Crime Worsening in Honduras

January 31st, 2008
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Yesterday I heard the president boasting about his two years in office, and saying crime is being reduced in Honduras, because more police are graduating, and because previous governments didn’t even have a crime prevention initiative. Most of this is a flat out lie, and it sparks my anger. The police academy is very new, for instance, I think it’s four years old at most.

Zero tolerance of gangs was former president Ricardo Maduro’s greatest campaign promise, or lie, for he knew he’d never be able to keep it. But, criminals took President Maduro’s threat very seriously and massacred an entire bus filled with innocent people in San Pedro in response to a speech he made. In response to that, the government made it illegal to belong to associations with the purpose of commiting criminal acts, and began to systematically arrest anyone seen with a gang tattoo.

Gang members and thieves are better at camouflaging their presence now. They wear long-sleeved shirts to hide their tattoos. I was able to tell there were gang members at the National Registry on Monday, but only because the “marero” had tattoed his knuckles. He couldn’t go around wearing gloves all the time 🙂 .

Living in Tegucigalpa is extremely dangerous, and growing more dangerous all the time. There are very few people I know who have never been a victim or a witness to an assault. Three bloggers in Honduras were witnesses or victims of crimes in the last 7 days, Trish of Sowers For Pastors, Fabo Balsech of Diario de Un Joven en Medio de la Nada and myself. Just in my family, theives have stolen 6 cell phones at least, and two laptops. In my extended family, criminals have kidnapped the same family member TWICE. The more well-to-do are fleeing the country. I don’t blame them.

  • Jennifer

    I remember the bus massacre. That same day my mother in law, who had suffered a stroke, was on her way to a hospital in SPS. We didn’t hear anything for along time and we werent sure how they were getting her there. We knew not by bus, but we were worried that she would somehow be affected by it.

    Its sad to see and hear about these things. It makes you wonder how it is going to be stopped – or even if it is going to be stopped.

    I read an article the other week about how the gangs were recruiting people who were not tattooed and who by looking at them, you didnt think they would be in a gang. Makes it a bit more scary.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20071215-2102-gangmakeovers.html

    ~Jennifer

  • Aaron Ortiz

    Very scary. I don’t think it will change util the drug trade is dismantled, and the cops outnumber the gangsters (will that ever happen?)

  • Daniel

    SAd thing is with the tattoos…im a tattoo enthusiast myself with four inkings done already (Marine corps emblem, star wars, quetzal and libertad a character from mafalda)
    what saves me from cops is that they sometimes recognize my corps tat…other times theyve beaten the crap out of me in the police stations (I fight back too dont worry).

    Mareros are ruining it for everyone, and it doesnt seem to improve or have an incline of improvement….sucks…

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