Honduras Must Not Remain Alone in Fight Against Organized Crime

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Transnational organized crime in Honduras remains a threat to neighboring nations and borders
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    HOME    ABOUT   EDITORIAL   NATIONAL   CULTURE   INTERNATIONAL   VOLUNTEERISM   TRAVEL   MONEY   LETTERS TO EDITOR   Honduras Must Not Remain Alone in Fight AgainstOrganized Crime Written by Jerry Brewer  I ncredulous sights, wary views and opinions, and significant despair show theuncertainty of many of the people of Honduras in their government's ability to provideurgently needed security and safety from violent crime, which has resulted in a massivedeath toll through apparent unstoppable violence. An iron-fisted grip by transnational organized criminals remains Hondurans’ greatest challenge, especially with the approach of their next presidential elections on November 24. Honduras possesses the highest rate of intentional homicide in the world, “significantly higher than the ra te in El Salvador” that has the second highest rate, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.   These organized criminals operate across borders for the clear purpose of obtainingpower and influence by illegal means , through a pattern of corruption, violence anddeath for large financial gain. They act conspiratorially with a myriad of rogue brokers of transgression and evildoers that share a mutual propensity to commit illegal acts for these massive profits.Hondurans face much more in their dilemma than other nations in the northern cone of Central America and Mexico face, with respect to how to police their homeland, enforcethe rule of law, and protect citizens from this barbaric carnage. Hondurans are torn as totheir trust of the military, their government, the police, the United States, or other offersof assistance to bring relief or justice to their suffering. There have been reports of death squad activity against the organized criminals by police, as well as the insinuationthat the U.S. could be culpable due to its funding of the police. These attacks againstthe violent insurgents and loc al gangs have been described as “dispatching summary justice to gang members in a policy of ‘social cleansing’ with complete impunity” (  Al Jazeera English , June 4, 2013).The irony is that in addition to accusations of police killing the bad guys, the Honduran police are also accused of “organized crime ties”. Around 1,400 police officials were recently suspended pending polygraph tests to attempt to determine organized crimeties.One interesting theory is whether much of this violence is directed against thegovernment to protest the possible extradition of criminal Honduran nationals to the US.Colombia faced this in the 1980s, during the reign of crime lord Pablo Escobar. Escobar orchestrated a war of blood, carnage and kidnapping in Colombia against police,government officials, judges and others in retaliation. Colombia subsequently outlawedextradition, in 1991, which was reinstated in 1997, a couple of years after Escobar waskilled.Much of the organized gang activity in Honduras, mainly by the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13 and 18), has been violent, with large numbers of kidnappings and acts of extortion.MS gangs have also been known to shoot up public transportation vehicles. The MSgangs srcinated through Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s, andcontinued to assimilate in US prisons along with Mexican gangs. Thousands werereleased after arrest, and once the sentences of those convicted were completed in theUS, many were deported to Central America -- although many returned illegally andmoved into US cities.The true numbers of transnational organized criminals throughout Mexico and thenorthern cone of Central America is not known. However, Honduras is the world's mostviolent country with 85 to 91 killings per 100,000 people. With a population of eightmillion, Honduras also has 80 percent of the cocaine destined for the US passingthrough its territory. Too, Honduras is perceived to be a relative safe haven fromprosecution and the reach of US prosecutors.  Facing the facts about “policing” is indeed sobering. Police in Honduras, Mexico andother nation’s were never created or designed to face such military -style armamentsand tactical strategies as those used by many of the insurgents. In addition, thecriminals are now engaged in much more than drug trafficking. The so-called war ondrugs is now primarily a war against violent organized crime, and kidnapping andextortion for ransom, robbery, murder for hire, human and sex trafficking, oil thefts, andrelated violent crimes by the perpetrators continue to escalate. Transnational crime requires a transnational enforcement response. Hondurans can’t sit and wait for the government to purge corruption from its ranks. They need to enforcethe rule of law aggressively. Will the military also be their alternative at this point The corruptive power of these insurgents must be disrupted. It won’t happen with “gangtruces”. There is no wealth for the criminals with a truce -- they would have to find other  jobs or trades for much lower compensation, as well as lose power status. You mustbreak their economic power and enabling networks.The answers for success require international and multilateral support to all of the nations in harm’s way. This is not a time to continue to bury heads in the sand. ( 6/11/13)(photo courtesy David Nallah) Note: This article was reprinted with permission of the author. It was srcinally published at MexiData.info. Jerry Brewer  is the Chief Executive Officer of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northernVirginia. His website is located at www.cjiausa.org.TWITTER: CJIAUSA Jerry Brewer  Published Archives  
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