After a scandal exposed by those once allegedly involved in the corruption, the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez may be looking at his last days in office if the people on the streets have their way. Today a key witness in the recently exposed Social Security (IHSS) scandal was shot in San Pedro Sula before he was reported to testify that funds from the Social Security Institute (IHSS) were stolen to finance Hernandez’ National Party election campaign during the 2013 general elections.
During that election KGNU was on the ground and took testimony from dozens of international election observers who documented several election irregularities and discrepancies involving everything from voter intimidation to assassinations of political opposition candidates. The right wing National Party was the sole party allowed to oversee the election process.
The next day the youth community took to the streets denouncing the election results:
Globo TV in the capital Tegucigalpa is reporting this afternoon that John Charles Bogran Velasquez and his body guard were shot more than a dozen times today before he was to testify that $350 million dollars from the IHSS in 2012 and 2013 during the Porfirio Lobo administration were transferred to the National Party. Today the actual checks written to known National Party members and to fictitious subsidiaries have surfaced.
Civil society has been in the street for weeks following the announcement that Hernandez intended to change the constitution to allow him to seek a second term, a move currently illegal per the constitution. The 2008-2009 attempt by right wing parties to accuse the popular President Manuel Zelaya of a similar move never took hold among civil society since a constitutional amendment could only constitutionally take effect after his term had expired. In addition, his response to the Honduran people who pressed for him to run again resulted in a simple polling of the electorate and not an amendment change. The oligarch-owned media though was successful in convincing the United States of corruption in the Zelaya administration who then backed his overthrow on June 28, 2009.
On May 7, 2015 a “Social Protection Law” was adopted by Congress that could lead to a blanket privatization of the IHSS. The privatization reforms were part of a package that became the terms of a 2014 loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). President of the National Congress and National Party official Mauricio Oliva pushed for the new reforms and as member of the Health Commission in Congress, approved millions that ended up with the fake companies. This new privatization structure has meant the reduction of state payments to the IHSS and the eventual reduction in medical and pension benefits as the previously performed social services will now be completed by private clinics and hospitals. Patients are now forced to purchase medications and medical/surgical supplies from private companies. Health care institutions are reported to now provide substandard services with the missing financial resources that were previously in place.
At 9:00 this evening, KGNU received word that Bogran has died from his injuries. He had been an administrator at the IHSS and was in charge of booking travel arraignments for other administrators and officials. He owned a Travel Agency, JJ Travel & Tours where he is alleged to have overcharged the IHSS $1.5 million for airline tickets and then funneling the funds to the National Party. In the Fall of 2014 he had an INTERPOL arrest warrant for his involvement in the alleged embezzlement. TeleSur News is reporting tonight that he had been involved in the false medical supply businesses where the stolen IHSS money was laundered and sent to the National Party. Several news outlets have labeled him as a “testigo o tesitigo protegido” witness or protected witness, but TeleSur is not confirming this.
photos: KGNU News (click on pictures to read captions)