Latin America Advisor

A Daily Publication of The Dialogue

Is the Rule of Law Beating Impunity in Honduras?

Juan Antonio Hernández, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (pictured), was arrested last month in the United States on drug charges. The president has said no one is above the law. // File Photo: Honduran Government.

Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and a former congressman, was arrested in Miami in late November on drug trafficking charges, with U.S. prosecutors alleging he was so established in moving narcotics that he had his own cocaine brand. How will his brother’s criminal case affect President Hernández’s government? To what extent does the case hurt the Central American country’s relations with the United States at a time of ongoing tension over Honduran migration north? How is Hernández faring almost one year into his presidency?


James Nealon, former U.S. ambassador to Honduras: “Two recent, unrelated events in Honduras demonstrate both the ongoing challenges that Honduras faces, as well as the real progress that has been made over the past five years. On Nov. 23, Juan Antonio ‘Tony’ Hernández, brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, was arrested in Miami on drug-related charges. On Nov. 29, seven individuals were convicted by a Honduran court for the murder of indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres. An eighth was found innocent, and a ninth suspect awaits trial. The arrest of Tony Hernández illustrates again the degree to which the drug trade has penetrated the highest levels of Honduran society. But it also demonstrates that Honduras is changing. Today, nobody is surprised when political elites previously thought to be untouchable face the consequences of their actions. Each time I told President Hernández of an impending action against a prominent Honduran—the arrests of former President Callejas and the son of former President Lobo, rumors swirling about his brother, Tony—the president said the same thing…”

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The Inter-American Dialogue publishes the Latin America Advisor every business day for a distinguished membership of informed corporate leaders, scholars, and government officials invested in Latin America’s development and future. The Advisor‘s highly regarded Q&A section covers questions submitted by subscribers themselves. Commentators regularly include heads of state, business leaders, diplomats, economists, analysts, and thought leaders from around the world. Many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies subscribe to the Advisor. To subscribe click here or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at

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