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AP's Honduras correspondent navigates violent land
WPXI.COM ^ | Dec. 30, 2012 | Alberto Arce

Posted on 12/30/2012 2:07:02 PM PST by BobL

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras —

Every Saturday morning, one of my taxi drivers pays about $12 for the right to park his cab near a hospital, about two blocks from a police station.

But it's not the government that's charging.

An unidentified man pulls up in a large SUV, usually brandishing an AK-47, and accepts an envelope of cash without saying a word. Jose and nine other drivers who pay the extortionists estimate that it amounts to more than $500 a year to park on public property. During Christmas, the cabbies dish out another $500 each in holiday "bonuses."

Meanwhile, Jose pays the city $30 a year for his taxi license.

"Who do you think is really in charge here?" Jose asked me.

It is an interesting question, one I have been trying to answer since I arrived here a year ago as a correspondent for The Associated Press. Is the government in charge? The drug traffickers? The gangs? This curious capital of 1.3 million people is a lawless place, but it does seem to have its own set of unwritten rules for living with the daily dangers.

(Excerpt) Read more at wpxi.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist; honduras; murderrate
While we rightly beat up on the media day after day for many reasons, sometimes it's worth stepping back and admiring their bravery (rare as it is). In this case, this guy has been living in Honduras for 2 years with his family...getting around and reporting on the nightmare in that country - the country that leads the world in the murder rate and makes Mexico looks like a tropical paradise in comparison. He is also the only foreign reporter in that country - a country where 24 domestic reporters were killed in just the past 2 years.

Here are a few of his pictures (and they're not pretty):

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/crime/articleGallery/AP-s-Honduras-correspondent-navigates-violent-land-4155422.php#photo-3962256

1 posted on 12/30/2012 2:07:14 PM PST by BobL
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To: BobL
Every Saturday morning, one of my taxi drivers pays about $12 for the right to park his cab near a hospital, about two blocks from a police station.

They've got thugs and we have government agencies and public employee unions. I fail to see the difference.

2 posted on 12/30/2012 2:16:23 PM PST by Half Vast Conspiracy (I made a prank call...pretended I was a mime.)
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To: Half Vast Conspiracy

“They’ve got thugs and we have government agencies and public employee unions. I fail to see the difference. “

We haven’t hit their level of violence, yet. But we are going that way. I’d like to know their gun laws...


3 posted on 12/30/2012 2:19:18 PM PST by BobL (Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21... (whatever the hell that is))
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To: BobL

These cabbies are getting off cheap. Twice a year I get a request from the county government to pay them over $3000 or they will sell my land (totally paid for) to someone who will pay the extortion money.


4 posted on 12/30/2012 2:20:18 PM PST by waredbird
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To: BobL
We haven’t hit their level of violence, yet.

We are more civilized. From the article:

Last month, she was on her way to deposit her Avon earnings in the bank when a robber pointed a knife at her waist and told her to hand over the cash. He took 5,000 lempiras — about $250 — which was everything she had earned, including the money she owed Avon.

Here in California, a cop can say that you rolled through a right turn on red without a full stop and you'll be out $500. Try to fight it, and you'll miss a day of work and the 'commissioner' will take the word of the cop over you, then charge you more for the gall of trying to fight. It's all the same.

5 posted on 12/30/2012 2:27:22 PM PST by Half Vast Conspiracy (I made a prank call...pretended I was a mime.)
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To: CaribCarter

Ping. I saw you live down there...maybe chime in if you’re around.


6 posted on 12/30/2012 2:30:23 PM PST by BobL (Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21... (whatever the hell that is))
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To: Half Vast Conspiracy
They've got thugs and we have government agencies and public employee unions. I fail to see the difference.

We voluntarily vote to have it done to us.

7 posted on 12/30/2012 2:30:23 PM PST by TigersEye (Who is John Galt?)
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To: Half Vast Conspiracy

“Here in California, a cop can say that you rolled through a right turn on red without a full stop and you’ll be out $500.”

Still not as bad. First, $500 here is a LOT LESS than $250 there. But more importantly, the cameras are now OFF in Los Angeles (and Houston, where I live). The people spoke. 95% of the camera tickets were for just what you say. Now the pigs need to spend more time. And if they have dash-cams, they can be fought.

Still not as bad as there.


8 posted on 12/30/2012 2:32:50 PM PST by BobL (Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21... (whatever the hell that is))
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To: TigersEye

Next step? No blue-stained finger for our candidate no meal ticket!


9 posted on 12/30/2012 2:39:34 PM PST by chulaivn66 (Semper Fidelis in Extremis)
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To: BobL
My brother-in-law, who is an oncologist here in S.E. Michigan, is from Honduras. Almost every year he, my sister and their family would vacation at Tela Mar and he he would bring his Honduran family out to join us.

I've joined them on many vacations and they were absolutely wonderful times down there.

Approx. 3 years ago, his niece's son disappeared along with two of his best friends, never to be found.......

The two friends were from a wealthy family and always traveled with a hired security guard. On the day Jose' disappeared, he was picked up by his buddies who were on their way to a house they were newly renting out to a Mexican couple. (???)

Upon their arrival, a van pulled up with armed gunmen and ordered Jose', his two friends and the Mexican couple into a van, leaving the armed security guard behind, and they drove off. None of them were ever seen again........ It's suspected that the security guard was in on the kidnapping and I don't know what came of that........

All of my BIL's niece's daughters have come to the states (LEGALLY) and married. His half brother Mario, who was a successful businessman, has fled the country and taken up residence in Texas.

My BIL has a prime piece of ocean property in Trujillo which he purchased years ago with plans to build a summer home for all the family to visit. That's all gone down the drain, he swears he will never return again due to all the out of control crime that is going on there. Drugs, kidnappings and extortion are rampant and there is nothing the government can do about it.........

As a side note, the last time I was there, which was approx. 2003, several blocks away from the hotel we were temporarily staying in, gunmen boarded a bus and open fired on all the people in it. Evidently there was a war going on between competing bus companies..........just plain crazy!

10 posted on 12/30/2012 2:51:35 PM PST by Hot Tabasco (Jab her with a harpoon.....)
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To: BobL
I’d like to know their gun laws...

Almost every male carries.......

11 posted on 12/30/2012 2:54:29 PM PST by Hot Tabasco (Jab her with a harpoon.....)
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To: BobL

It’s a good thing our borders are wide open.


12 posted on 12/30/2012 2:54:45 PM PST by Altura Ct.
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To: Hot Tabasco

“Almost every male carries....... “

Not legally. I found a site that said the rate of ownership was 6 guns per 100 people. I’d expect the rate of carrying to be quite a bit less than that.


13 posted on 12/30/2012 3:01:00 PM PST by BobL (Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21... (whatever the hell that is))
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To: Hot Tabasco

Wow, quite a story...but more typical than not. Sorry for the loss, that’s just horrible.

And yes, it does look like a really nice place to visit, if it were safe.


14 posted on 12/30/2012 3:02:26 PM PST by BobL (Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21... (whatever the hell that is))
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To: waredbird
Same same...just wrote the checks today so they are dated this year.
Could have bought a nice used car every year with what I just pay the county.
They used to put a pie chart on the back explaining how your property taxes were spent.
They quit after the uproar when people saw that almost 70% went to 'social services'...aka...welfare.
At least thats what welfare is called in this county.
15 posted on 12/30/2012 3:04:25 PM PST by 45semi (A police state is always preceded by a nanny state...)
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To: BobL

if we legalize it, the problem will go away. lol


16 posted on 12/30/2012 3:21:31 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: BobL
Not legally. I found a site that said the rate of ownership was 6 guns per 100 people. I’d expect the rate of carrying to be quite a bit less than that.

You're reading from a website, I'm talking from experience. Legal or not, the majority of male Hondurans carry handguns. Not from a perceived threat of violence but from the reality of violence.......

There's a reason why all the wealthy families now hire security guards to not only protect their homes but to accompany them wherever they go.

And for those who would not be considered wealthy but merely "middle class", they carry firearms.........

17 posted on 12/30/2012 3:30:54 PM PST by Hot Tabasco (Jab her with a harpoon.....)
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To: Hot Tabasco

I won’t argue it too much with you. I didn’t realize your background when I posted. But yes, anyone with money definitely has to hire protectors - and hope to hell those protectors don’t have their own kids taken, for access to them.

It’s a friggen mess and very, very, sad.


18 posted on 12/30/2012 3:45:08 PM PST by BobL (Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21...Agenda 21... (whatever the hell that is))
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To: Hot Tabasco

“.. It’s suspected that the security guard was in on the kidnapping and I don’t know what came of that........”

While Nicaragua is much safer, having one of your guards bought by the bad guys is common through all of Latin America. Almost no way to check
out your guards.

Experienced in Central & South America..


19 posted on 12/30/2012 4:10:30 PM PST by Arlis (.)
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To: Hot Tabasco
I'm Honduran-American, and I can tell you that 6 per 100 is pretty realistic. The 6 will come from money. An average citizen can get a permit for a gun, but that is going to take a lawyer; but that isn't the real problem:

1. If you shoot in self-defense, the archaic laws will put you in custody until it is determined you were in the right. A body cannot even be moved until a Magistrate gives the authority to do so. By that time, the gangs will already know who you are, and who your family is. THEY WILL KILL YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY TREE. Then, when you get out of custody, they kill you.

2. There is no militia culture in Honduras, and has never been, so refrain from looking at their problem through gringo eyes. It doesn't work.

Nothing short of the Honduran Congress declaring gangs a terrorist group will win this. That way, the full weight of the military could be brought to bear. It would have to be a war similar to that which took place during the Maduro administration (2001) will work. Of course, Maduro didn't follow through, and screwed it up by bowing to international pressure to make a peace with the gangs: because international groups protested against the lack of due process, making their argument a "human rights" issue.

20 posted on 12/30/2012 4:16:50 PM PST by Salvavida (The restoration of the U.S.A. starts with filling the pews at every Bible-believing church.)
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To: BobL
Still not as bad as there.

Agree

21 posted on 12/30/2012 5:14:58 PM PST by Half Vast Conspiracy (I made a prank call...pretended I was a mime.)
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To: Salvavida
" There is no militia culture in Honduras, and has never been, so refrain from looking at their problem through gringo eyes "....Thanks for your insight, could you explain what is diferent in the mind set or thinking there as compared to those in the USA? In particular as to the 'militia culture'. I would like to understand . Thank you....
22 posted on 12/30/2012 7:10:36 PM PST by virgil283 ( "He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy)
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To: virgil283
Hondurans have no historic foundation of the concept of "WE THE PEOPLE". Hondurans, as wonderful as they are, will not stick their neck out for each other: it is totally absent from their culture. That is the root issue. Their culture was built off of old world traditions from Spain, where priviledge is found in family roots. Therefore they have no heritage of every male being expected to muster at arms for the protection of the community. Their default thinking is that safety must come from the State; and when it doesn't, there is nothing to fall back on. This breeds a state of mind of being potential prey, not being able to "form" a force able to repel evil. The average Honduran today is get to and from work as quickly as possible and hope that the big bad wolf doesn't single you out. With no relief in sight, the gangs get stronger, and the central government is creeping towards becoming a failed state.

It's very similar to the Arab Spring in Egypt. Egyptians complained of Mubarak for decades; some even blamed the United States for his corruption. But what escapes most Egyptians is they had the power within themselves to attain self-government: in fact, they did it without the help of the United States or any outside force. They never knew they could do it because it isn't part of their heritage. Unfortunately, they were equally naive in how to form a democracy similar to ours: it isn't in their heritage.

Every once in a while, a Honduran will experience the "lightbulb" going on, and they will finally "get it" after immigrating to the United States. But I have never seen that in an Egyptian. They don't seem to be capable of grasping American concepts of self government or the concept of militia.

23 posted on 12/31/2012 6:55:25 AM PST by Salvavida (The restoration of the U.S.A. starts with filling the pews at every Bible-believing church.)
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