Honduras, along with neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala, has a become major transshipment point for South American cocaine routed through Mexico toward US consumers. Drug trafficking intensified the already rampant violence, much of it between local street gangs known as maras.
“The security situation remains dire throughout the region and is at a crisis level in Honduras,” Eric Olson, an expert on regional violence at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, told a US congressional committee recently. “Organized crime in all its many manifestations — transnational drug traffickers; criminal transportation networks; and even youth gangs — continue to prosper.”
Analysts describe a ”balloon effect” over Central America. Squeeze drug traffickers in one place — as the authorities have done in Mexico these past seven years — and they surge elsewhere. The more graphic descritpion is of a flooding stream: drug trafficking, like flowing water, will always finds a new channel of lesser resistance.
Botton line: Very bad things are bound to happen when guns and millions of dollars worth of illicit merchandise get dumped into impoverished places with poor to non-existent policing.
“The problem of Honduras is basically drug trafficking combined with the fights between gangs for territorial control,” Migdonia Ayestas, director of the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University, said. “The trafficking situation is much worse along the coast and near the borders.”
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