Hondurans react to former president’s US trial: seeking divine justice

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Honduran-born Cecilio Alfaro braced the cold New York winter as he made his way to Manhattan’s Financial District just after sunrise on a Tuesday. The former United States resident was dressed for a monumental trial, with his beanie hat adorned with the colours of the American flag.

The trial at hand involved none other than former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who is facing drug and weapons charges. Federal prosecutors allege that Hernández ran a corrupt and violent drug-trafficking conspiracy during his time in office, accepting millions of dollars in exchange for facilitating cocaine shipments to the US.

The trial has gained widespread attention within Honduras and its diaspora, with observers like Alfaro viewing it as a referendum on Hernández’s two terms as president.

Alfaro joined dozens of journalists and curious citizens at the courthouse to observe the proceedings. He expressed hope for justice and divine justice to be served for the people of Honduras.

During his time in office, Hernández was known for his mano dura policies to combat drug-related crimes. However, his administration was marred by accusations of corruption, human rights abuses, and electoral fraud.

The US Justice Department has taken a strong stance against Hernández, labelling him as a “corrupt and undemocratic actor”. He was arrested and extradited to the US to face charges after his younger brother was arrested for drug trafficking.

Critics, including Canadian human rights activist Karen Spring, see the trial as an opportunity to hold the US accountable for its involvement in Honduras leading up to Hernández’s presidency.

The trial has generated intense scrutiny in Honduras, with high-profile witnesses expected to testify. It has spurred conversations about corruption and media complicity in the country, with a focus on the continued existence of criminal structures and violence in Honduras today.

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