As a likely election theft proceeds in Honduras, the country’s security forces are playing a central role in putting down protest. Since the U.S. government has closely supported the Honduran military and police since the cold war, we need to know whether U.S.-aided units are backing authoritarian behavior and abusing protesters’ rights.
Here is a list of security-force units that we know have received U.S. assistance since 2015.
Units in red have been actively confronting protesters demanding a fair and transparent vote count, according to media reports and communications with sources inside Honduras. (Others may be equally involved, but information hasn’t confirmed it.) Source documents for the recipient unit list are linked at the bottom of this post.
Update 12:00 December 5: media are reporting that the U.S.-aided TIGRES and COBRAS units are refusing to participate in further suppression of protest. While I don’t know whether this is a nationwide phenomenon or how long it will last, for now I’m switching those units from red to black in the list below.
Recipients of U.S. Assistance
- Honduran National Police
- National Police Special Forces (TIGRES)
- National Police Special Operations Command (COBRAS)
- National Police NAGU (National Anti-Gang Unit)
- National Police Tactical Special Operations Group (GOET)
- National Police Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU)
- National Police Intelligence Unit (SERCAA)
- Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
- Distrito Policial 6-1
- Chamelcon, Cortés Unit
- Unidad Metropolitana Prevención (UMEP-5)
- Policía Preventiva (UMEP-6)
- Policía Preventiva (UMEP-7)
- Dirección Nacional de Policia Preventiva, San Pedro Sula Unit
- Honduran Navy
- Naval Special Forces (FEN)
- Honduran Air Force
- Public Ministry Technical Criminal Investigative Agency (ATIC)
Not Recipients of U.S. Assistance
- Military Public Order Police
- Honduran National Interagency Security Force (FUSINA) —though some units assigned to FUSINA are in the above “aid recipients” list
- Special Units for Jungle and Night Operations (TESON)
An April 2017 Defense Department response to a congressional inquiry reads, “No support provided has been provided to Military Police for the Public Order (PMOP), Special Units for Jungle and Night Operations (Teson). No support has been provided to Honduran National Interagency Security Force (FUSINA). FUSINA may request support from any unit within the Honduran Military, National Police, Attorney General’s office, and other investigative and law enforcement agencies. Therefore, any unit within the Honduran Military could feasibly be called upon to participate in FUSINA.”