Sole Central American in Congress: End of MACCIH is a Blow to Rule of Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Central America Caucus, and the only Central American immigrant serving in Congress, released a statement today responding to news that Honduran President, Juan Orlando Hernández, allowed the mandate for the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) to expire.
MACCIH was an anti-corruption initiative backed by the Organization of American States. Its original four-year mandate was due for renewal by January 19th, but negotiations broke down over its ability to investigate and coordinate with a special prosecutorial unit known by the acronym UFECIC.
The fate of that special prosecutor’s office now rests with Attorney General Óscar Chinchilla.
“First CICIG in Guatemala, and now MACCIH in Honduras – what we see in Central America is a series of blows to the rule of law, as institution after institution intended to investigate corruption is shut down by the people being investigated,” Rep. Torres said. “I urge Attorney General Chinchilla to create a new special prosecutor’s office without delay, fully integrate UFECIC’s personnel – including unit head Luis Santos, and continue the cases already under investigation. The pursuit of justice must continue, and we cannot allow those willing to pursue it to now face retribution from increasingly empowered strongmen.
“Honduras is already a narco-state – this spiral away from accountability will undoubtedly allow the drug trade to thrive and lead more desperate Hondurans to seek safety elsewhere, including our southern border,” Rep. Torres continued. “The United States must remain steadfast in our commitment to a corruption-free Honduras that respects the rights and will of its people.”