Honduras has been rated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the country with the highest homicide rate in the world from 2010 until 2012, when the most recent report was issued.1 From 2005 to 2013, the number of violent deaths of women rose by 263.4%. This violence is the result of multiple factors, including high levels of economic inequity and inequality, poverty, corruption, militarization, and an ever increasing presence of organized crime and drug trafficking, all of which has a strong negative impact on the human rights of the population, and on the lives of women in particular.
When violence is attacked with violence, women become both victims and defenders. They are disproportionately and differently affected by violence, violation of human rights and the erosion of community. Yet Mesoamerican and the U.S. governments continue to fund militarist enforcement policies framed as counternarcotics or anti-terrorism that arm and train men to patrol and control the population that put women at great risk.
With homicides on the rise again, truce facilitators say support and funding is needed to reduce violence in the Central American nation.
The capture of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquín Guzman Loera “El Chapo” is a major victory for the U.S.-Mexican drug war. But will it reduce or increase the violence that plagues the country?
Women’s organizations are raising a red flag on Nicaragua. In a hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on March 12, they reported rising violence against women, corruption and abuse of power in government when dealing with the crimes, and the increasing vulnerability of girls and young women.
In 2013, Mexican drug war victims joined US victims on the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity in New York’s Riverside Church. The testimonies they presented, in the same place where in 1967 Martin Luther King called for an end to the Viet Nam war, revealed the similarities between the two unjust wars and why we should oppose them.
A secret operation to run guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels — overseen by U.S. government agents — threatens to become a major scandal for the Obama administration. The operation, called “Fast and Furious,” was run out of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) office in Phoenix, Arizona. ATF sanctioned the purchase of weapons in U.S. gun shops and tracked the smuggling route to the Mexican border. Reportedly, more than 2,500 firearms were sold to straw buyers who then handed off the weapons to gunrunners under the nose of ATF.
Josefina Reyes began her career as a human rights organizer the way thousands of women across the globe do: defending her family and her community. The middle-aged mother staged a hunger strike to demand the safe return of her son after Mexican soldiers abducted him from their home. She lost another son to drug-war violence that has taken over the Valle de Juarez, where her family lives. Josefina spoke out against the violence and against abuses committed by the army and police. On Jan. 5, 2010, Josefina Reyes was shot to death.
When George W. Bush left the White House, the rest of the world breathed a sigh of relief. The National Security Doctrine of unilateral attacks, the invasion of Iraq under the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction, and the abandonment of multilateral forums had opened up a new phase of U.S. aggression. Despite the focus on the Middle East, the increased threat of U.S. military intervention cast a long shadow over many parts of the world.
Two years later, that sense of relief has given way to deep concern. After hopes of a something closer to FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy of (relative) non-intervention, we find ourselves facing a new wave of militarization in Latin America–supported and promoted by the Obama administration.
Marisela Escobedo’s life changed forever in August 2008 when her 16-year-old daughter Rubi failed to come home. What was left of Rubi’s body was found months later in a dump — 39 pieces of charred bone.
Rubi became one more macabre statistic in Ciudad Juarez’s nearly two-decade history of femicide. The murder of young women, often raped and tortured, brought international infamy to the city long before it became the epicenter of the Calderon drug war and took on the added title of murder capital of the world.