Thirty hours in Honduras – Km 130,270
From Sta. Clarita El Salvador we entered Honduras and for two days we pedaled along the Panamericana Highway the 140 km that would lead us to Nicaragua. We passed through small villages and a couple of cities. Is the dry season and everything is yellow, more desolate and poor. Some houses are just built with logs and plastic, other with adobe. It reminds me of Africa. I see no crops of any kind, either fruit trees or cattle.
At noon the sun breaks your head, not a drop of wind or shade to shelter. Shit! I have a flat tire, but I did not stop, and I am not crazy to change the tire under this crushing sun. I don´t like the idea of dissasemble all baggage and be exposed to the most violent country in the world. It’s Sunday and at times there is not a soul on the road. Fran and Juan are ahead, so I prefer to inflate the tire and keep pedaling. I reach them, that stopped to go to a bathroom, Juan is with stomach problems like me. Who knows what kind of parasites we have. So I leave before them and came first to the village where I shelter under a tin roof to fix the bike. It is an oven, ¡¡Oh God!! What hot weather in this country.
Its 1:00 o’clock half noon it’s time to stop. I fix the bike while Fran and Juan arrive, and then finally we stop at the first restaurant in town, a Chinese one. But his owner is Honduran, although former employee of a Chinese restaurant he tells us. The guy never stops working, the meal costs $ 2.5. We are waiting the sun goes down, we spent two hours there, under another tin roof.
In the afternoon everything was easier, less heat, less up hills and also a bit of a tailwind. Around 4 pm we arrived in Choluteca. We headed to the fire department who often receives travelers. They asked for our passports, wrote the numbers down and then we got the ok to set our tents in the back, between some old and abandoned vehicles. We cooked pasta with tomato sauce and vegetables. That night while we slept, the alarm sounded and a fire truck with an ambulance sped off with sirens blaring. In the morning we learned that the episode was just a fight at a party, where a guy had cut the hand off to another with a machete.
Honduras with no war is the most violent country in the world. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 90 people are murdered per 100,000 inhabitants per year, almost ten times the global average.
Adrian, a firefighter told us: “extreme poverty, social exclusion, drug trafficking and impunity of the political class, are the root causes of violence in Honduras. It is a common thing the extortion by gang groups (maras) and other criminal networks, which have led to the closure of thousands of small businesses”.
“The gang “los Maras” originated in California, USA by young Central American immigrants who arrived in the 80’s, fleeing from the armed conflicts in the region, one of the bloodiest scenes of the Cold War. Those who did not enter the national armies or guerrilla armies of his country had the option to migrate to the United States. There to survive, Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans should join Latin groups (Mexican or Puerto Rican) and then more consolidated could face African Americans gangs. Eventually they realized that they were so many and so brave as the other gangs and decided to form their own group. Later Los Maras extending to many other U.S. cities and incorporates other groups of migrants from other Latin American countries”.
“There were no gangs in Central America, but the end of armed conflict and democratization in the region it was accompanied by a process of deportation from the United States, returning to their home countries the gang members who had criminal records. These men, without knowing how they reintegrate into their society were restructured as gangs in the region. Currently their network extends throughout Central America with strong impact in the United States and some European countries”.
“Thus, because of the violence in the country, poverty and widespread corruption of politicians, each year about 80,000 Hondurans migrate to the United States to find a job and to send aid to their families”.[:]