HomeNewsBriefBusinesses in Honduran Capital Beseiged By Crime, Extortion
BRIEF

Businesses in Honduran Capital Beseiged By Crime, Extortion

EXTORTION / 7 SEP 2012 BY VICTORIA ROSSI EN

More than 90 percent of businesses in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa have experienced security threats, mostly in the form of extortion, highlighting the stranglehold criminal gangs have on the country’s economy.

A survey among Tegucigalpan business owners revealed that nearly all had suffered security problems ranging from theft to frequent threats by criminal groups demanding money in exchange for safety, Mario Bustillo, head of the city’s chamber of commerce, told Honduran daily La Tribuna.

Most businesses in Tegucigalpa are small-to-medium sized, according to the chamber’s report, leaving them more vulnerable to extortion. Criminal gangs like the MS-13 and Barrio 18, both of which have operations in Tegucigalpa, are known to rely heavily on extortion as a key source of funding.

The practice has taken its toll on Honduras’s economy: A July survey by Honduran newspaper El Heraldo found that a third of Tegucigalpa businesses had folded or fled to Nicaragua because of extortion demands.

The lost businesses would result in lowered government tax revenue and higher unemployment, Bustillo noted. Unemployed youth, in turn, provide ready recruits for gangs extorting the city’s businesses, police commissioner Alex Villanueva stated.

InSight Crime Analysis

Honduras has attempted to combat extortion on a variety of fronts. Police have set up telephone hotlines for businesses to report threats anonymously but at the same time police agents are suspected by many of participating in the extortion rackets.

The government also recently announced a deal with a group of international investors allowing them to construct three privately run cities in the country -- with services including a private security force and judicial system -- as potential safe-havens for companies.

But, as InSight Crime reported in July, gangs have adopted new extortion tactics in response to police efforts to quell the practice. MS-13 members, for instance, wear smart business attire to infiltrate upscale enterprises and later extort them.

And recent reports indicate the problem has broadened beyond the scope of businesses. Gangs have begun to extort Honduran individuals, too, demanding payments for allowing them to live safely in their own homes, the Associated Press reported in June.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HONDURAS / 17 FEB 2015

Honduras has announced the suspension of 21 elite police agents assigned to the US Embassy for their implication in the…

HONDURAS / 19 DEC 2014

The Honduras government named Julian Pacheco, an active military general, as the head of its Security Ministry in Honduras, another…

EXTORTION / 22 FEB 2022

Recent US sanctions against an alleged Jalisco Cartel operative have revealed that the powerful Mexican group is using the resort…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…