HomeNewsBriefExtortion in Honduras Capital Shutting Stores, Causing Migration
BRIEF

Extortion in Honduras Capital Shutting Stores, Causing Migration

EXTORTION / 8 SEP 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

A new report says that thousands of corner stores have closed in Honduras' capital in the past two years due to extortion and pushing residents to flee, a stark example of the economic impact the racket can have on business owners and the economy.

According to authorities from the Honduras Consumers Association (Asociación de Consumidores y Usuarios de Honduras - ACONSUMEH), more than 1,500 corner stores, popularly known as "pulperías," have closed in the last two years in Tegucigalpa due to extortion. The report says that this accounts for 30 percent of all pulperías in the capital, El Heraldo reported

Moreover, some 600 pulperías have closed in the capital due to extortion between January and June of this year, 30 percent of which are estimated to have not reopened, according to municipal authorities.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extortion 

Fifty percent of store owners reported closing due to a lack of business and bankruptcy, 30 percent due to a change of address, and 20 percent for no apparent reason at all, according to El Heraldo. 

Gang members typically extort store owners for between 200 and 600 lempiras (between $8.50 and $25) per month, according to El Heraldo. However, the charges can be much higher. A small corner store owner identified by El Heraldo as "Maria" was forced to relocate after criminals demanded she pay 50,000 lempiras (around $2,100). 

"That moment for me was like a death sentence," she told El Heraldo. "With newspaper letters, the criminals asked me to pay the first installment the next day. All I thought about was leaving with my kids." 

InSight Crime Analysis 

The scale of small business closures in Honduras' capital is nothing short of a national emergency, as each closed business likely affects multiple families beyond just the store owners. Moreover, the latest report centers solely on small corner stores, suggesting that the impact of extortion may be much more widespread. And, as noted in El Heraldo's report via the numerous testimonies collected, extortion is a major driver of migration. 

SEE ALSO: Gangs in Honduras

For most of Honduras' street gangs -- including the MS13 and Barrio 18 -- controlling territory, in large part through extortion, is the bedrock of their criminal enterprises. And these extortion rackets don't just focus on small business owners. For example, a 2016 InSight Crime investigation estimated that a single gang's yearly earnings from extorting Tegucigalpa's transportation sector can reach to more than $2.5 million. 

In 2016, Honduran authorities carried out a series of anti-extortion operations in an effort to combat the social and economic impacts extortion rackets have on society. But extortion appears to be continuing apace.

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

GUATEMALA / 8 DEC 2021

A transnational labor trafficking network brought dozens of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to the United States under the…

EXTORTION / 27 SEP 2012

Three bus drivers were shot to death in a single day in Guatemala, illustrating the threat that the country's…

CACHIROS / 9 OCT 2019

As Honduras remains riveted on the trial of Tony Hernández, a document from the case file reveals details of another…

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…