sunny.png
Sunday August 1st, 2021 2:10PM

Hondurans to vote in primaries amid corruption allegations

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — 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.

The court actions show just how deep are the challenges facing Honduras, a country that U.S. prosecutors have repeatedly portrayed as a narco-state where drug traffickers buy protection from politicians.

Honduras’ economy has been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two devastating Category 4 hurricanes passed through in November. Persistent gang violence and endemic corruption continue to drive large numbers of Hondurans out of the country.

Whoever wins Honduras' presidency will face a U.S. administration under Joe Biden that has already signaled a shift in priorities that will consider issues beyond just immigration in its relationship with the Central American nation.

Yani Rosenthal, fresh off serving a three-year sentence in the United States, is running for the nomination of the Liberal Party, his third time as a candidate. He was sentenced in 2017 and agreed to give up $3 million after pleading guilty to laundering money for the Cachiros cartel. His father was once Honduras' vice president and the family ran a banking empire.

Another big name in the field is Xiomara Castro, wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who is making her second bid to be the Libre party’s presidential candidate. Zelaya’s name also came up last week in the trial of accused Honduran drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez.

The former leader of the Cachiros cartel, Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, testified Thursday that in addition to bribing Hernández while he was president of the Congress, he also bribed Zelaya in 2006 when he assumed the presidency. Like Hernández, he died the allegation.

On Thursday, Zelaya offered on television to travel to New York with Hernández to “clear up” the accusations, saying “and we’ll see who comes back.”

Former President Porfirio Lobo, whose son was sentenced to 24 years in prison for drug trafficking in 2017 in New York, has also been accused in other trials of using drug trafficking proceeds to fund political campaigns. He too denied the allegations.

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.

“We’re going to assess the ability of the people to change the direction of Honduras,” Valladares said. “If we choose the same people again, including people who have smeared the name of Honduras in the world, then the people won’t be able to protest and say they made a mistake, because there have been sufficient warnings.”

Rosenthal was previously a federal lawmaker and minister of the presidency under Zelaya, who was removed in a 2009 coup. He remains a specially designated narcotics trafficker in the United States. He’ll be trying to beat Luis Zelaya — no relation — who lost to Hernández in a 2017 contest plagued by irregularities.

Sunday’s elections include presidential primaries for the Libre, Liberal and National parties, three of the 14 registered parties. 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.

Efraín Díaz Arrivillaga, an economist and political analyst, said there was a lot of uncertainty heading into the elections because the Congress failed to pass an electoral reform to address irregularities that occurred in the 2013 and 2017 elections.

Approximately 4.8 million Hondurans are eligible to vote, but with widespread disillusion about the government, there are concerns about turnout.

One of the favorites has been Mauricio Oliva, the president of Congress, who is competing against Nasry Tito Asfura, the capital’s mayor, for the nomination of Hernández’s National Party. It is unclear, what effect the steady drumbeat of traffickers' accusations against Hernández could have the National Party’s ability to retain power.

Hernández relied on a controversial court ruling to overcome a constitutional ban on seeking reelection in 2017. Since then, he has faced broad public disapproval.

In January 2020, he did not renew the mission of an anticorruption effort backed by the Organization of American States. The group’s efforts had raised opposition among federal lawmakers as it identified a number of them in corruption investigations.

__

Sherman reported from Mexico City.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
China, NKorea loom as Blinken, Austin head to Asia
Threats from China and North Korea will loom large over the Biden administration’s first Cabinet-level trip abroad
12:05AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Hondurans to vote in primaries amid corruption allegations
At a time when Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández’s name keeps popping up in the New York trial of an alleged drug trafficker, one of the candidates running to replace Hernández in Sunday’s primary elections was convicted in the same court of laundering money for the same cartel
12:03AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Devoe, Georgia Tech beat No. 15 FSU 80-75 for ACC title
Michael Devoe scored 20 points and Georgia Tech shot 52% after halftime to beat No. 15 Florida State 80-75 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship
11:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
California governor admits mistakes, says recall unjustified
California Gov. Gavin Nlewsom said he has made mistakes in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic
8:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
For Biden, there's no place like a weekend home in Delaware
For President Joe Biden, there's no place like a weekend home in Delaware
7:51PM ( 4 hours ago )
Critics call Sen. Ron Johnson's insurrection comments racist
Critics of Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson are calling him racist after he told an interviewer that he wasn’t worried about the supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January, but might have been concerned if they had been Black Lives Matter protesters
2:44PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Democratic push to revive earmarks divides Republicans
A dirty word for many Republicans is making the rounds on Capitol Hill — earmarks
12:30AM ( 23 hours ago )
Democrats find support for Biden in small-city America
Democrats are looking for new sources of political strength as the election map is shifting
12:23AM ( 1 day ago )
Biden played 'sheriff' on '09 aid, now salesman on COVID law
In 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden acted as “Sheriff Joe” in making sure federal dollars from a massive economic aid package were getting to the right places and getting there quickly
12:16AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
One very jumbled year: Glimpses of AP's pandemic journalism
Most Americans didn’t know this week last year was their last chance at normalcy
5:00AM ( 19 hours ago )
Democratic Arizona Rep. Kirkpatrick won't seek reelection
Five-term Arizona Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick has announced she won't run for reelection to the U.S. House in 2022
1:40PM ( 1 day ago )
Longtime Arizona Rep. Kirkpatrick won't seek 2022 reelection
Five-term Arizona Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick has announced she won't run for reelection to the U.S. House in 2022
9:30AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections
Nev. Democratic Party in upheaval after progressive takeover
The state Democratic Party in Nevada was built up by its powerful former senator, Harry Reid, and for years has been among the strongest in the country
6:20PM ( 3 days ago )
California recall threat puts pressure on Newsom speech
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to give perhaps the most important speech of his political life Tuesday
6:30PM ( 4 days ago )
Uganda's Bobi Wine calls for peaceful protests after polls
Ugandan opposition figure Bobi Wine is calling for peaceful protests in the aftermath of presidential elections, charging that electoral authorities are “grappling with forged results” that showed victory for President Yoweri Museveni
9:34AM ( 4 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Myanmar civilian leader vows 'revolution' against junta
The civilian leader of Myanmar’s government in hiding has vowed to continue supporting a revolution to oust the military that seized power in last month’s coup
10:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: All Duke University undergrads must quarantine
Duke University issued a quarantine order for all of its undergraduates effective Saturday night due to a coronavirus outbreak caused by students who attended recruitment parties, the school said
9:25PM ( 3 hours ago )
London police tactics at vigil for slain woman draw scrutiny
London's police department is under scrutiny for the way officers handled some participants at an unofficial vigil for a London woman whose killing has a fellow officer facing murder charges
8:32PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP World News
China, NKorea loom as Blinken, Austin head to Asia
Threats from China and North Korea will loom large over the Biden administration’s first Cabinet-level trip abroad
12:05AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Devoe, Georgia Tech beat No. 15 FSU 80-75 for ACC title
Michael Devoe scored 20 points and Georgia Tech shot 52% after halftime to beat No. 15 Florida State 80-75 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship
11:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Young, Capela propel Hawks past Kings 121-106
Trae Young scored 17 of 28 points in the third quarter and Clint Capela scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half as the Atlanta Hawks won their fourth straight game with a 121-106 victory over the Sacramento Kings
11:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
Myanmar civilian leader vows 'revolution' against junta
The civilian leader of Myanmar’s government in hiding has vowed to continue supporting a revolution to oust the military that seized power in last month’s coup
10:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ewing, Georgetown take Big East, NCAA bid with stunning rout
Patrick Ewing is taking Georgetown back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015 after the eighth-seeded Hoyas completed a surprising run to a Big East championship with a stunning 73-48 rout of No. 17 Creighton
10:30PM ( 1 hour ago )