InSight Crime
is about to launch a new website.
We won’t be publishing new content for the next few days.
Gang truce negotiator Bishop Romulo Emiliani

The MS-13 and Barrio 18 street gangs in Honduras may be set to declare their own version of the El Salvador gang truce, although they admit it is unlikely to have the same impact in reducing the country's murder rate.

According to the Bishop of San Pedro Sula, Romulo Emiliani, on May 28th gang leaders will make a declaration of peace and announce their intention to seek "reconciliation" with the Honduran government and society.

However, Emiliani added the gang leaders have already warned that a truce would not necessarily lead to the sort of drop in murder rate witnessed in El Salvador -- where the truce has led to 45 percent less murders. "They say that in Honduras there are a lot of murders that are not caused by them," he said.

In an interview with Canal 3, one incarcerated Barrio 18 leader confirmed the gangs are ready to negotiate and called on President Porfirio Lobo to name a commission to facilitate talks.

The Ambassador for Security Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS), Adam Blackwell, said dialogue with the gangs has been going on for eight months, and began after he and Emiliani visited leaders in prison, reported the AP.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the El Salvador gang truce has proven controversial, and doubts remain over its sustainability and whether it has truly been as successful as is claimed, there can be no doubt it has led to a dramatic drop in the murder rate.

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world and any attempt to replicate this success and regain control over the spiraling violence of recent years should be welcomed.

However, even if negotiations are successful, a truce is unlikely to match the results seen in El Salvador. The street gangs -- known as "maras" -- are less centralized in Honduras and it will be much more difficult for the leadership to assert their control over local factions.

It is also possible, as Emiliani points out, that the Honduran maras are not responsible for such a high percentage of murders as their Salvadoran counterparts, as while the gangs undoubtedly play a major part in driving violence, they are far from the only criminal actors in Honduras.

There is also the role of the security forces to consider. Corrupt factions of the police and military are sometimes behind some of the criminal violence, and the police have been accused of running death squads targeting gang members, which will make it difficult for the gangs and police to build trust and keep the peace.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.