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

Govt extended state of exception and Congress remained paralysed, impeding anti-corruption efforts. 

Authorities again renewed tough security measures. Executive 1 Jan renewed state of exception for ninth time until 15 Feb amid continued concern about measure’s impact. Violence against women remained particularly acute. Notably, human rights secretary Natalia Roque and UN Coordinator in Honduras Alice Shackelford 10 Jan expressed particular concern over impunity in femicide cases following discovery previous day of bodies of three women on Honduran island, Roatán. Meanwhile, Colonel Ramiro Muñoz 16 Jan announced closure of three prisons – La Esperanza, Trujillo and Cortés – due to “deplorable conditions”, said inmates would be transferred to other prisons. 

Legislature remained blocked, damaging anti-corruption efforts. Congressional paralysis continued amid dispute between govt and opposition over appointment of Attorney General. NGO Human Rights Watch 2 Jan warned developments are “a bad omen” for efforts to tackle corruption. Meanwhile, Honduras 8 Jan extradited govt official Francisco Roberto Cosenza Centeno to U.S. on money laundering charges.

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