Subject: Honduran drug connection probed
From: Bruce Harris - Casa Alianza (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Feb 08 2000 - 10:12:47 EST
The following article is from The Vancouver Sun newspaper in
one of Canada's most respected dailies. Its website is at
Honduran drug connection probed
A Spanish-language TV network says the arrival of young dealers in
threatens child welfare in Latin America.
Chad Skelton, Sun Immigration Reporter Vancouver Sun
The problem of young Hondurans coming to Vancouver to deal
become big news in Latin America as the government in Honduras
increasing pressure to stop the exploitation of its children by drug
Last Thursday night, Univision -- the largest Spanish-language TV
in the Americas -- broadcast a special report on the problem.
The Miami-based network interviewed Honduran government
child-welfare advocates in Central America for a segment on its late-
news magazine Noticiero Univision: Ultima Hora.
Meanwhile, officials in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa have told
reporters they are doing what they can do stop the problem.
But in an article published in the newspaper El Heraldo, the
said it is having difficulty responding to the issue because Canadian
authorities will not provide them with the information they need.
Francisco Martinez, consular affairs chief of the Honduran foreign
relations ministry, was quoted as saying that Canadian authorities
been unwilling to provide details about the Hondurans arrested in
Vancouver on drug charges, many of whom have claimed refugee
Immigration Canada usually does not provide information to foreign
governments about those who have made refugee claims in Canada,
providing such information could put legitimate refugees or their
Casa Alianza -- the Latin American arm of the child-welfare group
House -- estimates that 200 Honduran children have been brought
deal drugs in Vancouver, most by Colombian drug cartels.
While Honduras says it is doing what it can to stop the problem, the
of Casa Alianza has his doubts.
"Honduras, as a country, is basically turning its back on these
Bruce Harris, Casa Alianza's regional director for Latin American
programs, said in an interview from his offices in Costa Rica.
The involvement of Honduran children in Vancouver's drug trade has
matter of some debate.
In 1998, immigration authorities apprehended seven Honduran
11 to 15 who were being used as drug couriers -- including an 11-
boy sent to hospital after swallowing 28 rocks of crack cocaine.
But incidents like that are rare and most dealers picked up by police
been young adults. Immigration authorities say only a handful of the
hundreds of Honduran refugee claimants in Vancouver are minors.
But the involvement of Honduran teenagers and adults in the drug
In a recent police crackdown in the Lower Mainland, 63 of 157
wanted by police for drug dealing were refugee claimants, most from
The number of Honduran refugee claims made in Vancouver has
jumped from 37
in 1996 to 257 last year.
Only a small minority of those claims are found to be legitimate by
Immigration and Refugee Board.
Of the 337 Honduran refugee claims completed in Vancouver in
1999, only 18
(five per cent) were accepted as refugees and 91 (27 per cent) were
rejected. Another 207 (61 per cent) failed to show up for their
Twenty-one claims were voluntarily withdrawn.
Casa Alianza/Covenant House Latin America
PO Box 025216, Miami FL 33102-5216 USA
Tel. in Costa Rica: +506-253-5439 or 253-6338
Fax in Costa Rica: +506-224-5689
Home page address: http://www.casa-alianza.org
"In their little worlds in which children have their existence,
there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt,
Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"
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