The Mexican Army crackdown has driven some cartels to seek a safer location for their operations across the border in Guatemala, attracted by corruption, weak policing and its position on the overland smuggling route. The smugglers pick up drugs from small planes that land at private airstrips hidden in the Guatemalan jungle. The cargo is then moved up through Mexico to the U.S. border. Guatemala has also arrested dozens of drug suspects and torched huge cannabis and poppy fields, but is struggling. The U.S. government has sent speedboats and night-vision goggles under a regional drug aid package, but much more is needed. In February 2009, Los Zetas threatened to kill the President of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom. On March 1, 2010,
Guatemala's chief of national police and the country's top anti-drugs official have been arrested over alleged links to drug trafficking. A report from the Brookings Institution warns that, without proactive, timely efforts, the violence will spread throughout the Central American region.
According to the United States government, Los Zetas control 75% of Guatemala through violence, political corruption and infiltration in the country's institutions. Sources mentioned that Los Zetas gained ground in Guatemala after they killed several high-profile members and the supreme leader of Los Leones, an organized crime group from Guatemala.
According to recent reports, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) participated in a drug raid with Honduran police that left at least four civilians dead. Honduran news sources report that two of those killed were pregnant women. The U.S. has yet to issue a statement regarding this atrocity.
Please click here to join us in demanding a prompt response, including an investigation and prosecution of those responsible for these murders.
The U.S. has steadily increased its focus on Honduras in the “war against drugs.” As we have seen in Mexico and Colombia, civilians too often get caught in the crossfire. Leading Honduran human rights organization COFADEH states: “From the perspective of human rights organizations, this reality is unacceptable and reprehensible.”
The U.S. DEA regularly sends special units abroad in the “war against drugs.” According to reports, on May 11th U.S. DEA agents were accompanying Honduran police in an attempt to capture drug traffickers along the Patuca River in La Moskitia.
During the raid, a helicopter carrying U.S. and Honduran agents opened fire on a boat of civilians, killing Emerson Martínez, Chalo Brock Wood, Candelaria Tratt Nelson, Juana Banegas and the women’s unborn children.
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