TEGUCIGALPA – Honduras, which the United Nations deems the world’s deadliest nation, has a homicide reported every 74 minutes, a government panel reported Saturday.
“In 2011 alone, the number of deaths soared to 7,104 or one person killed every 74 minutes,” a National Human Rights Commission annual report in the Central American country of just over eight million found.
The World Health Organization says the normal homicide rate is 8.8 per 10,000 inhabitants; in recent years, Honduras’ murder rate has been as high as 10 times the “normal” rate.
Honduras leads 207 countries with its murder rate this year, according to a UN study that estimated it at 82.1 deaths per 100,000 people. It is followed in the region by El Salvador (66) and Guatemala (41.4).
Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have some of the highest murder rates in the world and have seen violent gang crime intensify in recent years with incursions from Mexican drug cartels.
Around 90 percent of the cocaine which arrives in the United States passes through Central America and Mexico.
Another Journalist Killed
A 54-year-old Honduran journalist was killed by a machete-wielding attacker, police said Sunday, in the 18th fatal attack on a member of the news media in the past two years.
Police said Fausto Evelio Hernandez, was riding his bicycle on his way home Saturday when he was attacked in Saba, some 600 kilometers (400 miles) north of the capital.
Deputy police commissioner Osmin Bardales told AFP that the journalist, who was an on-air announced for Radio Alegre, “tried to put his arm out (to defend himself) against the first machete blow and had it nearly severed.”
The attacker then let loose with nine fierce machete blows to the victim’s head, the police official said.
The motive did not appear to be robbery because Hernandez was discovered with all his possessions, Bardales added.
The official said there were witnesses but they would not help identify the attacker.
A total of 18 journalists have been murdered in Honduras in the last two years.