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When the trial of former U.S. and Canadian-back Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (“JOH”) begins in New York on February 5th, Karen Spring of the HSN and Honduras Now will report from the trial, and make the links between the drug-trafficking and violence of the Honduran military-backed regimes, led by JOH, and close to 13 years of unconditional political, military and economic relations with the US and Canadian governments and numerous global corporations and banks.

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In El Salvador's recent elections on February 4, President Nayib Bukele, accused of rigging the system and suppressing opposition, faced technical issues as the platform for uploading preliminary results crashed. A recount revealed allegations of fraud, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election. Bukele's prior actions, including unconstitutional reelection bids, authoritarianism, and reforms favoring his party, had already raised concerns about free and fair elections. The State of Exception, ongoing since March 2022, has led to mass arrests, repression of opposition, and control over public institutions. Despite concerns about the election process, Bukele's party, New Ideas (NI), secured a supermajority in the legislature. The results have sparked calls for the elections to be reconvened amid doubts about democratic conditions and the integrity of the electoral process. The opposition, including the Popular Rebellion and Resistance Bloc, has rejected the results, and claims have been submitted to annul the election. The discrepancy between Bukele's popularity and that of his legislators suggests skepticism among Salvadoran voters about one-party rule and raises questions about the true extent of Bukele's support.

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Five years after he was lavished with praise by Donald Trump for “stopping drugs at a level that has never happened” – and two years after he was extradited in shackles to the US – the former Honduras president Juan Orlando Hernández is to stand trial in New York on Monday, accused of overseeing a “narco-state” and accepting millions in bribes from drug traffickers, including the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

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National and international organizations demand that Honduran authorities respect the decision of the people of Tocoa to say NO to the petroleum coke thermoelectric plant and Emco's mining megaproject, among other demands. On Saturday, December 9, 2023, the people of Tocoa were called by the Municipal Corporation to participate in an open town meeting regarding the Ecotek petroleum coke thermoelectric project, one of the seven components of an iron oxide megaproject promoted by the "Emco Holdings" consortium of Ana Facusse and Lenir Perez. 

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The water defenders' arrest signals both a crackdown on civil society under President Nayib Bukele and a signal that Bukele may seek to resume metal mining operations.

Washington, D.C. and San Salvador – On February 15, 245 international organizations from 31 countries delivered a petition demanding that the Salvadoran  Attorney General drop the politically-motivated charges against five prominent Water Defenders arrested on January 11, 2023.

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El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele was re-elected for a second term in a landslide win. Bukele has overseen a vast and brutal crackdown on gangs, transforming the nation from one of the deadliest to one of the safest in Latin America. But that peace has come at a cost with thousands of innocent people jailed. Amna Nawaz and producer Teresa Cebrian Aranda visited the country for this report.

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A summary of each fraudulent election; the warning signs; words from U.S. prosecutors about the significance of each election in entrenching the narco-state; and the post-electoral responses from the U.S. and Canadian governments in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

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The trial of Juan Orlando Hernández, the former president of Honduras, is set to begin on February 12 in New York, facing drug-trafficking and weapons charges. Once considered untouchable, Hernández may be testified against by Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, the former head of Honduras’s National Police, who recently pleaded guilty. The trial raises questions about the US support for Hernández, despite allegations of corruption and drug trafficking. The article highlights the role of the 2009 military coup, supported by the US, in paving the way for Hernández's rise to power. The US government's backing of Hernández and Bonilla, despite evidence of human rights abuses and corruption, is seen as part of a longstanding policy to maintain pro-US allies in Honduras, prioritizing geopolitical interests over justice. The article also discusses the reemergence of police death squads in Honduras and the State Department's efforts to downplay corruption within the police force. Despite multiple scandals and protests, the US consistently supported Hernández, revealing the complex dynamics of the US War on Drugs and its selective enforcement. The piece emphasizes the need to consider the broader implications of the trial for US foreign policy and its impact on the people of Honduras.