Murder scene of lawyer Marlon Saul Cerrato Gomez

More than 50 lawyers were murdered in Honduras between 2010 and 2012, according to a government report, with almost total impunity for their killers.

In the first three years of President Porfirio Lobo's rule 53 lawyers were murdered, yet only two people have been convicted in the cases, according to a report submitted to the Honduran Congress by the country's National Human Rights Commission.

The lawyers, 43 of whom were men, worked not only in criminal law, but also in areas such as commercial and family law, reported La Tribuna. Some worked as public prosecutors, while some provided legal advice to unions and campesino social movements.

The majority were killed inside their vehicles, often in front of their family, friends, colleagues or clients. Of the 53 murders, 49 were carried out with a firearm.

InSight Crime Analysis

The figures from Honduras demonstrate how crime and insecurity reach deep into national life, impacting on commercial activities and social movements in Latin America. Politicians and members of the security forces often find themselves directly in the firing line of criminal groups if they stand in the way of their activities, refuse to join forces with one group, or ally with their rivals.

Journalists are also commonly targeted by criminal groups trying to suppress information on their activities, and in recent years Mexico and Honduras have earned the reputation as being amongst the world's most dangerous countries for reporters.

Colombia, meanwhile, has become notorious for the murder of trade unionists, which has continued even after the demobilization of right-wing paramilitary groups, who left behind far less politicized successors.

In Honduras, groups like gay rights activists and taxi drivers are also frequent targets of violence, as the Economist noted recently.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.