The World's Murder Capital Is ...

... a country even more dangerous than Mexico or Iraq
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2012 5:44 PM CST
A child plays with a machine gun during an exhibition at the headquarters of the Honduran Air Force in the framework of the 'Honduran Army Forces day' on October 25, 2009, in Tegucigalpa.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Violence in Honduras is so widespread—so steeped in drug cartels and official corruption—that even Mexico and Iraq are safer places to reside. Yes, Honduras boasts the world's worst murder rate: 82.1 murders per 100,000 residents. By comparison, Mexico's is 18.1 and Iraq's only 2 (see an interactive map here). The Miami Herald talks to Honduran officials and investigators in a tragicomic article that depicts a police force, prison system, judicial system, and political caste in the pocket of drug lords.

Among the horrors:

  • Notorious gangster Celin Eduardo Pinot Hernández served a 9-year prison term during which he regularly walked out to run drugs and see girlfriends. Released in October, he was gunned down by police officers. One witness to the killing vanished; the other was stoned to death.
  • Former head of police internal affairs María Luisa Borja says her department was slowly whittled down: First it was deprived of gas so cars couldn't move. Then her car was taken away; then her files. Finally, she was suspended, and officials she had accused of murder were promoted.
  • “You write a report, give it to your boss and then realize it was him who was committing the crimes,” says a military intelligence investigator. “I have friends who are criminals and hit men. ... even prosecutors."
  • Police Commissioner José Ricardo Ramírez del Cid is widely considered to be corrupt. Internal affairs says it has boxes of reports against him. "There’s a lot of common talk," says Ramirez. "Show proof.”
Read the full article here. Or see what's happened to the US murder rate. (Read more Honduras stories.)

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