contracorriente, leaders from the different LGBTQ+ collectives discussed the current state of the movement and their experiences with the new government.

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Food crisis intensifies in Honduras

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that food insecurity could worsen in Honduras over the next few months. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has pushed up the cost of fertilizer and fuel, and small Honduran farmers are getting desperate and lack assistance from public agricultural programs. Meanwhile, Hondurans are paying more for an increasingly expensive basic food basket.

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primeros 100 días de gobierno de xiomara | Cien dias de deudas para las mujeres el medioambiente y a la producción agrícola | plan de gobierno de Xiomara Castro primeros cien de gobierno primeros 100 días de gobierno de xiomara 2022

Broken promises for women, agriculture, and the environment mark Xiomara Castro’s first 100 days

The first 100 days of Honduran president Xiomara Castro’s administration have exposed the complex situation facing Honduras. Internal conflicts within the president’s party and the political alliance that won the elections last November have hampered real change. Although Castro has kept some of her promises, the country’s structural problems are holding her back in many ways. Un met campaign commitments loom over the first female president of Honduras, including her promises made to women.

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extradición de juan orlando hernandez de jhon en vivo juanchi hoy jj en nueva york hernández hoy renuncia extraditado últimas noticias 2022

Why the US is charging a recent Honduran president with electoral fraud, drug trafficking

Shortly after his extradition to the United States on a DEA plane, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York released its indictment of the former president of Honduras. The indictment alleges that, in addition to drug trafficking and firearms possession, the former president received bribes from Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Gúzman, committed fraud in the 2013 and 2017 elections, and enlisted the support of other former presidents to facilitate drug trafficking in Honduras. A U.S. Justice Department judge remanded the former president in custody pending his hearing on May 10.

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sala de juicios en Estados Unidos EEUU

The US’s plans to fight corruption and work with the new government in Honduras

On June 3, 2021, U.S. president Joe Biden announced that fighting corruption would be a key objective of his administration. Soon after, various U.S. government departments and agencies began to quickly expand their efforts to combat corruption at home and abroad. President Biden’s anti-corruption strategy could very well color his country’s relationship with President Xiomara Castro’s administration and determine whether Honduras can become a strategic partner for the U.S. in the region.

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bienes incautados de juan orlando hernandez

Authorities seize 16 cars, 33 properties, 8 businesses belonging to former Honduran president and family

Translated on April 20 | A judge authorized the seizure of 33 properties, eight businesses, 16 vehicles, and other financial assets from former president Juan Orlando Hernández’s family. However, this represents less than half of Hernández’s $7.8 million net worth.
Recent news reports said that the former first lady sought to protect some of their wealth by transferring US$2.44 million in personal assets to a local bank, allegedly to repay a debt. This asset transfer temporarily prevented the Justice Ministry from seizing these assets, while prosecutors investigate whether the bank and Ana García de Hernández acted in good faith.

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Juez concede extradición de Juan Orlando Hernández mientras él grababa video en la silla del presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia Honduras 2022 noticias hoy extraditan

Complexities and politics of extradition revealed as Honduras` ex-president to be delivered to US

On March 16, after a judge authorized the extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernández to the United States on drug trafficking and weapons charges, Hernández sat down in the Supreme Court president’s chair and began to record a video. The incident did not sit well with the Special Commission on Extradition of the National Congress, which had met in the same room a day earlier with several Supreme Court judges, including the president of that body, Rolando Argueta Pérez.

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dia de la mujer hondureña 8M 8 de Marzo Una mujer sostiene un pañuelo verde de la organización Ecuménicas por el derecho a decidir el día de la toma de posesión de la presidenta Xiomara Castro. Xiomara Castro women of Honduras gender issues from hondurans 2022 PAE aborto 8

President Xiomara Castro’s debt to the women of Honduras

More than a month after Hondurans elected their first female president, her administration done little for gender issues. The mostly male Castro cabinet now has to live up to its campaign promises to reduce femicide, decriminalize three grounds for abortion, and approve the use of emergency contraceptive pills, banned since the 2009 coup d’état.

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Luis redondo 2022 | congreso nacional | en el | legislando | presidente del congreso nacional | CN | 2022

First week of Xiomara gov’t in Honduras sees many important changes

Legislators from the faction supporting Luis Redondo as president of the National Congress met on February 2 to vote on several laws that fulfill some of President Xiomara Castro’s campaign promises. A law proposed by Representative Rasel Tomé condemning the coup that deposed Manuel Zelaya 12 years earlier was approved, and includes amnesty provisions for those that defend national sovereignty, land and water sources. It also protects public officials from prosecution for corruption-related crimes committed from 2006 to 2009.

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Former Honduran president Hernandez gains immunity from drug trafficking allegations

Former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández, repeatedly accused of having direct ties to drug traffickers, became a representative to the Central American Parliament in a virtual swearing-in ceremony on January 27. This granted him immunity from prosecution and extradition. A few days earlier, Representative Norma Torres of California had sent a letter to the United States Department of Justice asking for the immediate extradition of Hernández for drug trafficking.

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Luis Redondo | Juramentación Cn | congreso nacional | presidente del congreso nacional | en el | 2022 | diputados traidores | Libre | Libertad y Refundación

Political crisis in Honduras triggered with election of congress president

Competing boards of directors of the National Congress were sworn in on January 23 in Honduras. One was elected by a group of 79 legislators who met offsite, 30 kilometers from the National Congress’s chambers. The other board was elected by 50 members of Congress who met in a legislative chamber with no lighting. Some political analysts say the first board was legally elected, but the second one is backed by president-elect Xiomara Castro. The dispute will now have to be sorted out by the nation’s constitutional court.

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Honduran elections: Candidates abandon desperate hurricane victims

It has been a year since hurricanes Eta and Iota devastated parts of Honduras and Central America. Especially hard hit were four municipalities which are led by mayors now looking to be reelected by the very constituents they have neglected. Contracorriente visited La Lima, where many people still live without permanent housing, jobs, or stable incomes. Some have tried to rebuild their homes with scraps of discarded building materials.

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Migrants and refugees deported to Honduran border in the middle of the night

Early on October 14, eleven buses carrying migrants arrived at the Guatemala-Honduras border. They had been deported by plane from the United States to Mexico, and then put on buses for the long journey home. No one from the Honduran government was there to record their arrival. According to non-governmental organizations that help deportees at the border, between 250 and 450 deportees have been arriving every night since mid-September.

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La criptomoneda en Honduras tiene un futuro incierto

Would cryptocurrencies do well in Honduras?

Cryptocurrencies are gaining traction in a number of countries including El Salvador, which recently authorized its use as legal tender. Economist Julio Raudales says that short-term adoption in Honduras is unlikely because the country “does not have the [necessary] financial or political conditions.”

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Corte suprema de juticia

Supreme Court ruling allowing Honduran president’s reelection was based on a lie

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights opposes unlimited presidential reelection limits on the grounds that it violates the American Convention and the American Declaration. Dr. Joaquín Mejía says that the Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of this practice should be criminally investigated, and that President Juan Orlando Hernández’s reelection was illegitimate. Mejia believes that Honduras’ Supreme Court should reverse this ruling and reestablish presidential term limits.

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niños migrantes | migrar de Honduras | comunidad rural

Wilder’s story: a two-year-old migrant found in Mexico after fleeing rural poverty in Honduras

A two-year-old Honduran boy was found abandoned in Mexico on June 28. He was traveling with his father, a 27-year-old farmer who was barely making ends meet back home. No one knows how they were separated. The child is back in Honduras while his father remains imprisoned in Mexico. “The face of poverty in Honduras is rural,” experts say, and Wilder’s story is proof of this.

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David Castillo | Caso Berta Cáceres

Some justice for Berta Caceres: guilty verdict for David Castillo implicates a powerful Honduran clan

A Honduran court concluded the historic trial of David Castillo Mejía, a former military officer and former president of energy company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), with a guilty verdict for co-authoring the murder of Berta Caceres, the indigenous leader and world-renowned environmentalist. After receiving the verdict, Castillo’s defense team vowed to take the case to international courts so that “the truth can prevail over the lies and manipulations” of the prosecution.

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New U.S. State Department report on corruption in Central America names Honduran congresspeople

The six Honduran officials named in the report are current National Party congressional representatives. Five of these had been previously implicated in the MACCIH-UFECIC Arca Abierta (Open Vault) investigation, including Oscar Nájera, a congressional representative sanctioned by the United States and the United Kingdom for his involvement in high-level corruption.

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Crew of plane with fake vaccines are Honduran employees of a billion-dollar company

A private plane carrying Sputnik-V vaccine doses later determined to be fake was apprehended in Mexico this week. The plane was headed for Honduras and most of its crew are employed by Grupo Karims, owned by Mohamad Yusuf Amdani, one of the richest people in Honduras. Local media reports in Mexico indicate that the crew has been released, but little is known about why they were transporting the fake vaccines.

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The narrow road ahead for Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández

The New York trial of Honduran drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes has rattled Juan Orlando Hernandez and the country’s political elite. Devis Leonel Rivera, leader of the Cachiros cartel, testified in court that not only did he bribe the current president, he also bribed former President Jose Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009) and former presidential designate, Ricardo Alvarez, both of whom are running for Congress in the upcoming elections.

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The odd and large-scale corruption by Hilda Hernández, sister of the Honduran president

The Hermes case filed by UFERCO, the Ministry of Justice’s anti-corruption unit, is the last piece of a puzzle that now provides a complete picture of how Juan Orlando Hernández rose to power through political patronage and media control. The indictment charges Hilda Hernández, the deceased minister and sister of the president, with leading a corruption ring that embezzled more than 122 million lempiras (US$5 million) in public funds.

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Hoaxes and errors with the Honduran president’s Covid-19 test results

Six months after Contracorriente submitted a formal information request to the Institute for Public Information Access (Instituto de Acceso a la Información Pública – IAIP), the Ministry of Public Health released information confirming that President Juan Orlando Hernandez tested negative for COVID-19 the day before he made a public appearance where he stated that he and his wife had tested positive for the virus.

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The women on the front lines

The pandemic and two hurricanes this year added to the heavy burden that Honduran nurses already bear. Together, they have learned to cope and confront the virus, the floods and long-standing evils: the plundering of the health system, unequal working conditions, violence, and machismo.

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President’s COVID-19 test results concealed by Health Ministry

The Ministry of Health failed to release a copy of the test results in which Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández allegedly tested positive for COVID-19 after Contracorriente requested it, based on a Institute of Access to Public Information (IAIP) requirement. Now, the commissioner’s board of the IAIP has issued a legal resolution for the handing over of the information. If not complied with, the case will be brought before the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR).

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Electoral reforms alone won’t stop illegal financing of political parties

Last Monday, the government’s special anti-corruption unit (Unidad Fiscal Especializada Contra Redes de Corrupción – UFERCO) presented its court case against Nasry Asfura, a candidate for the National Party’s presidential nomination, and a member of its Let’s Save Honduras movement (Salvemos Honduras del Partido Nacional). The charges accuse him of using public funds for his 2014 political campaign. Meanwhile, the National Congress continues to debate electoral reforms.

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