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Karp, Aaron. 2012 ‘Country Analyses: Honduras.’ Measurement and Use of Statistical Data to Analyze Small Arms in the Caribbean and Latin America; Section IV, p. 24. Mexico City: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Center of Excellence, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). 28 April

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Honduras

A recent report released by the National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH), in Honduras indicates that there are more than 850,000 weapons in circulation in the country. Only 258,000 of these weapons, however, were officially registered in 2011.(68) The registered total represents an increase of more than ten percent from the previous year, and more than four hundred percent since 2003.(69) The strong consensus among these and other sources reveals greater than normal confidence among Honduran authorities in the reliability of their registered and unregistered civilian firearms figures, and the vigorous upward trend.

Honduras also stands out as a widely suspected source of illicit transfer of light weapons. Within Central America, Honduras is widely viewed as a prominent illicit supplier of small arms and ammunition.(70) A Wikileaks cable from the U.S. State Department in 2008 reveals American officials identifying 40mm grenades found in Mexico as part of a batch supplied to Honduras in the 1980s and LAW rockets that were supplied there in 1992. Some commentators are careful not to isolate Honduras for special criticism of a phenomenon they associate with weak government control through the region.(71)

A major element of the Honduran illicit trade problem appears to be the accumulation of large military surpluses. A related factor is the declining size of the country's military, from 18,800 active personnel in 1996 to just 12,000 today. The ostensible reserve of 60,000 personnel serves as a sink to justify this surplus. Past build-ups and recent declines both contribute to surpluses whose mere existence is a continuous source of temptation for illicit diversion.

Sources:

68) "More than 400 000 war weapons circulating illegally in Honduras", La Tribuna (Tegucigalpa,) 4 July 2011 Ronan Graham, "Honduras Guns Feeding Central America's Arms Trade", InSight, 12 August 2011.

69) 223,001 registered in 2010 in Ana Yancy Espinoza, Arms Trafficking in Latin America: a qualitative perspective on the phenomenon - 1, unpublished manuscript for UNODC, Mexico City, 2012, p. 30. 88,337 registered in Project Briefs, UNDP Small Arms Reduction and Demobilizaiton Program (Geneva: UNDP and BCPR, July 2004), p. 95.

70) Guatemala ha incautado a Zetas armas de Honduras, La Prensa, 17 July 2011.

71) Geoffrey Ramsey, "Cable: Honduran military supplied weaponry to cartels," InSight, 25 April 2011.

ID: Q9260

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