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Former Honduran president criticizes brother’s prosecution

November 13, 2018

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, Honduras' President Porfirio Lobo, waves during his presidential inauguration ceremony in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Lobo said on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, that the Central American country’s current government is trampling his honor by bringing corruption cases against his wife and most recently his brother. Last week, prosecutors accused 91-year-old Ramon Lobo of pocketing some $300,000 that the government had paid soldiers guarding him at a ranch north of the capital. Porfirio Lobo’s wife has been held since February on charges of diverting $700,000 in public funds. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Former Honduran President Porfirio Lobo said Tuesday that the Central American country’s current government is trampling his honor by bringing corruption cases against his wife and most recently his brother.

Last week, prosecutors accused 91-year-old Ramon Lobo of pocketing some $300,000 that the government had paid soldiers guarding him at a ranch north of the capital.

Authorities also arrested Wilfredo Cerrato, a presidential administrator during Lobo’s term and who now represents Honduras at the Central American Parliament. Cerrato allegedly passed checks to Ramon Lobo.

Porfirio Lobo’s wife has been held since February on charges of diverting $700,000 in public funds. His son, Fabio, was sentenced in the U.S. last year to 24 years in prison for drug trafficking.

“Those running this country are allowing them to violate my human rights and trample my dignity,” Porfirio Lobo said. “It is all a show, a trick, to divert public attention from the government’s notorious corruption cases.”

An international anti-corruption mission backed by the Organization of American States is working with Honduran prosecutors. In June, prosecutors announced an investigation into public funds that were allegedly diverted to the 2013 campaign of President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

The charges against Lobo’s brother could be the final straw in the deterioration of the relationship with his successor, Hernandez.

“It’s clear that Lobo is upset with President Hernandez, who he sees as disloyal,” political analyst Raul Pineda Alvarado said.

He said Hernandez is trying to shore up his international reputation as serious about fighting corruption by going after a prominent name like Lobo from his own party.

Lobo was Hernandez’s mentor and oversaw his rise to power within the National Party. Hernandez was re-elected to a second term last year in a disputed election.

Thousands of Honduran migrants have been traveling toward the U.S. border in multiple caravans during the past month complaining of an economy that doesn’t allow them to support their families and oppressive gang crime. Many frequently chant against Hernandez’s government, blaming him for their dire straits.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut off aid to Honduras if Hernandez did not stop his citizens from migrating.

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