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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03TEGUCIGALPA2751 2003-11-21 22:35:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

MEDIA REACTION ON DRUGS, NOVEMBER 20, 2003

Tags:   OIIP PREL KPAO SNAR HO 
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					  UNCLAS TEGUCIGALPA 002751 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/PDA (OHILTON), WHA/CEN, AND INL/LP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP PREL KPAO SNAR HO
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON DRUGS, NOVEMBER 20, 2003




1. Op-ed by Ramon Villeda Bermudez (current Liberal Party
Congressman) in Tegucigalpa-based liberal daily "La Tribuna"
on 11/20 entitled "A hundred tons of cocaine ". "The U.S.
Ambassador Larry Palmer recently revealed that almost a
hundred tons of cocaine go through Honduras and Central
America on its way to the U.S every year. This shocking
figure means that the drug seizures done by our security
forces have gotten only an insignificant amount of the drugs
transported through our country. This announcement came
just a few days after our security forces presented the data
of drug seizures for this year, which we had seen as a huge
success."

"The first question that came to my mind was, how did those
figures, which are a matter of concern to the Ambassador,
his and our government, and all decent Hondurans, came to
the attention of the Ambassador? I'd also like to know: if
the U.S. knew this all along, how come the powerful northern
country hasn't done anything to stop it?."

"Honduras has repeatedly explained to the Americans that,
although the government has increased the amount of drug
seizures and has improved our mechanisms to arrest drug
traffickers, we have insufficient means to improve our
results in this fight. We have repeatedly said to them that
we can't use our entire limited budget to build a fence to
protect the back of a rich neighbor that has all the
necessary means to build it by itself."



"The Honduran request for more economic aid, equipment and
five helicopters to increase our effectiveness in our fight
against drug trafficking is widely known internationally.
Our governmental authorities talked about this issue when
the Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Honduras,
although I believe Powell didn't like this idea that much."

"The Ambassador of the most powerful country in the world
has mentioned a list of requests from the Bush
administration to Honduras, which include the reforms of our
legal system to increase our effectiveness in the fight
against narcotrafficking."

"It's a national shame that some of the narcotraffickers we
have arrested, just a few days later have escaped from
prison. It's also a shame that some of the cocaine seized
by the police has been later sold by the same police
officers who seized it, as it happened recently in
Choluteca. Maybe Colin Powell was thinking about these
facts when he said that we must fight corruption in a more
decisive and effective manner."

"There are a hundred million reasons to seriously think
about what Ambassador Palmer has recently said, and there's
also a hundred million motives for Honduras to get the
assistance we need from the U.S."

Palmer