HONDURAS, June 16, 2015 – In recent weeks, Honduras has become a model of wisdom and courage, of patriotism and civic responsibility. Citizens of Honduras have spontaneously taken to the streets to protest the blatant corruption that corrodes government and has made Honduras an impossible place to live.
The streets have become filled with citizens involved in the “March of the Torches,” a symbol of light and transparency required to clarify criminal acts.
Corruption and dishonesty have become the norm in government. The new authorities appear even bolder than their predecessors and have created a shield of impunity around themselves.
Since 2006, international drug cartels have infiltrated Honduras, bringing violence and money with them. The governments of Honduras have partnered with this evil and have profited from trafficking activity. The cartels have “invested” large amounts of money into the political apparatus. In return, they operate freely, with no constraints.
The politicians show no remorse for the corruption, and instead make brazen statements. Current President Juan Orlando Hernandez has publicly admitted that part of his campaign was funded with ill-gotten money from social security. He has never apologized or denounced the practice.
Approximately 45,639,589 Honduran dollars were stolen from pension funds and retirement of members of the Honduran Institute of Social Security, destroying the largest health care provider in the country and causing the deaths of more than 3,000 human beings who could not afford necessary medical care. The amount of theft is rising, as politicians continue to loot the funds.
The theft involved a complex scheme wherein politicians allowed unlicensed and unqualified companies to sell low quality, inexpensive medicines and medical devices at high prices. The companies raked in massive profits at the expense of the pensioners and shared their profits with members of government.
But this is not the only institution that has been looted. Pension funds of teachers, public employees and social investment members have also faced large-scale robbery thanks to government collusion.
The National Commissioner of Human Rights in its latest report said that no action has been taken to stop corruption. It notes, “the penalty does not apply and no arrest warrants were executed by ineffectiveness, disability, collusion or corruption.”
The Honduran people, desperate for change, have taken to the streets. They are demanding accountability from their government.
But the situation is dangerous. The outpouring of dissatisfaction could erupt into civil war, or it could draw a crack-down from the government security forces.
Or maybe it will lead to a major change in the way the country is governed and some form of justice for the people.