News

Mario Zelaya Has Been Sentenced To 56 Years In Prison But Will Be Imprisoned For 30

The mini-caption above the photo of Mario Zelaya says: Article 35 of the Penal Code prevents the duration of jail-time for multiple crimes from exceeding 30 years.

The punishment for the actions of the former director of the Honduran Institute Of Social Security (IHSS) Mario Roberto Zelaya (who is 49) is to spend 56 years and 3 months in prison, which is the maximum penalty that the Public Prosecutors were seeking in the aftermath of the theft of millions of Lempiras from the public institution.

Prior to this sentence Zelaya had accumulated a sentence of 25 years in prison and now added another 31 years to that sentence for the recent decision that was guilty of another of the crimes he was accused of. Despite this decision it appears that Zelaya and other high-profile criminals like him will benefit from a part of the Penal Code.

Another beneficiary of this part of the Penal Code will be the former general administrator of the IHSS Jose Bertetty who has accumulated 46 years and 3 months in prison. It appears that article 35 of the Penal Code will keep them from witnessing justice in full as it says: “Those guilty of two or more crimes will face the sentences of their crimes at once. The sentences will be completed simultaneously, if possible. The total years spent behind bars cannot exceed 30 years.”

This benefits both Zelaya and Bertetty by protecting them against their actual sentences. The article says that theoretically because of this part of the Penal Code either or both Zelaya and Bertetty could be sentenced to 100 years behind bars but they’d only have to serve 30. What’s worse is that people who are sentenced to 30 years behind bars are only required to serve 2/3rds of their sentences and upon hitting the 20 year mark it’s possible that they could be released for good behavior, and/or face limited freedom.

Dagoberto Aspra (a doctor in penal sciences)  said that “Mario Zelaya, even if he had a 100 year sentence would only be imprisoned 30 years, but for 30 years complete years with no possibility of an early release.” In the wake of article 35 of the Penal Code codifying the idea that no one can be in jail for more than 30 years for multiple crimes. Odir Fernandez, head of the Unit of Investigation and Case Analysis for the National Anti-Corruption Council offered similar statements. Fernandez said that even if Zelaya got 100 year sentences for each of his crimes he’d only serve 30 total years in prison.

Trials & Sentences:

Mario Zelaya has been accused of being the mastermind behind the multi-million Lempira theft of the funds of the Social Security Institute during his tenure as the organization’s director from 2010-2014 by the Public Prosecutors.

In his first sentence he was condemned to 15 years in prison for abusing his authority, fraud, and violating the obligations of all functionaries due to his overspending on airline tickets to the United States. In his second sentence he was condemned to 10 years for storing prohibited weapons, ammunition for weapons for war, and for commercial firearms. He is still awaiting the exact sentence they’ll give him for money laundering and for calling in bribes to the vice-ministers. Additionally another pending sentence for him is the sentence for the implication of his roles in helping the “briefcase businesses” getting money and stealing it from the Institute.

He has received a stay of proceedings in the court for irregularities due to the income tax of various employees of the IHSS, but he has to go to court for the cases of transferring funds to the pockets of Regimen de Invalidez, Vejez y Muerte, and about the over-inflation of the contracts with the constructor JC Maradiaga, for 47 million Lempiras.

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President Juan Orlando Delivers Ambulances & Motorcycles To First Responders

People in San Pedro Sula and in the Sula Valley will now have ambulances ready to assist them if an emergency happens and they call 911. On Tuesday President Hernandez delivered 15 ambulances and 5 motorcycles to the National Emergency Response System, which will be operating as part of the Emergency Medical Unit of Copeco (the permanent contingency committee).

The Emergency Medical Unit is a new institution which seeks to strengthen the medical attention given to victims of injuries before they arrive at the hospital and can help people recover from all sorts of incidents and injuries even before they arrive at the hospital. Ambulances are sent to situations where providing patients with quality healthcare requires them to be transported, while the motorcycles will be sent to areas where traffic is extensive or where it’s difficult for other, larger vehicles to reach.

“We’re bringing San Pedro Sula what we began in Tegucigalpa and it hasn’t been easy but we’re working to leave behind our old memories of being the most violent city and nation in this part of the world. We need to remember where we’re coming from and where we’re going.” Said the President. He also said the following: “today the people have more confidence because they believe that we are improving the quality of life for all. We all believe that we can do good and that’s driving us to coordinate and organize to reach important milestones and make life better for us all.”

This article comes from La Prensa and was published Wednesday night.

Comayagua Suffers From A Lack Of Doctors & Medicine

More than 32,000 Honduran beneficiaries of the Honduran Institute Of Social Security in Comayagua and La Paz lack access to attention from medical professionals and access to medicine. People in those areas who go to Tegucigalpa or other cities for medical treatments and to see orthopedic doctors, urologists, and other specialists  have to do so quite often.

“We’re in trouble because if we need specialists we have to go to the capital and our families end up having to pay more due to transportation and the costs of expensive medicine they want us to buy.” Said Luis Fernandez, a beneficiary of the Honduran Institute of Social Security. Of the Institute’s current direct beneficiaries (32,135) 1,580 became direct beneficiaries this year, during the first 6 months.

Subsidized Services:

Medical services are subsidized which means that the Institute will pay a hospital or private clinic in Comayagua to provide attention to the Institute’s beneficiaries. These hospitals and/or clinics are: Comayagua Colonial, and the Colaboradores con Dios clinic. Fanny Pavon, the general regional sub director of the Institute said that there was an annual contract which explicitly clarifies the responsibilities the clinic and the hospital have to their clinics in order to receive a payment from the Institute.

Monthly the Institute pays some 2-3 million lempiras to the hospital and around 500,000 lempiras to the private clinic. “We don’t have the authorization to reveal the exact statistics but the contract we have with the healthcare providers is a yearly on and the amount paid to the healthcare providers varies monthly and is based off of the number of patients treated monthly.”

Levels Of Attention:

The clinic provides general medical attention and attention related to dentistry, while the hospital has external consultations, hospitalization and doctors specializing in providing emergency medical service. Additionally there are four specialists in the area; a internist, an obgyn, a general surgeon, and a pediatrician.

According to Arturo Machado, a medical supervisor of the Institute it seems that getting more specialists to gain contracts with the IHSS (The Institute) depends on the contributions of those who are currently beneficiaries of the Institute right now. “The Institute counts on the contributions of those it benefits and that limits our ability to provide contracts to more specialized healthcare providers because their services are pricey.” States the supervisor.

This article comes from El Heraldo. To support our publication come check out our Patreon.

 

More Than 70 Hondurans Abandoned By Smugglers

Immigration officials in Mexico announced just two days ago that 147 individuals attempting to get to the United States on Saturday, correcting a previous report that claimed the number was 178 which came from the police of Veracruz. Of that 147 a total of 74 are Hondurans who were seeking a better life.

“The National Institute of Immigration retrieved 147 foreigners from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, who were abandoned without food or water presumably by smugglers.” Said the authorities in a message.

On Saturday night officials from the police force of Veracruz reported that 178 Central American immigrants had been abandoned by smugglers in the middle of their journeys to the United States. According to the Institute of Immigration there were 48 minors (14 of whom were unaccompanied). They were travelling without rest, in overcrowded conditions, and without ventilation. It seems they were told that they ought to hide in the undergrowth near where they discovered after being told to get off of a vehicle they were being driven in, with the promise that their smuggler’s would return. The demographics of the retrieved immigrants are: 1 Nicaraguan, 13 Salvadorians, 59 Guatemalans, and 74 Hondurans.

The article continues by talking about the 10 dead immigrants in the vehicle in Texas, and the discovery of 5 dead Guatemalans from a group of 12 on the Bravo River.

To read this article in the original Spanish click here. To support our translations head to our Patreon.

Every Two Days Someone Dies From AIDS In Honduras

Currently there’s a massive influx of articles related to people who are suffering from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) that have been published by the Honduran press. This is a translation of one coming from La Prensa.

Every two days a person’s death is attributed to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This data is based off of averages coming from the secretary of health which states that nearly 200 people die every year which rounds out to more or less 16 deaths a month.

This deadly virus is transmitted by sexual relations or blood transfusions of infected blood. Children can occasionally be infected by drinking breast milk from mothers who have the disease. So far this year more than 200 people have been infected with AIDS. The data coming from the secretary of health says that in all of the newly registered cases this year the majority have been asymptomatic cases with some 119 cases not registering any symptoms yet.

Some 87 people have registered symptoms of AIDS and have been told that they are at high risk of death. The majority of cases this year are men. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) there appears to have been a 11% increase in new infections. In the last five years the average of new cases of AIDS is around 900. The total number of people who are suffering from AIDS throughout the country is 34,549 people.

Those Who Are The Most Affected:

The populations most affected by the sickness are men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, and the Garifuna. The areas most affected are: San Pedro Sula, Puerto Cortes, and Choloma, in the department of Cortes. Distrito Central in Francisco Morazan, Choluteca, La Ceiba, and Tela in Atlantida. The diagnosis tests to confirm the presence of AIDS can be taken in 655 health centers throughout the country.

54 clinics of Integral Attention Service (SAI) distribute antiretroviral treatment, one of the principal treatments of HIV and AIDS.

In just the SAI section of the University Hospital School (HEU) they treat 60 patients a month. “Within SAI they offer psychology support. There are doctors, nurses, pharmacologists, psychologists, social works, and a self-support group for survivors of AIDS who want to support each other and inform each other and other survivors about the illness and treatment. Says Elvia Ardon the director general of the Normalization of Health department who is also the president of the National Commission of Turno.

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The Impact Of Drugs And Gangs In Honduran Schools

El Heraldo published a fairly extensive article talking about how drug trafficking and gang activity in schools throughout Tegucigalpa.

The typical bickering and infighting among students of secondary schools has stopped concerning many of them. Instead the situation in these schools has escalated due to the emergence of drug-trafficking and drug usage on campus which greatly affects students. Ultimately this atmosphere has generated a sensation of death being omnipresent, mourning never more than a few minutes away, and sadness in the halls of the schools.

This information is coming from a series of investigations conducted by the National Directive of Social Intervention (DINIS) which have been ongoing since April of last year. This problem is deeply concerning for families of students, teachers, government officials, and the students themselves.

The head of DINIS, Saul Coca has stated that: “the investigations we conducted were startingly and revealed that in all of these schools there are various levels of drug trafficking and drug consumption and thus that many young people are using and consuming drugs.” One of the key relevations of the investigations has determined that the Central Vicente Caceres (ICVC) school is one of the schools with critical problems when it comes to drug trafficking and drug consumption. The school is one of the institutions where they’ve worked to improve measures meant to prevent the circulation of drugs and to lessen the number of students who use drugs. Saul stated: “There are 7,000 students who converge from all of the highest risk and criminal zones and this contributes to the usage of drugs and their rate of circulation.”

Gangs In The ICVC:

Equally concerning to drug usage and trafficking throughout schools is the infiltration of gangsters into the institutions of education throughout the capital. According to this article, even the classrooms of the school and others like it can be centers of  criminal activity, and this is reflected in graffiti drawn in classrooms 105 & 106, in the hallways and the bathrooms, in this legendary school. The number 18 is a highly visible symbol with it appearing at least once in the school drawn to be more than a full meter in height on a blackboard, and it reappears throughout the school in hallways and bathrooms.

Alejandro McCarthy, the school’s director has stated that these drawings are many years old. They haven’t been erased due to the school not getting money to afford private security watching over the school when no one is supposed to be there. When it came to gang members attempting to enter the school, the director stated “we’ve gotten internal security in other locations.” suggesting that other forms of security exist within the school.

What’s Happening In Other Schools:

Similar situations have been documented in the Polivalente Saul Zelaya Jimenez school located in La Pradera, Comayaguela, which is in the middle of areas like La Rosa, Venecia, Flor del Campo, among others. This school has been subjected to increasing rates of drug usage and trafficking, thanks to gang members who’ve started appearing nearby and selling the illegal items.

According to Hernan Fuentes, the director of the school: “there are young people who sympathize with the gang members because they are in a difficult situation in the area but that’s causing us problems right now.”

Hernan had some hopeful words when it came to drug trafficking within the school itself: “It has been reducing in size, we can’t say it’s been completely eliminated but it has started going down thanks to the presence of the military police in the school.”

The Most Recent Deaths:

Two violent deaths, that of Rebeca Abigail Velasquez Torres (who was 15) on the 23rd of June and Olman Adalid Castillo Calderon (who was 18) on the 27th of this month set off alarms throughout the capital. This past Thursday many schools met with leadership of the PMOP to bring an end to these violent acts that impact so many lives and so thoroughly corrupt schools in the city.

Mario Rivera, a spokesman for the PMOP stated: “Our military presence will be visible throughout the external part of the country, and in the areas where the majority of students converge.” Throughout the past few days many parents have escorted their children to the primary entrance of the schools, particularly the ICVC out of fear for their safety in the wake of the recent deaths.

Saul Zelaya Jimenez retains its military presence thanks to the sad background of this area and region.

Some 48 schools are currently experiencing some form of military police intervention in the capital and in communities in Cortes and Atlantida.

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Roatan’s Leadership Meeting With Opposition Alliance Leadership

It’s been announced that more Liberal leaders are joining the Opposition Alliance in the area of the Bay Islands, specifically Roatan.  Salvador Nasralla, the presidential candidate representing the Opposition Alliance is meeting with Dorn Ebanks, the Liberal Party politician and mayor of Roatan.

Yesterday Manuel Zelaya, the former president and coordinator of the Alliance met with Mayor Ebanks who warmly greeted the Opposition yesterday when they arrived at his home. It seems that the Liberal Party member has begun openly supporting Salvador Nasralla and the Alliance and he also stated: “We’ve begun the process of joining the Alliance to end the dictatorship, the Alliance is the people, we’ve united to continue transforming Roatan.” Said Dorn Ebanks.

The Liberal Party joining the Alliance means that in Roatan there are four parties united: LIBRE, PAC, PINU, and the Liberal Party. An event hosted by Salvador Nasralla and Dorn Ebanks will happen at 4:00 PM today.

The source for this article is a Noti Bomba article. To support this publication check out our Patreon!

Congress And Executive Branch Planning To Enact Stricter Penalties To Young Criminals

Recent recommendations by the Interinstitutional Comission For Penal Justice concerning reforms to how children and teenagers are treated by Honduras’s legal system are currently in the hands of the executive branch and the National Congress. It seems that these branches are planning to implement these reforms, which have generated controversy due to one of them suggesting stricter punishments against minors who commit crimes.

According to the Nationalist congressman Tomas Zambrano “A large percentage of serious crimes which seriously impact the nation are committed by children and teenagers.” In that sense the Congress will study the depth of the hardening of the penalties which could be affected by these reforms. That is why the commission recommends an amendment to the 205th article of the 3rd section of the penal code for children and teenagers which would increase a maximum sentence from 8 to 15 years for children and teens who commit crimes.

This reform would also create an adjustment to the penal sanctions confirming with the graveness of the crimes inflicted by children. Currently when children are 12 or 13 prison sentences cannot be longer than 5 years or shorter than 2. When a teenager is 14 or 15 the changes from no lesser than 4 years to no more than 10. Finally when teenagers are 16, 17, or 18 the prison sentences cannot be shorter than 8 years and cannot be longer than 15.

The source for this article is a La Prensa article and to support our publication check out our Patreon page.

Documents By The Honduran Property Institute Seized Due To Allegations Of Fraud

Authorities representing the public prosecution began seizing documents from the Honduran Property Institute in San Pedro Sula after receiving a tip-off concerning a possible network of fraudulent sellers who’ve been who’ve supposedly selling homes that actually have owners, many of whom were merely abroad during the times their homes were fraudulently sold.

Members of the Technical Agency of Criminal Investigation (Atic) arrived to seize documents from the legal consultation unit in the Los Castanos neighbor. Some services were suspended while the authorities from the public prosecution conducted their investigation. The investigation was done by attorneys and members of Atic.

There appears to be a network of fraudulent commissioners, notaries, and most likely employees of the Honduran Property Institute who are illegally pretending to sell homes and ultimately leaving people in San Pedro Sula on the street. This network has fooled citizens and residents of the city into believing they are buying homes whose actual owners are in the United States or another country.

The operation this investigation is part of is named “Tormenta de Fuego IV” which is being done by the Public Prosecution all over the country.

This is similar to another article that was translated earlier this month covering a similar event but without mention of a network of accomplices in La Lima.

The source for this translation is an article from La Prensa. To support The Honduras Report check out our Patreon and consider making a monthly donation.

Authorities Seize Properties Of Matta Waldurraga’s Organization

Authorities representing the public prosecutors began Operation Terremoto (Earthquake) earlier today and went to raid various properties owned by the organization led by Juan Ramon Matta Waldurraga, according to sources including El Heraldo.

The executed actions were done by members of the Special Attorney Against Organized Crime (FESCCO) and the Organized Campaign Against Drug Trafficking (DLCN), supported by the Military Police For Public Order (PMOP). The raids took place at homes located in Tegucigalpa, Cedros (a municipality) in the department of Francisco Morazan, Danli in El Paraiso, and in Lepaguara and San Esteban in Olancho.

El Heraldo reports that they know exclusive details about the investigation which allegedly commenced in the offices of the Organized Campaign Against Drug Trafficking in April of 2001 and now that the Special Attorney Against Organized Crime is supporting them the investigation has strengthened itself over the last 17 years. Now authorities reportedly have seized around 43 real estate properties, among them 22 related businesses in the areas of electrical energy production, farming, armor-plating, and more, lots, homes, and apartments. All of these are considered to have illicit origins. Additionally allies of Matta Waldurraga are being searched for in the wake of the commencement of the public phase of this massive investigation.

First Results:

After the initial raids authorities have begun reporting on the results attained thus far. In Tegucigalpa they reported on the raid of a luxurious property in El Sauce. In Comayaguela they took a residence in Cerro Grande. Additionally they did operations in businesses near the seat of the government and in San Pedro Sula they went to the La Paz hotel to search for a connection to Juan Ramon Matta, according to members of the PMOP.