Newsletter No.30
🗞️ A plane carrying fake vaccines was apprehended in Mexico this week. The crew worked for Grupo Karim’s, owned by Mohamad Yusuf Amdani, one of the richest people in Honduras. 
🗞️ The public scrutiny of votes for Honduras’ primaries continues. 
🗞️ Mexico has closed its two southern borders, as a migrant caravan prepares to leave Honduras.

🔎Investigative feature:🔎

Crew of plane with fake vaccines are Honduran employees of a billion-dollar company

Image obtained from the Sputnik-V vaccine website

A private plane carrying Sputnik-V vaccine doses later determined to be fake was apprehended in Mexico this week. The plane was headed for Honduras and most of its crew are employed by Grupo Karim’s, owned by Mohamad Yusuf Amdani, one of the richest people in Honduras. 

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the entity that funded the Sputnik-V vaccine, analyzed photos of the vaccines and said, “The container and label design both indicate that this is a fake substance,” adding that authentic vaccine labels bear QR codes for traceability.

The fake vaccines are indicative of potential problems Hondurans may have to deal with in the future, with a blackmarket for the highly-in-demand product likely.

The main hospitals in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa reported that their COVID-19 units were at full capacity in February and March.

Honduras votes

Given the issues with electoral rolls and the electoral reforms (or lack thereof), the primaries held two weeks ago were an interesting tester, in the lead-up to November’s national elections.

The public count began yesterday. However, 17% of the vote counts already had inconsistencies. Electoral Council representative, Rixi Moncada, said there will be a re-counting and verification process and excess votes will be annulled. 

📹 Video: The Electoral Council public count.

Central America News Roundup 

🌎 There are differing analyses and opinions about if there is indeed a surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border, and why. The Washington Post argues that the current numbers fit the typical seasonal patterns, and make sense when the 1-year (and still ongoing) closure of the border is taken into account - therefore, the numbers aren’t due to Biden’s policies. Pew suggests there is a surge, with 100,000 apprehensions in February. 

🌎 A new migrant caravan is set to leave Honduras on 30 March. This time, organizers are requesting participants take Covid-19 tests before joining, so the excuses used by migration officials last time, can’t be used this time.

🌎 Mexico has closed its borders with Guatemala and Belize to so-called “non essential traffic,” with Covid-19 as the reason. However, the move coincides with a meeting between president AMLO and Biden, and a shipment of vaccines from the US to Mexico.

🌎 So far this year, the Journalist Protection Board (La Mesa de Protección a Periodistas) in El Salvador has registered 94 attacks on journalists.

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This newsletter was written by Tamara Pearson and designed by Catherine Calderón.

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Producciones Red Comunica, Investiga y Conecta S. de R. L. De C. V. · Bosques de Jucutuma, Bloque A, Calle 2, San Pedro Sula, Cortés · San Pedro Sula, Cortes 21102 · Honduras

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