Why the World's Murder Capital Is So Messed Up

Drug trafficking, geography make Honduras the most dangerous country on Earth

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 14, 2013 2:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – Honduras has officially taken the crown as the world's most violence-riddled country, with an average of 20 people killed a day in a country the size of Tennessee, reports NPR, which took a trip there to get a look at what's causing all this killing. As in many other places in Latin America, much of the problem has to do with drug gangs, which have so thoroughly infiltrated law enforcement that even the country's police chief has been linked to extrajudicial killings.

The gangs are so fearless that on the day NPR visited, two major gangs held public press conferences—though on the bright side, they were announcing a cease-fire. Part of the reason it's so bad is that Honduras' undeveloped coastline makes it ideal for drug traffickers; 92% of cocaine flights to the US pass through Honduras. The other major problem is a government that's poor, weak, and riddled with corruption; it's unable to provide even basic services, and only 2% of criminal cases end in conviction.

The body of Justiniano Lara, 51, lies dead on the adjacent area of a road in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Monday, March, 25, 2013.
The body of Justiniano Lara, 51, lies dead on the adjacent area of a road in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Monday, March, 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
A man who was severely injured with a knife by unidentified assailants waits for medical treatment at the emergency room of a public hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Monday, March, 25, 2013.
A man who was severely injured with a knife by unidentified assailants waits for medical treatment at the emergency room of a public hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Monday, March, 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
In this March 24, 2013 photo, a forensic official takes a picture of a dead man lying on the street after being attacked by unidentified assailants in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
In this March 24, 2013 photo, a forensic official takes a picture of a dead man lying on the street after being attacked by unidentified assailants in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.   (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
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