Photo: Police ignore the increased violence against members of the LGBT community and journalists
While you’d be hard-pressed to a go a day without hearing about the violence in Mexico, many Americans would likely be surprised to learn that Honduras actually has the highest murder rate in the Western Hemisphere. However, what should surprise everyone is the fact that when journalists or members of the LGBT community are shot, the police often ignore it.
When radio journalist Franklin Melendez was shot in the leg, and a co-worker threatened with, “You’re next, bitch. We’re going to kill you,” witnesses told police. Police said they would not act without a formal complaint, however, when a complaint was filed, the police still refused to do anything, and said an arrest warrant was needed. Now, the assailant has fled the area.
“They didn’t lift a finger to help us,” said the co-worker, Ethels Posada, 30.
Since 2008, gunmen in Honduras have gotten away with killing 10 journalists, 59 gay or other LGBT people, 60 lawyers, and 155 women. Each case remains unprosecuted.
International human rights advocates have taken notice of this frightening trend, and the Obama administration, noting the upswing in the number of hate crimes against the LGBT community, has sent FBI agents and prosecutors to the nation to help with murder investigation.
Unfortunately, many expect that nothing will change, and point to the fact that in two years, the violence in Honduras has risen 39 percent. Today, a person is five times more likely to be murdered in Honduras than they are in Mexico. Honduras has a population of only eight million, while Mexico has 112 million people.
Experts like Osman Lopez, of news media group, the Committee for Free Expression, says the government in Honduras is partially to blame for the murders.
This isn’t to say that the state commits the crimes, but by not investigating…it is complicit. It sends a message to the criminals, the paramilitaries and the hit men that they can do as they please.”