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article imageWith U.S. aid, Honduras building navy bases to fight smuggling

By John Sevigny     Sep 2, 2013 in World
With money from the United States, the Honduran military has built one navy base and plans to build two more in an effort to curb drug trafficking.
The first base is up and running at Guanaja Island, about 70 miles off the Central American nation's Caribbean coast, EFE News reported.
"The government of the United States helps Honduras," said Honduran Defense Minister Marlon Pascua. In this case, "help" means $10.3 million dollars in U.S. military aid for the three bases.
Honduras is building a second base at Caratasca, near the Nicaraguan border, and a third, also on the Caribbean coast, at Puerto Castilla.
Central America forms a natural land bridge between South America and Mexico, which makes it part of one of the busiest routes for cocaine smugglers moving drugs to the United States. Honduras, a small, poverty-stricken nation rife with corruption and violence, stretches the width of the isthmus. Smugglers cannot move contraband north over land without crossing Honduras and often use submarines and boats to circumvent Honduras.
According to the 2012 corruption index, a report by Transparency International, corruption in Honduras was higher than in other Latin American countries including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Not everyone is in favor of using only military aid to help nations like Honduras.
In an op-ed piece for the New York Times last year, Michael Shifter, president of the policy forum Inter-American Dialogue, said bolstering the military in countries with shaky human rights records and high levels of corruption is risky.
"There are considerable risks associated with building up militaries in countries like Honduras, with precarious governance and a history of rights abuses," Shifter wrote. "But such risks have to be weighed against the risks of the current, deteriorating situation, which has taken a tremendous human toll and poses a serious threat to the rule of law."
More about Honduras, War on drugs, Central america, Drug trafficking, Navy
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