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Public position of ASJ regarding illicit financing of political campaigns

Judicial documents were recently published in US courts in which confessed drug traffickers claim to have financed the presidential campaigns of Honduran presidents for the last fifteen years. In response, the Association for a More Just Society (ASJ), the Honduran chapter of Transparency International, makes the following statement.

For several years, various national and international actors, including ASJ, have denounced Honduras’s weak legal framework, fragile existing institutions, lack of public ethics and the need of political will and commitment, all which have facilitated money flows from drug trafficking, organized crime and corruption to infiltrate government and its decisions. This affects citizens, leading to thousands of deaths, poverty and impunity. Corruption, drug trafficking and organized crime have neither race nor political ideology and cause the population to lose confidence in their elected representatives, who have deviated from their mandate towards their citizens.

These are moments of enormous crisis and uncertainty that can lead the Honduran nation to greater chaos and destruction, for which it is necessary to ensure that the rule of law prevails, respect the constitutional framework, make institutional counterweights effective and guarantee Hondurans’ right to know the truth. Based on this, ASJ, a civil society organization whose vision is to make the state system work, calls for the following:

1. Investigate in the framework of the law

ASJ recommends that the Plenary Session of the National Congress of the Republic appoint a special independent and objective commission that is not composed of deputies or leaders of political parties. This commission must have the necessary legal powers, technical capacity and budgetary resources to carry out an in-depth investigation of the financing of all presidential campaigns from 2004 to 2017. The results of the investigation must be presented to the Plenary Session of the Congress, the Public Ministry and the population in general. In accordance with these results, state institutions must take decisive and immediate action to protect the rule of law and the constitutional order.

2. Prevent the continued financing of campaigns with illicit money.

Political parties must approve a series of reforms that guarantee the strengthening of the legal and institutional framework in terms of research, control and sanction of illicit financing of politics, prior to the call to the 2021 primary elections. It is imperative to return independence and greater competence to the Clean Policy Unit, at all levels of action.

3. Continue the fight against narcotraficking, organized crime, illicit campaign finances and corruption.

The institutions that make up the country's Security and Justice System must redouble their efforts to combat all crime in the country, especially the drug trafficking, organized crime and corruption that do so much damage to democracy. This includes, but is not limited to, the regulation of criminality categories in terms of illegal or irregular financing of electoral campaigns in the Criminal Code.

4. Privilege the top interest of the nation.

To the population in general, it is time to put aside the differences that separate us and that prevent us from facing the great challenges we have as a nation. To find answers and solutions together, it is necessary to recover the bonds of trust, respect and tolerance. As a Christian organization, we urge churches to lead a process of national repentance and reconciliation to facilitate the construction of a more just society.

ASJ believes that the approaches mentioned above will contribute to an avoidance of further political confrontation, violence and deaths; as well as economic damage to the people and to the country. We will remain vigilant and active in the search for solutions to the major problems that affect our country.

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