HomeNewsBriefHonduras Gangs Behind Student Protests: Minister
BRIEF

Honduras Gangs Behind Student Protests: Minister

HONDURAS / 22 APR 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Honduras' Minister of Education has claimed that local street gangs are directing ongoing students protests -- a dangerous statement, given the nation's current security situation. 

"We have information that certain gang leaders are giving instructions to some young people, to keep up the protests, with the goal of maintaining gang territory," Minister of Education Marlon Escoto was quoted as saying by La Tribuna

High school students in Honduran capital Tegucigalpa have been protesting since early March over proposals to extend school hours. Protestors say extended hours are unsafe as they force students to return home from school late at night. 

Escoto has previously said as many as 30,000 gang members are enrolled in Honduras' public schools. As reported extensively by the Associated Press last year, gang control in Honduran schools is a serious problem, with gang members extorting teachers and recruiting students. 

The report by La Tribuna also quoted a former school director and a public security spokesperson, who both agreed that gangs had infiltrated Honduran schools and that non-students were participating in some of the recent protests.

In contrast, an unnamed student at a Tegucigalpa high school told La Tribuna that local gang members had instructed students not to protest in the area, in order to avoid an influx of police. 

InSight Crime Analysis

While it is undeniable that many younger Honduran gang members use schools for extortion and recruitment purposes, Escoto's claim that gangs are directing student protests is highly questionable. Unlike El Salvador's 2012 gang truce, Honduran gangs have shown little interest in gaining political power. Gangs are arguably more likely to see the protests -- and the resulting attention from security forces -- as a challenge, not an opportunity to gain leverage. The fact that no Honduran gang has released a statement related to the protests speaks to this as well. 

A more probable scenario is that gangs provide Escoto with a convenient scapegoat. Instead of engaging in dialogue with students, Escoto has attempted to delegitimize their concerns over traveling after dark in one of the world's most violent countries. Escoto also reportedly approved the firing of school faculty accused of working with protestors. 

Escoto's comments are particularly irresponsible in the context of Honduras' security situation. At least four students were killed after reportedly participating in the protests, although the Honduran government has not yet investigated the matter. Depicting student protestors as gang members may incite further violence in an already precarious situation. 

Watch La Tribuna's video report on allegations that gangs are involved in student protests below. 

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.

Tags

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 / 6 AUG 2013

In the wake of a prison shootout that left three dead in Honduras, authorities have announced increased security measures to…

ELITES AND CRIME / 9 JAN 2020

Recently published messages have offered fresh insight into the plot to murder renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres in Honduras, laying…

HONDURAS / 3 APR 2014

A top Nicaragua security official says a strategy known as the "wall of containment" has kept drug traffickers…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.