Drug Violence Escalates in Honduras
Drug violence has escalated in Honduras as Mexican drug kingpins continue to fight to the death over smuggling routes. According to a piece in the Washington Post, suspected drug hit men killed nine people in Tegucigalpa.
Considered one of the deadliest attacks in Honduras since the escalation of violence, this event involved masked men with automatic weapons who opened fire in the street in a poor area of the capital on Saturday night. These men then bust into two houses, killing seven men and two women.
"These deaths were provoked by territorial disputes between drug traffickers," Tegucigalpa’s police chief Mario Chamorro told reporters.
Drug violence has been rising in Honduras since last year as this is considered a key transit route for Colombian cocaine heading to the United States. Powerful Mexican cartels continue to fight over smuggling corridors through Mexico and Central America. Roughly 1,600 people have died in drug violence in Honduras in 2009.
According to Honduran authorities, Mexico’s top trafficker, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman is trying to crush rivals from the ruthless Gulf cartel from northeastern Mexico. The Gulf cartel is also fighting for control in Central America.
Authorities believe that Guzman owns several properties in Honduras. He recently spent time at a Honduran beach resort popular with U.S. and European tourists. The escalating violence in the country is scaring off tourists and causing increased worries in the United States, which has been providing anti-drug aid, equipment and police training to Mexico and Central American countries.
As the violence continues, some investors have opted to freeze their investments in Mexican factories in cities on the U.S. border, especially in Ciudad Juarez, considered to be the most deadly flash point in the drug war.