By Alex Dmuchovsky
Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate according to the United Nations
Photograph by: Orlando Sierra, Getty Images , The Sunday Telegraph
Recess has taken on a whole new image in the Latin American nation of Honduras. While one might observe teachers keeping watch over the playground in the US, in Honduras it is now becoming increasingly common to spot armed soldiers keeping tabs on previously routine activities.
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It is a sign of harrowing times in Honduras, now considered the most dangerous country on the planet outside a full-fledged war one. According to the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime 2011 Global Study, Honduras has the highest rate of homicide per capita worldwide. It is estimated that there are 86 homicides for every 100,000 people, and the nation is on course to reach 90/per by the end of 2013.
The epidemic of violent crime has exploded in the last decade, after Honduras became the key launching post for the smuggling of cocaine into the US. A large portion of the violence stems from the activity of drug gangs, however lack of police presence has contributed to the endemic crime issue, as many criminals are able to commit such acts without fear of punishment.
While new political leaders are set to take office within a year, significant increases in security will be extremely hard to fund. According to the CIA, Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America, and suffers from an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income (not to mention high unemployment).
Honduras has a formidable task ahead of them: stopping the violence in a country of about 8.5 million where 20 people are murdered a day — five times the rate of the States’ most violent city, Chicago. However, one thing is for certain. If Honduras cannot manage the crisis in a reasonable amount of time, expect intervention by a foreign government or organization.