Guatemala to Open New Honduran Border Checkpoint

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The government of Guatemala has announced that it will open a new security checkpoint along its border with Honduras, in an effort to cut down on smuggling along the 256 km-long border.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina announced on November 26 that the government would set up a new official border crossing into Honduras, in the northeastern province of Izabal.

Perez said that the crossing would help bring customs revenue to his country, and added that he was speaking with his Honduran counterpart, President Porfirio Lobo, about the possibility of adding more border crossings.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Honduran-Guatemalan border is notoriously ill-monitored. As a 2011 El Faro investigation revealed, the border region is controlled by trafficking networks with ties to Mexican drug cartels, who have infiltrated local governments. As such, drugs and weapons often cross undetected into Guatemala from Honduras.

With the new checkpoint, Guatemala will have four border crossings with Honduras. A recent joint study by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) found that of the three existing checkpoints, only two are regularly manned, due to a lack of personnel and financial resources. It remains to be seen whether the new crossing will be properly staffed and resourced.

This is especially problematic considering the growing importance of the countries in the regional drug trade. Mexican drug trafficking organizations like the Zetas and Sinaloa Cartel are basing their operations in Guatemala, and Honduras is emerging as a major transit point for drug shipments from South America. Officials estimate that 80 percent of cocaine flights bound for the United States pass through Honduras.

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