Honduras turns deadly

Posted on December 19, 2011



More murders take place in the Central American country than anywhere else, but will putting troops on the streets help?

Rate of murders in Honduras is one of the highest in the worldHonduras has the highest per capita murder rate in the world, marked by a sharp increase in the number of drug-related deaths. More killings take place in the small Central American country than anywhere in the world.

The government blames the drug trade and the growing presence of Mexican cartels. Honduras is a gateway between the biggest cocaine producers and Mexico.

Now, the Honduran army is being sent onto the streets. The Honduran Congress has just empowered the military to carry out most police work for at least 18 months.

The decision to deploy the army in Honduras has been compared with the beginning of the so-called drug war in Mexico. Authorities have rejected claims Honduras is copying the Mexican model. But human rights groups have expressed concern.

In the country’s 2009 coup, it was the military that helped oust Manuel Zelaya, the democratically-elected president.

Amnesty International concluded that soldiers who were doing police work at the time were involved in killings, and had employed excessive use of force.

So, is the military the answer to Honduras’ high murder rate? And is this response just another step towards the militarisation of society across Central America?

Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, discusses with guests: Rodolfo Pastor, a former Honduran diplomat in charge of political affairs at the embassy in Washington; Jose Cardenas, a former official in the Bush administration with senior positions at the US State Department and National Security Agency; and Annie Bird, the co-director of the Washington DC-based humanitarian group, Rights Action.

SOURCE: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2011/12/20111216125529588221.htm

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