By Kota Yanagidani
Honduran peace activist, Martin Fernandez, national coordinator of MADJ (the Movement for Dignity and Justice), had a talk event about unfavorable economic and violence conditions of the nation at Swenson UW-Super Friday. The talk was spoken in Spanish and translated into English by Bryan Rogers, a member of NGO: Witness For Peace.
Honduras has been struggling with a great corruption and crime rate for a long time. The percentage of people living in poverty reaches 75 today, and one out of two people lives under 1.25 dollar per day. A tiny number of wealthy people holds most of the money in the country; economy in Honduras is quite unequal according to Fernandez.
The homicide rate is also considerably high as Honduras is thought as one of the most dangerous countries in the world today. 60 per 100,000 people were murdered in 2015, which is approximately 5000 people in total. If this rate were applied to Minneapolis- Saint Paul, the number would be 2400. The confirmed homicide number of the city in 2015 was 50.
According to Fernandez, this violence issue is heavily connected with the country’s drug trafficking and U.S. military aid. He says drugs in the United States are coming from the South such as Mexico and Honduras. The thriving of drugs leads to violence in Honduras as more crimes for drug happen. “Drug trade in the U.S. generates much more violence”, Fernandez says.
The U.S. military aid may also result in violence happening in Honduras. He mentions that the investment the U.S. makes is ineffective as a matter of the fighting against violence, and most of them are not directly going to the government or other institutions. There is one major American military base in Honduras, but the military base even creates a crisis and it does not solve the security issue, Fernandez says.
The Movement for Dignity and Justice challenges to expose and fight against the domestic violence and corruption in Honduras. Berta is one of Honduran activists who was murdered in the state violence. Fernandes is currently traveling around the U.S. particularly in Wisconsin today for sharing the truth about the relationship between the U.S. government and Honduras. He says, “ We live in the world every one of people can enjoy freedom; freedom itself is an ongoing challenge in Honduras.”