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News > Latin America

Honduran President Names Anti-Corruption Leader, Lobbies TPS

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waves before his meeting with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez at the State Department in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2018.

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waves before his meeting with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez at the State Department in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 June 2018

President Juan Orlando Hernandez visits Washington to lobby residency for TPS beneficiaries, names new anti-corruption leader at the behest of OAS. 

Honduran Mission of Support Against Corruption and Impunity (Maccih):

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, announced he has accepted the bid for the spokesperson of the Mission of Support Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Maccih) while in Washington on Monday.

OAS Observers Say Nasralla Won Honduras Election: TSE

Hernandez named Brazilian Dr. Luiz Antonio Marrey Guimaraes, whose name was put forward by Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro last April, to lead the anti-corruption commission, Maccih. Guimaraes, who served on the National Council of Attorney General for Justice (1997) and was a member of the National Council of Criminal and Penitentiary Policy for Brazil, will replace Peruvian Juan Jimenez as the lead spokesperson for the Honduran anti-corruption commission.

Jimenez vacated the role last February citing hostility from the Honduran government as well as a lack of support from its parent organization, OAS.

Hernandez and his National Party have tried hard to sideline the mission that was formed in 2016 at the behest of Almagro, particularly when its investigators produced several major embezzlement cases that ran straight to Hernandez, his family and his political party.

Eric Olson, the director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American program has said that "the Honduran government has felt uncomfortable about Maccih from the start."

Jimenez says he was denied several meeting with Almagro before sending in his resignation four months ago. In April two other Maccih functionaries who had resigned with Jimenez told CNN in Spanish that they found several instances of corruption and cover-up on part of the OAS and Almagro in favor of JOH.

Almagro had been critical of Hernandez’s second term win last November and had even called for fresh elections after the OAS observation team recorded a slew of irregularities in the contest between the incumbent and candidate Salvador Nasralla. The secretary-general back down when Hernandez accused him of "intervening in internal affairs."

The U.S. Department of State released a statement regarding the naming of Guimaraes on Tuesday saying: "We commend President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s decision to support this important anti-corruption work (and) look forward to collaborating with Dr. Marrey Guimaraes and to the Mission’s full re-dedication to this important work under his direction."

Temporary Protected Status (TPS):

Hernandez had only planned to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his trip to D.C. to lobby for the permanent resident status for the some 55,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Hondurans in the United States at risk for deportation after the program expires in January 2020. The president was called to meet with Almagro on Monday where he finally accepted Guimaraes as the new Macchi lead.

This is our first meeting with @SecPompeo and we hope it won't be the last. We highly certain that the door will open to toward the permanent regularization of our TPS brothers.

Hernandez tweeted several times he was "optimistic" about his meeting with the U.S. secretary of state saying he was "given the opportunity to express the importance to regulate the permanent status of our compatriots protected by TPS and their contribution to the U.S. economy." 

Accusations on Both Sides:

According to ABC, during their Monday meeting, Pompeo and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Hernandez his government needs to investigate the 32 deaths at the hands of state security forces that took place in the wake of election protests between November and January.

Hernandez, for his part, told Pompeo he was "worried" about the Donald Trump administration's "policy of separating (immigrant) families" at the U.S.-Mexico border, most of whom are Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States to escape rampant violence and corruption in their home countries, including Honduras.

The president later tweeted that the U.S. government should put the "universal principle of putting children's interest first" at the border. 

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