The brutal criminal tactics associated with Mexico's cartels are becoming increasingly common in Honduras, suggesting a migration of criminal methods as well as operations.
Macabre Mexican-style violence is now taking place in Honduras, former Forensic Medicine Director Amilcar Rodas, told El Heraldo. Hondurans are living in fear they could fall victims to "any type of violent act," he said, and that perception is correct.
Dismemberment, burning and public hangings are used to create collective hysteria, said a criminologist who wanted to remain anonymous. The criminologist highlighted the assassination of children and the elderly as a method used by criminals to instil fear in both their enemies and citizens.
According to the criminologist the phenomenon was the result of the "cockroach effect," also known as the "balloon effect," as criminals have spread out from Mexico and into other countries to escape the attentions of law enforcement.
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The migration of criminal groups and activities has long been observed, with the likes of Mexican groups the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel increasingly active in Central America in recent years, partly as a result of law enforcement efforts that have made it harder for these organizations to operate on their home turf.
SEE ALSO: The Zetas in Guatemala
What is now being reported in Honduras suggests it's not just criminal operations that are migrating but also psychological tactics. The increasing brutality of Mexican criminal groups has proven effective at controlling civilian populations as well as the organizations' own ranks. It makes sense that criminal organizations in other countries might want to follow suit, especially in Honduras, where huge drug trafficking profits are at stake, and which is already the most murderous country in the world.
The Mexican-style violence in Honduras may be the result of local organizations employing copycat tactics or it may simply be the result of Mexican groups' increasing activity in the country; the government stated earlier this year that the Zetas, the most violent of the Mexican cartels and one famed for its extreme brutality, now has an established presence in Honduras.