U.S. to continue expanded antidrug policy despite Honduran tragedy

by Nickalas Tabbert

By Tyler Gieseke

Despite the recent Honduran tragedy and disquiet at home, U.S. officials will continue implementing the expanded antidrug policy.

The new counternarcotics strategy includes increased cooperation across various United States departments and agencies, the New York Times said. Soon after implementation of the policy, two smugglers’ flights from South America to Honduras were intercepted in a single week, a large improvement.

“My guess is narcotics traffickers are hitting the pause button. For the first time in a decade, air shipments are being intercepted immediately upon landing,” said William R. Brownfield, the assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs.

Four people, including two pregnant women, were killed recently in a remote Honduran village during a raid on drug smugglers, NPR said.

The raid was conducted by American and Honduran forces, the Times said, and has led to uneasiness amongst U.S. locals regarding recently expanded antidrug efforts.  

Increased security against drug smugglers in larger countries such as Colombia and Mexico has led to a sharp rise in drug-related violence in Honduras and other smaller countries with less effective enforcement measures, the Times said.

“Violence has grown a lot; crimes connected to trafficking keep increasing—that’s Central America’s big complaint,” President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala said in an interview. “If there are no innovations, if we don’t see something truly different than what we have been doing, then this war is on the road to defeat.”

The expanded US policy also encourages sharing of intelligence and enforcement forces amongst Central American countries, to increase the effectiveness of enforcement efforts. However, local responses to this have been doubtful, the Times said.