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February 25, 2013

Honduras—Land of Love & Peace? ~ Richard Phares

This nation, formerly known as the “land of love and peace,” is now ruled by death.

Pure evil has been feeding on ignorance, stupidity and indifference in Honduras. What used to be the most quiet, friendly country in Central America has turned into total chaos. This nation, formerly known as the “land of love and peace,” is now ruled by death.

Since the rule of Mel Zelaya, who became president of Honduras on January 27 2006, the number of senseless gruesome killings has multiplied. Drug lords and gangs are now the only authority in that underprivileged nation. Although on June 29, 2009 Zelaya was seized by the military on orders of the Honduras Supreme Court, he managed to return to Honduras clandestinely three months later, on September 21. Zelaya sought shelter in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. In 2010, he left Honduras and was exiled to the Dominican Republic for over a year. After Zelaya’s overthrow, a referendum elected Porfirio Lobo as Honduras’ new president. Lobo’s mandate soon turned out to be a continuity government that has long proved insensitive and unconcerned when it comes to ending up in this uncontrolled reign of terror.

From the very beginning of this ordeal, Honduran media, including most newspapers and TV channels, have been focused on describing, in detail, the most horrific crimes that occur daily throughout this Central American country. Murderers roam now freely the streets and parks, not only in San Pedro Sula, where the crime rate is the highest, but everywhere and anywhere in the Honduran territory.

Small remote towns in the countryside where villagers used to help and care of each other are now facing slaughters of mainly youngsters that are killed by gang members or common criminals just for fun.

Almost every day someone, usually a young person, dies in the hands of ruthless criminals that fancy shooting their victims several times in the head. Anyone can be the next to die, although teenagers and youngsters have shown to be the main target of these butchers. No one is safe anywhere, or at any time. Those assassins show no mercy for whoever they decide to kill. It can be anyone, a young student, a young mother, a child. They don’t even have respect for a woman.

On July 26, 2012, Stephanie wouldn’t know that she was going to be killed by some of the lowlifes that rule Honduras.

She had just left the bus from work and was walking home when two armed men came out of a car, approached her, took her cellular phone and then shot her four times—two shots shattered her heart, while the other two smashed her brain. Stephanie loved life. She was only 24. In September she would have been celebrating her 25th birthday with her daughter and her family. Stephanie had just graduated from high school and was attending college. Her dream was to become a microbiologist.

However, these monsters decided to put out her short life in the split of a second. Today I found on the internet an article published by El Tiempo, a local Honduran newspaper, covering another senseless murder. This time, the victim was a young man but the crime had the same blueprint.

Right after the mobsters took the brand name sneakers Edwin was wearing, he was shot repeatedly in the head with the same type of gun, a 9mm.

There is something all these crimes have in common—the murderers will never get caught. Police officers arrive to the crime scene long after the assassins have left. These soldier-like officers seem to like posing close to the victim’s body for the media photographers rather than chasing the murderers. When asked about what had happened, nobody ever knows anything. Nobody will lift a finger while gangs and lowlifes keep multiplying and killing at will. Their victims are ordinary people just trying to make ends meet in a country where official corruption and poverty overflow.

There is U.S. inaction and world apathy.

While, some Hollywood actors and other celebrities spend their vacation in luxurious resorts and mansions in Bay Islands, the rest of Honduras is going through these slaughters on a daily basis. Criminals roaming freely, government corruption that exceeds all limits and an extreme poverty level have forced many Honduran to leave the country heading mainly to the U.S. and Europe.

In the meantime, the United States along with the international community and the U.N.O, have done little, or nothing, to put a stop to this unbearable and unstoppable situation. Oppositely, they all support the so called “legitimate government” of Lobo and still back former president Zelaya, although he has a long time record of corruption and political abuse. Zelaya, and now Lobo, have been said to help the “mareros,” or gang members, and their families with food, money and other perks. The spread of drug cartels from Mexico to Central America has been tagged as the main cause for this bloodshed. The so called “Z’s” have been operating in Honduras and other neighbor countries ever since the Mexican government started to strike the organized crime. Gangs from Guatemala and El Salvador are controlling the streets of San Pedro Sula and other important cities in Honduras, including the capital town, Tegucigalpa.

Why this apathy? That’s a good question that everybody is asking.

Honduras happens to have the largest U.S. Military air base in the region. The Palmerola, or Soto Cano Air Base, houses between 500 and 600 U.S. troops. With such a potential army along with the Honduran military, this ordeal should have long ended or have never started. Hopefully, after the next elections the new president will take action so people in Honduras can live free and safe again and this country brings back its reputation as a “land of love and peace.”

Richard Phares is a zoologist, graphic designer and writer. Worked for several publications and local newspapers. Active member of the Humane Society and other charitable associations advocating for animal and human rights. Apolitical, agnostic and all other possible A’s. Likes animals, nature and technology (in good hands). Dislikes stupidity, ignorance, all kinds of powers, any religion, all privileges and social prejudice.

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Source: kodakgallery.com via deedabkஓ on Pinterest
Source: idea-r.it via Idea R on Pinterest
Photo courtesy of El Tiempo.

Ed: Evan Livesay/ Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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