Honduran opposition leader flees arrest after being stopped before flying to US

Photo of author

By LatAm Reports Editor

David Chávez Madison, the leader of Honduras’ main opposition party, made a dramatic escape from Palmerola International Airport early Tuesday. Authorities reported that Chávez, who was about to board a flight to the United States, evaded capture by breaking through a parking gate with his pickup truck. This incident occurred after immigration agents halted him for possessing two passports, leading to a second inspection.

Allan Alvarenga, the director of Honduras’ immigration agency, informed the local press that Chávez abandoned his passports during the encounter. Images released by authorities showed Chávez fleeing in a black baseball cap, jacket, and pants.

However, the passport issue might not have been the primary concern for Chávez. A few hours after the airport incident, a judge issued an order for his arrest, linked to a 2016 complaint by the National Anticorruption Council. The complaint pertains to alleged irregularities during Chávez’s tenure as the director of the National Institute of Professional Training. According to Yuri Mora, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office, the irregularities involved a bidding process between 2012 and 2013, where a significantly inflated contract was granted for equipping regional training centers in several Honduran cities.

Security Minister Gustavo Sánchez announced that a search operation for Chávez was in progress. Chávez, aware of the ongoing investigation, had earlier dismissed the allegations as political persecution in a news conference on Monday.

These events unfold amidst a backdrop of political tension in Honduras. The ruling party of President Xiomara Castro has been making efforts to gain influence over the justice system. Castro’s allies in Congress have appointed an interim attorney general, a move that analysts and constitutional scholars have criticized as illegal. The opposition, including Chávez, has accused President Castro of consolidating power and undermining the nation’s checks and balances system.