Timid steps to tame the world’s most violent country
Jun 16th 2012 | TEGUCIGALPA
LAST year Hondurans were about 80 times more likely than Western Europeans to be murdered. For men in their 20s, the odds were four times worse again. Poverty and a history of military rule meant that Honduras was never especially safe. But the murder rate has nearly doubled in the past five years. Barring war zones, this makes Honduras by most reckonings the most violent country in the world.
The cocaine trade, which over the past two decades was squeezed first out of the Caribbean and then from Mexico, bears much of the blame. “We are between those who consume drugs and those who produce them. Logically, we are a corridor of traffic,” says Pompeyo Bonilla Reyes, Honduras's security minister. In 2000 Honduras and the six other small Central American countries, all told, seized less cocaine than Mexico. By last year they captured 12 times more than their northern neighbour.