Press Release

Welch Statement on Former Honduran President’s Guilty Verdict on Narcotics and Weapons Trafficking

Mar 11, 2024

Reaction of U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to the conviction in the Southern District of New York of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on multiple counts of narcotics and weapons trafficking:

“Former President Hernandez, his brother Juan Antonio, former Police Chief Bonilla, known as “El Tigre”, and other officials who abused their authority to enrich themselves and hold onto power at the expense of the people of Honduras and the country’s democratic institutions, are finally learning the meaning of justice. Each could have used his position to help solve the country’s many problems. Instead, they chose a life of corruption, violence, and lies. The lesson for other corrupt officials in Honduras and throughout Central America who abuse their authority is that, sooner or later, the law will catch up to you. 

“Another lesson of this sordid period is that U.S. officials should choose their partners carefully. For years, despite repeated warnings by my predecessor Senator Leahy and others, the Departments of State, Defense, and Justice, treated Hernandez, Bonilla, and other corrupt Honduran officials as legitimate partners. They weren’t. They were ruthless criminals, running the country like a criminal enterprise and imprisoning their critics and murdering their drug-trafficking competitors. It damaged our credibility with the Honduran people, and it enabled Hernandez to falsely portray himself as a legitimate leader.”