San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Honduras brings homicide rate down

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras has sharply reduced its homicide rate, one of the world’s worst, from 86 to 66 per 100,000 people, President Juan Orlando Hernández said Sunday.

“We have started to defeat organized crime and drug traffickers who were trying to take control of our nation,” Hernández told lawmakers.

“Yet there is still a great deal to be done” against the illegal drug trade and violent crime caused by gang members, he said.

The president also defended the creation of the controversial Public Safety Military Police. It has 3,000 members and operates in 16 of Honduras’s 18 departments. Hernández wants to make it a permanent security force.

Opposition members have charged that Hernández has built a personal police force to support him in an effort to seek reelection, which is not allowed in Honduras.

Seventy percent of Honduras’s 8.6 million people live in poverty.

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Since Honduras has released this news, I’ve even seen an article about how this new, safer Honduras is good for tourism. Let’s put this all in perspective. First of all, should we trust Honduras’ own analysis on this? When you’re in 1st Place for something clearly BAD, don’t you have an incentive to play it down? Secondly, even if those statistics are still right, they’re still one of the violent countries on the planet. I mean, for the sake of the Honduran people, I really hope things are starting to change there. However, as long as the Honduran leadership naively continues to see mano dura (iron fist) policies as the path to take, Honduras is going to be an unsafe country. Address the causes Honduras, not the symptoms. (Of course, easier said than done . . . issues that involve drugs, for instance, have roots in the drug use culture in wealthy countries like the US & Canada).

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