Episode
December 13, 2018

What is behind the Honduras exodus?

Thousands of people are leaving Central American country amid day-to-day violence, widening inequality and long-running political instability.
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On Thursday, December 13 at 19:30 GMT: 

In recent weeks US media coverage has focused on people travelling from Central American countries in search of asylum in the United States. Reports of these so-called 'migrant caravans' in US media are often framed in terms of domestic politics, and particularly the anti-immigration stance of Donald Trump and his administration.

Yet journalism that examines what compels so many people to seek asylum in the US is less common. Honduras is just one of several countries where thousands of people have made the difficult decision to flee immediate danger at home and head north. Around 300 people leave Honduras each day according to Bartolo Fuentes, a prominent Honduran journalist and former member of the Honduran congress.

The reasons behind this exodus are manifold. Hondurans remain divided over the deeply contentious outcome of the November 2017 general election, in which Juan Orlando Hernandez prevailed over Salvador Nasralla to remain president. In January 2018 thousands of people across Honduras protested over a result widely considered fraudulent, yet were beaten back by the military and police using force deemed excessive by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

But violence is not confined to the quelling of major popular protests - it is routine and rooted in the everyday. Gangs frequently target poor communities with extortion, and commit brutal reprisals against those they deem out of line. Security forces often collude with these gangs, from allegedly  assisting in drug trafficking through to the killing of activists. The United States has continued to direct ever-growing amounts of funding under the Alliance for Prosperity Plan to security, fuelling the militarisation of the police. Funding for health, education and social programmes lags behind - contributing to an ever-widening gulf between the rich and poor.

The Stream will examine what is driving so many people in Honduras to leave their homes and ask how their lives can be improved. Join the conversation.

On today's episode, we speak with: 

Jennifer Avila @jenalear
Co-founder, Contra Corriente 
contracorriente.red

Marcia Aguiluz @MarciaAguiluz
Program Director for Central America & Mexico
cejil.org

Silvio Carrillo @justiceforberta
Journalist
bertacaceres.org

Read more:
Hondurans continue to flee one year after post-election crackdown - Al Jazeera
Honduras mother waits 8 years for lost migrant son to return - Associated Press
 

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