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Updated 09/05/2005

Honduras News in Review—September 5, 2005

1. Honduran police officers arrested for drug trafficking

2. Catholic Bishop decries “youth genocide” in Honduras

3. Latino gang members to be deported from the U.S.

4. Students protest in Tegucigalpa

5. Report shows women targeted for violent death in Honduras

6. Honduran women demand reform of Anti-Domestic Violence Law

7. Tegucigalpa begins using biodiesel fuel

8. World Bank grants enable petroleum exploration in Honduras

9. Honduras behind in meeting goals for poverty reduction 

1. Honduran police officers arrested for drug trafficking

Eight Tegucigalpa police officers were arrested Aug. 15 for alleged involvement in a drug trafficking ring. The drug ring, which was a major distributor of cocaine in the capital, had been busted two days earlier. Four former police officers were also among those arrested. According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Security, “Corruption is a subculture that has undermined many public institutions, including the police.” The ministry has vowed to eliminate corruption among security officials in Honduras. In June, another police official was arrested in the capital for belonging to a different ring of drug traffickers. In recent months, police officers and some military personnel have been arrested for auto theft. [EFE News, 8/17/09] 

2. Catholic Bishop decries “youth genocide” in Honduras

The assistant bishop of San Pedro Sula claimed that Honduras is experiencing “youth genocide.”  According to humanitarian organizations, between 40 and 50 young people are killed in Honduras every month, and most of those murders are never solved. According to Bishop Rómulo Emiliani, the genocide is not only because of these murders but also because of unemployment, drug addiction and AIDS, among other things. The bishop, who runs a rehabilitation program for former gang members, believes the situation is fed by a dearth of opportunities, a lack of family cohesiveness, extreme poverty, and a lack of education. He called on the presidential candidates to present viable plans to solve the problems facing Honduran youth today and called on the government to invest in renovating the current education system. [EFE News, 8/24/05; La Prensa (Honduras), 8/24/05] 

3. Latino gang members to be deported from the U.S.

The United States has begun deporting hundreds of Latino gang members arrested as part of the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement Bureau’s Operation Community Shield. Most of the gang members will be deported to Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Initially, Operation Commity Shield was formed to address the transnational gang “Mara Salvatrucha,” which started in Los Angeles in the 1980s, but the operation then expanded to include other Latino gangs. The FBI has also begun a database for Latino gang members. The problem of increasingly violent gangs has plagued Central America in recent years, especially in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. (La Prensa, 8/23/05) 

4. Students protest in Tegucigalpa

Hundreds of middle school students marched out of classes Aug. 16 and staged a protest in central Tegucigalpa, demanding that the government pay for their transportation, new desks, and facilities improvements. The protestors threw rocks at riot police and burned tires; several stores near the congressional building where the students were protesting were forced to close, and two cameramen from a local television station were injured. The government has neglected to pay student transportation vouchers for four months. In addition, students are opposed to the requisites for obtaining the transportation voucher, which include remaining above a certain grade-point average. [El Heraldo, 8/17/05] 

5. Report shows women targeted for violent death in Honduras

The Honduran Center for the Rights of Women released a study showing that at least 442 women were violently killed in Honduras between 2002 and 2004. The average age of the women was about 26 years, and nearly 75% of the murders occurred in urban areas. According to CDM, two thirds of the violent murders were perpetrated by someone the victim knew and about 30% took place in the home. The report indicated that one in ten of the murder victims was raped. Soon after CDM released their report, the special prosecutor for women’s affairs released data showing that her office had received about 36,000 complaints of domestic violence between 2000 and 2005, though only 15% of those cases ended with a guilty sentence for the perpetrator. [La Prensa (Honduras), 8/22/05] 

6. Honduran women demand reform of Anti-Domestic Violence Law

Hundreds of women protested in front of the Honduran National Congress building in Tegucigalpa on Aug. 24, demanding approval of draft reforms to the current Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which went into effect in 1998. The reforms were written by the National Institute for Women and other women’s rights groups and were submitted to Congress in November 2004. The reforms include appointing magistrates to oversee the law’s implementation, and an insistence that domestic violence perpetrators be prosecuted through the penal system and not just sentenced to community service, as the current law requires. The protests came after a gruesome triple homicide in Nacome, in which a man killed his mother, sister, and niece with a machete. [EFE News, 8/25/05] 

7. Tegucigalpa begins using biodiesel fuel

Officials from the Tegucigalpa mayor’s office announced a pilot program known as “Clean Air Tegucigalpa.” The program has begun running a small collective of urban transport buses on biodiesel fuel. If the program is successful, authorities will expand public biodiesel use on a municipal and perhaps even national level. [Hondudiario, 8/22/05] 

8. World Bank grants enable petroleum exploration in Honduras

The World Bank has given $200,000 in grants for petroleum exploration in Honduras. Honduran authorities are currently consolidating documents on previous petroleum exploration in order to attract foreign investors. The government is also considering a nationalized petroleum extraction operation and refinery. The World Bank grant will go toward exploring two river basins on the Atlantic Coast, and World Bank experts will arrive in the country in December 2005 to begin the process. [Hondudiario, 8/22/05] 

9. Honduras behind in meeting goals for poverty reduction

Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Paraguay are the four Latin American countries farthest behind in meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goal to reduce extreme poverty by half by 2015, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL). Chile is the only country in the region thus far to reach the Millennium Development Goal for poverty reduction, and Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Panama and Uruguay are very close to reaching their goals. The four countries farthest behind would need an economic growth rate of 6% annually until 2015 to reach their poverty reduction goals, something CEPAL says will be extremely difficult. The Millennium Development Goals were adopted by 189 countries of the United Nations in 2000 and include universal primary education, better maternal health care, and combating HIV/AIDS, in addition to poverty reduction. [La Tribuna (Honduras), 8/25/05]


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