Analysis: Drug cartels behind political murders in Honduras

The apparent targeting of supporters of the “Popular Resistance Front” in Honduras continues after the new president was sworn in. It comes as no surprise to me, since I have always been convinced that the government of Honduras has nothing whatsoever to do with those criminal and reprehensible acts. First, because they have nothing to win from it, and second, because staffers in the Micheletti administration were as appalled by it as I was.

However, there are a few people who are under the false assumption that the method, used during the military junta in the 70’s, actually worked and actually was good for the country. They also believe that they would be doing the country a favor if they implemented the methods, and furthermore, they believe that the government tacitly appreciates if they do it in spite of condemning it officially.

They are sadly mistaken. It is seriously hurting the country, and it is not in any way sanctioned from the top.

However, I doubt that those who are under this erroneous impression really are the culprits. In my opinion, they are just sofa analysts who lack the resources and determination to do anything more than opine.

To find the real culprits, I would first look at the personal economic gain, the motive. There is one sector and one sector only that stands to gain significantly from these murders: The drug cartels. Furthermore, apart from motive they have the resources, and murder is an everyday part of business for them.

This is how it works in my opinion: By murdering members of the “resistencia” for no apparent reason, or even leaving a greeting from “Pepe”, the new president, they divide the country against itself. They undermine the faith in the government, and they tie up police resources.

They also tie up police and military resources when the “resistencia” is taking to the streets, like the other day. The large amounts of dollars paid to the demonstrators throughout the crisis (tens of thousands per day) clearly shows that someone has a large economical stake in it. Consider that Honduras has a large number of bush airfields, typically with no guards, and that the country has turned into the favorite landing-place for drug planes from South America. The cocaine continues to Mexico over land or sea from Honduras. The country’s radars are inadequate, and luckily for the drug smugglers, the US decided to turn theirs off as a “punishment” for the “coup” when Zelaya’s auto-coup attempt was stopped on June 28, 2009.

What would you do in that situation if you were a big-time cocaine smuggler? Wouldn’t you gladly pay Hondurans a few dollars each to take to the streets in the thousands, the more violent the better, so that all the police and military resources of the country would be overwhelmed? At the price of a few tens of thousands of dollars, the whole country would become a free-for-all drug-plane landing strip. In that situation perhaps a dozen of flights or more per day could come in, with tens of tons of cocaine, representing a value of perhaps a hundred million dollars. To spend some million dollars on fomenting unrest and destroying society seems like a good investment, if drug trafficking is analyzed from an economical perspective.

Indeed, that is the only reasonable way to analyze it. It is all a matter of business decisions. Supporting the people in Honduras and elsewhere who have legitimate grievances that are not being addressed by their corrupt governments, is easy. All you need to do is to throw some money at them and encourage them to pursue certain political goals, that are chosen so as to create fracture, not consensus and progress.

The “Popular Resistance Front” in Honduras represents some groups that have legitimate grievances, but several of the policies and methods they have chosen benefit nobody except the drug cartels.

It is a challenge for politicians in Honduras to explain to the electorate that the country is under mortal attack; that enemies of the state are pushing agendas such as militant fight and the goal of a Constituting Assembly (which is clearly a treasonous objective); and that what all Hondurans need to do is to engage each other in a serious and well-intended debate with the objective of improving the country in a peaceful way.

They have to explain clearly to people that the murders are carried out by the drug cartels, precisely in order to undermine people’s confidence in the government. They must engage people in a joint fight and a united front against the drug smugglers. They must make people realize that any entanglement with illegal drugs, no matter how small, is like selling ones soul to the devil. Every person must have a zero tolerance to drugs and drug smugglers.

It also goes for Americans and all others who use drugs: They are the ones who drive the process that ultimately leads to these murders.

Politicians must speak clearly about this. It is a war. The future of the nation of Honduras is at stake. The country must unite against the foreign enemy, and help countrymen in need. Pepe Lobo is trying to do this, I’m sure, although it is a difficult balancing act with an international community that does not understand the nature of the problem. He is also facing a strong propaganda machine that is trying to undermine people’s faith in his presidency. While Micheletti had a war room like in a presidential campaign, Lobo chose not to keep it, which I personally think was a mistake from his side. I fear he may have seriously underestimated the enemy, and the nature of the threat to the country. Or rather, I hope he did, so it wasn’t intentional…

Honduras is just the tip of the iceberg. The drug trafficking is influencing politics in all of Latin America, and the entire leftist wave that has been sweeping over the continent for a decade is allied with the drug lords. The old armed rebels in Colombia, the FARC, have gone from a communist guerilla to a narco-guerilla with only minimal political justification. All the way up to the US of A we see that the far left is pro-drugs (unlike the far left in e.g. Sweden, who is as anti-drugs as any of the major parties). Any country that is caught in substance abuse cannot compete effectively, such as USA.

Also in Asia and Afghanistan we see the link between populist movements and drug smuggling. It appears that they can pull in suckers to work in the dirty trade using cheap political rhetoric. Especially when it comes to murders, it may be good rhetoric to call it “war” instead, since killing is accepted as an integral part of war. Thus the nexus between populism and narcotics, in my humble opinion.

5 thoughts on “Analysis: Drug cartels behind political murders in Honduras”

  1. Brilliant article! Thank you for explaining craziness in a way that makes complete sense. Thank you!

  2. Wow! this was an interesting, and well thought out read…I had not thought of it (motive for poilitical murders from the narcos)this way and am thankful for your viewpoint–it makes sense. However I do not agree with this….

    “It also goes for Americans and all others who use drugs: They are the ones who drive the process that ultimately leads to these murders..”

    ..if by “Americans” you mean the government of the USA, than I would agree with you, but accusing the people who are using drugs is ridiculous….the reason that the narcos can make so much money is simply because drugs are illegal. Drug use is a world wide cultural normality (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, coffee, opium etc.). Keeping drugs illegal drives the blackmarket prices up, therefore making tons of money for narcos–if the US decriminalized, taxed, and regulated them, the narcos would lose their power.
    The fault of these murders, if they are commited by narcos (again, your point is really well made) does not lie with the users of drugs…it lies with the US governement.

    1. Your argument is perfectly logical. It is ultimately a political question what drugs (if any) should be banned. However, my take is that if we live in a democracy and the majority decides to ban drug A, then the minority should respect the decision or try to change the law, but not disobey the law because that causes problems.

      Of course, cocaine is a very addictive drug, and it is the addictiveness rather than some intellectual argument that is behind the drive to legalize drugs. The easy way out.

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