Mary Anastasia O’Grady: don’t ask her to be consistent as it is a waste of time
Wall Street Journal, June 29 2009
Honduras Defends Its Democracy
Fidel Castro and Hillary Clinton object.
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Hugo Chávez’s coalition-building efforts suffered a setback yesterday when the Honduran military sent its president packing for abusing the nation’s constitution.
It seems that President Mel Zelaya miscalculated when he tried to emulate the success of his good friend Hugo in reshaping the Honduran Constitution to his liking.
But Honduras is not out of the Venezuelan woods yet. Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya’s abuses, also wants him back in power. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground.
* * * *
Wall Street Journal, August 22 2010
Chávez’s Next Big Problem: Crime
Rising street violence in Venezuela is beginning to hurt the president among his constituency.
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
When a photograph of 12 chaotically strewn, naked corpses at the Bello Monte morgue in Caracas ran on the front page of the Venezuelan daily El Nacional 10 days ago, Hugo Chávez reacted with indignation.
But his ire was not directed at morgue management or, since the dead were most likely murder victims found in the street, at those responsible for public security in the capital.
Mr. Chávez was angry with the newspaper. He immediately blasted the wider press for its recent reports on Venezuelan violence, which has reached epic proportions. A Chávez-controlled tribunal soon issued a ruling prohibiting the publication of such graphic images. After an international outcry of censorship, the ruling was amended to apply only to El Nacional and one other newspaper.
Why, then, should the morgue photo cause alarm? Perhaps because in the runup to the Sept. 26 national assembly elections, the issue of violent crime in poor neighborhoods risks awakening voters.
Though the government has stopped publishing official crime statistics, the nongovernmental Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV) has claimed there were 16,047 murders in 2009. This is up from 14,589 in 2008 and 4,550 in 1998, the year Mr. Chávez was first elected.
* * * *
Honduras murder rate falls in 2013, but remains world’s highest
By Gustavo Palencia
TEGUCIGALPA Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:52pm EST
(Reuters) – The murder rate in Honduras, the Central American country with the world’s highest number of homicides per capita, fell last year according to a United Nations-affiliated report released on Monday, although the number of “atrocious crimes” ticked up.
Honduras has suffered a wave of violence in recent years, as Mexican drug cartels have expanded into the country, enlisting local street gangs and using the country’s often lawless Caribbean coastline as a pit stop for U.S.-bound cocaine from South America.
The murder rate fell by 6.5 percentage points in 2013, a security institute sponsored by the U.N. and part of Honduras’ national university said in its annual report.
Migdonia Ayestas, who leads the institute, told Reuters that violent homicides fell to 79 per 100,000 people last year from 85.5 in 2012.
“But we saw a noticeable increase in the number of atrocious crimes, including mutilations and decapitations, with bodies thrown into the street, which cause terror in the population,” she said.
The atrocities, which are a relatively new phenomenon in Honduras, bear the hallmarks of Mexican cartels, who engage in a grisly form of one-upmanship to instill fear in rival gangs.
Honduras, a country of some 8.5 million people, suffered an average of 19 murders each day in 2013, down from 20 the year before, the report found.
Neighboring El Salvador has regularly had the No. 2 murder rate for countries not at war, although comparable figures were not immediately available.
Putting an end to Honduras’ cycle of violence was the main theme in last year’s election, won by the National Party’s Juan Hernandez. He has vowed to restore order, adopting a militarized approach to taming the warring gangs.
Critics say a similar military-led move in Mexico, rolled out by former President Felipe Calderon in 2007, only served to increase the violence as the cartels splintered, creating dangerous power vacuums.
Others fear the possibility of rights abuses as soldiers do a job usually performed by police.