Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) is defending himself against accusations from U.S. President Donald Trump who said that JOH and his Salvadoran and Guatemalan counterparts "are probably stealing" the millions of dollars that the U.S. sends to the Northern Triangle countries.
Hernandez said he "emphatically rejected the unfounded statements referring to an alleged misuse of resources" from the US and demanded "a rectification on the matter."
Trump’s comments came at a Republican rally on Sunday for Georgia candidates in the run-up to the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
The U.S. president has been using the four major Central American Exodus, or Migrant Caravans, that have left out of these Northern Triangle countries since Oct. 12 to incite fear of Latino migrants among the electoral hoping they will vote Republican.
The asylum seekers, who have all now reached Mexican territory, are trying to escape grinding poverty, lack of jobs, and violence that goes unpunished in their home countries.
Trump threatened to withdraw all aid from Honduras in October as the caravan made its way through Central America, making similar threats during last April’s caravan. In 2015 the U.S. gave US$320,000,000 in military aid just to Honduras. Most U.S. funds to the Northern Triangle go to their security and defense.
For all the recorded false statements made by the U.S. president, this one about Hernandez (2013-present) and Morales (2015-present) stealing millions isn’t too far from the mark, and ironically what Hondurans and Guatemalan citizens have been saying since the two took office.
Hernandez’ very presidency is widely regarded as fraudulent and so “irregular” that EU observers said after the November 2017 elections there could be no conclusive winner. JOH also helped direct the U.S.-backed, illegal overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, a move that later enabled his 2013 election made possible by his allegedly embezzling as much as US$90 million from the national health system to his campaign.
Jimmy Morales recently ruled to eliminate the country’s U.N-backed anti-corruption commission as it got closer to investigating the Guatemalan president for receiving up to US$1 million in illicit campaign finances for his 2015 electoral win.
The two presidents met in Honduras on Monday to “define strategies for the safe and peaceful return” of the migrants, tweeted Hernandez on Monday.
Hernandez publicized on his twitter account that he was creating 100,000 new construction and road building jobs in Honduras on Tuesday morning.
For his part, President Morales said he was "making a thorough investigation to find the people responsible for the caravans and this type of migration that puts the lives of citizens and the region ... at risk" saying they would be “tired and prosecuted" under international laws.
At the Sunday night rally, Trump said the caravan needs to "stop very soon" since "they do nothing for us, absolutely nothing."