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Issue 42
 An online magazine about investing, living, working and relocating to the Caribbean.
Events, people in the news and  general happenings around the Caribbean Basin >>
Casa De Campo - Dominican Republic
Sharing resources, reports, news and best practices about our world’s environment >>
Updates on Caribbean destinations tourism, events, travel, key conferences>>
 Caribbean Opportunities : A Unique, Affordable Ownership in Bocas, Panama
 Caribbean Discovery : Discovering Dominica
 Caribbean Culture : Maya Prophecy Year 2012 – Naysay or Doomsday?
 Caribbean Expat : Realizing Dreams in Nicaragua 
 Caribbean Living : A Rare Retirement Alternative in Grenada  
 Caribbean Heart : Remembering Haiti (a series)
 Caribbean Gems : The Sybarite Guide to DR Beaches, Part 2
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living  and working Investment Corner Updates on the latest Opportunities available at your reach >>
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living  and working Investors and Funding  Insider knowledge on funding for your developments >>
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living  and working Caribbean Investor And Owner Notes News and opportunities from CaribProperty Club Notes>>
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living  and working Off-Plan Pre-Development Offers Our recommended deals from the best developers >>
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living  and working Pick of the Month Editor's choice of interesting business and real estate opportunities >>
 Clew’s Views  the best deals in the best areas that are perfect for Baby Boomer relocation and retirement>>
 Up Close And Personal Featuring interviews with Caribbean Basin Expats and local entrepreneurs >>
 Health and Fitness  Medical costs, the best health care, national medical programs and more >>
 Safety and Security  How safe will you be, the local government, the legal system, and Mother Nature >>
 C A R I B B E A N     R E T I R E M E N T      P A G E S
Honduras - The Facts of the Matter
Carter Clews

To read the official warnings from US State Department, one would think that visiting the Republic of Honduras is something akin to making a call on Dr. Kevorkian. Only more dangerous. Here’s the actual alert from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs:

“Crime is endemic in Honduras and requires a high degree of caution by U.S. visitors and residents alike. U.S. citizens have been the victims of a wide range of crimes, including murder, kidnapping, rape, assault, and property crimes.”

And, indeed, that is horrifying. One would almost think you were in Detroit. Only not as dangerous. 

The truth, of course, is that the State Department has never forgiven the Honduran people for defying a direct order from President Barack Obama to reinstate its impeached president, Manuel Zelaya. In fact, the Obama State Department still refers to the by-the-book impeachment as a “coup d’état.” And it continues to try to force the Republic to abandon its laws and dismiss all charges against the would-be dictator.

So, it’s no surprise that Foggy Bottom (as State affectionately calls itself) would paint as horrifying a picture as possible of the little country that wouldn’t comply. And one is left to wonder: exactly what is the truth about safety and security in the tiny Republic.

To a certain extent, the truth is that Honduras is a very poor country with a very high crime rate. With nearly 70 murders per 100,000 citizens, it dwarfs countries like the US (with 5.4) and even nearby Nicaragua (with just 12). And that means the State Department is correct – to a degree. “The situation “requires a high degree of caution".
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But to say that crime is “endemic” in Honduras carries a connotation that is unfair at best and deliberately pejorative at worst. “Endemic,” of course, (as the learned scribes at State well know) implies that crime is characteristic of Hondurans, or native to their culture. And that’s no truer of Honduras than it is of, let’s say, Detroit.

The fact is, the vast majority of crime in Honduras is committed in the country’s two largest cities: Tegucigalpa (the capital) and San Pedro Sula (the industrial center). And even in those cities, the crime is largely relegated to areas most tourists would likely avoid even without a State Department warning.

In the third largest city, La Ceiba, violent crime is negligible. And in the countryside – which makes up the vast expanse of Honduras – crime is hardly “endemic.” In fact, there are few reports of crimes against foreign travelers throughout Honduras. And the natives are sufficiently well-armed to protect themselves.  

Then why the fear among many Americans, in particular, to visit this relatively peaceful country. Perhaps because of hysterical warnings like this, again from the State Department:  

“Travelers should always drive with their doors locked and windows rolled up to avoid potential robberies at traffic lights and other places, such as congested downtown streets ... Do not hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightspots.”

Safety and Security - Honduras
The same commonsense warnings could, of course, be issued for travelers visiting any US city, including Washington, DC. In fact, in certain parts of Washington – like the Southeast fringe, or the Northeast corridor - travelers would be well advised not to go home even with people they know.  

But, by putting the warning in writing on its website, the State Department knowingly casts aspersions on an entire country. And the stigma sticks. In fact, even the Bay Islands of Roatan, Utila, and minuscule Guanaja don’t escape Foggy Bottom’s devastating indictment. Warns the State Department’s constabularies:  

“Copan, Roatan/Bay Islands, and other tourist destinations have a lower crime rate than other parts of the country, but thefts, break-ins, assaults, and murders do occur.”

Again, no facts, no figures, no statistics to back up the accusations. Just the broad brush of innuendo with the cryptic assertion that such crimes “do occur.” As quite likely, they “do occur” in seaside resorts and small towns all across America. And, they most certainly “do occur” on a nightly (even hourly) basis in America’s inner cities.  

The truth is, on the Bay Islands, a purse-snatching is cause for alarm. And pick-pocketing is almost none existent. Break-ins “do occur” – on rare occasion. And assaults are an exception to the rule. As to major crime, as one Roatan police officer told this reporter, “We’re on an island. Even the stupidest criminal knows that there are only two ways out – the airport and the ferry dock – and we guard both.”

So, what should the wise visitor do when visiting Honduras? The realistic rules of travel apply here as anywhere else -- apply “a high degree of caution”  -- including:

      · When you visit the inner city, stay in the nicer areas
      · When you park your car, lock the doors
      · When you stay in a hotel, throw the deadbolt
      · When you go hiking, stick to the well-worn trails and go with friends
      · When you drive into the countryside, take along a friend and don’t go down dark, deserted roads in the middle of the night
      · Don’t carry large sums of money
      · Don’t flash your jewelry in high-crime areas
      · Don’t put your faith in absolute strangers
      · Don’t hide your valuables in the toe of your shoe when you go to the beach

Hyperkinetic State Department warnings aside, by and large, Americans visiting, and living in, Honduras have found it no less safe, or more dangerous, than any other developed society, emerging nation, or Third World country anywhere else on the planet. Crime is not “endemic.” Peace and tranquility are. And the best way to find out the facts of the matter is to come and see it for yourself.  

See you next month on the new Caribbean Retirement Pages.
Please give me your feedback on the new Caribbean Retirement Pages at, on my Twitter account: @caribcarter. And don’t forget to sign up for your special “CaribAlerts” emails keeping you up to date on breaking events and opportunities throughout the month. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Last Updated On : 23 Feb 2014