Sunday, January 15, 2017

Drug Runners Vouch for the Corrupt in Honduras

Its a case of those linked to the drug trade vouching for those linked to corruption.  Today Security Minister Julian Pacheco Tinoco said that he would keep Police Commander Felix Villanueva in his post as head of the Honduran civilian police force.

Pacheco Tinoco has been linked by a DEA informant's testimony in a trial of Colombian drug runners to the drug trade.  The informant identified Pacheco Tinoco as the person he talked to to assure the safe transhipment of a cargo of narcotics ultimately headed to the United States.  Speaking about keeping Villanueva in his post as Police Commissioner, Pacheco Tinoco said:

"This was never in doubt.  He's always been at 100 percent.  We have 100 percent confidence in him; we believe in him."

This is not completely a surprise however.  When Villanueva presented his personnel file for review, he used three lawyers who advise the Minister of Security as his personal references.

Felix Villanueva, on the other hand, based on an investigation by the Direccion de Investigación y Evaluación de la Carrera Policial (DIECP), has an amassed wealth that he cannot explain.  They accuse him of illegal enrichment in a report.  In fact, they accuse 29 police officers of having amassed wealth they cannot account for.  Three of the high level officials alone, including Villanueva, amassed 27.7 million lempiras ( about $1.35 million ) that they cannot account for.  The report, DECC-EP-92-2012, states that Villanueva alone has 2.3 million lempiras ( about $115,000 ) that he cannot account for.  That report dates from 2012, five years ago. This report was submitted to the Tribunal Superior de Cuentas, which has never acted on it.

Several of the officers identified as having amassed wealth they could not account for have been fired from the Police, but not Villanueva, who was allowed to continue as Police Commissioner even after it was revealed that Villanueva himself ordered that police personnel files be cleansed of all accusations of abuse or corruption, including his own personnel file.  This came to light because though he filed paperwork stating he had no complaints, the Public Minister's Investigation Police force (DPI in Spanish) still had records of such complaints and produced them.  This is another case that languishes in the Public Prosecutor's office.  It has not been investigated.  Villanueva has not been asked to make a statement.

So the drug runners are now vouching for the corrupt in the Honduran government of Juan Orlando Hernandez.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seventh Arrest in Murder of Bertha Cáceres

Honduran Police from the Agencia Técnica de Investigación Criminal (ATIC) announced that they have arrested a seventh person in connection with the murder of environmentalist Bertha Cáceres in Honduras last March.  Henry Javier Hernandez Rodriguez, a former member of the Honduran military, was traced to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, where he was working in a barber shop.  We first learned his name last May, when the Public Prosecutor met with representatives of the Consejo Cívico de Organizacion Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH).  At that time he was identified as having participated in the murder of Cáceres, but had not yet been located.  Hernandez Rodgriguez is currently being held by Mexican police, but is expected to be sent back to Honduras as early as tomorrow.