HomeNewsBriefCould Upcoming Honduras Election Set Back Police Reform Progress?
BRIEF

Could Upcoming Honduras Election Set Back Police Reform Progress?

HONDURAS / 16 NOV 2017 BY ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO EN

An upcoming election in Honduras has called into question the future of a reform commission that has taken important steps toward cleaning up the country's police force.

President Juan Orlando Hernández, who is running for re-election in the November 26 race, has championed the police reform commission's work as part of a number of factors that have contributed to recent improvements to the security situation in Honduras.

But several other presidential candidates have indicated that they would not continue to back the commission, and might reinstate officers who have already been purged.

On November 14, Salvador Nasralla, a presidential candidate from the Opposition Alliance (Alianza de la Oposición) party, announced that he would revisit the cases of police officers recently removed by the commission, La Prensa reported.

"Many of the police officers and soldiers who have been purged by the commission should be subjected to due process," Nasralla said, explaining that he believes some purged police officers may have been removed in retaliation for investigating ties between high-level Honduran politicians and organized crime.

Henry Osorto, a recently dismissed former police commissioner and congressional candidate for the Innovation and Unity Party (Partido Innovación y Unidad), has also criticized the commission and promised to help reinstate removed officers.

The special commission denounced the politicians' statements in an open letter on November 14, extolling the progress they have made and urging Honduran civil society groups to speak out against proposed efforts to backtrack on police reform.

InSight Crime Analysis

Recent polls have shown Hernández as the front-runner in the upcoming election, but the comments of other candidates suggest the future of the police reform commission remains somewhat uncertain. The candidates' open questioning of the reform's work is a sign that the political will to continue cleaning up the force may be flagging in certain segments of the political elite.

At a November 2 event hosted by the Wilson Center in Washington DC, members of the commission reiterated that the process of purging and reforming Honduras' security institutions will take a long time and will rely heavily on continued political will, as well as ongoing support from civil society groups and the international community.

In this respect, the United States could prove a crucial actor in pushing for continued support of the commission, including by linking aid funding to that issue. Throughout the special commission's 18-month mandate, members have met on multiple occasions with US officials to foster support for their reform efforts, including during their recent visit to Capitol Hill.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

Although this latest police reform effort has been more successful than previous attempts, observers have pointed out that authorities have struggled to prosecute officers removed for alleged criminal activity. And as InSight Crime has previously reported, the goal set by Honduran authorities to double the current size of the police force to 26,000 officers by 2022 will be constrained by limited resources and persistent weaknesses in the country's institutions.

Commission member Omar Rivera emphasized at the Wilson Center event that although some progress has been made, a sustained long-term approach will be needed to continue making headway.

"What has broken down over the course of 20 years will not be fixed in 18 months. Assuming so would be naïve. The seed for this process has only just been planted and we hope it will be sustained and have positive impacts for the population," he said.

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

EXTRADITION / 22 AUG 2014

The US Treasury has added the Valles crime clan to its "Kingpin List," the latest move in an unprecedented campaign…

EL SALVADOR / 20 AUG 2013

Mexico's and other countries' criminal organizations have increasingly solidified their presence in Central America's Northern Triangle, taking control of large…

ELITES AND CRIME / 8 DEC 2015

A former national judge from Honduras' special court system designed to handle high profile cases against gangs and members of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…