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US Agrees to Reinforce Honduras’ Military Aircraft and Naval Forces

Honduras announced this Friday that the United States has promised to help strengthen its air and naval forces, during a visit by the head of the Southern Command, General Laura Richardson, to President Xiomara Castro.

The Honduran Minister of Defense, José Manuel Zelaya, indicated that Castro and Richardson reached “important” agreements to “reinforce our aircraft” and “our Naval Force”.

Honduras has for years sought US support to repair some F5 aircraft it has left from a North American donation in the 80s.

Washington donated these planes to Tegucigalpa to contribute to the military balance in Central America during the cold war and civil wars in countries of the region.

Several of these planes crashed or fell into disuse, but the Honduran Air Force wants to repair about half a dozen that can continue flying.

Zelaya, who is the niece of the president, also indicated that the Naval Force will be strengthened “with two new vessels”, but did not give details.

General Richardson, who did not make statements to the press, met this Friday with Castro at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, accompanied by the American ambassador, Laura F. Dogu.

Likewise, Zelaya said that the United States has resolved “the lifting of restrictions for the Honduran Air Force that allows information exchange to fight in the struggle against drug trafficking”.

Under the mandate of the previous president Juan Orlando Hernández (2014-2022), the United States refused to give information to the Honduran Air Force about suspicious aircraft movements transporting drugs from South America to North America.

After leaving power, Hernández was extradited in April 2022 to the United States, where he is accused by a New York court of drug trafficking and risks life imprisonment. His brother, Tony, was sentenced to three life sentences in March 2021 for the same crime.

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