HomeNewsBriefHonduran President Decries Drug Traffickers' Bribery Allegations
BRIEF

Honduran President Decries Drug Traffickers' Bribery Allegations

CACHIROS / 9 OCT 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

President Juan Orlando Hernández has denounced unofficial accusations that he took bribes from a drug trafficker, weeks before Honduras is due to go to the polls to elect a new president. 

On October 7, the Honduran presidency released a statement discrediting accusations from Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, the former leader of the Cachiros drug trafficking group, that Hernández took bribes from a drug trafficker in 2013, the year in which he won the presidential elections.

The statement came in direct response to a New York Times article published on October 6 about how Rivera Maradiaga became an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2013. Among the information that the Honduran capo shared with US authorities was a 2013 audio recording of a drug trafficker telling Rivera Maradiaga that he "made a $250,000 payment intended for Juan Orlando Hernández," according to the New York Times. The newspaper article noted, however, that the DEA document that revealed this audio did not confirm the veracity of the allegation.

The response from the Honduran presidency described the allegation as a backlash from criminal elements suffering from a crackdown under President Hernández, and argued that "they now resort to false insinuations that seek to involve and discredit their main enemy, President Hernández, without providing any evidence of the accusations, simply because they are false."

The official statement underlined the successes against organized crime during Hernández' presidency, which saw the dismantling of major Honduran trafficking groups; the extradition of 14 suspected drug traffickers to the United States; and an ongoing campaign to purge corrupt elements from the police. The document also noted that the allegations surfaced 50 days before the country's presidential ballot, in which Hernández is running for re-election.

InSight Crime Analysis

The accusations against Hernández remain unofficial at this stage, and the president is not yet facing any public investigations either at home or abroad. Still, the reported audio recording could further tarnish Hernández' image. In March, Rivera Maradiaga testified in a US court to having personally met and attempted to bribe the current president's brother Juan Antonio "Tony" Hernández, who is a person of interest in a US investigation.

SEE ALSO: Honduras Elites and Organized Crime

If the accusations are true, the case would be the latest example of organized crime's capacity to buy political protection through financing electoral campaigns or paying off politicians. Rivera Maradiaga previously testified that he bribed Hernández' predecessor, Porfirio Lobo, whose son was recently sentenced to 24 years in a US prison for cocaine trafficking.

Corruption in Honduras was recently described as the "operating system" by a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report. However, the criminal infiltration of democratic systems is a pattern seen throughout the region, and undermines governance and the rule of law, opening doors wider for organized crime and their activities.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 AUG 2017

A group of armed men killed at least seven people after storming one of Guatemala's largest hospitals to free…

DISPLACEMENT / 26 FEB 2015

It's Honduras' industrial capital and second most important city. Nevertheless, national and international organizations say it's among the most violent…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 AUG 2018

It was just five months after he’d been sworn in as president of Guatemala that Jimmy Morales was in trouble.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…