Honduras Requests International Aid for Fight against Crime

By Dialogo
February 03, 2012

On February 1, Honduras requested international aid for the fight that the government is waging against high levels of crime, especially due to the participation of police officers in organized-crime activities, Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla announced.

“We’re requesting cooperation both in terms of recommendations and in terms of everything with which friendly countries might be able to help us,” Bonilla said following a meeting with ambassadors from various countries, in which Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales, Communications Minister Miguel Bonilla, and legislators participated.

Honduras has a homicide rate of 82 per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in the world, according to a UN report.

Porfirio Lobo’s administration admits that the problem of insecurity in Honduras has gotten out of hand, upon the discovery in October that entire police precincts — some 14,500 men — were part of gangs engaged in drug trafficking, kidnapping, assault, murder for hire, and extortion.

“There’s great cooperation with friendly countries; they’re collaborating with diagnostic studies and recommendations of what we should do (…) in order to respond to the Honduran people with peace and security,” the security minister emphasized.

Bonilla mentioned a recent diagnostic study of the police force by Colombian experts, which reported “generalized corruption,” “indifference in providing services,” and “lack of training.”

Three experts from the Chilean Carabineros, the country’s national paramilitary police force, have been in Honduras since January 29 to conduct an evaluation of the police and present recommendations on how to overcome the problems.

On January 31, Congress approved a decree to purge the police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the judicial branch through actions adopted by a commission made up of domestic and foreign experts.

The commission will be able “to investigate within the National Police, throughout its structure and from top to bottom, acts of corruption, violations of human rights, crimes of various kinds, modes of operation in conducting criminal activities, police abuses in the various municipalities where they operate, and criminal structures existing within the police force.”