Honduran President Launches “Operation Lightning” against Crime

By Dialogo
October 28, 2011

On October 26, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo launched “Operation Lightning” to counter the rising wave of violence in the country with greater police deployment.

“We have to go in with deterrence (…) and I’m going to hire many more police officers, and many more soldiers as well; that has been decided,” Lobo announced at an event at the city hall of San Pedro Sula, 240 km north of the capital.

“I’m not satisfied (with the work of the police authorities), and I’m taking on the task of keeping faith with my people in giving them security,” he promised.

The crimes committed against two young people – one of them the 22-year-old son of the rector of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, Julieta Castellanos – whose corpses appeared on the side of a road on October 22, raised the level of alert due to the wave of homicides in Honduras even higher.

The press, which has extensively covered the two crimes and the violence in general, called on the government to punish those responsible.

Operation Lightning entails reinforcement of the patrols conducted by police officers in the country’s major cities, Lobo said.

Coinciding with Lobo’s announcement, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned in a statement that “the phenomenon of violence and insecurity has become a serious problem affecting Honduran society.”

“In a society where violence claims 20 victims a day, 47 percent of whom are young people aged between 15 and 29, young people as a group feel themselves severely threatened by insecurity and crime, making it necessary to seek and implement concrete solutions immediately,” the statement stressed.

Honduras is the country with the highest homicide rate in the world, 82.1, followed in the Central American region by El Salvador with 66 and Guatemala with 41.4, according to a 2011 worldwide study by the UN that considered 207 countries.