Cablegate: Honduras: November 2009 Inl Monthly Report
DE RUEHTG #1269/01 3422342
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 082342Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1286
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 8181
UNCLAS TEGUCIGALPA 001269
FOR INL/LP MAYRA AHERN
FOR WHA POSTS - PASS to NAOs and Merida Coordinators
USAID for Donnie Harrington
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM KJUS EAID PREL HO
SUBJECT: HONDURAS: November 2009 INL Monthly Report
1. Summary. With the Ambassador's approval, Regional Corrections
Advisor has resumed working-level contact with Honduran prisons
officials and is advising the architect/project manager of the
maximum security building project. Post followed up on the interim
report of an at-risk youth program grant to a coalition of NGOs.
Anti-Gang Project manager worked with DHS/ICE to carry out a pilot
prisoner identification program. During the process of annual end
use monitoring visits, Embassy personnel discovered border posts are
half-staffed while personnel are reassigned to security details
associated with anti-coup protests. End summary.
2. Regional Corrections Advisor (RCA) has resumed working-level
contact with Honduran National Police prisons Director Commissioner
General Allan Najera, and individual prison wardens. RCA office has
been set up at the national prisons directorate headquarters in
Tamara allowing him daily contact with prison authorities, which
will facilitate the implementation of the Honduras strategic plan
more quickly once the project can be fully resumed. RCA has been
working with the architect and engineering of the high security
administrative segregation facility referred to as "La Maquila,"
reviewing the plans and making suggestions to modify some of the
construction areas. The construction of this administrative
segregation unit represents one of the most important security
projects initiated under the administration of President Jose Manuel
"Mel" Zelaya. The construction began in March 2009 and was scheduled
to be completed by November 2009 with an initial budget of USD
1,000,000. The completion of this project has been affected by
several delays, which are related to bureaucratic procedures in the
disbursement of funds, the acquisition of various construction
materials and the Honduran political crisis. Despite all these
challenges, the project is 82 percent completed, and in order to add
modifications suggested by Don Stolworthy, INL Senior Corrections
Advisor after his assessment visit conducted in January 2009, its
budget was increased to USD 1.4 million. These modifications
include the addition of a kitchen and infirmary areas.
Responsibility for completion of this project will fall on the new
Minister of Security, who will take office on January 27, 2010. RCA
toured the Juticalpa and the Choluteca prisons to become familiar
with these facilities in order to gain a better understanding
regarding the needs of the country's prisons program.
3. Post initiated the arrangements to train the DHS/ICE vetted unit
at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco,
GA. The training is scheduled to be held January 26-February 12,
2010 and 14 Honduran law enforcement officers will attend. The
course will cover a broad range of topics which include, but are not
limited to trafficking in persons, human smuggling, money
laundering, asset forfeiture, warrant execution, defensive tactics,
and surveillance and evidence processing techniques. The training
will be provided using established ICE techniques but will
incorporate the Honduran legal framework into the course curriculum.
The training will also include an in-depth practical exercise which
will permit the students to utilize the skills and principles
learned throughout the training.
4. Regional Corrections Adviser and Gang Project Manager
participated in the Regional Gang Program Working Group meeting in
Belize City November 4-6.
5. INL has received the interim report on the Youth at Risk grant to
3 NGOs under the umbrella Federation of Honduran NGOs (FOPRIDEH).
INL Gang Project Manager and INL Training Specialist carried out a
field visit to monitor the work of the three NGOs in urban high-risk
neighborhoods of the capital of Tegucigalpa. Work in tutoring and
school reinforcement, alternative activities and sports, and
leadership and non-violence training of 500 at-risk youth is
proceeding well. Another positive result has been increased
coordination and mutual training among the three NGOs, which is
creating tangibly stronger interventions by each (Note: this
capacity-building in coordination was one objective of the grant.
6. Post is reviewing three NGO concept papers presented for new
grants (FUNADEH - "Safer Community in Chamelecon" to support INL's
Model Precinct project; Arrow Ministries - "Tracking Children Wards
of the State" and GOAL - "Youth education and sports in La
7. Post and ICE National Gang Unit in Washington organized, and the
ICE Vetted Unit Honduras executed, a successful mission to produce a
new prototype of biographical software to eventually document all
inmates in Honduran prisons. The new software includes photographs,
biographies and fingerprints in electronic and hard-copies formats.
A pilot collection of 69 prisoners' data was carried out November
9-13, including 10 gang members. Commissioner General Najera
expressed his satisfaction with the product and wishes to use it to
create the legally-mandated National Prisoner Registry. Currently,
there is no computerized or even hard copy record of all prisoner
records, and at least half of prisoners do not have useable
fingerprints on file. Almost a quarter of the prisoners in this
pilot had immigration hits in the United States, and some were found
to have outstanding warrants for violent crime and murder.
8. The new Chief of the HNP Special Anti-Kidnapping Group,
Sub-Commissioner Hector Francisco Garcia Godoy briefed Embassy
personnel on the status of the work being carried out by his unit
within the framework of the current no contact policy between the
Embassy and GOH officials.
9. In order to start the End Use Monitoring report, Embassy staff
visited the Pavana checkpoint in the department of Choluteca.
Located on the Panamerican Highway, Pavana is the most important
police checkpoint in southern Honduras. Over 500 cars, buses and
commercial trucks are inspected daily at this checkpoint. Training
Specialist discovered that some of the equipment donated in 2008,
including laptops, digital cameras and camcorders were not in place,
and the police officer in charge did not know where the equipment
was located. The post was staffed below normal levels because the
de facto regime had reassigned half of the checkpoint staff to
support security operations in Tegucigalpa. Post has inquired at
the national director level regarding the current location of the
equipment and will continue to investigate.
10. Embassy personnel attended the G16 International Donor Group's
Security, Justice and Human Rights Working Group meeting, chaired by
the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The agenda included
updating the status of project portfolios, as well as the security
and human rights situation in Honduras. According to UNDP, Honduras
is on track to exceed a homicide rate of 60 per 100,000 population
in CY2009, the highest in Latin America. Also, the group discussed
a possible plan to support the governmental transition in the areas
of security, justice and human rights.