The New York Times recently published an article with the title of “Inside Gang Territory in Honduras”. While I must say that it adequately portrays the difficult life of Hondurans in neighborhoods where gangs reign, it does not reflect the everyday life of most people in Honduras. Furthermore, the article clearly states that San Pedro Sula has a homicide rate of 80 per 100,000 persons, when official counts by the National Autonomous University of Honduras reports 45.51 for 2018. Don’t get me wrong, 45.51 is way to high! The fact is that the New York Times writer did not do his homework adequately!
Most of the murders in Honduras are directly related to gangs and drug cartels. This leads me to the conclusion that most of those murdered are involved in one or the other illicit activities. Unfortunately, there are neighborhoods that fall into the control of gangs. People who live there have to take difficult decisions to survive. Their options are indeed very few, and escaping the neighborhood is not an easy. However, I insist, the New York Times article does not portray reality for most of the people living in Honduras.
If you take the official list of most dangerous cities in the World, you will find that cities like Baltimore, MD and Saint Louis, MO are even more dangerous than Honduras. Acapulco, Tijuana and Los Cabos are some of the cities in Mexico that are on the most dangerous in the World list. Heck, just about any city in the World, including most in the USA have dangerous neighborhoods. If you venture into these neighborhoods you are putting your life at risk! Yet that does not mean that every city in the country as a whole is equally dangerous.
The Real San Pedro Sula
It is only fair to ask reporters to see the whole picture when they are reporting. Showing the reality in a limited area of San Pedro Sula does not do justice to the people of Honduras. I am a resident of Honduras who has been here for over a quarter of a century. Never have I faced the perils described in the New York Times article titled Inside Gang Territory in Honduras. Yes, Honduras has its problems. Yes, there are some neighborhoods in Honduras that are dangerous. And yes, there are some communities that are trapped in a violent cycle that is hard to get away from. But that does not mean that all the country is that dangerous and that we all live inside gang territory in Honduras.
After reading the New York Times article about gangs in San Pedro Sula, you can hardly imagine the real San Pedro Sula. This is the manufacturing and financial hub of Honduras. It is also the first Smart City in the country. This is the fastest growing city in Central America. The San Pedro Sula international airport is the busiest airport in the Honduras! This means that more travelers arrive here than in Tegucigalpa, the Capital of Honduras. San Pedro Sula is the pride and joy of Honduras. It boasts a modern Convention Center and many World Class franchise Hotels, such as Hilton, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Crown Plaza, just to name a few.
There are many safe destinations in Honduras that are gang free. Whenever you travel, it is always good to be on the lookout and use your common sense. I recommend you read our Honduras Travel Advisory 2019 for an honest look at what traveling in Honduras is really like!