Juan Orlando Hernández

Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwan oɾˈlando eɾˈnandes]; also known as JOH;[1] born 28 October 1968)[2][3] is the President of Honduras. He assumed office on 27 January 2014, after winning the 2013 Honduran general election. He began his second presidential term on 27 January 2018 which is set to end on 27 January 2022.

Juan Orlando Hernández
Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado no Brasil.jpg
Hernández in 2018
55th President of Honduras
Assumed office
27 January 2014
Vice PresidentRicardo Álvarez
Preceded byPorfirio Lobo Sosa
President of the National Congress
In office
25 January 2010 – 25 January 2014
Preceded byJosé Alfredo Saavedra (Acting)
Succeeded byMauricio Oliva
Personal details
Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado

(1968-10-28) 28 October 1968 (age 53)
Gracias, Lempira, Honduras
Political partyNational Party
(m. 1990)
ResidencePalacio Jose Cecillio De Valle
Alma materNational Autonomous University of Honduras
State University of New York, Albany
WebsiteOfficial website

Hernández was the president of the National Congress of Honduras between January 2010 and June 2013, when he was given permission by the Congress to absent himself from all responsibilities in the Congress to dedicate himself to his presidential campaign.[4] He announced that he would seek re-election in 2017,[5] after the Supreme Court allowed it in April 2015.[6] On 15 December 2016, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal decided, by two votes to one, to allow Hernández to stand in the primary elections by the National Party of Honduras on 12 March 2017, despite arguments that such a decision was illegal.[7] On 12 March 2017, he won the National Party's primary vote to allow him to represent his party during the 2017 Honduran general election on 26 November 2017.[8] In the elections, Hernández was declared the winner by a narrow margin (0.5%),[9] after a reelection campaign criticized as fraudulent,[10] while the United States recognized Hernández as the official winner.[11]

Early life and careerEdit

Juan Orlando Hernández (center), his spouse Ana García de Hernández, and Eduardo Martinetti, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, in Lima (2015)

Hernández was born in Gracias, Honduras to Juan Hernández Villanueva and Elvira Alvarado Castillo, as the fifteenth of seventeen children. His siblings include Hilda Hernández[12] (1966–2017)[13] and Juan Antonio (Tony) Hernández, a former deputy now in U.S. federal custody on drug trafficking charges.[14] He has a master's degree in public administration from the State University of New York at Albany.[15] On 3 February 1990, he married Ana García Carías. This union has produced three children: Juan Orlando, Ana Daniela, and Isabela.[16] He was a coffee-growing campesino in his native Gracias.[3]

Juan Orlando Hernández, who represented Lempira Department since 2001, was elected President of the National Congress where the National Party had a comfortable majority, on 21 January 2010, and took office four days later.[17]

Presidential campaignsEdit

In 2012, he fought a campaign against Ricardo Álvarez to try to become the National Party presidential candidate for 2013, and won the internal election of November 2012;[3] Álvarez publicly denounced the result as fraudulent and demanded a "vote by vote" recount, which the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) rejected.

A poll conducted in May 2013 saw him in third place with a projected 18% of the vote.[18] He began his presidential campaign in July 2013 in Intibucá and La Paz with a campaign entitled El Pueblo Propone (The People Propose in English).[19] He campaigned for the military to police the streets, and claimed that his closest rival Xiomara Castro wanted to remove the Policía Militar (English: Military Police) which were already in Honduras' two main cities.[20] He won the election, beating Castro by 250,000 votes.

Hernández said National Party accountants found that approximately L3 million lempira (about US$140,000) from companies with links to the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS) scandal had entered its campaign coffers.[21][22]

On 22 April 2015, the Supreme Court unanimously allowed presidential re-election.[6] On 12 March 2017, Hernández became the National Party candidate by defeating his rival Roberto Castillo during the National Party primary.[8] The Honduran Constitution allows revocation of citizenship of anyone who promotes changing the law to allow re-election,[23] however Hernández's National Party, which also controls Congress, says a Supreme Court ruling last year allows him to stand for a new term. Opposition Liberal Party claims that the court does not have the power to make such decisions.[5]

The President was re-elected in the 2017 presidential election after a vote deemed fraudulent by the opposition and international observers. The government declared a state of emergency. Some 30 demonstrators were killed and more than 800 arrested. According to the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, "many of them were transferred to military installations, where they were brutally beaten, insulted and sometimes tortured".[24]


Hernández in 2018

Corruption protestsEdit

Hondurans both in and outside Honduras have protested against corruption in Honduras, allegedly by Hernández government as well as the judiciary, the military, the police and other public administration entities, demanding an end to what they say is the theft of funds and public money; for example, the embezzlement of the IHSS.[25][26][27][28] In May 2015, Radio Globo discovered documents that allegedly showed that the Honduran National Party had received large amounts of cash from nonexistent companies through fraudulent contracts awarded by the IHSS when it was run by Mario Zelaya. The contracts were approved by the National Congress of Honduras when Hernández was its president and the party funding committee was headed by his sister, Hilda Hernández. Hernández has accepted that his election campaign received money from companies tied to the scandal, but denies any personal knowledge. By June 2015, Hernández had appointed a commission to investigate the cause of the corruption.[29]

In 2017, the Drug Enforcement Agency in Miami arrested Hernández's brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, for drug trafficking and for using Honduran military personnel and equipment to ship cocaine to the United States on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel.[30]

Rosenthal family case of drug traffickingEdit

On 7 October 2015, the United States Department of Justice released a statement saying that Jaime Rosenthal, his son Yani Rosenthal and nephew Yankel Rosenthal, as well as seven other businesses, were labeled "specially designated narcotics traffickers" under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, the first time this had been used against a bank outside the United States.[31] As a result, the Honduran National Commission for Banks and Insurance (Comisión Nacional de Banca y Seguros, CNBS), forcibly liquidated the Banco Continental, property of the Rosenthal family, which was closed as of Monday, 12 October 2015,[32][33] as well as other businesses and properties allegedly involved in money laundering.[34][35] Hernández said that the financial system "is solid" and made it clear that this "is a problem between Banco Continental and the USA justice system".[36]

Religious ConservatismEdit

His presidency was marked by an increase in the influence of conservative evangelical organizations and Opus Dei on government decisions. Compulsory prayer at the beginning of the day was instituted in schools and in certain institutions such as the police and the army. At the beginning of 2021, the total prohibition of abortion and same-sex marriage was included in the Constitution, making it very difficult to change the law later on.[37]

Appointment of sister as Minister of Communications & Government StrategyEdit

Hilda Hernández in 2016

The US Central Intelligence Agency listed Hilda Hernández as Minister of Communications & Government Strategy.[38] When questioned by journalist Fernando del Rincón of CNN en Español over the appointment of his sister, Juan Orlando Hernández said that his sister did not hold any position of Secretary of State (but rather, "Advising Minister") and did not manage a budget.[39] As corruption enquiries continued, on 2 January 2016 Hilda Hernández left her position in the government.[40]

US drug trafficking investigationEdit

At the end of May 2019 US prosecutors unsealed some 2015 documents which revealed that Hernández was himself the subject of a major drug trafficking and money laundering investigation, alongside his sister Hilda and others.[41][42]


On 21 June 2018, president Hernández ordered units of the Honduran army and the military police in the streets of the capital after renewed protests. According to a Hospital Escuela Universitario spokesperson, at least 17 people suffered bullet wounds as a result of violence in the protests, and two of them died at the hospital.[43]

In April 2019, new anti-privatisation and anti-corruption protests erupted, lead by Tegucigalpa Autonomous University students and by health care workers. Tear gas was used against the protesters in demonstrations that took place in the center of Tegucigalpa.

Implicated in drug money conspiracyEdit

Hernández was identified as a co-conspirator in a drug trafficking and money laundering case against his brother, according to document filed in U.S. district court. Prosecutors say $1.5 million in drug proceeds was used to help elect him in 2013. Hernández responded saying he is foe of traffickers who are out for revenge against him.

A document released by a U.S. district court implicates Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in a conspiracy with his brother, Antonio "Tony" Hernández, and other high-level officials — including former President Porfirio Lobo Sosa — "to leverage drug trafficking to maintain and enhance their political power."

The 44-page document – which is related to the trial of Tony Hernández in New York's Southern District on drug trafficking and other charges – summarizes some of the key evidence collected by prosecutors against the defendant, who they accuse of being a “violent, multi-ton drug trafficker” who allegedly abused his political connections for personal and political gain and at least twice “helped arrange murders of drug trafficking rivals.”[44]

After Tony Hernández's conviction on 18 October 2019, 7,000 supporters of President Juan Orlando Hernández, including members of the official National Party of Honduras, marched in Tegucigalpa. President Hernández criticized his brother's conviction as basado en testimonios de asesinos ("based on testimony from killers") and denied that Honduras has become a narco-state.[45]

Fake Facebook supportersEdit

From June to July 2018, 78% of Hernández's Facebook posts received likes were not real people, artificially boosting Hernández' apparent popular support by a factor of 5.[46][47] The Social Manager of Hernandez's official Pages of both Hernández and his late sister, who had served as communications minister, was directly controlling several hundreds of these fake entities.[46] This campaign innovated by using Facebook's Organization Pages, configured with human names and photos, to add apparent support and to lure unaware readers.[46]

Personal lifeEdit

On 17 June 2020, President Hernández and his wife, Ana García, reported that they had been infected by COVID-19.[48]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "A court case rocks the president of Honduras". The Economist. 18 March 2021. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Juan Orlando,narco, empresario y político que sueña con gobernar Honduras". Elheraldo.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Juan Orlando, empresario y político que sueña con gobernar Honduras". Elheraldo.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Juan Orlando se retira del Congreso Nacional". Archived from the original on 9 December 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Defying term limit, Honduran president to run in 2017". Newindianexpress.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Reelección en Honduras: Corte Suprema de Justicia aprueba fallo favorable" (in Spanish). La Prensa. 4 April 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Él problema de la reelección ¿Cómo JOH logro inscribirse?". Libertad Digital. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Honduran president claims victory in party primary". Reuters. 13 March 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Conteo final del TSE da triunfo a JOH por 52,602 votos". Laprensa.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  10. ^ "El TSE declara a Juan Orlando Hernández ganador de las elecciones 2017". Laprensa.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  11. ^ Kinosian, Sarah (22 December 2017). "US recognizes re-election of Honduras president despite fraud allegations". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  12. ^ Hilda Hernández dice "adiós" a su cargo en el gobierno Published by El Heraldo, 2 January 2017
  13. ^ "Muere Hilda Hernández, hermana del presidente de Honduras". Laprensa.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  14. ^ Ernstd, Jeff; Malkin, Elisabeth (26 November 2018). "Honduran President's Brother, Arrested in Miami, Is Charged With Drug Trafficking". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Juan Orlando Hernández busca hacer historia con su reelcción". La Prensa (in Spanish). 11 October 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Juan Orlando Hernández: La historia detrás del presidente electo de Honduras" [Juan Orlando Hernández: The Story Behind the President-Elect of Honduras]. Revista Estilo (in Spanish). 9 January 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  17. ^ Juan Orlando Hernández, nuevo presidente del CN Archived 2013-11-11 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Esposa de Manuel Zelaya lidera las encuestas de cara a las elecciones en Honduras". Nacion.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  19. ^ "JOH lanza "El pueblo propone"". Laprensa.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  20. ^ "JOH: "Quieren que la Policía Militar deje de operar"". Laprensa.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Honduras president: graft-linked companies helped fund my campaign". Reuters. 3 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Why isn't the world talking about the Honduras corruption scandal?". The Seattle Globalist. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  23. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF HONDURAS 1982" (PDF). Parliament.am. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  24. ^ ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone International-. "Des organismes réclament le respect des droits fondamentaux au Honduras". Radio-Canada.ca. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Una ola de protestas sacude los gobiernos de Honduras y Guatemala". Internacional.elpais.com/. 14 June 2015.
  26. ^ "Fotos: Marcha en Honduras contra la corrupción de su Gobierno". Elpais.com. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Manifestaciones". Honduprensa.wordpress.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  28. ^ Peña, Gustavo (12 June 2015). "La 'revolución' de las antorchas en Honduras". Elmundo.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  29. ^ Lakhani, Nina (10 June 2015). "How hitmen and high living lifted lid on looting of Honduran healthcare system". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  30. ^ Ernst, Jeff; Malkin, Elisabeth (26 November 2018). "Honduran President's Brother, Arrested in Miami, Is Charged With Drug Trafficking". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Powerful Honduran businessman indicted in US for alleged money laundering for drug traffickers". 9 October 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.
  32. ^ Carbajal, Richard (12 October 2015). "CNBS procede a la liquidación forzosa de Banco Continental - Tiempo.hn - Noticias de última hora y sucesos de Honduras. Deportes, Ciencia y Entretenimiento en general". Tiempo.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  33. ^ "Honduran bank at center of money laundering case to be shut down". Reuters. 12 October 2015.
  34. ^ "Incautan 19 empresas y varias casas de la familia Rosenthal". Laprensa.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  35. ^ "El periodismo necesita inversión. Para compartir esta nota utiliza los íconos que aparecen en la página". Elheraldo.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  36. ^ "El 'caso Rosenthal' mezcla política y delitos en Honduras". Internacional.elpais.com. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  37. ^ "In Honduras, the Right Is Permanently Locking in Its Abortion Ban". jacobinmag.com.
  38. ^ "Honduras, Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments". CIA. CIA. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014.
  39. ^ " Juan Orlando en CNN con Fernando del Rincón", Noti Bomba
  40. ^ "Hilda Hernández dice 'adiós' a su cargo en el gobierno". Elheraldo.hn. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  41. ^ Lakhani, Nina (5 June 2019). "Honduras deploys security forces as doctors and teachers demand president's resignation". The Guardian. San Pedro Sula.
  42. ^ Associated Press (3 August 2019). "Honduran President Accused in NY of Drug Conspiracy". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019.
  43. ^ "Honduras protests: Military deployed after violence". BBC. London. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  44. ^ "President of Honduras implicated in $1.5 million drug money conspiracy by New York prosecutor". Univision. USA. 3 August 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  45. ^ "Marchan en Honduras en apoyo al presidente Juan Orlando Hernández" [March in Honduras in support of President Juan Orlando Hernandez]. La Jornanda (in Spanish). 20 October 2019.
  46. ^ a b c Wong, Julia Carrie (12 April 2021). "How Facebook let fake engagement distort global politics: a whistleblower's account". The Guardian (in British English). ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  47. ^ Wong, Julia Carrie; Ernst, Jeff (13 April 2021). "Facebook knew of Honduran president's manipulation campaign – and let it continue for 11 months". The Guardian. San Francisco. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  48. ^ "Presidente de Honduras informa que dio positivo a Covid". El Universal (in Spanish). 17 June 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  49. ^ "President Tsai hosts state banquet for President and First Lady of Honduras". Office of the President, Republic of China. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2020.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by President of the National Congress
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Honduras