A Honduran Alcatraz: Xiomara Castro intends to build a prison on an island for two thousand mobsters

Xiomara Castro giving a speech at an air base in Tegucigalpa (Honduras), in file photo.Freddy Rodriguez (Reuters)

The plan to imprison hundreds of dangerous criminals on an island is the new plan of the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, to counter violence Who bleeds in this Central American country. Ridden with crime, the government of Honduras plans to build on the Islas del Cisne, an uninhabited archipelago located in the northwest of the Honduras Caribbean, a huge maximum security prison to lock up the leaders of the gangs that unleash terror in their country. Honduras authorities explained to the US Associated Press that the complex will have a capacity of about 2,000 people and will be so isolated that communications can only be made via satellite. “It’s about as far away as they can get, so these gang leaders feel the pressure once they get to the island. The idea is that they lose touch with everything, the connection with the whole community… and they can really pay a price,” said José Jorge Fortin, commander of the Honduran Armed Forces. their crimes.”

Imprisonment on the island is the latest desperate measure by the Castro government after a series of bloody incidents showed that gangs and other criminal groups have extensive control over the prisons and vast lands of this country, one of the poorest. continent. Castro has upended his campaign promises to tackle crime through deep political reforms to purge a corrupt justice system and opted for the heavy hand, following in the footsteps of El Salvador’s populist President Neb Boquel. after The massacre that took place in June in a prison of women near the capital, Tegucigalpa, killing 46 inmates and burning many of them, the chief assured that she would take “extreme measures” to stop the bleeding. Just four days later, a series of criminal attacks showed rampant violence: In one day, 21 deaths were recorded in two massacres in the north of the country.

Satellite image of the Pelican Islands, where the prison is to be built.
Satellite image of the Pelican Islands, where the prison is to be built.AP

Castro chose bukelization It announced extreme measures including curfews, partial states of emergency to combat crime in 120 communities, and deployed the army and police to regain control over areas that had been taken over by criminal groups, as it also suspended constitutional guarantees for citizens. . Added to these measures now are plans to build a massive prison on the Islas del Cisne, a kind of Alcatraz in Honduras where the authorities hope to, finally, keep in check the gang leaders who continue to carry out their activities from existing traditional prisons for criminals, largely with the support of corrupt prison officials. “I have taken measures to give them security in the face of the vicious and brutal terrorist attack they are being subjected to by thugs for hire trained and ordered by drug lords who operate with impunity,” the president wrote in mid-June in a series of letters. From messages posted to your Twitter profile.

And the Honduran security authorities were forced to resort to El Salvador to quell criticism of the impossibility of dealing with violence, in a country where United Nations data Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are still the main victims of murders. “If another country does something well, why not imitate it?” Tell the Associated Press Commander of the Honduran Armed Forces, Jose Jorge Fortin. We will not allow this terrible atmosphere to continue.”

The government has not yet provided more details about the construction of the prison, which will relieve overcrowding in the country’s prisons. At the end of July, the military police announced Pictures show hundreds of detained men And forcing them to remain in their underwear under the guard of dozens of officers, in a measure that seeks to restore control over prisons. “We have started activities so that prisons stop being schools of crime and break the cycle of organized crime,” said José Manuel Zelaya, Secretary of State for National Defense. But these measures are not enough to reduce the violence and that is why Castro’s government is now aspiring to build a huge prison in the Caribbean.

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As she tries to quell her citizens’ criticism of violence with these harsh measures, the president is also opening up an international front. Castro announced that he was moving forward with the United Nations to create a commission similar to the successful International Commission against Impunity (CICIG) deployed in Guatemala to deal with corruption and impunity. With respect, the UN Mission of Experts informed that the CICIH Installation Agreement should be ready and signed in the coming months. Personally, I will speak with Secretary Antonio Guterres [secretario general de la ONU]. We can’t wait any longer,” the president emphasized.

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