Honduran Congress Authorizes Army to Fight Drug Trafficking

By Dialogo
December 01, 2011

The Honduran Congress has approved the country’s Army to participate in efforts to fight crime, amid an escalation of violence that has saddled the impoverished country with the highest homicide rate in the world.

The Army has normally supported the police in crime-prevention operations, but they have not been able to act freely.

The Honduran Congress, made up of 128 legislators, adopted the proposal with 109 votes in favor, at a time when the Central American nation has found itself plagued by executions linked to Mexican drug traffickers who have extended their activities southward.

“This legislation will enable the Armed Forces to take on police tasks in order to confront organized crime and drug trafficking, which is rampaging throughout the country,” ruling-party legislator Oswaldo Ramos said.

Military personnel will be able to make arrests and conduct searches and vehicle inspections, which only police officers had been able to do until now.

According to a recent report by the United Nations, Honduras has the world’s highest homicide rate, 82.1 per 100,000 inhabitants.

An average of 20 homicides a day are recorded in the country, according to the Central American country’s authorities.

The phenomenon is attributed to revenge killings or disputes over territory between gangs of drug traffickers operating in corridors along which cocaine moves from South America in transit to the United States.