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Latin American Program in the News: Three Policy Prescriptions for Crime in Honduras

Eric L. Olson

The country with the highest murder rate in the world isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s Honduras, just a two and a half hour flight from Miami.

Here’s what the U.S. could be doing differently to help fix the crime epidemic in Honduras, according to Eric Olson, the associate director of the Latin American program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.

1. Promote more government transparency

Drug gangs have entrenched themselves in the Honduran government and judicial system. And national police have been involved in extortion and corruption schemes, undermining criminal enforcement.

2. Recalibrate the drug war strategy

“It’s a little bit like spooning water out of the ocean,” he said. “For each one you take out, there’s more behind them.”

3. Make sure aid programs are working

In 2012, the U.S. gave roughly $100 million in aid to Honduras. But the federal government needs to do a better job determining whether the programs it funds are successful, Olson said.

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About the Author

Eric L. Olson

Eric L. Olson

Global Fellow;
Director of the Central America-D.C. Platform, Seattle International Foundation
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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more