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Central America Drug War News

Five Years Later, US Admits Lies About Deadly Honduran Shooting  5/26/2017 FAIR: "A Justice and State Department review reveals that top Drug Enforcement Administration officials lied repeatedly to Justice and to Congress about deadly shootings in Honduras in May 2012—including an incident off the Mosquito Coast in which a boat was fired on, killing four passengers, among them a 14-year-old boy. DEA officials long maintained, and media reported, that those killed were drug dealers who had fired first."

Honduran government, narcos, and dams: eco-activist mayor Omar Suazo arrested after surviving an assassination attempt  5/14/2017 Garifunaweb: Summary of the Omar Suazo case - "An eco-activist and singer in the Garifuna tradition, Omar "Babakle" Suazo is mayor of Sambo Creek, a largely Garifuna town in Honduras. In the early hours of Monday May 8th, he was assaulted by a group of special agents and thrown to the ground face down while one stabbed him 4 times in the back. The attackers were shouting genocidal slogans, "Death to the Garifuna." An onlooker opened fire, killing the man stabbing Suazo and wounding at least one other. Regular police then arrived and arrested Omar Suazo for murder. He has been in jail ever since, in a private cell which may not shield him from additional attempts on his life."

Contracts Awarded to Honduras Drug Clan Illustrate Cyclical Corruption  3/9/2017 Insight Crime: "In Honduras, government contracts are more than just a means to completing public works projects. They are often at the heart of how corruption and organized crime functions, as these contracts enable state monies to move from political elites to underworld figures in an ostensibly legal fashion. This process becomes a self-reinforcing cycle of corruption when the owners of the companies receiving the contracts send kickbacks or campaign contributions to the politicians responsible for doling them out. The Cachiros, for instance, regularly made significant donations to the campaigns of politicians from both of the country's major political parties, the National Party and Liberal Party."

Atlantic Cartel  11/25/2016 Insight Crime: [covers the areas occupied by Garinagu] "The investigations of the murders of González and Landaverde languished for years, and the cases came to exemplify the extent of criminality and impunity within the Honduran police force. In 2014, recordings surfaced from a police station known as the Casamata, or "Slaughter House," which showed officers discussing plans to execute González. Shortly thereafter, a police officer who had retrieved the recordings, apparently planning to turn them over to investigators, was found dead."

US Investigating Criminal Ties of Dozens of Honduras Elites: Report  10/11/2016 Insight Crime: "Nearly three dozen mayors, congressmen, judges, military officials and police officers in Honduras are reportedly being investigated for their connections to a drug cartel, a potentially explosive probe that could help expose the deep links between elites and organized crime in the country."

Gangs in Honduras  4/21/2016 Insight Crime: "This report was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by InSight Crime with assistance from the Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa."

Un informe revela nombres y hechos relacionados con asesinatos cometidos por la policía en Honduras  4/15/2016 NYT: "La revelación de la responsabilidad de la cúpula policial hondureña en asesinatos de alto impacto sucede la misma semana que se ha instalado la Misión de Apoyo Contra la Corrupción e Impunidad en Honduras (MACCIH). Creada por la Organización de Estados Americanos con el permiso del gobierno, la misión busca responder a la presión ciudadana que durante meses el año pasado pidió en las calles que la comunidad internacional interviniera el sistema de justicia del país."

Tres generales y un cartel: violencia policial e impunidad en Honduras  4/15/2016 NYT: "Al General Arístides González lo mandaron a matar dos directores generales de la policía de Honduras que dirigieron la institución entre 2010 y 2013, los generales José Luis Muñoz Licona y José Ricardo Ramírez del Cid, que según la investigación de la propia policía, trabajaban para el Cartel del Atlántico junto con más de dos docenas de oficiales de diversos rangos. Recibieron la orden, organizaron el asesinato, lo ejecutaron y lo encubrieron. E hicieron lo mismo con el político de la Democracia Cristiana Alfredo Landaverde, que también había sido titular de la Dirección de Lucha contra el Narcotráfico."

Files Suggest Honduran Police Leaders Ordered Killing of Antidrug Officials  4/15/2016 NYT: "Behind the scenes, according to the case files, the police investigators took just three weeks to solve the murder. The chief suspects were a cell of high-ranking police commanders working hand-in-hand with drug traffickers. The conspiracy reached all the way to the chief of police."

Drugs, Dams, and Power: The Murder of Honduran Activist Berta Cáceres  3/11/2016 The Intercept: "Cáceres told her she was being “seriously harassed” by three local politicians who she believed were acting at the behest of Desarrollos Energéticos, SA (DESA), the private energy company behind the Agua Zarca dam. DESA is partially controlled by the controversial Honduran Atala family, whose members are involved in a variety of business ventures and suspected by many of having backed the 2009 coup. Best known among them is billionaire Camilo Atala, president of Banco Ficohsa, a regional bank that in 2014 acquired most of Citibank’s assets in the region, making it the largest bank in Honduras."

Honduras - Events of 2015  1/1/2016 Human Rights Watch: "Rampant crime and impunity for human rights abuses remain the norm in Honduras. Despite a downward trend in recent years, the murder rate is among the highest in the world. Efforts to reform the institutions responsible for providing public security have made little progress. Marred by corruption and abuse, the judiciary and police remain largely ineffective."

Did Yani Rosenthal Surrender in Honduras Elite Case?  11/3/2015 Insight Crime: "Secondly, Yani’s decision may be so as to protect the Rosenthals' conglomerate, Grupo Continental, one of Honduras’s largest economic groups. The US indictment was released at the same time as the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added three Rosenthals and seven of their businesses to the “Kingpin List,” effectively embargoing all business dealings with the family. While there are no open investigations against the Rosenthals in Honduras, Honduran officials have seized at least 16 of the family’s assets. The government has also closed the Rosenthal’s Banco Continental. Liquidation of the bank has been a major financial hit for the both the family and ordinary Honduran citizens."

La caída de los Rosenthal, el poderoso clan hondureño acusado de lavado de dinero y narcotráfico  10/14/2015 BBC Mundo: "Como una de las familias más ricas e influyentes de Honduras, los Rosenthal estaban acostumbrados a ocupar importantes puestos de gobierno y su apellido figuraba regularmente entre los aspirantes a la presidencia. Pero en lugar de pelear por la máxima magistratura sus energías ahora están puestas en tratar de evitar una cárcel en Estados Unidos, país que les acusa de haber estado lavando dinero proveniente del narcotráfico durante al menos diez años."

US Releases Indictment Against Honduras Business Behemoth  10/7/2015 Insight Crime: "The US Treasury Department simultaneously named the three Rosenthals as "Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers," and added the family bank, meat packing plant and investment arm, among other businesses, to its "Specially Designated Nationals" (SDN) list, which prohibits others from doing business with these companies or face sanctions."

Why is Honduras so violent?  10/1/2015 Brookings Institution: "It remains one of the most violent countries in the world due to a serious organized crime problem associated with drug trafficking and gangs. This has produced both internal displacement and a wave of undocumented immigrants to the United States (including unaccompanied minors). Drug trafficking has contributed to corruption, impunity, and insecurity in Honduras. President Juan Orlando Hernández, who took office in 2014, responded with a crackdown on crime and the militarization of law enforcement, but faces serious criticism over corruption in government and human rights abuses by the security forces. This week, the Honduran government accepted a proposed Organization of American States (OAS) mission to counter corruption and impunity, the MACCIH (Misión de Apoyo en Contra de la Corrupción e Impunidad en Honduras)."

U.S. Military: More Counter-Narcotics Funding Will Help Stem Exodus of Children from Central America  7/29/2014 NarcoNews: “… It has been the malignant effects of immense drug trafficking through these nonconsumer nations [in Central America] that is responsible for accelerating the breakdown in their national institutions of human rights, law enforcement, courts, and eventually their entire society as evidenced today by the flow of children north and out of the conflictive transit zone,” Kelly wrote. “… I believe that the mass migration of children we are all of a sudden struggling with is a leading indicator of the negative second- and third-order impacts on our national interests that are now reality due to the near unimpeded flow of drugs up the isthmus [Central America], as well as the unbelievable levels of drug profits (approximately $85 billion) available to transnational criminal organizations to literally buy police departments, court systems and even governments.”

The Honduras Drug War  6/27/2014 CounterPunch 

A Mission Gone Wrong  1/6/2014 New Yorker: "“The story that was out there at the time was entirely different from what we saw.” Later, having become more familiar with the shooting, the Senate aide said, “I am not aware of anyone in the Honduran government or the State Department who, after reviewing the case, believes that the evidence establishes that the people in the boat fired at the agents.”

Mitt Romney’s “Pinochet Moment”  9/20/2012 Mad Cow Morning News: "Speaking about US policy towards Honduras, Romney accused President Obama of backing a "pro-Marxist" leader in Honduras, faulting him for not more quickly and enthusiastically supporting the military coup in 2009 that deposed the elected President of a fledgling democracy. That Romney chose to say anything at all about a small nation in Central America was somewhat surprising, especially since he hasn't been specific about much else. But, as he must know, Honduras is important to US foreign policy for only one reason: Controlling Hondurus is important to controlling the drug trade."

Romney broadens criticism of Obama on Middle East violence  9/14/2012 Detroit News: "The Republican presidential candidate offered a series of criticisms, attacking Obama for refusing a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, backing a "pro-Marxist" leader in Honduras, failing to support protesters in Iran and mismanaging the alliance with Egypt."

Romney Campaign Calls Obama Foreign Policy 'Confusing' and 'Amateur Hour'  9/14/2012 ABC: ""When Honduras and their supreme court removed the president of the country -- a pro-Marxist, anti-American president -- and he insisted, our president, President Barack Obama insisted he get put back. That sent a message to the world," Romney said, igniting applause from the 900 attendees."

Honduran jet fighter shot down DEA drug plane  9/11/2012 MadCow Morning News: “The U.S. agreement with Honduras for sharing radar intelligence specifically prohibits shooting down civilian aircraft. We are merely seeking better controls for its militarized approach to combating drugs in Central America,” said the spokesman. “The decision came after two separate incidents in July, when civilian aircraft were shot down off the coast of northern Honduras. We don't have information about the occupants or their cargo."

US suspends anti-drug radar support in Honduras  9/7/2012 AP: "The United States has suspended sharing of radar intelligence with Honduras because the Central American nation's air force shot down two suspected drug planes in violation of agreements with Washington, the State Department and U.S. military confirmed Friday. The decision came after two separate incidents in July, when civilian aircraft were shot down off the coast of northern Honduras, said William Ostick, spokesman for the State Department's Western Hemispheric Affairs Office. The U.S. agreement with Honduras for information sharing specifically prohibits shooting down civilian aircraft."

“Pepe” Lobo confirma derribo de avioneta  9/7/2012 Nuevo Herald: "El presidente de Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, admitió que hubo un derribo de una avioneta por parte de una autoridad nacional sin respeto a un “protocolo”, y dejó entrever que el incidente le costó el puesto al exjefe de las Fuerzas Aérea Hondureña (FAH), Ruiz Pastor Landa. El gobernante tampoco precisó qué incidente fue y en qué fecha. EL HERALDO informó esta semana, en exclusiva, que la aeronave fue derribada en las proximidades de Guanaja."

The moral economy of a floating crate of cash  8/23/2012 Quotha: "Within Ángela's community, at least, such finds are necessarily redistributed in a way that strengthens, reaffirms, and creates kinship ties. In her poor extended family—ranging from extremely poor to middle-of-the-road, getting-by-fairly-well and university-educated poor like Ángela—a Limited Good model of wealth distribution seems to guide the discourses of the poorest family members, who see the relative wealth of their less-poor kin as having been accumulated at their expense. Meanwhile, the less-poor family members tend to employ a Protestant ethic/developmentalist logic, blaming the extreme poverty of their family members on poor choices, bad morals, a disdain for formal education, and excessively high fertility."

Collateral Damage of a Drug War  8/15/2012 CEPR: "On May 11, 2012, four boat passengers were shot dead during a counternarcotics operation that involved Honduran and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents. Although Honduran authorities announced that drug traffickers had been killed after agents had fired in self-defense, survivors of the incident, as well as local authorities, insisted that innocent people had been killed, including two women, a fourteen year-old boy and twenty-one year old man. In late July of 2012, analysts from Rights Action and CEPR visited the region where the shooting took place. This report summarizes and analyzes the extensive testimony and other information obtained during the visit. It presents detailed narratives of the sequence of events on May 11 and provides detailed background profiles on the boat passengers who were fired upon as well as on key witnesses. It also describes the region and context in which the shooting incident occurred, in order to better understand its impact on the local community. Finally, it offers a series of key findings and formulates recommendations of measures that the U.S. government and international community should take to address the May 11 incident as well as the broader consequences of U.S.-sponsored drug policies in Honduras and the Central American region."

Honduras cooperating with US human rights probe  8/13/2012 AP: "Despite repeated U.S. criticisms that law enforcement agents have murdered and tortured people, an in-house State Department report sent to Congress Wednesday certifies that Honduras meets U.S. human rights requirements to receive all $56 million appropriated by Congress. But the report said no U.S. military or law enforcement aid - including $1.3 million in foreign military assistance, and another $1.7 million in peace and security funding - can go to anyone working under Bonilla until he is cleared."

Es “hipocresía” decir que Honduras es aeropuerto de la mafia: Pepe Lobo  7/23/2012 La Prensa, Honduras: “Yo lo que pediría a todos, al Departamento de Estado, es que revisen si están haciendo lo suficiente, y si es justo que aquí en Honduras, en lugar de hacer programas sociales, apoyar a los productores a que siembren más o resolver muchos problemas... si es justo que estemos invirtiendo recursos en esa lucha (contra el narcotráfico)”, expresó el mandatario. A su juicio, el asunto no es de estarse “tirando la bola”, porque al final la única realidad es: “qué pasaría si nosotros no estuviésemos en el corredor entre donde se demanda y donde se produce”.

Policía colombiana se lleva de Honduras a capo  7/20/2012 La Prensa, Honduras 

The Massacre in the Moskitia - The DEA and the Return of the Death Squads  6/15/2012 CounterPunch: "I first heard of the tragedy while in the process of preparing for a human rights delegation to Honduras coordinated by the Alliance for Global Justice and led by Karen Spring from Rights Action. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press have all published stories glorifying the role of the DEA in seizing a huge quantity of drugs in the incident. They not only down played the killing and injuring of innocent people (some reports even questioned if there even were casualties), but also some of the news reports stated that those shot were actually involved in drug trafficking. In typical mainstream media fashion there was over-the-top anonymous quoting of US and Honduran officials and not much fact checking."

Víctimas inocentes  6/13/2012 El Heraldo, Honduras 

CNN acts as SOUTHCOM's propaganda agent on Honduras  6/10/2012 Quotha: "This article about an imaginary Honduras where people don't give a shit about DEA massacres on national territory cites as its two "expert" sources the Monologue's Michael Shifter and FIU prof Eduardo Gamarra, both of whom have recently been paid quite a bit of money to write reports for SOUTHCOM (through Florida International University) and unspecified Intelligence agencies (at least in Shifter's case with his work for WHEMSAC)."

Honduran Miskitos Caught in Anti-Narcotics Crossfire  6/9/2012 Repeating Islands 

Legal Questions Remain in DEA Miskitia Attack  6/8/2012 Honduras Weekly 

Video of COFADEH press conference on DEA massacre in Ahuas  6/5/2012 Quotha: "Graphic image warning. Skip to 1:30 if you don't want to see the horrifying photographs of how the DEA destroyed the bodies of the indigenous Miskitu people whose brave relatives are present at the press conference that begins at that time mark. Video by Dick and Mirian Emanuelsson."

La masacre en Mosquitia, Honduras: “Sólo los agentes de la DEA pueden disparar desde un helicóptero que por otra parte, es suyo”  6/5/2012 Dick Emanuelsson: "Habla agente de la policía antinarcótica del Ministerio Público."

Drug interdiction: The U.S. wades more deeply into Honduras  6/4/2012 Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "To Americans of a certain age, the picture of U.S. drug advisers, flying in State Department helicopters and operating in a small jungle country in support of the corrupt security forces of a questionable president, is all too familiar. It is also entirely inappropriate, particularly as innocent civilians die as a result of their work."

URGENT ACTION: Honduran State Discriminates Against Victims of the DEA  6/4/2012 Quotha: "The child WILMER LUCAS WALTER (14) and youth LUCIO ADAN NELSON QUEEN (22), who were traveling in the boat that was fired on by the DEA and Honduran agents, have been hospitalized since May 11 en regional hospital centers and to date have not received the surgical attention required to treat their serious injuries. Wilmer is at risk of losing his left hand due to negligence and lack of attention and Lucio is weakened by infection as he waits for orthopedic intervention in his right arm. In the midst of the so called “war against drugs” the principal victims are the indigenous, Misquito villagers including children and women; the principal actor responsible for these serious actions is the State."

Dana Frank on This is Hell  6/3/2012 Quotha: "Click for Dana Frank’s 40-minute interview on the DEA attack in Honduras on the Northwestern University program “This is Hell”, a weekly, 4-hour political analysis program broadcast each Saturday morning."

Transnational Organized Crime in Central America and the Caribbean  6/1/2012 UN: "In 2007, UNODC concluded that the mara groups (MS-13 and M-18) play very little role in transnational cocaine trafficking. This continues to be the case."

Annie Bird: USA/DEA Killings in Ahuas  5/30/2012 Quotha: "The Patuca River is like a highway for over 25 Miskitu, Tawaka and Pech communities that live on its shores; there are no roads in this part of the Gracias a Dios department. But the river is much more than a road, it is their source of life. Communities farm rice, beans, yucca, and plantains on its shores, and fish the waters. They leave their towns in planting and harvest seasons to spend weeks at a time in huts along the river shore close to their fields. Though most make their life from the river, the main source of outside employment is working on the commercial fishing boats that pick up Miskitu men at mouth of the river and take them to sea for weeks at a time. For over 20 years, Lilda Lesama has coordinated divers and fishermen for the commercial boats, transporting them by canoe from Ahuas to Barra Patuca."

Death in Miskitia Land and the Search for Justice  5/28/2012 COHA: "On May 11, death came to the Miskitia from U.S. State Department-owned helicopters manned by contract Guatemalan pilots, members of a special Honduran Police Unit, along with U.S. DEA agents. Reports concerning the botched anti-narcotics operation barely survived three news cycles before expiring in the face of an indifferent public. During week one, a number of initial news reports (with the notable exception of the coverage by the Huffington Post) offered a defaming criminal profile of the local Miskito population using anonymous “official” U.S. government sources. During week two, when the voice of the Miskito community was beginning to be heard more clearly, some news reports offered a more humanized version of the people of Ahuas and surrounding villages. By May 17, the question of U.S. accountability began to lose steam when State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland deferred the responsibility of carrying out an investigation to the notoriously corrupt Honduran authorities. Despite the current paucity of news about this incident, the struggle for justice in the Miskitia continues."

Informe Preliminar de Verificación - Caso Ahuas  5/24/2012 COFADEH: "Del 20 al 24 de mayo de 2012, una Comisión de verificación conformada por tres personas del Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras, COFADEH, con el acompañamiento internacional de representantes del Programa de Acompañamiento Honduras PROAH y de Acción Permanente por la Paz, visitó los municipios de Ahuas y Puerto Lempira en el Departamento de Gracias a Dios y también La Ceiba en el departamento de Atlántida, con el objetivo de documentar los hechos trágicos del 11 de mayo de 2012."

DEA Facing Fallout from Deadly Honduras Raid  5/22/2012 Stop the Drug War: "In the Honduran village where four residents were killed last week by gunfire from a helicopter on a US-backed anti-drug operation complete with DEA agents on board the chopper, feelings continue to run high. On Monday, they told the Associated Press that DEA agents also accompanied Honduran commandos who stormed into homes and mistreated residents after the raid, but the agency denies that."

US agents on deadly Honduran military operation  5/16/2012 AP: "The leaders of the Masta, Diunat, Rayaka, Batiasta and Bamiasta ethnic groups said in a press statement that "the people in that canoe were fishermen, not drug traffickers." "For centuries we have been a peaceful people who live in harmony with nature, but today we declared these Americans to be persona non grata in our territory," the statement continued."

En Honduras, un desastre hecho en los E.E.U.U. Friday, 27 January 2012 14:04 Administrador  1/27/2012 Defensores en Linea: "Cuando prominentes figuras han salido ha acusar a la policía son acribillados por escuadrones de la muerte y narcotraficantes, el más famoso acusador fue el antiguo comisionado de policía, Alfredo Landaverde. El fue asesinado el 7 de diciembre, hasta ahora el gobierno ha comenzado hacer significativos arrestos de oficiales de policía… Porque el Departamento de Estado se ha lanzado detrás de la administración Lobo a pesar de las evidencias de la corrupción del régimen? En parte porque ha sido enterrados por la circunscripción Cubana-Americana de la Representante Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, la Presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores, y sus aliados. Ellos han sido feroces sobre Honduras como un primer dominó con el que pueden empujar contra la línea gobiernos de izquierda y centro-izquierda que han ganado elecciones en América Latina en los últimos 15 años. Con su base militar aérea Americana, Honduras es crucial para la estrategia militar de los Estados Unidos en América Latina."

In Honduras, a Mess Made in the U.S.  1/26/2012 NYT: "When prominent figures came forward to charge that the police are riddled with death squads and drug traffickers, the most famous accuser was a former police commissioner, Alfredo Landaverde. He was assassinated on Dec. 7. Only now has the government begun to make significant arrests of police officers… Why has the State Department thrown itself behind the Lobo administration despite brutal evidence of the regime’s corruption? In part because it has caved in to the Cuban-American constituency of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and her allies. They have been ferocious about Honduras as a first domino with which to push back against the line of center-left and leftist governments that have won elections in Latin America in the past 15 years. With its American air base, Honduras is also crucial to the United States’ military strategy in Latin America."

US Supported Honduras’ Ascent in the Cocaine Business Chain: Putting 2 & 2 & 2 Together  11/1/2011 Boiling Frogs: "Long an impoverished backwater in Central America, Honduras has become a main transit route for South American cocaine.”Honduras is the number one offload point for traffickers to take cocaine through Mexico to the U.S.,” said a U.S. law enforcement official who could not be quoted by name for security reasons. A U.S. State Department report released in March called Honduras “one of the primary landing points for South American cocaine.”

Drug Trafficking in Honduras (Crime Part III)  10/21/2011 La Gringa 

Post-2009 Coup, Honduras a 'Narco-Storehouse'  9/23/2011 In Sight: "With the state's focus fixed elsewhere and crucial support from the U.S. missing, criminal groups took advantage of the disorder. During Micheletti's brief time in office, up to 1,000 tons of cocaine may have traveled through Honduras by land, sea or air, according to analyst James Bosworth."

DRUG PLANE BURNED ON PROMINENT HONDURAN'S PROPERTY  9/3/2011 Wikileaks: "Post's JIATF-S TAT provided information to the HAF March 14 about a known drug trafficking flight with a 1,000 kilo cocaine shipment from Colombia, which resulted in a fruitless air interdiction attempt. Separately, a law enforcement source provided information that the aircraft successfully landed March 14 on the private property of Miguel Facusse, a prominent Honduran, who is one of the nation's wealthiest individuals, leading industrialist, and uncle of former Honduran President Carlos Flores Facusse."

Revelan lazos de magnate hondureño con el narco  9/3/2011 Dick Emanuelsson: "Obviamente, si bien Facussé tiene varias preguntas incómodas que responder a partir del contenido de este cable, los Estados Unidos harían bien en explicar cómo, si durante más de ocho años han tenido acceso a esta información, nunca actuaron sobre ella."

Honduras: killings continue as Aguán becomes "new Colombia"  8/30/2011 WW4 Report: "African oil palms have replaced bananas as the main commercial crop in the valley, and tensions increased as landowners like Facussé saw the potential for the palms in the biofuel business, which could attract carbon credits and international financing. To maintain their estates, the landowners have hired private guards and supplied them with arms. Campesino groups consider the guards paramilitaries and blame them for most of the 51 killings of campesinos that they say have taken place in the past two years. Meanwhile, narco traffickers and other criminals have reportedly moved into the area."

Are Foreign Criminal Gangs Driving Honduras Land Conflict?  8/24/2011 Honduras Weekly: "Drug traffickers are certainly a powerful presence in Colón, but other reports have tied them to palm oil plantation owners, rather than to the peasant movements. The state, located on the Caribbean coast close to Nicaragua, is a key transit location for trafficking groups moving drugs from South America towards Mexico and the United States. A statement released by representatives of the Catholic Church in Honduras said that drug traffickers are in the process of becoming big landowners in the region, and that they dominate Bajo Aguán, flaunting their wealth. Similarly, the palm oil landowners have themselves been accused of using foreign firepower, with allegations after a series of killings in November 2010 that Facusse had hired 150 Colombian paramilitaries to form a private army and attack the peasant movements. Land conflicts in other parts of Latin America, driven by the accumulation of land to grow monocrops such as palm oil, have tended to feature organized criminal groups on the side of big landowners, rather than on the side of the peasants. In the 1990s and 2000s Colombia saw mass displacements carried out by paramilitary groups, who would remove peasants from their land on behalf of big agribusinesses like palm oil."

More Narco airplanes land in Honduras  8/21/2011 Canal 10 

Drug Trafficking: Central America’s Dark Shadow  8/17/2011 Honduras Weekly: "Drug-related corruption has thoroughly infiltrated Central American governments and business elites. Cartels have penetrated key state institutions throughout Central America, including the police, army, executive branches, and judicial systems."

A drug trafficker's paradise  8/15/2011 Al Jazeera: "When cameraman Alfredo DeLara and I travelled to Colon, Honduras, we were surprised to see what this rural province has become. Everyone is armed: we saw drug dealers with AK-47s and revolvers in Toyota cars, farmers with submachine guns and gunmen in trenches within the perimeters of the palm oil plantations."

Honduras: Narco-trafficking threatens Plátano River Reserve  7/15/2011 InfoSur 

Honduras Catches First Narco-Sub  7/15/2011 In Sight: "Honduras' Navy intercepted a semi-submersible vessel, containing between three and five tons of cocaine, in the Caribbean Sea. The drug trafficking craft was spotted off the Mosquito Coast, close to the border with Nicaragua. The military gave chase, but the crew reportedly abandoned the semi-submersible and tried to sink it to destroy the evidence."

Drug Trafficking in La Ceiba, a Honduran Caribbean City  3/7/2011 CoLab Radio: "The core area of drug trafficking is indeed the Department of Colon and the Mosquito Coast area, east of La Ceiba. There, the landing of Colombian avionetas transporting cocaine is common, as are 4X4s and SUVs."

With Increased US Aid, Honduras Militarises Anti-Drug Fight  2/22/2011 Upside Down World: "Javier Aguirre, a young man from Juticalpa, told IPS that things there are tense. "The traffickers walk about freely, flaunting their weapons and their bodyguards, and there are places where you can't go after 8:00 at night, because they shoot you if they don't know you. "The problem is that there is complicity between the police and the 'narcos'. Leaders of the cartels can often be seen going into the police station to 'fix' things with the police, using drugs or money," he added. The stories coming out of Olancho are shocking. For example, after the frequent shootouts and killings, groups of heavily armed thugs often show up before the forensic experts can identify the bodies, to burn the corpses so they won't be recognised. But such incidents are rarely covered by the press. A journalist from that area who spoke to IPS under condition of anonymity said reporters there engaged in self-censorship because they would not be "the first killed for talking."

Organized Crime in Central America  12/14/2010 Wilson Center: "According to consultant James Bosworth, Honduras, like El Salvador and Guatemala, has experienced the effects of organized crime in Mexico, especially with respect to illicit trafficking. In recent years, the country has recorded one of the highest (if not the highest) homicide rates in the world, upwards of 60 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Honduras has also become one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. However, Bosworth said, what distinguishes Honduras from its Central American neighbors is the 2009 coup against President Manuel Zelaya. The coup facilitated the expansion of organized crime in the country and demonstrated to the international community the incompatibility of goals of democracy promotion and public security."

Narcotraficante Villela Meza, hermano de Armida de López contreras y cuñado de Federico Álvarez, será extraditado a EE.UU.  10/18/2010 Vos el Soberano: "Miguel Ángel Villela Meza es hermano de la lidereza de la fascista Unión Cívica Democrática UCD Armida Villela Meza de López Contreras, esposa del Canciller de la dictadura michelettista Carlos López Contreras. Así mismo, el capo de la droga y también traficante de armas, es cuñado del Supernumerario del OPUS DEI en Honduras, el costarricense Federico Álvarez, analista estrella del Diario La Tribuna."

Honduras since the coup: Drug Traffickers’ Paradise  8/31/2010 CIP: "In his book El Narcotráfico en América Latina (English: Drug Trafficking in Latin America), Adalberto Santana indicates that in the seventies and eighties, during some of which time Honduras was under military rule, the Central American country became a US ally against communism in the isthmus. Santana states that the US tolerated drug trafficking that even the highest ranks of the military government were involved with. The author cites a report – “El Narcotráfico en Honduras 1982-1988” (English: Drug Trafficking in Honduras 1982-1988) – from the Honduras Data Centre, according to which drug trafficking there between 1982 and 1987 made revenue of 12 billion dollars."

Sicarios asesinan a funcionario antinarcórticos del Ministerio Público  12/8/2009 El Libertador: "En horas de la mañana, dos desconocidos asesinaron al jefe de la Direccion de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico (DLCN) Julián Arístides González, cuando este venia de dejar a sus hijos de un colegio bilingue en las afueras de la ciudad, sin que hasta el momento la policía de investigación y la preventiva no hayan dado con los responsables del asesinato del general retirado."

Italia: jefe de los 23 agentes CIA condenados “traficó” en Honduras, con la red de Posada  11/7/2009 Habla Honduras: "“Bob” Seldon Lady, el ex jefe de la estación de la CIA en Milán, quien dirigía a los 23 agentes de la CIA condenados en Italia por secuestrar, torturar y luego ‘desaparecer’ al clérigo musulmán Abu Omar en la ciudad italiana de Milán en el 2003 era un elemento clave de la red que desde Honduras y El Salvador, con John Negroponte, Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía y Luis Posada Carriles traficó armas contra cocaina a favor de la Contra nicaraguense, cuando se encontraba en América Central en los años 80."

Honduras: la Corte Suprema limpia el general Vásquez de su pasado criminal  11/5/2009 Tercera Informacion: "El general golpista Romeo Vásquez, ha logrado limpiarse jurídicamente de su pasado criminal con la complicidad de la Corte Suprema de Justicia que dictaminó el "sobreseimiento definitivo por falta de pruebas" de los expedientes del actual jefe de las fuerzas armadas, de su primo Marvin y de doce otros socios implicados en el trafico de carros robados, que se les mantenía congelados desde 1993. Lo confirmó el diario golpista La Prensa de San Pedro Sula que entierró recientemente, en un par de párrafos, el caso Vásquez al final de un texto donde se anunció que su cómplice Wilfredo Leva Cabrera, un ex coronel narcotraficante del ejercito, tendrá que cumplir 85 años de prisón."

Honduras: Narcotráfico e imperio converge  9/11/2009 CubaDebate: "En Honduras la actividad de los carteles de la droga, el lavado de dinero, el surgimiento de numerosas fortunas sin explicación, intensa actividad en la construcción, infraestructuras innecesarias, no son actividades nuevas. De hecho ya durante esta década incluso un diputado del derechista Partido Nacional fue capturado mientras peleaba por recuperar un cargamento d droga de una avioneta que aterrizo clandestinamente en una carretera sin pavimentar en el despoblado departamento de Olancho (http://www.elsalvador.com/noticias/2003/07/08/internacionales/inter2.html) . Este diputado fue puesto en la cárcel, y antes de que se esclareciera nada fue ejecutado en la penitenciaria. El caso se cerró pero la conexión entre los fondos de la droga y los políticos hizo aparición por primera vez. Resulta sorprendente la efectividad policial desde entonces para ignorar evidencias, pistas o indicios racionales sobre este tipo de casos."

Honduras Reports Lack of Towns Named for Oliver North  8/23/2009 NarcoNews: "Last Thursday night in the northeastern Honduran port of Trujillo, Al Giordano and I visited the Bahia Bar, past clients of which had allegedly included Marine Corps officer Oliver North in the 1980s. North’s patronage was presumably an effect of the bar’s proximity to the Trujillo airfield, which functioned as a transit point for Colombian cocaine en route to the United States."

Las relaciones de los militares hondureños con el narcotráfico  7/19/2009 El Liberador: "El hondureño defensor de los Derechos Humanos, Andrés Pavón, afirmó que el general Vázquez Velázquez, jefe del Estado Mayor hondureño, tiene conocidos lazos con el narcotráfico. "Él es un hombre de la comunidad de inteligencia de América Latina, cercana a las estructuras de la DEA y la CIA", explica."

Micheletti, vinculado al cartel de Cali, en una lista de narcos del ministerio de la Defensa  7/17/2009 CubaDebate: "El nombre del cabecilla golpista hondureño Roberto Micheletti aparece en una larga lista de narcotraficantes redactada, en una fecha no precisada, por un alto oficial del Ministerio de la Defensa y Seguridad Pública de Honduras que lo relaciona con el Cartel de Cali, la red colombiana de narcotráfico. El documento firmado por el Coronel de infantería René Adalberto Paz Alfaro y llevando el membrete del ministerio, señala en el número SN-FF. AA. 060, a ROBERTO MICHELLETI BAIN – con el error de ortógrafo en Micheletti – con la “CONEXIÓN” Cartel de Cali y bajo la mención “LUGAR” la palabra “Yoro”. Las notas biográficas de Micheletti precisan que empezó su carrera política en los años 80, cuando ocupaba el cargo de presidente del Consejo Local en Yoro donde siempre se hizo elegir de diputado al Congreso Nacional… Llama la atención que, hace unos días, un grupo de congresistas norteamericanos de extrema derecha encabezados por los representantes de la Florida, Mario y Lincoln Díaz-Balart, intentaron ensuciar el nombre del presidente constitucional Manuel Zelaya al solicitar del presidente Barack Obama que investigue su supuesta “vinculación con el narcotráfico”, a través de la DEA. Obama ni constestó. Los Díaz-Balart tienen un viejo expediente de relaciones turbias con los círculos colombianos afiliados al narcotráfico."

Declaration of the Afro-Honduran Assembly PDF  7/14/2009 TransAfrica: by ORGANIZATION OF ETHNIC COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (ODECO)

The CIA's Ghosts of Tegucigalpa  7/14/2009 Consortium News: "The DEA agent in charge of its recently opened Tegucigalpa office, Thomas Zepeda, had documented the complicity of Col. Torres Arias and other high-ranking Honduran officers in Matta Ballesteros’s drug operations. But DEA needed the Honduran military’s assistance to arrest Torres and his cronies, and the CIA needed them to support the contras. To avoid a showdown with the CIA, the DEA’s Zepeda proposed that a grand jury be empanelled to investigate corruption in the Honduran armed forces. But the CIA nixed the idea, no doubt to protect its collaborators. As one high-level diplomat later noted: “Without the support of the Honduran military there would have been no such thing as the contras. It’s that simple … So they got rid of the DEA station.”"

Diputado habría peleado por droga  7/8/2009 ElSavador.com 

Bush administration "Back to the Future" antics in Central America  2/1/2006 Wayne Madsen Report: "According to high-level U.S. intelligence sources, the Bush administration is planning a redux of the Contra wars of the 1980s. With polls showing that Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega may become Nicaragua's next President in November 2 elections, the Bush administration has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to establish a network of small clandestine communications stations along the Honduran and Costa Rican borders with Nicaragua, supplemented by additional support bases in El Salvador. Many of those involved in the covert operations are veterans of the Contra wars of the 1980s. The hub of U.S. covert activity is centered in the Soto Cano airbase in Honduras. Formerly the Palmerola airbase, the base was active in U.S. support for the contras against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. U.S. intelligence sources also report that right-wing elements in the CIA and Pentagon also have a nasty surprise in store for Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, if he is, as expected, elected President of Mexico in July's elections. Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City, a champion of Mexico's poor, and an ally of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, is leading in most polls. Intelligence whispers from U.S. covert actors in Latin America indicate that if Obrador is elected and fails to moderate his leftist policies, he will not live to see his inauguration day. Apparently, Obrador has gotten the message from the Bush administration. Last night, he told Mexican television that he would appoint three non-PRD members to his three most important cabinet posts: Treasury, Foreign Affairs, and Interior."

John Dimitri Negroponte  1/22/2006 Celerino Castillo: "From 1985 to 1991, I was assigned to Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador. As one of two DEA agents that covered those countries, I observed that our U.S. government was complicit in drug trafficking and human rights violations. The area was rife with rebellion, gunrunning, and a perception that communism was on the move towards our back yards. One of my job descriptions was to train members of their military intelligence on interdiction of drug enforcement. However, most of my time was spent assisting the CIA in training the death squads. We were utilizing CIA contract agents from different parts of South America, specifically Venezuela and Argentina. In reality, Central America became one huge country, which allowed the death squads to over flow into each other. Mario Sandoval-Alarcon, best know as the godfather of the death squads and creator of the notorious death squad, ?La Mano Blanca? ran all death squads. Sandoval was so loved by Ronald Reagan, that he got a private invitation and attended Reagan's inauguration.


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Police Corruption in Honduras


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