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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Nicaragua grants Citizenship to collaborators of Honduran ex-president indicted for drug trafficking

The government of Daniel Ortega granted this Friday, Nicaraguan citizenship to two former ministers of Juan Orlando Hernandez, former president of Honduras extradited in April to the United States to be tried for drug trafficking.

“Nicaraguan citizenship is granted to Ebal Jair Díaz Lupian, a native of the Republic of Honduras (…) he will enjoy the rights and prerogatives granted by law”, states a resolution published in La Gaceta, the official gazette. 

Another similar resolution was issued for Ricardo Cardona, 60 years old, who was Minister of the Presidency, as well as for Ebal Díaz, 48 years old, who assumed that position during another period and was considered the right arm of the former president. 

Both are accused of corruption and it is not known if they are in Nicaraguan territory.

Diaz, an evangelical pastor, has been accused by the independent National Anti-Corruption Council of Honduras (CNA), an oversight body of civil society, of irregularities in his administration.

One of the accusations is related to a failed social housing project for victims of hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020, known as container houses. He has denied the charges.

“There are ongoing investigations” against Diaz at the Prosecutor’s Office, the entity’s spokesman, Yuri Mora, told AFP, without giving details.

Three other Honduran nationals appear on the list of naturalized citizens. According to the Honduran press, two of them are relatives of former minister Cardona, whose work has also been questioned by the ANC.

Both officials worked during the administration of former President Hernández, who in April of this year was extradited to New York to stand trial for drug trafficking.

“Tony” Hernandez, brother of the former president, is serving a life sentence in the United States for the same crime, while the former chief of police, Juan Carlos Bonilla, was also extradited to the United States, accused of collaborating with both.

“The Honduran state has acted very slowly in the case of these ex-officials and these politicians have suspiciously left the country to ensure their impunity,” political analyst Raúl Pineda told the press.

“Action could have been taken earlier because there was already information that a group of Honduran politicians had moved to a region of Nicaragua,” he added.

The Nicaraguan government has previously granted nationality to former Salvadoran presidents Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sánchez Céren, both accused of corruption in their country.

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