Central America Caucus Meets with Honduran President
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Members of the Congressional Central America Caucus met with Juan Orlando Hernandez, the President of Honduras. Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA), founder and co-chair of the Central America Caucus, was joined by Caucus Members John R. Moolenaar (R-MI), Reid J. Ribble (R-WI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). Today’s meeting comes one day after Torres led a letter signed by 77 other Members of Congress calling on President Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status to individuals from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in the United States who have fled violence in their home country.
“This has been an eventful year for Honduras with several encouraging signs of progress in the establishment of the MACCIH and the work of the Police Reform Commission, but there have also been some very troubling developments, particularly on the human rights front,” said Torres. “I greatly appreciated President Hernandez joining us today to discuss both the challenges and opportunities facing his country and how we can work together to create opportunity, promote security, and protect human rights and the rule of law so that all Hondurans see a life for themselves in their country.”
In the meeting, Caucus Members expressed their continued interest in working with the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to advance governance, security, and prosperity. They also learned about efforts made by the Government of Honduras to meet the conditions established by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
Some Members expressed interest in expanding collaboration with the government of Honduras in the area of counter-narcotics, and others voiced their concern about the human rights situation in Honduras, especially the recent killing of human rights activists Berta Cáceres, Nelson Garcia, René Martinez, and Lesbia Janeth Urquía. Additionally, Rep. Torres emphasized the need to strengthen the Office of the Attorney General (Ministerio Público) in Honduras, including ensuring that the Office receives sufficient budgetary resources to carry out its basic responsibilities.
“The Central America Caucus is committed to maintaining an ongoing dialogue with government officials, non-governmental organizations, and civil society in the region to make sure our assistance to the Northern Triangle countries goes where it is intended and is yielding results,” continued Torres. “Today’s meeting gave us the opportunity to hear straight from President Hernandez his view of the progress that has been made and his plans for Honduras’s future.”
The Congressional Central America Caucus was founded by Rep. Torres on February 24, 2016. It currently consists of 34 bipartisan Members of Congress and is co-Chaired by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA).