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  1. Honduras Main Page
  2. Tensions Flare Between Honduras and Nicaragua
  3. Military Coup Brings Instability
  4. Fire in Prison Kills Hundreds
  5. Honduras Becomes Focus in U.S. Drug War
  6. Juan Orlando Hernández Wins 2013 Presidential Election
Honduras Becomes Focus in U.S. Drug War

With Mexico cracking down on narcotics barons, the United States turned its focus to Honduras, setting up three new bases in the country: one in the rain forest, another in the savanna, and the third on the coast. The locations for the bases were chosen based on cocaine smuggling routes from South America to the United States. The new, forward bases were patterned after the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving troops secure, but small spaces. Due to strict rules of engagement, American soldiers are not allowed to participate in combat in Central America. In fact, U.S. troops are only allowed to fire in self-defense so the mission in Honduras was designed for a limited number of soldiers to partner with local police forces and foreign military.

In mid-May 2012, protestors in Ahuas rioted in the streets and set fire to government buildings. They demanded that all the U.S. drug enforcement agents leave. The protest was over a dispute involving an anti-drug operation on May 11 which killed four innocent people while they were fishing. Two of the people killed were pregnant women. The protesting began after the mayor of Ahuas, Lucio Baquedano, and others accused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the local police of killing the four people. Security officials for both the U.S. and Honduras disputed the accusation, saying that the operation had seized 1,000 pounds of cocaine and resulted in the death of two drug traffickers. U.S. officials added that only Honduran police had fired weapons. Despite these disputes, human rights organizations and Honduran officials called for a further investigation into the May 11 operation.

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