The US and Honduras reaffirm commitment to “cooperation” to curb crime and address migration

The US and Honduras reaffirm commitment to "cooperation" to curb crime and address migration

The president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, and the head of the United States Southern Command, General Laura Richardson, once again held a meeting in the Central American country to address “the challenges” facing the region in terms of security, corruption, migration and climate change.

The visit was part of the official trip of the senior US official to Honduras, her second since holding this position. Less than five months ago, in February, General Richardson traveled to Honduras for the first time to hold a meeting in Tegucigalpa.

The fight against organized crime

As then, this time the need to create much stronger alliances with the administration to curb the “threats” represented by transnational criminal organizations, which traffic in narcotics, weapons and people, has been put on the table.

“You cannot take security and a strong defense for granted. We have to work together as we overcome challenges,” Richardson said in a statement to the voice of america.

At the same time, he admitted that “there is a lot of work to be done” to deal with “the insecurity and instability caused” by organized crime in these countries.

The impact on migration

The increase in these crimes has a direct impact on migratory flows from Central America to the southern border of the United States, something that the White House wants to placate by promoting policies to encourage economic prosperity and improve security to prevent these populations from being forced to leave their countries.

“That makes people feel insecure and that makes, in some cases, drive migration because people don’t feel safe, they can’t get food and they can’t get health care. They want to go where they can prosper as a family and can live free, safe and prosperous,” she expressed.

That has become General Richardson’s top priority since she was appointed chief of Southern Command in October 2021.

Honduras values ​​rapprochement with the US

For his part, the Vice Minister of Defense of the Honduran administration, Elías Antonio Melgar Urbina, who also held a bilateral meeting, underlined “the interest” of the White House in “strengthening ties of collaboration, cooperation and friendship” between both nations.

“The meeting was very productive and support in the areas of education, health and defense are a priority for the Government of the United States and, especially, for the Southern Command,” concluded Melgar Urbina.

The deputy minister also pointed out that “the relationship with the United States is not one of promises but of facts” and this has been reflected in the donations of defense and health equipment, especially during the pandemic and the natural disasters that have hit this region in the last few years. recent times.

“The meeting also addressed the access that we can have, in the event of a natural disaster, to helicopters, as well as the signing of agreements that are oriented towards the fight against drug trafficking. We were also told that we could have access to repowering equipment to repair the F5 (fighter) system,” he stated.

From the United States Embassy in Tegucigalpa, in charge of coordinating all cooperation operations by the US government with Honduras, they assure that the bilateral relationship is “very important” to face these challenges.

“This shows that the bilateral relationship is very important for both the United States and Honduras, because we have cooperation in many areas, such as in the humanitarian or security area,” said Brandon Peort, press attaché at the US Embassy.

Lack of resources

Despite this, from the United States there are some critical voices that maintain that these plans cannot be executed successfully if the budget for the Southern Command is not increased.

Federal congressman Henry Cuéllar also added that “the threat from China is very serious” in the region, and therefore he considers that more funds should be allocated for these defense operations.

“I understand the importance of the Southern Command and there is already a report that was made at my request that talks about the impact of criminal groups and the influence of Russia, Iran and especially China. That is why more dollars have to be put in to fight that threat,” he argued.

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