Members of the TIGRES police unit

Honduras' newly sworn in president has deployed military police and a new police unit into the streets of capital Tegucigalpa, in a move that could be a sign of his promised hardline approach to security.

During the January 27 inauguration ceremony, President Juan Orlando Hernandez put the plan -- named "Operation Morazan" -- into effect and declared his intent to use "mano dura" (iron first) policies to combat violence and insecurity in the country, reported La Prensa. The operation will see the Military Police of Public Order (PMOP) and the "Tigers" -- a specialized police unit created to combat organized crime that went operational on January 26 -- deployed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and the adjoining city of Comayaguela to fight crime.

Hernandez said that "any policy established in Honduras to combat insecurity must have the fundamental goal of fighting against drugs, drug trafficking, organized crime, money laundering, and, thus, zero tolerance."

His strategy will include increasing both the military and police presence on the streets and on public transport, he said.

Minister of Security Arturo Corrales also pledged to reduce the homicide rate to seven murders per day -- from the 17 or more witnessed currently -- while Hernandez promised to decrease violence and extortion in the crime-wracked country in coming months.

InSight Crime Analysis

Hernandez's immediate deployment of soldiers as police onto the streets serves as a potential preview of the security policies his administration will employ while in office. Hernandez has been an active proponent of militarized security and was influential in the creation of the PMOP.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

The new president's security views have raised concerns among those who believe these kinds of iron-fist policies run contrary to civil liberties and human rights. Evidence also suggests that, rather than quashing crime, "mano dura" policies in Latin America can serve to increase violence and strengthen gangs.

Honduras, as the world's most dangerous nation outside a war zone, has a particularly challenging security situation. It has a high concentration of the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) street gangs, who are deeply involved in criminality and exert social control. It has also seen a sharp increase in drug flights since 2009, accompanied by an influx of transnational criminal groups.

The country is also faced with severely weak institutions and a police force rife with corruption and organized crime links.

The previous administration began militarizing security partly as a way of mitigating the current police crisis, exacerbated by a stuttering reform effort. However, in addition to human rights concerns, this strategy has had little effect thus far and fails to address the institutional weaknesses underlying Honduras' security crisis.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.