January 3, 2007

One corrupt politician falls, maybe

Forgive me while I revel in one Honduran corrupto's (corrupt politician's) downfall. At least it is beginning to look like it may be his downfall − but we've been fooled before.

I wanted to get the pictures, but first the site was overloaded and then for some strange reason, all the links were broken. But where there is a will, there is a way, and finally I rooted out these photos. This is two week old news, but it will be new to most of you.

December 18, 2006 La Prensa headline read CAPTURED! This is the former mayor and a current regidor (city councilman) of San Pedro Sula, second largest city in Honduras:

La Prensa, Honduras, December 18, 2006

The photo caption reads, "The ex-mayor Kilgore threw himself under a table and began to cry when the agents neared to arrest him."

He has been accused of outright stealing more than L. 1 million, bartering two properties that were supposed to be neighborhood green areas, obtaining a L. 20 million bank loan on behalf of the city when only a L. 5 million loan was approved , using L. 31,000 in excessive city fuel allowances, having secret bank accounts containing city money, etc. To date 11 cases of misappropriation of public funds and abuse of power are being investigated.

This was an exclusive for La Prensa and was the most viewed article ever on their website, which couldn't take the load. Street vendors reported running out of newspapers by 8:00 a.m., also a record.

Public opinion was generally along these lines:
"Poor him? Why? Poor us who have been robbed for four years."

"What they've done with Kilgore they should do with a mountain of corrupt politicians who walk in the streets."

December 19 front page headline was "They humiliated me." This is the second page photo:

La Prensa, Honduras, December 19, 2006

He appears to have recovered his composure even before he could wipe the tears off his glasses.

In the article, he blusters about his innocence, saying that this is politically motivated persecution, his human rights have been violated, and to prove he's not corrupt, he explains how he is three months behind on his car payment and that his cell phone has been turned off on occasion for non-payment. Hah! But we all know that
corruptos are so arrogant about their power that they don't pay their bills and usually get away with it.

If you know Honduras at all, you know that the
corruptos rarely get arrested, no matter what they've done. Some leave the country with the millions they have stolen. Some bribe the police, fiscalía (district attorneys), judges, or others in the court system and not only get off free but get elected over and over again.

Even if they are arrested, rich people do not go to jail in Honduras. It is just a fact of life; only poor people go to jail.

The courts grant "substitute measures," (as they did in Kilgore's case) where they are supposedly confined to their own luxurious homes and voluntarily report to the court once a week. If the accused is in really bad trouble, he then skips the country. Politicians are reluctant to prosecute knowing that the same may happen to them after the next elections.

But what happens most of the time is that a big scandal is reported in the paper for a few days, and then months later, they may report that insufficient evidence was obtained, or the evidence was 'lost,' or the witness was murdered.

We'll see what happens in this case. I think even just one
corrupto going to jail might begin to make a difference. It would be a start anyway.
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