Top Story — Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández admitted Wednesday that his 2013 re-election campaign received money from businesses that played a role in a major corruption scandal involving the Honduran Institute of Social Security, but has denied any involvement in the scandal.
In a televised interview, Hernández said that his National Party discovered close to $150,000 in donations that came from businessmen involved in the scandal, during which investigators say corrupt officials siphoned off some $200 million from the Social Security system.
“I have nothing to do with the Social Security case,” Hernández said, adding that investigations into the case should continue “no matter who may fall.”
Hernández’s statement comes during a wave of protests calling for his ouster. Thousands marched over the weekend in cities across the country, demanding an end to corruption.
Honduras is not the only Central American country facing a corruption scandal and calls for the president to resign. In Guatemala, President Otto Pérez Molina has faced widespread protests from across the political spectrum amid a corruption scandal that has taken down a number of important officials, including the country’s vice president.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party is slated to take no more than 30 percent of votes on Sunday’s election for seats in the lower house of congress — more than any other party but not enough to reliably push its agenda.
- An investigation by ProPublica and NPR has revealed that the Red Cross, after receiving around $500 million in the wake of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, has built a total of six permanent houses in the country, despite claiming to have housed more than 130,000 people.
- Former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s bid for presidential election was among those named as disqualified in a list read on the radio late on Tuesday, a decision Lamothe’s lawyer says he will appeal.
- Costa Rican media on Wednesday announced the recognition by a local court of a same-sex civil union, the first of its kind in Central America.
- The lawyer for Guatemalan ex-dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, whose retrial for genocide has been delayed indefinitely, was shot dead in the capital on Wednesday.
- Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González will arrive in Venezuela on Thursday, where he will seek to visit imprisoned opposition politician Leopoldo López.
- Colombia’s legislature on Tuesday passed a law which, if signed by the president, would impose harsher penalties for offenses committed against women due to their gender.
- A Brazilian court on Wednesday convicted two firefighters of falsifying fire permit documents for a nightclub in Rio Grande do Sul state, which burnt down in 2013, killing more than 200 people.
- Protesters flooded the streets of Buenos Aires on Wednesday, calling for an end to violence against women in the wake of several highly publicized crimes.