Honduras: Ex-President Faces Drug Trafficking Trial in US

    Honduras: Ex-President Faces Drug Trafficking Trial in US
    Photo: Jorge Cabrera/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Former Honduran Pres. Juan Orlando Hernández appeared in a New York courtroom earlier this week to face allegations that he ordered his country's army to protect cocaine traffickers in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

    • Hernández is the first former head of state to face drug trafficking charges in the US after Panama's Gen. Manuel Noriega, who was convicted for drug smuggling and money laundering charges more than 30 years ago.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Though it does seem a bit paradoxical that the US federal government has brought legal action against a foreign ally already known to be corrupt, Washington was just acting pragmatically to maintain its partnership with Honduras as long as Hernández was the country's leader. Now that he has left office, there's no reason not to hold him accountable for his wrongdoing.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Due to its own economic interests in Honduras and his hawkish rhetoric about the War on Drugs, the US has for too long paid no heed to suspicions against Juan Orlando Hernández that the US Dept. of Justice raised during his entire presidency. Though he may be sentenced to life in prison, Hernández is merely a piece of a corrupt system that America refuses to change.

    Establishment split



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