Cocaine and Honduras

The street value of the cocaine that is smuggled through Honduras every year is much larger than the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). I pointed that out in an article in Swedish Newsmill two weeks ago, and now it has been brought to the front burner also in Washington (Brookings Institute, Honduras Weekly).

Trying to understand the political crisis of 2009 is futile, in my opinion, if one does not take into account the drug smuggling. I have written an estimated 30 or so posts the last 16 months on the issue, exposing how the drug cartels are taking advantage of the situation. They are both making it worse to suit their purposes, and they are manipulating media’s reporting of it, also to suit their purposes.

The cocaine smugglers, who are in cohorts with the communists, socialists, or whatever you call them, benefit when:

  1. the security apparatus is overwhelmed
  2. the people does not trust the security apparatus

It is simple logic to figure out what tactical moves the drug cartels could take, and apparently are taking, to exploit the vulnerability of the country:

  1. commit murders, but do it so the blame falls on the police, or even better, on the state itself
  2. encourage demonstrations, pay people to block the streets and riot
  3. encourage populist ideas that are unconstitutional or otherwise impossible to make work
  4. The idea is simply to make the state fail. To make the citizens distrust their government. To make everyone distrust the police isn’t hard: Just bribe a few policemen to “help” out by doing criminal acts, such as kidnapping or “scaring” supporters of the anti-government so-called resistance. If that fails, dress out as police. The main thing is that the “resistance” believes that they are targeted by government-sponsored death squads.

    For good measure, they can also kill one or two businessmen, or a dozen, what the heck; and make it seem that it was done by the “resistencia”. If they are really successful, real death squads might appear eventually.

    Mayhem

    The basic idea is to create mayhem. They have created a terrible level of violence, but all hell hasn’t broken loose yet. The military is still holding their position as the most trusted institution in Honduras, and that bodes well for the future. The fact that the military arrested the president last year, on the Supreme Court’s orders, and stood up to all attempts to bribe them, indicates that the leaders of the country have a solid support from where it really counts. And that any new attempt to overthrow the form of government would be risky, to say the least, since there is no chance, it seems, that the military would fold.

    The second strong force is the private enterprise. They are stepping up with donations to help increase the security, with a surveillance system in San Pedro Sula, capable of integrating 800 cameras with automatic detection of suspect activities. Another good thing with it is that it may provide videos of alleged police brutality, so that it can be determined, finally, if it is the police that breaks the law, or the demonstrators who make false accusations. That could help settle that argument so that the country can move on. The main purpose remains of course to help stop the violent crimes: Murders and kidnappings. And the effect is already starting to be noticed.

2 thoughts on “Cocaine and Honduras”

  1. Very good overview and analysis. Thank you. London has the highest density of cameras in the world, and some say it hasn’t made any difference. Death Squads? Like the Vigilante Committees in the old American West? Some say they worked pretty well. I do know we can’t continue as we are!

    1. Well, the problem with saying that it hasn’t made any difference in London is that it is hard to know what would have been if they had not been there. Personally I think they may have prevented a lot of IRA terrorist acts. But, we’ll never know for sure. As for vigilantes, I think people have to watch out, but not provoke, or hurt, or kill, and that’s what the paramilitary death squads are supposedly doing.

      What I would suggest is that every Honduran who can afford to, puts a recording surveillance camera outside his front door. Ideally it should also cover a bit of the street outside. When there are enough of those around, it will have a preventive effect on crime.

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