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Friday, July 12, 2024

Honduras Uses Imprisoned Gang Members to Erase Graffiti

Honduran authorities removed 30 gang members from a prison on Monday, dressed in orange uniforms and with chains on their feet, and made them erase graffiti on the walls of buildings in the capital.

This is a “pilot project aimed at erasing the placazos [names or identifying symbols of the gangs] and graffiti” painted by gang members “in different sectors of the national territory,” announced the spokesman for the Armed Forces, Captain José Coello.

With felt rollers and cans of white paint, the inmates erased the signs that members of the Barrio 18 gang, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), and other gangs had painted to mark their territory in neighborhoods in the south of the capital and at Chelato Uclés National Stadium, in the center.

The prisoners were transported in olive-green trucks with a strong security contingent from the Támara National Penitentiary, about 20 km north of Tegucigalpa.

The aim is to “erase the diabolical messages” that “cause a bad image” of the country, Coello added. “We are here (…) covering the stains that were on the walls and I think it’s something good for society,” one of the inmates told journalists.

This is the second measure that Honduran authorities have imitated from the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele. The first was to impose a state of emergency on December 6, 2022, which allows for arrests without a court order to try to contain criminal gangs.

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