Speaking of Drug Trafficking in Honduras

By Dialogo
February 03, 2011

The fight against the banning of drugs (licit and illicit) is a war without quarter and not only a battle. For this reason, it is necessary and urgent to build and move forward with a common front that is more powerful in every sense. At present, a coherent and well-structured policy against drug activities does not exist, since the lack of political will is evident, as is, in some cases, the unfamiliarity with the drug traffickers’ structures, as well as the lack of logistics, of systematic and selective recruitment of human resources, and of electronic and logistical means appropriate to the institutions involved in this fight. It should be understood that only with concentrated attacks by air, land, and sea will it be possible to obtain the positive results to be looked for from a strategy and a planning process focused on joint operations.

The National Council against Drug Trafficking, created to define short-, medium-, and long-term policies and strategies, has not fulfilled this purpose. Over the course of time (since its creation by Decree 35-90 of April 1990), it has on occasion tried to unite people, institutions, and ideas that present themselves as having the force to change the system of laws that neither deter nor quickly and effectively punish those who dedicate themselves to this kind of lucrative business, tremendously harmful to our society. Attempts were made to reform the law that created the Council and to implement regulations governing it, since this was not done at the beginning, but all these endeavors turned out to be in vain. Multiple meetings held with the different institutions fighting this plague had as their fundamental purpose the design of a national strategy against this evil, since it was urgent to have clear policies and unified standards in order to further the efforts made up to that time.

In the discussions pursued with the national anti-narcotics institutions, the strengths and weaknesses of each one were identified, leading to the conclusion that the development of a national drug strategy was needed, and the collaboration of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD/OAS) was requested in order to start the study and structuring of the document in March 2008 and put it into action in January 2009. This institution was in charge of coordinating the project, which turned out to be a matter of interest to all the participating entities. Up to now, however, this document has also not been published for application by each of the participating entities, although this would be the most suitable manner of confronting the drug phenomenon, both operationally and in terms of prevention.

For many years, the National Council against Drug Trafficking has been unable to function appropriately due to its failure to meet, as well as to the scant importance given to the issue in question, and the entire effort has been limited to leaving the Executive Secretariat to manage solely the administrative aspects, since according to the law, the Secretariat is only intended to follow up on resolutions taken at the Council’s sessions. In the draft of the Council Act’s Implementing Regulations, which have not been approved for unknown reasons, the administrative functions of each agency are classified in order to improve their functioning, since in this way, it would be possible to transparently administer the budgets assigned, as well as the programs to be developed.

The operational institutions, such as the Fight against Drug Trafficking Directorate, the National Defense Secretariat, and the Security Secretariat, among others, have been left to act as the protagonists of actions against drug activities, without providing them adequate technological, logistical, and budgetary support to confront an evil that is growing at a disturbing rate every day. As Alfredo Landaverde has already warned on multiple occasions, if the efforts needed for a frontal attack on drug trafficking are not made, from all the angles considered in a national strategy, it will be very difficult to prevent the drug bosses from penetrating many institutions and buying loyalty or acquiescence. For now, we are only in the process of becoming aware of the large number of drug planes that land on our territory, but it is logical to suppose that much remains to be done in order to learn who is receiving the product that these aircraft transport.