Like its fellow countries in the north of Central America, El Salvador and Guatemala, Honduras suffers from high crime rates and severe poverty in the wake of civil wars in the 1980s. Street gangs roam unchecked in many urban neighbourhoods while drug traffickers ply the coasts and plague all levels of the state. A contested presidential election in 2017 spurred a wave of political violence, though all sides seem to have accepted the recent landslide victory of left-leaning Xiomara Castro. Chronic socio-economic ills, coupled with poor governance and rampant corruption, are the main drivers of northward migration, which has its own perils for those who venture the journey. Crisis Group studies the roots of the country’s persistent problems and pushes for policy solutions to break the cycle of forced departure and deportation.

CrisisWatch Honduras

Unchanged Situation

President Castro announced new measures to tackle violent crime. 

Castro sought to crack down on violent crime. Amid mounting public pressure, President Castro 14 June announced series of measures to tackle violent crime, known as “Crime Solution Plan”, which entails: deployment of security forces to municipalities with high crime levels and operations to destroy coca plantations; construction of new “mega-prison”; and reforms to penal code so that gang members who commit specific offences can be classified as terrorists. Castro has sought to emulate “mano dura”, or “iron-fist” approach toward gangs of her El Salvadoran counterpart in hopes of reducing violence, though her efforts have failed to produce similar results. 

In another important development. U.S. court 26 June sentenced former President Hernandez to 45 years in prison for crimes related to drug trafficking, with prosecutors accusing him of running Honduras like a “narco-state”.

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