HomeNewsBriefUS Halts Honduras Cooperation Over Narco-Plane Shoot Down Law
BRIEF

US Halts Honduras Cooperation Over Narco-Plane Shoot Down Law

HONDURAS / 1 APR 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The United States has ended the sharing of intelligence from anti-narcotics radars with Honduras in a predictable response to Honduras passing a law permitting the shooting down of drug planes.

US officials confirmed to El Heraldo that on March 23 the United States halted the practice of providing their Honduran counterparts with radar information on the movements of suspect airplanes.

The decision was taken after Honduras approved a law permitting such planes to be shot down, which according to the official who spoke to El Heraldo, "is not compatible with US laws that regulate certain types of security assistance."

The official did not comment on whether the move was to be a temporary or a permanent suspension and added that cooperation in maritime interdictions would continue.

The issue was discussed prior to the passing of the law when US State Department Official William Brownfield met with new Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in February. However, Hernandez dismissed Brownfield's concerns over the possibility of civilian casualties and declared it "a sovereign right," to shoot down planes in their airspace, reported El Heraldo.

In addition to the shoot down law, Honduras has also purchased three new radar systems to tackle aerial trafficking, the first of which is now opertional. However, drug traffickers are already adapting to the new radar system by switching flights direct from South America for shorter flights that move into Honduras via Nicaragua, which helps avoid detection, reported El Heraldo.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is not the first time the United States has suspended cooperation with Honduras in tracking drug flights by radar. In 2012, cooperation was halted for four months after Honduras shot down two suspected drug planes, which US officials said was a violation of a bilateral agreement.

However, the policy behind the United States' refusal to aid countries in shooting down drug planes is not limited to Honduras and can be traced to an incident in 2001 when the Peruvian air force shot down a plane killing a US missionary and her infant child. At the time, US forces were cooperating closely with the Peruvian air force in shooting down drug planes as part of the Air Bridge Denial program.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

US policy on drug plane shoot downs was made clear before Honduras passed the law, raising the question of why the government pushed ahead anyway. With Honduras' new radar system now in use, it may be the government believes it does not require further US assistance in this area. Alternatively, they may be hoping that the suspension once again proves temporary. 

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

MEXICO / 6 DEC 2016

This week marks ten years since Mexico's government embarked on a militarized campaign against the country's criminal organizations, but while…

HONDURAS / 31 AUG 2012

Honduras announced it had found a cocaine processing laboratory on the country's north Caribbean coast, the second such discovery in…

MEXICO / 12 APR 2018

A new report suggests that as many as three-quarters of private security companies in Mexico may be operating off the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…