Charles Call, an associate professor of peace and conflict resolution at American University in Washington.

Following the verdict this week, Hondurans expressed a sense of fatigue, and widespread cynicism that anything would change.

“We do not live in a state of law,” said Edwin Kelly, 35, a data analyst from La Ceiba who lamented “the power of the narco-president.”

The latest revelations might, though, drive even more migrants to head north.

There are many reasons more Honduras have been leaving in recent years, among them insecurity and poverty, said Mr. Olson, of the Seattle International Foundation.

“But there’s a meta-story, which is the failure of government,” he said “We need to give the people of Central America a sense of hope. And that starts with fighting corruption and ending this ridiculous theft of Hondurans’ future.”

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Mexico Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis

MEXICO CITY — Lawmakers in Mexico approved a bill Wednesday night to legalize recreational marijuana, a milestone for the country, which is in the throes of a drug war and could become the world’s largest cannabis market, leaving the United States between two pot-selling neighbors.

The 316-to-129 vote in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medicinal cannabis.

The chamber approved the bill in general terms Wednesday evening before moving on to a lengthy discussion of possible revisions introduced by individual lawmakers. In its final form, though, the measure is widely expected to sail through the Senate before being sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for legalization.

The measure, as of Wednesday night, would allow adults to smoke marijuana and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home. It would also grant licenses for producers — from small farmers to commercial growers — to cultivate and sell the crop.

promised to scrap federal prohibition of the drug this year.

For “Mexico, given its size and its worldwide reputation for being damaged by the drug war, to take this step is enormously significant,” said John Walsh, director of drug policy for the Washington Office on Latin America, a U.S. advocacy group. “North America is heading toward legalization.”

according to recent polling.

the Council on Foreign Relations.

Legalization “is an important step toward building peace in a country like ours, where for at least a decade or more, we’ve been immersed in an absurd war,” said Lucía Riojas Martínez, a Mexican congresswoman who made headlines in 2019 when she gave a rolled joint to the country’s interior minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, after delivering a speech in Congress.

“But this bill falls short of achieving that,” she added.

published rules in January covering the growing and research of medicinal cannabis.

Local advocates say the restrictions on possession will limit the bill’s impact, particularly for low-income consumers, who may fall prey to extortion from the police, a regular occurrence in Mexico.

“We live in a country where corruption and extortion is the norm,” said Zara Snapp, co-founder of the RIA Institute, a Mexico-city based drug policy research and advocacy group.

Still, for many proponents in Mexico, approving the bill is a notable step in the long journey toward full legalization.

“It’s like when you’re running a marathon and you haven’t started — running the first meter helps to start the discussion,” said Mr. Sánchez, the marijuana businessman. “It means firing the starting gun, even if we still have 42 kilometers left to go.”

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Honduran Leader Vowed to Help Flood U.S. With Cocaine, Prosecutor Says

“I will maintain international cooperation,” he wrote. “But the next government and those of other countries? How will the future be if the narcos win benefits from the USA for their false testimonies, with obvious lies?”

He added, “Inevitable collapse.”

The trial of Mr. Fuentes, who has denied the charges against him, is expected to run into next week. A defense lawyer for Mr. Fuentes, Eylan Schulman, said in his opening argument that his client was “an innocent man wrongly accused of very serious crimes.”

If Tuesday’s statements, coupled with court filings, are any indication, prosecutors are likely to draw a stark portrait of Mr. Hernández as a key player in the drug trafficking industry, which has contributed to the dysfunction and violence that has driven many Hondurans to leave the country in search of safety and better opportunity.

Mr. Gutwillig, the prosecutor, did not mince words in his opening arguments on Tuesday: He called Honduras “a narco-state.”

Mr. Fuentes, he said, “distributed massive quantities of cocaine to the United States,” a business that was enabled through his connections “to police, military and political power in Honduras: mayors, congressmen, military generals and police chiefs, even the current president of Honduras.”

“The defendant owned them all — bought and paid for,” Mr. Gutwillig said.

Mr. Fuentes developed a relationship with Mr. Hernández, who took office in 2014, in a series of secret meetings in 2013 and 2014 during which the men “plotted to send as much cocaine as possible to the United States,” the prosecutor said. Mr. Fuentes paid Mr. Hernández $25,000 for the help.

Mr. Hernández, he said, “made the defendant bulletproof.”

Court records describe conversations between Mr. Hernández and Mr. Fuentes in which the president tells the accused trafficker not to worry about arrest, extradition or the long reach of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. According to prosecutors, Mr. Hernández told Mr. Fuentes that his fight against drug trafficking was a bluff and that he planned to get rid of the extradition policy and swamp the United States with cocaine.

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