HomeNewsBriefOutgoing Honduras President Removes Controversial Police Chief
BRIEF

Outgoing Honduras President Removes Controversial Police Chief

HONDURAS / 20 DEC 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Honduras' lame duck president has announced the removal of controversial national police commander Juan Carlos "El Tigre" Bonilla, raising the question: why now?

Outgoing president Porfirio Lobo named Ramon Antonio Sabillon, who had been serving as the inspector general of the national police, as Bonilla's replacement, 17 months after his controversial appointment in May 2012. According to the Miami Herald, the move occurred after Lobo consulted with president-elect Juan Orlando Hernandez, who will take office on January 27, but no reasons were given.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

The president also named a recently promoted major general, Fredy Diaz, to replace General Rene Osorio as head of the armed forces. Osorio will finish his two year term in the post in January. These changes were accompanied by other modifications to the army and police leadership, reported La Prensa.

In addition to the leadership changes, the government recently announced it had purchased three high technology radars from Israel worth $30 million, aimed at combatting drug trafficking, reported El Faro.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Osorio's term was up, the timing of President Lobo's choice to name a new police chief seems odd, considering that Hernandez will soon take the reins.

According to the Miami Herald, it is normal for these kinds of changes to occur as the administration changes. However, it is also possible the decision is linked to Bonilla's shady human rights record and a desire to hand a cleaner slate to the incoming president, a member of Lobo's conservative National Party and the current president of Congress.

Although many considered Bonilla the man most capable of cleaning up Honduras' notoriously corrupt police force, he had also been accused of participating in a death squad and presiding over others, and was charged with an extrajudicial killing in 2002, before later being acquitted. Sabillon has not been implicated in any such scandals, according to the Miami Herald.

Despite high hopes, little progress has been made in implementing police reform during Bonilla's time in office, with many police who have failed confidence tests remaining in their posts. Additionally, Bonilla's record has caused a major strain on Honduras' relationship with the United States, an important security partner for the country. 

The radar purchase could represent another attempt to provide Hernandez with the tools to effectively implement the hardline security strategy he has promised.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 16 FEB 2021

The department of La Paz does not house any major transnational criminal economies or established criminal actors.

HOMICIDES / 29 AUG 2022

Police in Guanajuato, Mexico, are accused of being in the pocket of the Jalisco Cartel. But do they have a…

DISPLACEMENT / 2 JUN 2021

The number of displaced people within Mexico has increased for the first time in three years, indicating that the country's…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…