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San Pedro Sula’s Reputation as Most Violent City is Likely to Remain; Mayor Admits Lack of Control

Article Summary:

According to official data, Honduras is experiencing a crime wave that has it now ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world, with 86 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. San Pedro Sula mayor, Juan Carlos Zuniga, acknowledged that the city is continually threatened by violence and his police are unable to cope with the crime wave.

Original Article Text From El Salvador via Google Translate :

San Pedro Sula, a mirror of violence in Honduras

On the night of March 9 two bus drivers were killed at the wheel of their vehicles. The murderers were shot in the head after leaving the passengers to flee.

In the scene, full of families who bring their small children to observe the scene, understand the dynamics of several lives San Pedro Sula, a city northeast of the country besieged by all kinds of violence: gang and organized crime, normalization of violence, and fear of authorities.

The fellow drivers killed, visibly affected, leave the area and asked not to be identified to explain with confidence because they have killed their partners. They say that every week pay an extortion of about $ 10 per vehicle to a gang they believe is the Mara Salvatrucha.

“Children scattered throughout the city indicate the number of buses in circulation and calculated the amount of money to get,” said one driver told The Associated Press on condition not to be named for fear of reprisals. “Last week he performed the charges did not provide the full amount of their bosses.”

They say they oppose this scheme of operation or simply go to the police, means “they kill you.”

Honduras is experiencing a wave of violence that has become one of the most dangerous places in the world, with 86 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants, according to official data.

This rate has doubled in the last five years, multiplied by twenty of the United States, and placed ten times above what the World Health Organization defines as “epidemic.”

An epidemic spread by gang violence, such as Mara Salvatrucha, which have beset the country to exercise its quasi-imperial power to extort, murder and drug trafficking in an atmosphere of impunity and powerlessness marked.

This gang, also known as MS-13, was born in the 80′s in California prisons and many of its members were deported to home countries in Central America.

Juan Carlos Zuniga, Mayor of San Pedro Sula, acknowledged that the site is threatened by violence that authorities are unable to cope.

“As local government we have the tools to face a well-defined and identified violence stemming from drug trafficking, is beyond us,” he told the AP.

For Cesar Caceres, who directs the program to support the safety of the European Union in Honduras, “the Sula Valley area is geographically positioned to the Atlantic coast, from where it acts as carrier to mobilize the necessary logistics for drug trafficking.”

Several police officers told the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, that in war “which does not kill, die.”

They say that if, for example, a member of the Mara Salvatrucha bribes a judge and goes free, is likely to return to take revenge against the arresting officer.

Another explains that on his days off are not authorized to carry weapons and even if it did would be at a disadvantage compared to the capacity of armed gangs.

At the station, police station, the same cop shows bullet holes in the walls of his office and that they have attacked up with grenades.

In the taxi to a hospital, a taxi driver with 21 years of driving explained that each of the 35 vehicles that the company has paid about $ 30 a month to a gang that extorted. He says that the state collects in taxes annually per vehicle traffic as well as pay in a month extortion.

“Who do you think has more power, state or rogues?” Asks the taxi driver who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

To measure the violence plaguing San Pedro Sula, the hospital emergency room Caterino Rivas is a good place.

It seems the hospital in a country at war: the night of March 9 is saturated, its facilities are old, poor and the blood stains on walls and floors abound that no one has time to clean. No stretchers enough to receive the 19 wounded who arrived that night. There is one nurse for more than 30 patients. The companions of the wounded must move, wash, care for and to get them the drugs.

Natalia Galdámez, doctor on call, just received in the hospital three wounded by gunfire in a billiard room of Choluteca, half an hour from San Pedro Sula. “They say that someone came and shot them without a word,” he says. “We can hardly believe it. This is a crime to order, hear the same story many times.”

The annual report of the Observatory of Violence at the University reflects that although the reason is not known nor responsible for 57% of homicides of 2011, more than half of the remaining 43% are the result of the killings or killing.

“(It’s) outsourcing of violence, and custom professional carrying out the gangs,” says Mygdonia Ayestas, director of the institution.

Yair Commissioner Bureau, in charge of security of the town of one of the most dangerous cities in the world, wielding defends lack of resources. “At various points we place no motor patrols with the deterrent effect,” he said.

The country, according to a report by the Department of State of the United States, “is at a crossroads,” subject to “ruthless criminal organizations, well armed, well financed and logistically business.”

In 2011, security forces seized two submarines carrying drugs near their coasts, one with five tons of cocaine. 79% of all flights of traffic of the same stuff coming out of South America makes stop in Honduras according to the report.

United States, which spent 60 million dollars a year to fight drug trafficking in the region through the Security Initiative of Central America, has recently decided to increase aid to Honduras to safety from one to three million by 2013; an amount equal to the approximate value of the seized in a single submarine.

Link to Original Article:

From El Salvador

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