Juan Orlando Hernández

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Juan Orlando Hernández in 2015

Juan Orlando Hernández (born 28 October 1968) is a Honduran politician, currently serving since 27 January 2014 as the 55th and current president of Honduras.

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  • The stakes are higher for Hernández than perhaps any other world leader. Not only are the political and economic fortunes of his country inextricably linked to the United States but Hernández is one of the few sitting presidents ever to be implicated in drug trafficking by the U.S. Justice Department. He has not been charged, but prosecutors have described evidence against him in multiple indictments.... Every year, thousands of pounds of cocaine transit through Honduras on the way to the United States. According to the Justice Department, some of that cargo is trafficked by Honduran officials — an allegation the Trump administration mostly ignored while officials praised Hernández’s counternarcotics and anti-migration efforts.
  • In or about 2013, FUENTES RAMIREZ paid a bribe of at least approximately $25,000 to Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado (“JOH”), who was at the time the president of the Honduran National Congress, and allowed JOH to access millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine from FUENTES RAMIREZ’s laboratory. In connection with negotiations relating to the laboratory, JOH told FUENTES RAMIREZ that he was interested in access to the laboratory because of its proximity to Puerto Cortés, a key shipping port on the northern coast of Honduras. JOH also told FUENTES RAMIREZ that the Honduran armed forces would provide security, and that Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, the Attorney General of Honduras, would help protect FUENTES RAMIREZ’s drug trafficking activities. JOH instructed FUENTES RAMIREZ to report directly to JOH’s brother, Juan Antonio Hernández Alvarado (“Tony Hernández”), for purposes of their drug trafficking partnership. Finally, JOH told FUENTES RAMIREZ that he wanted to make the DEA think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking, but that instead he was going to eliminate extradition and “stuff drugs up the gringos’ noses,” referring to flooding the United States with cocaine.
  • Facebook allowed the president of Honduras to artificially inflate the appearance of popularity on his posts for nearly a year after the company was first alerted to the activity. The astroturfing – the digital equivalent of a bussed-in crowd – was just one facet of a broader online disinformation effort that the administration has used to attack critics and undermine social movements, Honduran activists and scholars say. Facebook posts by Juan Orlando Hernández, an authoritarian rightwinger whose 2017 re-election is widely viewed as fraudulent, received hundreds of thousands of fake likes from more than a thousand inauthentic Facebook Pages – profiles for businesses, organizations and public figures – that had been set up to look like Facebook user accounts. [Facebook]...began investigating Hernández’s Page because he was the beneficiary of 90% of all the known fake engagement received by civic or political Pages in Honduras. Over one six-week period in 2018, for example, Hernández’s Facebook posts received likes from 59,100 users, of whom 46,500 were fake. She found that one of the administrators for Hernández’s Page was also the administrator for hundreds of the inauthentic Pages that were being used solely to boost posts on Hernández’s Page.
  • Outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in power since 2014, repurposed the courts and electoral council to tilt the playing field against opponents. The feared Military Police harassed government critics and killed dozens of opposition protesters. And according to testimony from the drug-trafficking trial of Hernandez’s brother—now serving a life sentence in U.S. federal prison—cartels penetrated all levels of public office.... For countries like Honduras, the dilemma isn’t so much building democratic institutions as rebuilding them—often under the shadow of entrenched corruption and organized crime. Moreover, elected autocrats know how to linger. Even after losing office, they tend to keep control of political parties, which they use to sabotage institution-building and thwart justice, while appearing to play by democratic rules... Just a day after the election, Hernandez published an executive decree that turned virtually the entire appointed executive bureaucracy into permanent career positions—a bid to keep his party plugged into power that, although unlikely to succeed, is sure to generate confusion...Meanwhile, the National Party’s delegation in Congress... Before election day, the National Party bloc also altered Honduras’ law on money laundering, enabling judges to dismiss charges against 10 suspects in corruption cases tied to the Hernandez administration.

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