Democracy in Honduras should include more marginalized people in society, and Government institutions must operate in a more transparent way to build a better democracy, said Ambassador of the United States in Honduras, Lisa Kubiske.
“There are many countries in the world that the first question is why have democracy?” Or what it is for? I really do not see that question here. The question is that it is not working as it should work, that is another thing. In terms of that subject is facilitating the greater possible inclusion,”said Kubiske.
On drug trafficking, an issue that has been increasingly affecting life in Honduras, Ambassador argued that it is a multifactorial problem, and that one of the pillars that holds it is the corruption of some who should fight it.
“We have noticed, in some operations, information that should be classified, secret, comes out, you see. That has to be a type of corruption”, she said. Another factor that promotes the transfer of drugs is a lack of resources, because “in the military forces and police the entire budget goes for salaries and wages. The reality is that they have very little money for other things. They have cheap or very poor, very old planes, in very bad condition. “That is a combination of budget and lack of maintenance.”
She also stressed that some security forces and researchers lack the basic skills to investigate and thus solve crimes. And of course, the other element involved is poverty and lack of opportunities, so that some Hondurans are used for drug trafficking. She denied that US aid to fight drug trafficking has decreased, by contrast it has been increased this year (2012), focusing on topics such as security, police, education to young people and creation of sources of employment.
“You can say that we have removed support. It is specifically talking about aerial interception. What we had with the operation Anvil was a proof of concept, which was designed as a short test to see if it would help to have more planes for aerial interception and we learned that Yes, it proved very successful. We are now working with the Government to create a second program that this time would not be proof of concept, but permanent”. Although she acknowledged that southern command stopped sharing information with the Honduran air force after they shot down civilian aircraft suspected of carrying drugs, because such actions contravene international laws.
She said that the process of reform of the police does not see slow. In addition, she indicated that there are a considerable number of policemen who should not be there because of their “records”.
POLICY AND TRANSPARENCY
About the incursion of new political parties in the upcoming elections she considered it “a good step”, because despite the complexities that this can generate, “having a peaceful political process is much better than strikes and taking the streets in times of frustration. This a new situation and we will see how it develops in the future. In general it is good to be involved”.
She felt that elections are the propitious moment to demand that candidates work plans and the citizen should be compelled to demand the fulfillment of these promises. “For example, know what to do in the first month after being elected, what will they really do? Are they going to have a Government of the same size?” Nobody wants to comment on such difficult things at this point in the campaign process, but it is the duty to the public. Today, with all the technology we have, anything you say during a campaign the public can remind them of the next year”.
On the issue of transparency the topic of the budget ”budget there has not been a centralized control over expenditure because some agencies or ministries spend money without proper authorization.” “It is a management problem, a technical problem which can be resolved if you want to solve it”.
She said that it is necessary to control that kind of excesses, although she conceded that “there are so many problems in the country that are it is difficult to say no to one thing or another, combined with corruption which makes anything that the Government buys much more expensive”.
On the MCC (funds from the Millennium account) ”I frankly don’t I worry about the MCC, but on improving education, lowering corruption, to have more transparency in the processes of Government.” Consider the size of the Government, whether required or not. Not having people in jobs where there is no definition of what is the job, what is the work that must be done at that position.Focus there and the MCC funds will arrive in due course.”
Lisa Kubiske, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Country of Honduras