Honduran Migrants Risk Violence and Murder to Reach US
By Carlos Quintanilla
The bodies of at least 120 Honduran citizens who were killed while trying to reach the United States since January 1st have been sent home.
So far, about one hundred Hondurans have left the country every day this year, a quarter of those who did so in 2010, due to stricter US immigration laws.
More Honduran migrants are dying en route through México to the co‑called American dream, because of increased violence attributed to Mexican gangs of human smugglers.
Women, minors and young adults make up the bulk of those traveling this dangerous route to the United States. Writing in August, 2010, Wall Street Journal reporter David Luhnow cited an Amnesty International report that six out of every ten women who reach migrant shelters in Southern México suffer sexual violence on their journey.
According to data from the National Forum for Migration in Honduras (FONAMIH), a total 100,000 18 to 32 year old Hondurans leave every year to go to the United States, but only two percent of them are allowed to enter the US, while the rest are returned to their country, including the bodies of those who died during their journey.
International humanitarian organizations report that most undocumented immigrants who pass through México are Hondurans.
The Ministerial Forum for Development in Latin América recently stated that almost five million Hondurans live below the poverty line. Honduras, with a population of 8.2 million, is one of the poorest countries with the most unequally distributed wealth, where 1.7 million households subsist or survive on $1.50 US daily.
Two out of every three Honduran children are malnourished and lack access to safe water, sanitation and schools.
UN agencies have announced that poverty also affects nearly 81 million children under 18 in Latin América and the Caribbean. They call upon the region’s governments to promote social programs, employment and macroeconomic policies to end poverty and migration, a challenge to which these governments appear to be unresponsive. Especially Honduras.
Carlos Quintanilla produces and hosts KPFK’s Spanish Language News Program “Noticiero Pacífica,” which is broadcast over 90.7 FM on Wednesdays at 10:30 PM. Noticiero Pacífica is the only independent news program in the Los Angeles area focusing on Latin American issues. P. O. Box 761475, Los Angeles, CA 90076. E mail: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.