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Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez at a news conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 27, 2015 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

By Design, Honduras’ Anti-Graft Mission Won’t Actually Fight Corruption

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015

After months of anti-corruption protests, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez recently announced an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) to create an anti-graft body, the Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, known as the MACCIH. A similar, U.N.-led initiative next door in Guatemala, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), strengthened the rule of law, helped to root out corruption and brought down Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina. Yet despite those relative successes, observers should temper their expectations that the MACCIH will have any meaningful impact on corruption and impunity in Honduras.

Revelations that an elaborate kickback scheme involving the creation of shell companies that had robbed the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS) of more than $300 million earlier this year resulted in mass protests in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and elsewhere in the country. Documents provided by a local journalist, David Romero, also revealed that members of the governing National Party directly benefited from that corruption. Some of those funds found their way into Hernandez’s 2013 election campaign, which he admitted when confronted with evidence. But he denies that he had knowledge of the scheme. ...

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