Honduras

Eric Conn, the Kentucky lawyer who defrauded the Social Security system of more than half a billion dollars before fleeing the U.S. in June, has been arrested in Honduras, according to that country's Public Ministry. Wanted by the FBI, he also sent taunting messages while on the lam.

The Honduran government suspended constitutional rights and called for the military to enforce a curfew and disperse protesters over the weekend after a contested election plunged the Central American country into a political crisis.

Rodrigo Abd / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

UPDATED November 30, 7 a.m.

As of Thursday morning, we are still awaiting the final results of Sunday’s presidential election in Honduras. (That's because Honduras is a lot like Florida.) With 89 percent of the votes counted, the conservative incumbent, President Juan Orlando Hernández, holds a razor-thin lead over his liberal challenger, TV star Salvador Nasralla.

A showdown in Honduras appears imminent between incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his TV star rival Salvador Nasralla, who are neck-and-neck in an ongoing vote count from Sunday's presidential election.

Both claimed victory in the weekend poll and with 83 percent of the votes counted, they were separated by just one-tenth of one percent — Hernandez had 42.11 percent to Nasralla's 42.21 percent.

Initially, Nasralla enjoyed a five percentage point lead over Hernandez, but as that lead quickly evaporated, international concern over a disputed outcome grew.

Odalis Garcia / WLRN News

Community leaders and elected officials gathered on Friday at the steps of the symbolic Freedom Tower in Biscayne Boulevard to speak out about the consequences of ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) granted to over 40,000 Haitians, Hondurans, and Salvadorians in South Florida.  

Presidencia de Honduras

Illegal immigration from Central America remains a big U.S. concern - enough so that a conference begins in Miami Thursday at which Central American leaders and U.S. cabinet members will try to hash out how to pull the region out of its violent and impoverished tail spin.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Jessel Recinos grew up on some of Honduras’ poorest and deadliest streets – and the country's ubiquitous gang violence nearly ended his life when he was still a kid.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

In the latest in a series of similar cases, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday rejected legal-dependency requests from teens who fled Guatemala and Honduras and entered the United States as undocumented immigrants.

A determination of dependency, based on issues such as abandonment by parents or abuse, would help the teens apply for a special immigration status and seek permanent residency, according to court documents.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

It’s a Saturday night at the Amor Viviente evangelical church in North Lauderdale. And it’s rocking.

A church band has the flock on its feet, clapping and belting out pop Christian hymns. Most are Honduran migrants. And most are young — many were part of the wave of 60,000 unaccompanied Central American minors who showed up on the U.S. border in 2014.

Among them is a 15-year-old Honduran boy named Daniel, one of the thousands who came to South Florida. (He asked that his last name not be used because his immigration case is pending.)

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Despair wrought by corruption scandals also drives migration to the U.S.

TEGUCIGALPA    |    Hondurans don’t get riled easily. And they’re not known for takin’ it to the streets.

But this has been a year of loud and angry torchlight protest marches in Honduras — and for good reason. The impoverished Central American country is wrestling with perhaps the worst government corruption scandal in its history.

Or as Honduran protesters like Eldan Cruz put it: “Corruption on such a criminal level it’s basically sociopathic behavior.”

Luis Soto / AP via Miami Herald

After Sunday’s first round of voting, the leading candidate in Guatemala’s presidential run-off election next month will be a former comedian. But the anti-corruption wave sweeping Central America is no joke – and has been spreading next door to Honduras.

Guatemalan actor Jimmy Morales has never held elected office. But it’s not surprising that an outsider candidate like him got the most votes. Guatemalans are so angry about corruption that last week President Otto Pérez was forced to resign and faces charges in a major scandal.

Courtesy U.S. Embassy in Honduras

President Obama is asking Congress for $1 billion in new aid for Central America – especially violence-plagued countries like Honduras. One big goal is to reduce the massive waves of illegal immigration to the U.S., which we’re seeing in South Florida.

While in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa last week, I spoke with U.S. Ambassador James Nealon about how the Administration hopes to make this plan work – and about Washington’s growing realization that solving illegal immigration means improving conditions at its source rather than building walls at our border.

U.S. Southern Command

Honduras gives us so many reasons to cry. The world’s worst murder rate. Grinding poverty. All those desperate, unaccompanied child migrants who poured into the U.S. last summer – and who just might come knocking on our border again this summer.

These days Honduras is giving us some good laughs, too. As in: I’m laughing so hard I’m crying, because the Honduran hilarity makes me nervous about the fate of the $1 billion the Obama Administration wants to send Honduras and Central America this year.

Newsflash: Honduras Is Not A Completely Terrible Place

Oct 31, 2014
Maria Murriel / WLRN

I admit I was scared the first time I went to Honduras, which was just last month. All I really knew of the place, aside from a little about the food, were this year's painful stories of Honduran children escaping to the United States because crippling poverty and gang violence have made their country the world's deadliest.

But my good friend was getting married, and I'd found a cheap plane ticket.

U.S. Southern Command

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández dropped by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami this week to talk about security in Central America. Or the utter lack of security in Central America. Honduras has the highest murder rate on Earth, and things are almost as deadly in neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador.

That’s why the Southcom visit was a nifty photo op for Hernández – who'd like the world to believe that he’s having to wage a war with vicious narco-gangs solely because Americans have an insatiable appetite for drugs.

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