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  • Honduran army officers (Photo: Reuters).

    Honduran army officers (Photo: Reuters). | Photo: Copyright 1999 Adobe Systems Incorporated

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According to a recent report, the Honduran armed forces have the greatest amount of constitutionally assigned functions than any other Latin American country.

The Latin American Network for Security and Self Defense (Resdal) released a report this week that places the Honduran armed forces in the top position for the greatest amount of legal power. The report researched the constitutions of each country in the region. Honduras topped the region with nine legal functions for its armed forces.

The Honduran army is responsible for national defense, constitutional guarantee, warranty, internal order, participation in national development, electoral participation and support in times of disaster or crisis. The Honduran armed forces also participate in peace operations, combating drug trafficking and guaranteeing government stability according to Resdal's report.

The armed forces of most countries take actions to combat drug trafficking because there is a law that requires their participation. However, their role is not necessarily constitutionally mandated as is the case in Honduras.

The Dominican Republic ranked second in the report. Other countries such as El Salvador and Peru ranked with five constitutional roles for their armed forces. While Brazil, the country with the largest army in the region accounting for more than 330,000 troops, had only three constitutional assignments for its armed forces including national defense, internal order and guaranteeing constitutional order.

For countries such as Cuba, Argentina and Paraguay the report notes that there is no data on the constitutional roles assigned to their armed forces.

Honduras has approximately 15,500 military soldiers, third in Central America after El Salvador and Guatemala. Honduras' military budget is US$252 million annually.

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