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.
As campaigning began for 26 Nov general elections, Support Mission Against Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) requested that Jan 2017 Law on Clean Politics be respected; Electoral Supreme Court 1 Sept declared that 48 candidates have open judicial cases against them. Electoral violence watchdog NGO 30 Aug reported nine candidates killed so far in campaign; 15 Sept electoral rally in capital by left-wing opposition alliance saw violent confrontations with police. Among other violent incidents, journalist killed in Northern Cortés department 13 Sept. Women for Peace Movement reported more than 250 women murdered to date in 2017. Long-awaited Anti-Corruption Courts inside attorney general’s office started operations 11 Sept. Police same day carried out anti-gang operation against financial structures belonging to MS-13 gang, arrested several police; U.S. court 5 Sept sentenced ex-president’s son Fabio Lobo, convicted of drug trafficking, to 24 years’ jail; MACCIH same day announced it was investigating ties between former President Lobo and “Los Cachiros” cartel.
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