Monday, September 26, 2005

Iraqi-bound Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua

This is an interesting article from today's FBIS translations. The source is ACAN-EFE in Spanish -- Independent Central American press agency that is a joint concern of Panama City ACAN (Agencia Centroamericana de Noticias) and Madrid EFE.

The Honduras reference caught my eye.

If there are mercs available for hire by US companies, there are probably mercs available for hire by Al Qaeda, further strengthening the suspicions of the link between MS-13 and Al Qaeda.


Honduras: Chilean Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua "Chilean Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua"-- ACAN-EFE Headline

ACAN-EFE

Friday, September 23, 2005 T22:05:27Z

Chilean mercenaries ordered out of Honduras after authorities learned they had come to the Central American nation to train for duty in Iraq left here Friday for neighboring Nicaragua.

Benjamin Canales, manager of the Honduras office of Your Solutions, the U.S. firm that hired the Chileans for security tasks in Iraq, told EFE the men had to leave because Honduran officials turned down a request from the company that they be allowed to remain a few more days before flying out to the Middle East.

He said the 105 Chileans left early Friday for Nicaragua, traveling by road.

Tuesday, Honduras gave the Chileans 72 hours to leave the country after immigration authorities discovered they had entered the Central American nation on tourist or business visas but were actually there for training as employees of the U.S.-based firm.

The country's constitution bars military training of foreign nationals on Honduran territory.

The existence of the Your Solutions training facility in Lepaterique, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Tegucigalpa, was uncovered by La Tribuna newspaper.
Your Solutions Honduras is committed to delivering 600 private security guards to Iraq by next month, and has already sent 36 Hondurans to Baghdad.

"If we had gotten 600 Hondurans, we wouldn't have sought the Chileans," Canales told EFE, adding that the firm expects to fill its 600-guard quota through recruitment in Nicaragua.

Your Solutions is offering new hires assignments in Iraq that pay between $990 and $1,500 a month.

The incident has stirred criticism from some Hondurans who accuse their government of knowingly allowing the mercenaries to enter the country, but Defense Minister Federico Breve said Tuesday that Tegucigalpa turned down a request from Your Solutions to conduct training in the Central American country.

"This is an absolutely private issue, among private parties, to possibly carry out security duty in Iraq, and the truth is that as government and as a state, we don't have much to say," Chilean Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker said earlier this week about the situation involving his compatriots in Honduras.

"The truth is that we - as a government, as a state - we have had a very clear position on the matter of Iraq," Walker said, alluding to Santiago's consistent opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of the Arab nation. "But who hires whom in the private world is not an issue that concerns the foreign ministry."

In October 2003, 120 Chilean military veterans were hired for work in Iraq by North Carolina-based Blackwater USA, one of the principal private security contractors operating in the Middle Eastern country.

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