The International Crisis Group (ICG) released a report on Wednesday detailing the increase in drug-related violence on the Guatemala-Honduras border and calling for immediate action on the part of both national governments to combat the situation.
The large network of narco-trafficking gangs in the region have been competing over increasingly disputed drug routes that move substances through Central America, up to Mexico and eventually to the United States. According to the ICG report, since the 2009 coup d’état that unseated former President Manuel Zelaya, Honduras has become a primary entrance point for such drugs trafficked through Guatemala by smaller outfits with ties to Mexican cartels like the Zetas.
The report outlines eight recommendations of steps the Guatemalan and Honduran governments can take to improve the current situation, including implementing a long-term violence prevention strategy and working with countries that have pursued similar strategies like Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. The report also advises both governments to send health workers, educators, community organizers and other members of civil society to develop the border area and provide opportunities for the local population that has been impacted by violence.
“Tackling criminal violence requires sustained, concerted efforts to promote local development and guarantee rule of law,” said Mary Speck, project director for the ICG’s Mexico and Central American project.