Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) raised concerns to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan about the vacancy left as a result of the recent resignation of Juan Jimenez as the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), and its implications for U.S. efforts to support the rule of law in the country.
 
“His departure comes at a very unfortunate time when MACCIH, under Mr. Jimenez’s leadership, had started to make important progress in Honduras. This crisis now affecting MACCIH is particularly worrisome given a recent provision passed by the Honduran Congress as part of the January 18 General Budget Law that shields public officials from prosecution,” wrote the Senators.  “The success of MACCIH is integral to efforts to uphold the rule of law in Honduras.”
 
The Senators also called for the State Department to produce a full report that details the use of U.S. funding allocating to support MACCIH and other anti-corruption efforts, work with OAS Secretary General to immediately appoint a respected and trustworthy replacement for Mr. Jimenez, and to send a message to both Secretary Almagro and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez of unwavering support for MACCIH and the importance of its independence, neutrality, and transparency.
 
The full text of the letter is below and can be found here.
 
The Honorable John J. Sullivan
Deputy Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
 
Dear Deputy Secretary Sullivan:

We are writing to express concern about the vacancy left as a result of the recent resignation of Juan Jimenez Mayor as the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), and its implications for U.S. efforts to support the rule of law in the country.

His departure comes at a very unfortunate time when MACCIH, under Mr. Jimenez’s leadership, had started to make important progress in Honduras. Honduran civil society leaders have praised the recent efforts by MACCIH, including the creation of specialized anti-corruption courts and a vetted unit within the public prosecutor’s office to handle highly sensitive investigations.

This crisis now affecting MACCIH is particularly worrisome given a recent provision passed by the Honduran Congress as part of the January 18 General Budget Law that shields public officials from prosecution. This provision seems designed to interfere with an investigation by the Honduran Attorney General’s Office into a possible $55 million dollar embezzlement scheme reportedly involving as many as 60 members of the Honduran Congress. 

These developments leave us with serious misgivings about ongoing efforts to combat impunity in Honduras. As such, we respectfully request that the Department of State/USAID:

  • produce a full report that details the use of U.S. funding allocated to support MACCIH and other anti-corruption efforts;
  • work with OAS Secretary General Almagro to immediately appoint a respected and trustworthy replacement for Mr. Jimenez, and address the deficiencies with MACCIH’s current management structure, including by ensuring that its director has authority over budgetary, personnel, and operational decisions; and
  • send a firm message to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez of unwavering U.S. support for MACCIH, and the importance of ensuring that MACCIH can operate with absolute independence, neutrality, and transparency as established in Article VII of the agreement between the OAS and the Government of Honduras.
The success of MACCIH is integral to efforts to uphold the rule of law in Honduras. We thank you for your work to promote transparency and combat impunity in Central America.