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Honduras Must Not Remain Alone in Fight Against Organized Crime

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.
Transnational organized crime in Honduras remains a threat to neighboring nations and borders.

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Jun 10, 2013
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06/10/2013

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Column 061013 Brewer 
 
Monday, June 10, 2013
 
Honduras Must Not Remain Alone in Fightagainst Organized Crime
 
By Jerry Brewer
 
 
Incredulous sights, wary views and opinions, andsignificant despair show the uncertainty of many of the people of Honduras in their government's ability to provide urgently needed security and safety from violent crime, which has resulted in a massive deathtoll through apparent unstoppable violence. An iron-fisted grip by transnational organized
criminals remains Hondurans’ greatest challenge,
especially with the approach of their nextpresidential elections on November 24.Honduras possesses the highest rate of intentional
homicide in the world, “significantly higher than therate in El Salvador” that has the second highest rate,
 
Crime. These organized criminals operate across bordersfor the clear purpose of obtaining power andinfluence by illegal means , through a pattern of corruption, violence and death for large financialgain. They act conspiratorially with a myriad of rogue brokers of transgression and evildoers thatshare a mutual propensity to commit illegal acts forthese massive profits.Hondurans face much more in their dilemma thanother nations in the northern cone of Central America and Mexico face, with respect to how topolice their homeland, enforce the rule of law, andprotect citizens from this barbaric carnage.Hondurans are torn as to their trust of the military,their government, the police, the U.S., or other
 
offers of assistance to bring relief or justice to theirsuffering. There have been reports of death squadactivity against the organized criminals by police, as well as the insinuation that the U.S. could beculpable due to its funding of the police. Theseattacks against the violent insurgents and local
gangs have been described as “dispatching summary 
ustice to g
ang members in a policy of ‘socialcleansing’ with complete impunity” (
 Al Jazeera English
, June 4, 2013).The irony is that in addition to accusations of policekilling the bad guys, the Honduran police are also
accused of “organized crime ties.” Around 1,
400police officials were recently suspended pendingpolygraph tests to attempt to determine organizedcrime ties.One interesting theory is whether much of this violence is directedagainst the government toprotest the possible extradition of criminalHonduran nationals to the U.S. Colombia faced thisin the 1980s, during the reign of crime lord PabloEscobar. Escobar orchestrated a war of blood,carnage and kidnapping in Colombia against police,government officials, judges and others inretaliation. Colombia subsequently outlawedextradition, in 1991, which was reinstated in 1997, acouple of years after Escobar was killed.
 
Much of the organized gang activity in Honduras,mainly by the Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13 and 18), has been violent, with large numbers of kidnappings andacts of extortion. MS gangs have also been known toshoot up public transportation vehicles. The MSgangs originated through Salvadoran immigrants inLos Angeles in the 1980s, and continued toassimilate in U.S. prisons along with Mexican gangs.Thousands were released after arrest, and once thesentences of those convicted were completed in theU.S. many were deported to Central America,although many returned illegally and moved into UScities.
 
The true numbers of transnational organizedcriminals throughout Mexico and the northern cone
 
of Central America is not known. However,Honduras is the world's most violent country with85 to 91 killings per 100,000 people. With apopulation of eight million, Honduras also has 80percent of the cocaine destined for the U.S. passingthrough its territory. Too, Honduras is perceived to be a relative safe haven from prosecution and thereach of U.S. prosecutors.
Facing the facts about “policing” is indeed sobering.
Police in Honduras, Mexico and ot
her nation’s were
never created or designed to face such military-stylearmaments and tactical strategies as those used by many of the insurgents. In addition, the criminalsare now engaged in much more than drugtrafficking. The so-called war on drugs is now primarily a war against violent organized crime, andkidnapping and extortion for ransom, robbery,murder for hire, human and sex trafficking, oilthefts, and related violent crimes by the perpetratorscontinue to escalate.
 
Transnational crime requires a transnational
enforcement response. Hondurans can’t sit and wait
for the government to purge corruption from itsranks. They need to enforce the rule of law aggressively. Will the military also be theiralternative at this point?
 
The corruptive power of these insurgents must be
disrupted. It won’t happen with “gang truces.” There
is no wealth for the criminals with a truce
they  would have to find other jobs or trades for muchlower compensation, as well as lose power status.ou must break their economic power and enablingnetworks.
 
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 inthe sand.
 
——————————
 Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal JusticeInternational Associates, a global threat mitigationfirm headquartered in northern Virginia. His

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