Central American gangs are responsible for brutal acts of violence, abuse of women and forced displacement of thousands. Governments must go beyond punitive measures and address the social and economic roots of gang culture, tackle extortion schemes and invest in communities.
Govt 17 July announced homicides down 22% in first six months of 2017, with 2,159 registered cases. Govt 15 July shared migration statistics showing 22,546 nationals, including over 2,000 minors, deported back to Honduras during same period. Women’s groups 5 July declared “red alert” after eighteen women were killed over space of ten days. Govt 5 July told UN human rights chief that culprits behind March 2016 murder of environmentalist Berta Cáceres would be brought to justice; three environmental activists including Berta’s daughter attacked in central Honduras 30 June. Two European development banks 7 July pulled out of controversial dam project due to activist murders; Organization of American States-backed Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras announced investigation into Honduran energy company linked to project. Leader of Atlantic Cartel Wilter Blanco, previously extradited to U.S., 2 July confessed and agreed to collaborate with U.S. authorities.
Ending bloodshed in this neglected border region requires more than task forces: credible institutions, access to state services and continuing security are also needed.
Originally published in El Pulso
Originally published in Los Angeles Times