HomeNewsBrief$3 Mn Spent in 2 Years on Failing Honduras Police Reform
BRIEF

$3 Mn Spent in 2 Years on Failing Honduras Police Reform

HONDURAS / 16 JAN 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Almost $3 million has been spent on police reform in Honduras in the past two years, a sum that has brought few results, as highlighted by a recent drug money smuggling case pointing to police complicity.

Honduras has submitted 4,349 police to confidence tests -- including polygraphs, drug tests and psychological assessments -- reported La Prensa. (See La Prensa's graphic illustration below) The results of these tests are disputed. Security Minister Arturo Corrales recently claimed 400 police have been removed from their posts. The newspaper says official statistics show only seven police have been dismissed.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

Meanwhile, Honduras' Attorney General Oscar Fernando Chinchilla has ordered a complete investigation and restructuring of the country's Anti-Narcotics Directorate (DLCN). The order came in response to a recent seizure of $7.2 million in drug cash by Panamanian authorities, which was flown into the country from the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa. Honduran police and airport staff were thought to have been complicit in the case.

Ruben Martel, the head of the investigation unit of Honduras' National Police, also announced the suspension of 25 agents from the country's border police who were working at the Tegucigalpa airport, bringing the total number of suspended personnel in the case to 32 -- including two anti-narcotics agents, reported La Prensa.honduras police confidence tests graphic

InSight Crime Analysis

In addition to the continued failure to fire Honduran police agents who have failed confidence tests, cases like that in Panama serve as a clear indication that the millions of dollars pumped into police reform have not been used effectively. 

The latest overhaul announced by the attorney general indicates some effort is being made to address the kind of weaknesses that allowed such a large quantity of illicit cash to leave the country. If Chinchilla follows through on his promise, it could help weed out corruption in an important unit of Honduras' police force.

It remains to be seen, though, what will happen under the incoming administration. Juan Orlando Hernandez, who will step into office on January 27, has promised to adopt a "mano dura" (iron fist) approach to crime, which is likely to favor the increasing militarization of security. However, this is not a sustainable solution to the problem of a rampantly corrupt and ineffective police force, and Hernandez will likely have to confront the reform issue head on.

Yet with the reform effort becoming highly politicized and witnessing pushback from police themselves, there is little room for optimism it will achieve all that is needed. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 12 SEP 2022

Synthetic drugs like methamphetamine, fentanyl, and ecstasy are reshaping Latin America's drug trade.

ARGENTINA / 7 MAR 2022

Paraguay has launched the biggest operation against cocaine trafficking and money laundering in its history, unleashing a scandal that has…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…