The capture of El Chapo has resulted in more violence in Honduras

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The capture of El Chapo has resulted in more violence in Honduras

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APRIL 8, 2014

The fight against drug trafficking Felipe Calderón unleashed pushed the great Central Mexican cartels. The worst of this phenomenon exists in Honduras, where there were 36,000 murders in the past six years and violence grew after the capture of El Chapo. Despite this situation, the Mexican government and only works with the security authorities of that country. A few days before the visit Tegucigalpa Enrique Peña Nieto, analysts and experts insist that nation obvious: The anti-crime fight would be much more effective if you work with Central Mexico.

TEGUCIGALPA (Procedure) -. Honduras is the Central American country to live more intensely the violence generated by Mexican criminal organizations.

The cartels of Sinaloa, Gulf and Los Zetas exert almost total control of criminal structures in this nation, through which passes 80% of the cocaine arriving in Mexico and the United States, according to estimates by drug agencies.

"Here the main leaders of criminal groups are at the service of the Mexican cartels. No Honduran group has the ability to lose two or three tons of drugs and pay, so they are not members of the Mexicans in any sense: They are subordinates. Everything is controlled by the same cartels from Mexico to here, from A to Z. The principal is to Sinaloa, "said Proceso director Honduras National Police Commissioner Ramon Savillón.

In this context, the Honduran judicial authorities consider that Mexico should become more engaged in regional cooperation to combat organized crime, which often requires different Mexican institutions from the U.S. government.

The national coordinator of the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime Honduras, Mariela Reyes Canales argues that in the end the rising violence in their nation is related to the drug war unleashed by the previous Mexican President Felipe Calderon ( 2006-2012), which moved to Central part of the operations of the major cartels and was a co-optation of local criminal structures.

Channels Reyes asserts that, far from that event motivated more cooperation from Mexico with his country, greater distance institutionally originated.

"We've seen a little barrier with Mexico. We understand that security is a matter of distrust and perhaps the whole situation occurring in Mexico, but we feel we need to take a step further, we need to deepen those ties of communication "reflects the tax.

- Is there a barrier from Mexico to establish a communication exchange fluid in combating transnational crime? -You ask.

-Yes, we have felt. Do not know if it's confidence or what, but we do see that barrier-based.

- Mexican authorities do not provide information as required by your research?

Sure, the information does not flow as it should flow.

According to the prosecutor, the limited level of judicial cooperation between Honduras and Mexico contrasts with that this country has with the United States and Colombia.

It details the American Union "has played a very important role at the level of cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking, and we have also supported enough in Colombia, in communication, in contacts to research topics of crime."

Through a strategy called Diplomacy Safety, Colombia each year trains hundreds of police and judicial officials Hondurans and exchange intelligence information with local authorities.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, established on 15 March that his country needs more cooperation from North American countries (Mexico, USA and Canada) to combat drug trafficking: "We need more effective aid and countries should collaborate more with us in the fight against drug trafficking. Mainly I mean beyond countries, North America, who are to blame for the problems we are experiencing. "

On April 1, Hernandez will receive in this capital to its Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, who will assess the bilateral security cooperation.

Honduras is a strategic territory for drug traffickers for its 671 kilometers of coastline in the Caribbean Sea, to the north, and extensive forest area in the northeastern region of La Mosquitia, where according to estimates by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA , for its acronym in English) lands 75% of the planes that leave from South America with cocaine. Hence cargoes are transported by land to the western Honduras and Guatemala to introduce them to Mexico.


Domino Effect


Sula, the second largest city country-there were 11 deaths, including that of a Mexican police identified as Miguel Torres Jimenez in three massacres between the 3rd and 12th of this month in northwest San Pedro.

Honduran Security Minister Arturo Corrales said in an interview with the weekly that since the capture of the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, on 22 February in Mazatlan, there has been a surge in the settling of scores between bands of organized crime in the Central American country.

"Three things happened almost simultaneously exacerbating clashes between criminal groups within Honduras. One was the capture of Chapo Guzman in Mexico. Two, the breaking of a truce between the gangs (the Salvatrucha and Barrio 18) in El Salvador. A third factor is that we have reduced the area of ​​comfort and territorial control groups offenders. Can not say which of the three factors has the greatest influence in these executions, the three gravitate on this situation, "the minister said.

According to Corrales, falling Chapo is rearranging the regional structure of drug trafficking and the effects will be felt from Mexico to Central and South America. Think, in the end, there will always be some criminal organization willing to smuggle drugs by high profits of this criminal activity: Refers eg a kilogram of pure cocaine has a price of 500 dollars in the Colombian jungles and $ 20,000 in Mexico's border with the United States, equivalent to a yield of 1.233 percent.

Honduras notes that "all Mexican cartels," especially the Sinaloa and Los Zetas operate. The territorial domain and business exercises each "is changing because suddenly one gets to spend a boat and the other fails to pass a plane and the other a submarine."

According to statistics of the Observatory of Violence validated by the National Police in 2006 occurred in Honduras 49.9 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, while in 2012 the figure jumped to 85.5 per 100 thousand, an increase of 85% in six years. In total, during this period 36 000 533 killings in the country, a third of which occurred in Mexico, although the Central American nation has 14 times fewer inhabitants were committed.

Security Minister indicates that among the drug war in Mexico and the effectiveness of Colombia's fight against this crime "Central turned a sandwich, and Honduras, because it is the best strategically located country. It was the ideal platform, and Central American institutions was not prepared for this hurricane. "

- Do you think Mexico should have done more to help create Central? -He asks.

-It is very difficult for us to say exactly what happened in Mexico. What I can assure is that we would be much more effective and would have greater results if Mexico was so well coordinated with us in this fight as are Colombia and Central America. If one element is missing, the results obviously are not the best.

Peña Nieto will pay an official visit to Honduras on Tuesday, April 1. Corrales argues that one of the purposes of this visit is to lay the bases for cooperation between Mexico and the country at the same level as that of this country with Colombia and the United States.

- Does it affect the fact that Honduras collaboration of Mexico is not comparable to that provided to his country Colombia and the United States?

-Absolutely yes. Mexico does not have with the same levels of cooperation, understanding, information exchange we have with Colombia and the U.S. is wasting a huge opportunity and, politically, strategically, is a mistake.

This weekly requested an interview on the subject with Mexico's ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Morales, who did not respond to calls.


Structural domain


Last February, the Honduran authorities, with the support of the DEA, seized property and valued at approximately 500 million dollars to the band's Cachiros a criminal empire led by Javier and Leonel Rivera Maradiaga brothers enterprises, to the National Police linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and El Chapo Guzman in the traffic of narcotics and money laundering. Whenever this country falls in a band linked to narco, the police usually require parties to which Mexican cartel belongs.

"This criminal groups are categorized by copying it from Mexico. They say: 'This group belongs to the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Zetas, the Gulf, the Pacific'. And is that no group has the connotation Honduran and a Mexican cartel money. They will always depend on the chain of command of the Mexican cartels, the Sinaloa first "reveals Savillón, the director of the National Police of Honduras.

- And you have detected presence here in Honduras Mexican Sinaloa Cartel?

Sure. Some people have discovered in investigative processes, some with false documents. You know that here can be identified as "Juan Jose Abarca," and you call Mexico to check that and there is no such name there. Someone Sinaloa can happen here as Guatemalan or Salvadoran, easy going.

The executive director of the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights (Ciprodeh), Wilfredo Mendez argues that the "cockroach effect" triggered by Felipe Calderón's war facilitated the Mexican cartels soon succeed in a "structural penetration" in Central America favored by the prevailing corruption in state institutions and security agencies:

"The Mexican cartels came to strengthen these internal criminal structures. Honduras was easier for them because there is no widely dispersed leadership of the organized crime unit, but they co-opted leadership. They also found a favorable environment in which military, police and corrupt politicians helped them make the business flourish. "

The Ciprodeh made from the previous year a study to identify the political, economic and social leaders linked to organized crime.

"With these leaders on drugs has achieved extensive control of the west of the country (on the border with Guatemala) and the Caribbean, on the north coast, where the main sea, air and land routes are concentrated drug. Drug traffickers have been taking over towns, regions, and went from being an invisible power, hidden power, to become a visible power, without fear, puts mayors are narcoalcaldes. So the strengthening of the Mexican cartels in Honduras is quite strong. They dominate the local structures of the crime and have a high level of coordination with Honduran groups "outlined Mendez.

Security Minister argues that there is a government commitment to fight corruption. In the National Police, attached to the ministry, in the last 10 months have been discharged over a thousand staff: 8% of the total. Debugging, including economic research and the use of polygraphs, also reaches prosecutors. For independent analysts is a very early effort that has been pushed by public pressure.




Reyes Canales, the national coordinator of the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime, argues that the institution legally documented "a strong presence of Mexican cartels in Honduras; Sinaloa, the Nava Valencia (Millennium) and Los Zetas, although this has now diminished.

"We have also seen a significant growth of these groups. They have established corporations and through this have generated money laundering, so obviously we are trying to focus comprehensively research to go against property (ill-gotten). "

The Cachiros, remember, had created a sophisticated network of real estate, farming, ranching, mining and recreational. Partners with El Chapo had to an amusement park and a zoo in the northwestern Santa Cruz de Yojoa.

Last year, an investigation by the Treasury Department of the United States led to the capture of the wealthy Honduran businessman José Chepe Handal, who was identified as a single institution responsible for coordinating shipments of Colombian cocaine to the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas.

For fiscal Reyes Canales, Honduras, a country that is not a producer nor a major consumer of drugs, is paying a high price for a war that came from outside.