TEGUCIGALPA – The Honduran armed forces will reinforce the police in their efforts to counter the growing crime wave besetting the country, a top general said Aug. 3.
The head of the armed forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Romero Vázquez, said that “the soldiers will go out onto the streets in the coming hours to combat common crime and organized crime.”
The measure is part of the government’s plan to battle the growing wave of violence and crime.
The deployments were decided after a meeting between President Manuel Zelaya, head of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Vilma Cecilia Morales. Also attending the meeting were Attorney General Leonidas Rosa Bautista, Adjunct Human Rights Commissioner Daniel Castillo, Security Minister Alvaro Romero and Defense Minister Aristides Mejía, among others.
In most modern democracies, the armed forces are barred under most circumstances from carrying out domestic law enforcement duties.
Much of the crime here is blamed on street gangs, which engage in extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking, assault and rape.
Vázquez said that the joint operations between the police and the army will be conducted nationwide, but stressed that emphasis will be placed on the cities and regions where the most crime has been registered, including Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the country’s economic capital in the north.
Officials say kidnapping has increased in Honduras in recent months.