Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Honduras: Local Gangs Impose Curfews on Local Communities Near Tegucigalpa

According to http://www.ticotimes.net, Honduras’ feared gangs have imposed 1900 curfews on residents and businesses in the poor neighborhoods of Ayestas, Los Profesores, Campo Cielo, Las Crucitas and Mercedes in the outlying areas of the capital of Tegucigalpa.

One group, in particular, known as  "Mara 18 (M-18)" and another gang identified as “Los Chirizos,” went door-to-door warning families that they are forbidden to leave their houses after 1900 every evening.

COMMENT: Fearing retaliation, most residents and proprietors have complied with the gang-imposed curfew, which also includes bus routes, taxis and local churches.

Although police have deployed patrols in most of the affected communities, the reality is that many residents and businesses may be complying to the gangs' demands out of fear of retaliation.

Tragically, the bodies of two young men who had their hands tied and who were shot in the head were found Monday morning (February 4).

Also, on January 18, six young Hondurans sitting on a sidewalk in front of a house were killed by suspected gang members in Las Ayestas. 

Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world, at 92 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to statistics from the United Nations.

Sadly, Honduras' police agencies are amongst the least effective in the Latin American region, with a very high percentage of violating the human rights of citizens. 

Most recently, several governments have suspended foreign assistance funding to the Honduran police, after it was reported in December 2012 that 149 citizens were murdered by police during the preceding two years.

It should also be noted that the investigation of violent crime against foreign travelers, including armed robbery and homicide, almost never result in arrests, let alone convictions.

As a result, I discourage tourist travel to Honduras unless visitors have a keen sense of security awareness and realize that they should NEVER resist an armed robbery, as most criminals carry guns and don't hesitate to summarily shoot their prey if they resist.