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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03TEGUCIGALPA885 2003-04-11 13:18:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

DEFENSE TRADE CONTROLS IN HONDURAS; PROBLEMS WITH

Tags:   KOMC PREL PHUM PARM ETTC ETRD BEXP HO 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 000885 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR PM/DTC, WHA/CEN, WHA/PPC
COMMERCE FOR 532/OEA
COMMERCE FOR BUREAU OF INDUSTRY AND SECURITY: BNILSSON AND
DHOOKER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KOMC PREL PHUM PARM ETTC ETRD BEXP HO
SUBJECT: DEFENSE TRADE CONTROLS IN HONDURAS; PROBLEMS WITH
LA ARMERIA

REF: A. 02 TEGUCIGALPA 3428


B. 02 SECSTATE 113261

C. LYNN-CUMMINS EMAIL 03APR2003



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: La Armeria (The Armory), the only certified
firearms distributor in Honduras, continues to exhibit
difficulties in complying with State Department guidance
regarding the importation of commercial firearms. In
December 2002 Post recommended that State deny La Armeria's
request to import pistols, revolvers, rifles, and the
corresponding ammunition. This recommendation was supported
by a variety of factors, including the inordinately high rate
of violent crime in Honduras, the lack of any meaningful arms
control or regulation by the government, and because La
Armeria continues to do business without firm purchase
orders, sales contracts, or import licenses. Recently, La
Armeria contacted Post expressing an interest in once again
importing firearms and ammunition for commercial use. Post
reiterated the legal requirements with which La Armeria must
comply before any import license can be approved. Post also
notes its concurrence with PM/DTC that all Honduran
applications must have a specific import certificate and that
verification of end use is an important aspect of defense
trade controls that continues to be problematic in Honduras.
END SUMMARY



--------------------------


OAS Model Regulations


--------------------------





2. (SBU) The Government of Honduras (GOH) is a signator of
the OAS Model Regulations for the Control of the
International Movement of Firearms, although it has yet to
ratify the agreement. Nevertheless, the MFA has informed
Post that it considers the OAS regulations legally binding
and that the GOH will comply with its regulations. The
agreement requires that the GOH establish an effective import
regime and that all firearms import requests be accompanied
by a GOH import certificate. To date, it appears that the GOH
has yet to establish such a regime. Also, Post is not aware
that the GOH has ever issued an import certificate.



3. (SBU) PM/DTC has indicated that it will not consider
Honduran firearm and ammunition license applications which
are not accompanied by a GOH import certificate. La Armeria
has been made aware of this requirement (ref C).



--------------------------


Purchase Orders and/or Sales Contracts


--------------------------





4. (U) Post understands that in order to obtain a license
from the Department of State, a U.S. firm or individual
seeking an export license must have a firm purchase order or
sales contract from the buyer (ref B). Letters of intent,
invoices, unconfirmed statements of purchase projections, or
likely purchases are not sufficient to meet the requirements
for issuance of such a license. It has been the standard
operating procedure of La Armeria not to enter into firm
contracts of sale or purchase orders, but rather to routinely
make projections of arms and munitions that they might or
might not purchase. Past investigations at Post have
indicated that many times La Armeria obtains "quotes" or
"bids" from more than one arms manufacturer for exactly the
same product. Thereafter, they might or might not purchase
the arms from one of more of the companies that gave them
quotes (ref A). Post has informed La Armeria that future
applications must contain firm purchase orders and/or sales
contracts. La Armeria acknowledges that past applications
have lacked firm purchase orders or sales contracts and has
indicated that all future orders will comply with this
requirement.



--------------------------


La Armeria's Position


--------------------------





5. (U) Article 292 of the Honduran Constitution grants the
Honduran Armed Forces the exclusive right of "fabrication,
importation, distribution, and sale of firearms, ammunition,
and similar items." The constitutional powers of the armed
forces in the specific cases of commercial and sporting
activities have been delegated to the Institute of Military
Provision through a dependency called La Armeria. This makes
La Armeria the sole distributor of commercial and sporting
firearms in Honduras. La Armeria (run by active-duty
military officers) has stated that its special relationship
granted under the Honduran constitution exempts the
organization from the requirement to have import certificates
issued by the GOH. Post notes that in the past, La Armeria
has been hampered by corruption.



--------------------------


End Use and Security Considerations


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Post understands that verification of end use is an
important aspect of defense trade controls and that Post
plays a critical role in this effort. Post carefully
analyzes all applications whereby sales are being proposed
for "uncontrolled" sales for public use. Recent applications
for export licenses to Honduras have indicated that firearms
and ammunition were intended for commercial resale to retail
customers or governmental agencies. Post understands that
the appropriate standard to apply in situations such as this
is whether or not the conditions in the country warrant the
described sale.



7. (SBU) Honduras has no effective arms control or
regulation. Honduran armed forces continue to be deployed to
augment police units throughout Honduras in an effort to
combat crime and provide a modicum of security. Honduras has
one of the highest homicide rates in the Western Hemisphere
and gang violence continues to be a serious issue. There is
also a high rate of extrajudicial killings, especially of
adolescents and young adults, mostly by firearms. Finally,
President Maduro has publicly raised concerns about the
proliferation of weapons in Honduras and illicit arms
trafficking remains a problem. La Armeria has been informed
that Post must take local considerations into account when
considering whether or not to recommend a particular export
license, regardless of whether the proper documentation has
been submitted to State for consideration.



8. (U) PolOff and A/DATT are attempting to arrange a meeting
with La Armeria representatives at the earliest possible
convenience in order to convey once again the legal and
procedural requirements necessary to import firearms and
ammunition from the United States.

Palmer