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Cablegate: Media Reaction On Drug Trafficking, June 26, 2003

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 001510

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/PDA (MBUCKLEY); WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP PREL KPAO PGOV IZ HO
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON DRUG TRAFFICKING, JUNE 26, 2003


1. Article in Tegucigalpa-based liberal daily "La Tribuna"
on 6/26 entitled "U.S. Ambassador doesn't see results
against narcos." "U.S. Ambassador Larry Palmer affirmed that
his government, just like the rest of Hondurans, expects to
see positive results in the fight against narco-
trafficking."

"The Ambassador stated, `We want results: drug seizures,
arrests of narco traffickers and convictions for those
responsible of such acts. we are deeply concerned with the
recent rise of organized crime and narco trafficking'."

"He added, `More than a year ago, the Embassy received an
anonymous report that gives names of many people linked to
narco-trafficking and organized crime. We'd like to see a
thorough investigation by the Honduran authorities to find
out whether those allegations are true or not; the Honduran
people are entitled to know'."

"Concerning the arrest of Cesar Diaz, the Honduran member of
the Central American Parliament who was arrested in
Nicaragua with 7 kilos of heroin, he declared `it is more
important what comes after his apprehension. I hope the
Honduran authorities do their best to penalize rigorously
those responsible for narco-trafficking'."

2. Article in San Pedro Sula-based liberal daily "La Prensa"
on 6/26 entitled "The U.S. demands the maximum penalty for
narcos". "U.S. Ambassador Larry Palmer sent a clear
challenge to the Judicial branch, the police and the General
Attorney's Office: seize more drugs and penalize drug
traffickers with the maximum penalty."

"In a press conference, Palmer affirmed, `The police and the
General Attorney Office's are responsible for finding out
the whereabouts of narco-traffickers. We expect positive
results from their task'."

"About the arrest of Congressman Cesar Diaz, the Ambassador
stated that the behavior of one person can't affect the
image of the whole country. He declared that the important
thing is that those guilty of these crimes must be severely
punished by law."

3. Article in "La Tribuna" on 6/26 entitled "U.S. aid is
only enough for their advisors". "The coordinator of
prosecutors of the Attorney General Office, Humberto
Palacios Moya, said that they will only keep arresting minor
users of marijuana and cocaine if the U.S. doesn't help to
improve their logistical structures."

"Palacios affirmed, `The anti-narcotics police has only 29
agents for the whole country, we have said this to the
National Congress and the U.S. Embassy but their answer is
that they have given enough money for the fight against
drugs. what the Americans do not say is that their money
mainly goes to the DEA advisors and other international
organizations'."

4. Article in "La Tribuna" on 6/26 entitled "The Attorney
General's Office is also infiltrated". "Alfredo Landaverde,
former Executive Director of the National Council against
Narco Trafficking, challenged governmental authorities to
categorically face narco-trafficking, one of the most
dangerous branches of organized crime."

"Concerning the infiltration of organized crime in the
country's security forces, he emphatically affirmed, `many
policemen have personally told me they are afraid of some of
their colleagues because they know they work for criminal
organizations. Honduras has a few good prosecutors, judges
and policemen determined to fight against organized crime
but beside them, we can also find infiltrated officials'."

"He added, `I know they will call me once again to confirm
those accusations. Then, I guess they will also call the
U.S. embassy's DCM Roger Pierce for saying that as well'."

5. Article in "La Tribuna" on 6/26 entitled "Four Colombians
are arrested in narco plane case". "Four Colombians and two
Hondurans were arrested and accused for being tied with the
narco organizations operating in the region of Colon, which
recently burned and destroyed a plane that was used to
transport 500 kilos of cocaine, apparently from Colombia".

6. Article in "La Prensa" on 6/26 entitled "Maduro asks the
U.S. for help". "President Maduro stated that the fight
against drug trafficking is much more difficult for a poor
country like Honduras, and `that is why I'm asking the U.S.
which has always been an extraordinary ally, to increase its
support on this issue. this campaign requires a lot of money
and we need the help of a big country like the U.S.'."

"Maduro declared, `. the fight against drug trafficking
demands sophisticated equipment, such as radars and special
vehicles the country can't afford because public funds are
used to address other priorities, such as the fight against
crime and health and education programs'."

7. Article in Tegucigalpa-based moderate daily "El Heraldo"
on 6/26 entitled "The U.S. should aid more". "President
Maduro stated the United States has helped, but not in the
degree this country needs for accomplishable results.
Ambassador Larry Palmer replied, `the Honduran public has
the right to know and if they determine these allegations to
be true, then we want the guilty to receive the maximum
penalty of the law. I won't be satisfied until all drug-
traffickers are in jail, but it's a pretty hard fight'."

"Maduro added, `Honduras needs more help because the public
funds go towards teenage delinquency and education systems.
money and sophisticated equipment are needed for this
project, and the amount of money Honduras currently has is
not enough to cover certain needs'."

Palmer

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