Friday, April 27, 2012

Arturo Corrales: Corrruption Accusations are OK

Arturo Corrales doesn't get it.

The Honduran Police are corrupt.  There are over 5000 open investigations of police officers for criminal acts, human rights violations, and acts of corruption.  In addition, its commanding officers don't feel that they are bound by Honduran law.

An example of this is the revelation that in 2010 the police commanders allowed the registration of 143 assault rifles, which are banned from private ownership by Honduran law.  The charges, against the highest police officials, including former police commissioner Ricardo Ramirez del Cid, and ex head of the investigative police, the DNIC, Marco Tulio Palma.  Palma has also been charged with aiding in the escape of four police officers wanted for the murder of two university students.

Into this corruption comes the Comisión de Reforma de la Seguridad Pública , an oversight group charged with cleaning up the police, judges and legislators.  This commission consists of three national members, and two international members.  Lobo Sosa asked Chile and Canada, his go-to countries for foreign yes men, for nominations to the commission.

But in order to be credible, this commission, and its members, must be beyond reproach.  No one has raised doubts about the Honduran members, nor the Canadian member. The Chilean nominee, General Aquiles Blu Rodriguez, is accused of corruption in his own country; specifically with appropriating 20 kilograms of cocaine from drugs confiscated by the Chilean Caribineros, taking money confiscated from suspected drug traffickers, and changing an official police report to protect the child of a former director of the Carabineros.

Congress person Augusto Cruz of the Christian Democrat party called on Lobo Sosa to reject General Blu given the accusations against him.
"We can't have him in Honduras when there are already doubts about his participation in acts associated with drug trafficking."

Arturo Corrales told the press that none the less, General Aquiles Blu will be part of the commission.
"We had knowledge of this before the news broke; his curriculum vita is impeccable, his resume is untouchable. There is nothing more that we can do except thank President Piñera, and the Chilean government who have sent us someone with such an excellent record of service in the Carabineros of Chile."

Corrales rejects the charges against General Blu, arguing that Blu resigned when the charges were announced in Chile, but other sources report that Chilean President Piñera passed over Blu because of the accusations and forced him to retire.  The charges were serious enough that Blu, according to Chilean sources, was forced to resign, and the Director of the Carabineros, General Eduardo Gordon, whose son Blu was protecting, resigned amidst scandal.

While Chilean sources seem to think the charges were substantiated and resulted in Blu's forced retirement, really the truth or falsity of the charges doesn't matter.  There's too much at stake in reforming the Honduran police, for there to be a place for anyone whose antecedents have been publicly questioned.  His mere presence on the commission will call into question the validity of everything it does.  How can the Honduran people have confidence in such a commission when one of its members is accused of the kinds of acts it seeks to eliminate from the Honduran police?

Arturo Corrales doesn't get that, but Matias Funes does.  Funes is one of the Hondurans appointed to the Comisión de Reforma de la Seguridad Publica. He met with Porfirio Lobo Sosa Thursday to point out that what Honduras needs is renowned people who will help clean up the image of the police, and not people who have questions about them.  Funes expressed his preoccupation that Blu is not what Honduras needs.  Lobo Sosa replied that he was sure that Chile had sent an appropriate person.

If General Blu is the honorable man that Corrales believes him to be, he will recuse himself rather than taint the commission's work with the corruption accusation against him.  Yet press reports in Honduras say he will arrive to begin work in the next few days.

Arturo Corrales doesn't get it, and if Lobo Sosa allows Blu to serve, he doesn't get it either.

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