Honduras, in Brief: The defeat of the National Party at the ballot box on November 28 set off a political earthquake—not only in the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa, but also in the far-flung provinces where drug traffickers reign.
Meet the Cacique of Colón, Óscar Nájera
“Congressman Óscar Nájera just lost his first election in thirty years, and he is furious. He’s spitting venom at his colleagues in the Partido Nacional, and blames President Juan Orlando Hernández for the resounding electoral defeat. Three decades in Congress and four decades immersed in the political life of Honduras are coming to a close before his eyes.”
Thus opens El Faro founding director Carlos Dada’s post-election dispatch from Honduras—a rare, incisive portrait into the politics of a Central American country sitting squarely in the path of the region’s principal drug trafficking corridor.
“Nájera —a ‘self-made man’ from the north of Honduras and the septuagenarian cacique of Tacoa, whose name appears in connection with the illicit drug trade on the Engel List, the Magnitsky List, the U.S. Treasury Department’s list, in sworn testimonies in New York courtrooms, and in the British government’s list of sanctioned politicians— has lost something even more important: he has lost the immunity granted to all members of Congress by Honduran law.”
Read this story about agreements made between politicians and drug traffickers and police and landowners and military officers, and about the lines that separate them, but which, in this part of Honduras, have long been erased—a story about how politics is done in a region where drug money controls everything.
This El Faro dispatch is part of Una Guerra Adictiva (“an addictive war”), a collaborative transnational journalism project coordinated by CLIP and chronicling the paradoxes of 50 years since the United States declared war on drugs in Latin America.
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