Friday, February 10, 2012

a very hot potato

Nobody in the country wants the head of the Directorate for Combating Drug Trafficking [DLCN, by its Spanish acronym] the president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, said yesterday. The last director, General Aristides Gonzalez, was assassinated in December 2009. The crime remains unresolved and unpunished. [...] The President said yesterday that the candidates proposed by Attorney General Luis Rubi have so far declined to head the entity. Lobo maintained that this refusal by nominated candidates is the reason he has yet to name a new director of the DLCN.
- Translated from La Prensa

Seems like [mainland] Honduras continues its inexorable and accelerating evolution into a 'narco-state.' This predicament President Lobo finds himself in speaks volumes: the state is unable to guarantee the physical security of its anti-drug trafficking czar; as a result, no sane citizen dares take the job. This scenario highlights the fact that it is the drug cartels - not elected officials - that are deciding key anti-narcotics policies in Honduras. My cash poor country simply lacks the resources to take on the deep-pocketed international drug trade.

Pushed south by Mexico's determined and relentless effort to squelch them, narcotics traffickers have discovered an optimal haven here in Honduras (and in neighboring Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize): Honduras is a country with many immense, sparsely populated areas (ideal for clandestine landing strips); a majority of citizens mired in grinding poverty who - without malice - appreciate the influx of narcodollars; a hyper-corrupt police force; an anemic, constipated judicial system; weak, mismanaged institutions; and government officials who can, in general, be easily intimidated and/or bought off (or, failing that, simply assassinated with impunity).

Unless North American and European governments (should they truly accept the fact that it is the voracious appetite of their First World citizens for Mexican and South American drugs that drives this twisted phenomenon) seriously and massively come to the aid of the seven Central American states (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama), a narco-isthmus is pretty much already the new reality here.

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