FUSINA: Two-and-A-Half Years of Achievements Firmly Battling Crime
By Kay Valle/Diálogo September 08, 2016In 2014, the Government of Honduras created the Interinstitutional Security Force (FUSINA per its Spanish acronym) to counter the activities of common criminals, organized crime, and drug traffickers in the country. The force comprises elements from various parts of the national security forces. Most noteworthy among FUSINA's activities are seizing drugs, money, weapons, real estate, and vehicles; arrests; extraditions; breaking up gangs; drug prevention programs; disabling clandestine airstrips; recovering territories; destroying drug laboratories; protecting the borders; and directly working to reduce the homicide rate. The activities of organized crime earned Honduras the title of the most violent not-at-war country in the world years ago. The country gained this reputation because, according to data from the University Institute on Democracy, Peace, and Security (IUDPAS per its Spanish acronym), its 10,441 homicides in 2012 translated to the world's highest rate of murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The IUDPAS analysis linked the homicides to the activities of organized crime. Migdonia Ayestas, IUDPAS's director, said that, "upon analyzing the homicides on a case-by-case basis, we discovered that the principal causes are due to revenge killings in the form of paid assassinations (sicarios), gang confrontations, and territorial disputes. All these causes stem from drug trafficking." In 2013, the homicide rate dropped to 79 per 100,000 inhabitants. According to Ayestas, this drop was due to the strategies being implemented by the government, but she recommended that those strategies be improved upon in order to achieve a more significant drop. It was time for FUSINA to begin its operations. Planning and Coordinated Work Yield Results Since its inception, FUSINA's results have been highly positive, in great measure due to its coordinated, interagency work. The force comprises members of the Armed Forces, National Police, the National Intelligence and Investigation Directorate, the Public Ministry, the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Migration Institute, and the Public Order Military Police. FUSINA's commander, Infantry Colonel Selman David Arriaga Orellana, is of the opinion that the force's achievements are due to the planning of police/military security operations aimed at preventing crime, as well as supporting the government in operations in conflict zones. "FUSINA's work positively influences the fight against common and organized crime, which permits the rational use of state resources. Likewise, the work with the institutions that comprise it is carried out with high levels of trust and coordination and is undertaken with lots of professionalism and patriotic commitment," stated Col. Arriaga. To meet the citizenry's security expectations, FUSINA untiringly pursues activities that stem from crime-prevention and civilian-security operations. Through August 23rd, 2016, FUSINA's operations have yielded the following results: Arrests with outstanding warrants: 2,183 Arrests for illegally transiting the country: 1,978 Arrests for drug trafficking: 806 Extraditions: 3 Kilograms of cocaine seized: 590 Kilograms of marijuana seized: 8,182 Kilograms of coca paste: 76 Drug laboratories destroyed: 2 Firearms seized: 1,741 (AK47, AR15, 9MM) Munitions seized: 20,459 (AK47, AR15) Pieces of property confiscated: 334 Criminal gangs broken up: 47 Seized currency: $1,453,930 Clandestine airstrips disabled: 19 Vehicles and motorcycles seized: 488 Vehicles and motorcycles recovered: 386 Empire of justice Referring to the results of FUSINA's work, President Juan Orlando Hernaández said justice is slowly being restored to the country. Hernaández made his remarks during a presentation of FUSINA's achievements at the Security Ministry. “With respect to security, significant steps have been taken that aim to improve living conditions for Hondurans," he underscored. “We are already emerging from a dark period. The perception of impunity and corruption that existed is shrinking,” the president said. An IUDPAS poll on Civilian Perception of Insecurity and Victimization in Honduras shows encouraging results. It shows that the three institutions in which the Honduran population trusts the most are the Military Police of Public Order, with 54.3 percent; the Armed Forces, with 52 percent; and FUSINA, in third place with 50.2 percent. To ensure that the perceptions of the civilian population regarding security matters continue to improve, Col. .r Arriaga explained that FUSINA has several short-term goals in its plan. They include strengthening the National Police, the Prosecutor’s Office .and the Supreme Court of Justice. "Citizens should understand that FUSINA will respond to the trust the people already have placed in it, that we will continue taking on the challenge to train ourselves continuously and work within a legal framework, since there is government policy aimed at creating the bases for a peaceful society, with security standards demanded by a population that aspires as a country to insert itself successfully into a globalized and evermore competitive world," concluded Col. Arriaga.