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

KIDNAPPING / 22 SEP 2021

The Venezuelan police have stepped in amid a spate of violent crimes caused by gang members pretending to sell cars…

CHAPITOS / 18 AUG 2022

Mexico saw outbreaks of violence last week in three different states. What can these events tell us about the country's…

ELITES AND CRIME / 6 JUL 2021

A high court in Honduras has found one of the intellectual authors of the high-profile murder of renowned Indigenous activist…

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…