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Honduras calls in the police - from Chile

Lauded as among the best police institutions in Latin America, Chile's Los Carabineros are helping Honduras, one of the most troubled countries in the region right now.

By Jackie BriskiGuest blogger / February 1, 2012

A version of this post appeared on the blog The views expressed are the author's own.

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A delegation of three Carabineros de Chile – Inspector General Samuel Cabezas, Colonel Juan Carlos Castro, and Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Alarcón – arrived in Honduras on Sunday. They will remain in Honduras for a week, visiting training centers and consulting with top officials of the Honduran national police force, members of Parliament, and Honduran President Porfirio Lobo.

La Prensa reports that the Congress of Honduras has proposed an initiative to create a similar police unit (in Spanish), la Policía de Carabineros de Honduras. While los Carabineros de Honduras would not replace the current police force, it could help strengthen the fight against crime in the murder capital of the world.

Upon their return to Chile, the delegation will prepare a report for President Lobo, detailing their observations and providing policy recommendations. This is an important step in the on-going process of cleaning up the Honduran police force as part of a more comprehensive plan to help promote security and stability, which is discussed more thoroughly by Christopher Looft at InSight Crime.

Of all of the national police forces in Latin America, los Carabineros de Chile are probably the best choice for this mission. They aren’t perfect (what group comprised of human beings is?), but los Carabineros are well known for beating the stereotypes of Latin America. Many people from Chile consider los Carabineros to be incorruptibles, or impossible to corrupt, because los Carabineros are adamant about enforcing the rule of law.

For instance, bribing los Carabineros is almost unheard of in Chile, in part because the general perception is that you would be arrested immediately. A 2008 report by AmericasBarometer Insights at Vanderbilt University, “Corruption Victimization by the Police”, indicated Chile had the lowest level of police corruption in Latin America.


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