Thursday, April 21, 2022

JOH to be extradited today (April 21, 2022)

Former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández is to be extradited today to the United States, where he faces a trial on drug trafficking and arms possession charges. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plane is expected to land in Honduras this afternoon to transport Hernández, who left office earlier this year after eight years in power. (La PrensaEl Heraldo)

Hernández, who was arrested in mid-February after a lengthy stakeout at his home, has been accused of accepting millions of U.S. dollars in bribes in exchange for protecting alleged drug traffickers from investigation and prosecution from 2004 to 2022 when he was president. He has denied the allegations. (Reuters)

Hernández’s brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, a former congressman in Honduras, was convicted in federal court in Manhattan in 2019 of cocaine trafficking. The Justice Department alleged that Tony Hernández had delivered a bribe of $1 million from Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to Juan Orlando Hernández in 2013. (Washington Post)

Current President Xiomara Castro has accused Hernández of turning Honduras into a "narco-dictatorship" and pledged to overhaul corruption, one of the "root causes" of migration the U.S. Biden administration seeks to tackle in Central America. (NPR)

News Briefs

  • The Brazilian Supreme Court condemned federal deputy Daniel Silveira, a stalwart Bolsonaro ally, to eight years in prison for the crimes for encouraging undemocratic acts and attacks on judges and institutions such as the Supreme Court. (Globo)

  • Indigenous reservations in Brazil have acted as a barrier against deforestation over the past three decades, according to a new study from MapBiomas, a joint project among various environmental groups. Of the 170 million acres of native vegetation Brazil has lost in the past 30 years, just 1.6 percent was on Indigenous lands, while about 70 percent of the deforested area was on private land, reports Al Jazeera.

  • The former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva confirmed he would activate his political comeback on May 7. He has been consistently polling with a strong lead ahead of October's presidential elections, where he is expected to run against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, reports the Guardian.
  • Covid-19 deaths and infections in the Americas region over the past week are at the lowest levels since the pandemic began two years ago, but the PAHO warned yesterday that countries should not think the pandemic is over. (Miami Herald)

  • In the midst of high oil and gas prices, many governments in the region are considering how to relieve pressure for residents: most don’t have money for fuel subsidies and don’t have the political capital to cut those subsidies -- Latin America Risk Report.

  • The United Nations' highest court, the International Court of Justice, ruled that Colombia breached Nicaragua's rights in waters of the Caribbean Sea, including by hindering Nicaraguan fishing vessels and granting fishing permits for Colombian and other boats, reports the Associated Press.
  • Chilean President Gabriel Boric faces sinking approval, as does the constitutional convention ahead of a critical September plebiscite.The president has said that the fate of his government is linked to the fate of the constitutional convention -- Robert Funk explores some potential scenarios in Americas Quarterly.

  • Chile's constitutional assembly will start debating dozens of articles today regarding mining, water and environmental rights that could reshape how the country regulates metal production, reports Reuters. Delegates' original proposals  have been toned down amid pushback by the mining sector and concern over radical proposals such as mine nationalizations, but the articles under debate still lay the foundations for greater scrutiny of mining and its environmental impact.
  • Nearly a century on from the 1924 Napalpí Massacre, in which more than 300 people were killed, a landmark trial has opened in Chaco province to finally secure some form of accountability, though no accused remain living. The milestone court case is the first to delve into the systematic persecution of indigenous peoples in Argentina. (Buenos Aires Times)
  • A planned visit by the British Earl and Countess of Wessex to Grenada has been postponed just one day before the couple embark on their six-day platinum jubilee tour of the Caribbean. The unusual move comes weeks after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s controversial visit to the region, reports the Guardian
  • Cartagena has for decades hosted a booming illegal wildlife trade, acting as a nexus between tourism, international trade and Colombia’s Caribbean coast.  However, the city has taken a number of steps to turn the situation around, reports InSight Crime.
  • Mexico has revolutionized antivenom science thanks to innovative policies and a diverse scorpion population which have led to new treatments in the country and provide a model for other developing countries, reports National Geographic.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

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