Honduras Launches Military Operations on the Streets
By Dialogo February 15, 2013
On one of the main access roads of Tegucigalpa, a military officer with an armored vehicle with a 50 mm canon, forces drivers to stop: it is one of the many check points set up in the Honduran capital and in San Pedro Sula within the so-called “Operation Freedom” against criminal violence.
During the night at the eastern check point in Tegucigalpa Valle de los Ángeles road, four soldiers with lanterns asked the driver of a grey sedan and his female companion to pull over to conduct a bumper to bumper inspection of the vehicle.
“I feel safer with these operatives,” says the woman. “Of course! Maybe this is the way it has to be,” the man adds, waiting calmly, although they didn’t want to their names to be released.
After discharging them, the Captain leading the 26-Soldier group at the check point says that “people are happy. They tell us they feel safer since the operation started.”
In an offensive against organized crime, Porfirio Lobo’s government sent 1,500 militaries to reinforce the police forces on the streets in the most dangerous neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, not only the two main Honduran cities, but also the most violent in the world due to drug trafficking, gangs, and crime.
Police contingents made Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 members retreat in Las Ayestas, located in the western part of the city. The gangs had imposed a curfew in the neighborhood, forcing dwellers to close their households and stores at night.