Murders in Honduras have increased since the Barrio 18 and MS-13 gangs agreed to a truce, according to the latest statistics, casting doubt over whether the initiative inspired by the El Salvador ceasefire can be effective in Honduran conditions.
In the 28 days following the truce, Honduras saw 475 murders according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, reported La Prensa. In comparison, in the 28 days before the truce, there were 448 murders.
The Observatory coordinator, Migdonia Ayestas, noted that due to the lack of criminal investigations, it was impossible to say how many murders were related to the “mara” street gangs or other organized crime groups.
One of the truce facilitators, Bishop Romulo Emiliani, called for the pact to be given more time.
“This process has not failed, it is going very slowly and maybe we cannot see it yet,” he said.
InSight Crime Analysis
In El Salvador, the agreement between the Barrio 18 and the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gangs led to a drop in the number of murders by over 40 percent. The fact that the Honduras gang truce has so far failed to produce similar results is unsurprising. As InSight Crime noted when the truce was announced, the criminal dynamic in Honduras is distinct to that in El Salvador and less conducive to an organized ceasefire.
In Honduras, the gangs are less organized and less hierarchical, meaning it will be difficult for any centralized leadership to impose their will on individual “cliques” (regional factions of gangs).
In addition, it is likely the maras are responsible for a significantly smaller percentage of murders in Honduras than in El Salvador, where the truce has revealed that approximately half of all killings can be attributed to gang activity. In Honduras there are numerous actors that likely play a more significant role in the country’s endemic violence, including transnational drug trafficking organizations, which have increased their presence in the country substantially since the 2009 coup, and security forces, which suffer from endemic corruption and are frequently involved in organized crime.