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Honduras: Violence, Poverty Reign in San Pedro Sula
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50852"><span class="small">Voice of America</span></a>   
Sunday, 26 May 2019 08:08

Excerpt: "Honduras' second-largest city is where many recent caravans of migrants have formed to head north to Mexico and then to the United States. The people in the caravans are fleeing violence, poverty and corruption."

Police and paramedics gather around a vehicle where the body of an unidentified man lies inside, after he died on his way to the hospital after suffering stab wounds in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (photo: Delmer Martinez/AP)
Police and paramedics gather around a vehicle where the body of an unidentified man lies inside, after he died on his way to the hospital after suffering stab wounds in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (photo: Delmer Martinez/AP)


Honduras: Violence, Poverty Reign in San Pedro Sula

By Voice of America

26 May 19

 

here are rules for living in the neighborhoods of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Everyone knows them: There are places you do not go without permission. When driving, it is best to leave the windows of the car down so gang members can see who is inside. And, it is safest to stay home after dark, leaving the streets to the armed men and drug dealers who kill easily.

Honduras’ second-largest city is where many recent caravans of migrants have formed to head north to Mexico and then to the United States. The people in the caravans are fleeing violence, poverty and corruption.

The northern district of San Pedro Sula is home to nearly 230,000 people. Just 50 police officers watch over its 189 neighborhoods.

The most dangerous neighborhoods are Planeta, Lomas del Carmen and La Rivera Hernandez. Police inspector Wilmer López says he has arrested gang members as young as 9 years old.

Police officers carry handguns, and soldiers armed with assault rifles follow them closely. “They make us feel safer,” López said.

On a recent night, reporters with the Associated Press joined police as they drove through some of the most dangerous parts of San Pedro Sula.

López said nine different gangs are known to operate in this part of town. They include the well-known 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. Both formed more than 20 years ago in Los Angeles, California. They spread to Central America after the United States deported some of their members. The gangs grew into very violent transnational organizations that cause the high death rate and other crimes in Central America’s so-called Northern Triangle — Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They are famous for the bodies and graffiti they leave behind.

On this night, the area is mostly peaceful. Police check identification cards at drinking places. But by 6 in the morning, police find the first body of the day -- just behind the Rivera Hernandez police station.

San Pedro Sula was the world’s most murderous city from 2011 to 2014.

At a small restaurant, news comes on the television that a man at a nearby tire shop has been killed. The man’s body appears on camera. People in the restaurant keep eating.

“People are not shocked when someone gets killed,” said Salvador Nasralla. He is a former opposition presidential candidate.

The National Civil Police say killings have dropped a lot nationally in recent years. In 2011, the rate was 86 killings for every 100,000 people. Last year, the rate was 41 per 100,000 residents. But the country still has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

In San Pedro Sula, some say violence has decreased since about 800 gang members got moved from a prison in the city to a prison in the western mountains. In the first prison, they continued to run their criminal dealings.

People from all over Honduras go to San Pedro Sula whenever a new migrant caravan is about to leave.

Lara is a 27-year-old laborer. He left San Pedro Sula, even though he had a good job there helping build a church. The gangs, he said, were trying to force him and his friends to join.

“They are collecting young people to work for them,” Lara said. He added, “it’s not voluntary, and if you say, ‘No,’ they kill you.”

Many Hondurans blame the country’s problems on President Juan Orlando Hernández. He was re-elected in 2018 even though the country’s constitution bans second terms. Hernandez promised Hondurans a “better life.” But he has been unable to deliver that promise for the country’s poorest and most endangered people.

The United States has threatened the Northern Triangle countries with security and humanitarian aid cuts if they do not stop the caravans of migrants. But, observers say the move could have an opposite effect if jobs and anti-poverty programs suffer.

I’m Susan Shand.

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+1 # RICHARDKANE.Philadelphia 2019-05-26 14:50
Trump is deastcally increasing refugees wanting to flee,

It’s not just Trump. It’s worse then we think. the Trump-Netanyahu -Saudi-Prince Mohammad-Bin-Sa lman alliance is causing massive refugee flight leading to an increase of ant-immigrant parties tend to be sympathetic to both Trump and Netanyahu. https://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/140-140/56608-if-us-war-with-iran-lets-netanyahu-squash-corruption-charges-it-will-further-empower-trump.
 
 
0 # video4315 2019-05-27 09:55
It's not just Trump's threat to cut aid to these three central American countries...he already has cut aid:
"Since 2017, total U.S. governmental aid to the three countries has been sharply cut. Guatemalan assistance dropped from $257 million to $24 million in 2019. Honduran aid fell from $181 million to $49 million in the same period. Aid to El Salvador dropped from $118 million to $18 million."
And Trump screeches about funding for his border wall solution to the tune of billions of dollars. As a "businessman," he hasn't a clue about the priorities. Without an ounce of empathy, there is little chance that Trump will ever see the situation in terms of human lives.
 
 
0 # RLF 2019-05-30 06:00
Trump may be making it worse down there but a lot of responsibility lies with Obama and Hillary who couldn't recognize the coup government fast enough!