Nanni Fontana, Violence in Honduras, from PRIVATE 48 – Economic inequalities[I]n Honduras crime is endemic. Violent crime is rampant; the per capita murder rate the second in the world rankings. Many murders are committed by hired killers, usually gang members recruited by the Mexican and Colombian narco cartels. More than 30% of the victims are under 24 years of age. The gangs, known as Maras, are returning immigrants from the US. Honduras was the last and the most unprepared State of Central America to cope with this phenomenon. Those who decide to quit the mara have to live with a lifetime death sentence. Abandoned by their parents, youths see gangs as a new kind of family.
In Honduras, social discrimination is very strong. Corruption is widespread among politicians and police officers. The large percentage of people living in extreme poverty is leading to an increasing number of youths living on the streets. They are the members of society most likely to enter the maras.