Monday, June 03, 2013

So called gang truce in Honduras - more thoughts

There’s an interesting article on Bishop Romulo Emiliani in ACI Prensa (accessible here in Spanish)on what many are calling a truce between the two major gangs in Honduras.

Bishop Emiliani said, “they have made a declaration of principles for reconciliation, with God, the society and the government; both gangs have concurred on this, without speaking with each other.”

Many commentators have spoken of a truce that included no crimes, no violence, and no extortion. I was skeptical about the promise of no extortions, which I had not heard. Up to this point, that gangs have been demanding “war taxes” or what we might call “protection money” from taxi drivers, bus companies, small businesses.

But,as Bishop Emiliani notes, one gang leader promised no crimes against the civilian population and the other said no more extortions.

It is a long process, which, according to the bishop, could last decades. He called it a process of “iluminación” – illumination, based in the desire of the gang members to stop the suffering of their children.”

What I heard in the statements of the gang leaders was a concern that there are no jobs, there is no real commitment to rehabilitation in the jails, there is discrimination against gang members, there are cases where the police violate their right and even, some say, kill gang members without cause. They want their children to have real jobs, real opportunities.

It is thus a process which needs not only dialogue and reconciliation between the gangs as well as between the gangs and society; it needs the involvement of the government, which, according to Bishop Emiliani, is participating in the process very timidly.

There is hope – but it’s a long journey.

Meanwhile, violence continues and people suffer the effects of structural poverty.

1 comment:

Mike Allison said...

Not sure if you saw this last week but you're not the only one confused about what the gangs did and did not agree to.