Let Down By Lobo
The Honduran leader has been a major disappointment.
9:10 AM, Oct 5, 2011 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
While Lobo has attempted to boost the cause of Palestinian statehood, he has failed adequately to address his country’s serious domestic problems. Gang and drug violence has spiked throughout Central America, and it is devastating Honduran society. According to a World Bank study, the total economic costs of crime and violence in Honduras are equivalent to 9.6 percent of GDP. On September 10, Honduran security minister Oscar Álvarez resigned from office, lamenting that he had been unable to make significant progress in reducing police corruption. “I didn’t have the economic support,” he told a press conference in Tegucigalpa. “I was affecting big interests of drug trafficking, money laundering and kidnapping.” As Geoffrey Ramsey of InSight Crime reports, Álvarez has said that the Honduran police “are now more thoroughly infiltrated by criminal groups than at any point in history, as evidenced by the fact that there have been several cases of police working for local mafia groups.” His efforts to expose this corruption and remove corrupt officers brought Álvarez into conflict with top police leaders.
At the moment, Honduras is clearly plagued by a growing security crisis. It may soon have another political crisis on its hands, if Zelaya insists on promoting his radical agenda. By sacking him in 2009, Honduran officials saved a fragile democracy. By allowing him to return to politics, Lobo has put that same democracy at increased risk.
Jaime Daremblum, who served as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2004, is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.