Of the 47,000 children fleeing violence and poverty and apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol since October, 28 percent came from Honduras. The number of children fleeing the country says a lot about what has happened in Honduras since the 2009 coup, which was supported by the Obama administration.
The following statistics have contributed to Honduras’ status as the murder capital of the world:
• Last year, at least one woman was murdered every 13 minutes.
• At least 116 members of the LGBT community have been murdered since 2008.
• More than 30 journalists have been killed since the coup.
• At least 74 lawyers were murdered from 2009 to 2012.
• At least 18 members of the opposition LIBRE political party were killed in the run-up to last November’s presidential election.
• Since 2010, more than 100 activists have been killed in the Aguan Valley in a land dispute between campesinos and wealthy landowners who seek land for palm oil development.
The answer to Honduras’ security challenges is not more money for security forces that are linked to human rights abuses. Accountability, an end to impunity and a true restoration of democratic institutions can diminish the factors driving children and others to flee to the U.S.
If the U.S. were to make assistance conditional on these demands, it would help hasten change in Honduras.