Honduran General Criticizes US for Lack of Results in Drug War

The head of Honduras' armed forces criticized the United States for not supplying the Central American nation with the necessary support to combat drug traffickers.

General René Osorio, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of Honduras, said that Honduras needed airplanes, helicopters, speed boats and radar among other things to combat drug traffickers using the country to bring drugs from South America into Mexico and the United States.

"Up to now it has not been possible to disband the groups trafficking with illegal substances because the consumers, such as United States, didn't offer the necessary support," Osorio said to the newspaper La Tribuna.

The United States Southern Command did not return a request for comment.

Osorio said that Honduras' main problem is that the country is a conduit point for traffickers, who have contributed to country's rise in violent crime, criminal activity among young people and corruption of officials.

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Honduras ranked No. 1 on a United Nations list of the countries with the highest murder rates with 86 murders per 100,000. Latin American and Caribbean nations dominated the top ten of the UN list, with El Salvador coming in second, Venezuela coming in fourth, followed by Belize and Guatemala at five and six.

Osorio advocated permitting the downing of planes flying over the country illegally.

"I am in favor of hardening the penalties to intercept the drugs and giving the power to bring those light planes down if the law allows it," Osorio said. "We must take drastic decisions against these people, because otherwise they will continue spending the years and will continue the problem."

"The most important thing is strong laws, and that the developed countries support with technology and inputs, because the final destination of the drug is to the north (United States), the market with more demand," he added, according to Inside Costa Rica.

Earlier this month, Osorio announced that Honduras had begun talks with the U.S. about approaching countries such as France and Israel for radar to monitor its airspace.

On the issue of the decriminalization of drugs, Osorio said that it was a complex issue because of country's like Portugal that have legalized all drugs and country's like Holland have had mixed results with legalization.

Decriminalization was one of the main talking points at the recent Summit of the Americas on Colombia, after Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina called for the measure throughout the region during his first few days as president.

“Here we are speaking from the southern area, where it occurs, through all the countries like Guatemala that are transit points to Mexico and the United States," Pérez Molina said, according to El Nuevo Heradlo newspaper.

It seems unlikely, however, given the U.S. government's position against legalization, that their calls will be heeded, stated InSight, a website covering security in Latin America.

"Its getting out of control, and if this is legalized, the youth would be the most vulnerable, and the problem would be worse for the people," Osorio said.

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