Country Report on Terrorism 2009 - Chapter 2 - Honduras

The Honduran government continued to implement steps in accordance with its 2007 National Security Strategy, which included counterterrorism as an objective, and stressed regional and international cooperation. For example, in November, the Honduran Armed Forces (HOAF) and the Honduran National Police (HNP) took steps towards the creation of a Joint Interagency Task Force. This joint task force should improve inter-agency intelligence cooperation and should decrease illicit trafficking and minimize terrorist threats within the country.

Organized crime and illicit trafficking organizations and networks were strong and potentially ripe for exploitation by terrorists intent on entering and attacking the United States. While there was no conclusive evidence that terrorist groups worked with illicit trafficking organizations, the United States continued to assist the HOAF and HNP with their counterterrorism efforts in order to prevent terrorist groups from exploiting illicit trafficking networks. The Honduran military lacked sufficient resources, and the police and judiciary were spread thin, poorly trained, and susceptible to threats and corruption. In the first half of the year, before a coup d’etat took place, the United States continued to provide the HOAF and HNP with training, equipment, and base construction, which dramatically improved their ability to interdict illicit trafficking and protect the country against terrorist threats. In response to the June 28 coup, however, the U.S. government suspended all counterterrorism training pending restoration of the democratic, constitutional order.

There were no known instances of terrorist organizations using Honduras’s financial system to deposit or launder funds. Prior to the coup, Honduran cooperation with the United States on combating terrorist financing was strong. The Honduran Banking and Insurance Commission, instructed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promptly sent freeze orders to the entire regulated financial sector every time the United States amended Executive Order lists. Financial entities, particularly the commercial banks, undertook the requested searches for accounts by terrorist entities. There were no amendments to the Executive Order lists after the coup that required notification of the Honduran government.

There was no indication of terrorist groups using illegal immigration networks. Over the past five years, however, smuggling rings have been detected moving people from East Africa (in particular Somalia in 2009), the Middle East, and Southwest Asia to Honduras or through its territory. Nationals of countries without Honduran visa requirements, especially Ecuador and Colombia, were involved in schemes to transit Honduras, often with the United States and Europe as their final destination. Foreign nationals have successfully obtained valid Honduran identity cards and passports under their own or false identities.