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  • Former president Manuel Zelaya in a march against President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras August 9, 2019.

    Former president Manuel Zelaya in a march against President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras August 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 August 2019
Opinion

On August 4, Honduran President Hernandez was implicated in a drug trafficking and money laundering case.

Honduras’ former President Manuel Zelaya summoned political parties and social organizations on Friday to join for overthrowing President Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), a far-right politician who has been accused of using drug money to fund his 2017 presidential campaign.

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The leader of the Party for Liberty and Refoundation Party (Free) made this call during a speech at the Central Square in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, where a massive demonstration arrived from Francisco Morazan University.

Waving their country's white-and-light blue flag, as well as the Free party's red-and-black flag, thousands shouted "get out dictator", "get out usurper" and "get out drug trafficker."

Olivia Zuñiga, the daughter of Berta Caceres, an environmental activist who was killed in 2016, said the march demonstrated the people's rejection of the far right-wing administration and its murders and corruption.

This new wave of popular protests coincided with the arrival in Tegucigalpa of the U.S. House of Representatives president Nancy Pelosi, who will meet with President JOH on Saturday to address issues related to migration, security and employment.

"Mrs. Pelosi, if you come to support dictatorship, corruption, drug trafficking, looting and murder, go home Mrs. Pelosi!," Zelaya said.

"But if you come to join the people to overthrow the dictatorship, then be welcome to Honduras... if you want the Hondurans to have democracy and our country to move forward, simply order the capture of Juan Orlando Hernandez," he added.

Honduras. Protests continue. Free Party summons to demonstration before the arrival of Nancy Pelosi.

On June 28, 2009, Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a U.S.-backed coup d'etat when he was trying to introduce land redistribution reforms and a referendum to call for a constituent assembly to change the country’s constitution. Since then, Honduras has been on a social, political and economic downward spiral.

Juan Orlando Hernandez assumed the Presidency for the first time on January 2014. Later he was re-elected in Nov. 2017 after elections which were held with many "irregularities," according to international observers.

On August 4, however, the current Honduran president became implicated as a co-conspirator in a drug trafficking and money laundering case which is being processed at a New York court.

Coinciding with Pelosi's visit on Friday, Honduran judges provisionally released two political prisoners, Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez, who were illegally detained for two years without being allowed an adequate trial.

“The Free Party, ten years in resistance and nobody here gives up,” Zelaya said referring to two citizens who were accused of “damages to property” during the riots which took place after the 2017 electoral fraud.​​​​​​​

Since then, Honduran citizens have been demanding the release of the left-wing political prisoners.

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