Sunday, January 12, 2014

Political Smokescreens

 Juan Orlando Hernández is still in campaign mode. And he's running against LIBRE.

How? by repeating a theme from the campaign trail: that LIBRE is allied with narco-traffickers.

LIBRE party leaders reacted strongly.

Enrique Reina, who was a candidate for LIBRE in the past election, said
It is dangerous that he links Libre with organized crime, we see it as a political theme of the president elect to generate a smoke screen and divert attention from the problems in health, security, and others.

Reina underlined  that Hernández, as head of the Congress during the Lobo Sosa administration, deserves blame for the current situation in Honduras:
He replaced the Justices on the Supreme Court, named all the lawyers in the Public Prosecutor's office.... He governed for the last four years and things remain the same or worse in the country.

In what was described as a confrontational manner, Hernández repeated the charge at a ceremony to honor the general in charge of the intelligence service:
The people who extort, the gangs, organized crime, they have few friends.  Among their few friends are some leaders of the Libre Party, which supports them.  They will not continue to do so, because if they do, they will be caught in collusion [with them].  The good Hondurans, those that wish to live in peace as God ordered.  We are more and I know that we will recover the peace of this country.

The new National party boss in Congress, Celine Discua, supported Hernández, saying
this is the time to assert the 'mano dura' and as he said he will do what he has to bring peace to the country.

Manuel Zelaya objected, and asked Hernández to name names. But it wasn't just LIBRE reacting skeptically to the latest airing of this accusation.

Lino Mendoza, a former member of the investigative committee that threw out the previous Public Prosecutor, Luis Rubi, and reorganized the Public Prosecutor's office last year, called on the Public Prosecutor to open an investigation.  He said of Hernández,
He better name names and once and for all end these signals that many times don't result in anything.

Omar Rivera of the Civil Society Group (which claims to represen  the poor of Honduras), reportedly said that
to launch such an accusation, the President-elect, the Public Prosecutor's office, and the police should initiate an investigation to confirm or deny the accusation.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Rigoberto Cuellar told the press,
We are not going to open an investigation based on the declarations of one person; we can't do that; everyone is in charge of their actions and you have to consider the context in which he [Hernández] said it, and for me, those factors are unknown.

Cuellar continued:
People are responsible for crimes, not a political party; whoever commits a crime, its not a political party but rather individuals.

Cuellar said that the Public Prosecutor's office was willing to investigate illicit acts committed by individuals, regardless of their party affiliation, religious beliefs, or ideology.

If the history of the campaign is any guide, though, Juan Orlando Hernández won't be accusing any specific people. As Enrique Reina said: this is a smokescreen, meant to divert attention.

From what? Maybe from the weaker position he faces in the incoming Congress, and the alliances that might form between the three other major parties.

And then there's the vocal public opposition to the tax package passed on his behalf by the lame duck congress dominated by the National Party.

It would be convenient for JOH if people would stop paying attention to how he's governing and get caught up in a witch-hunt.

Or a smokescreen.

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