Over the past months as immigration reform has been in the forefront of the news, La Bestia (the name given to the “train of death”) has been in the forefront of the news. La Bestia has been perceived as the only viable solution for many Hondurans trying to flee Honduras either due to extreme poverty or trying to escape gang violence. Extreme poverty has always been an issue in this third world country. However, the extreme violence in Honduras is relatively recent as Honduras has become a drug corridor, a pass through for trafficking from other countries. The gang related violence associated with drug trafficking is causing more Honduran children to flee to avoid reprisals for not joining gangs. Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Mexicans risk travel through Mexico to the U. S. on La Bestia and the trip itself puts them at further risk from gangs extorting money for safe passage. Not paying can result in being thrown from the train or shot.
Because HEDAC operates outside of the high crime centers of Honduras we do not have direct knowledge of migrations due to violence from gangs. However our children are affected from the ripple affect. Due to the fact that San Pedro Sula has the unfortunate reputation of being the most dangerous city in Honduras (because of gang violence), it no longer is a viable alternative for many our children to seek employment or vocational training in San Pedro Sula. Flight is the only answer and more and more Hondurans find risking the trip as the only way to derive hope for a better future.
The answer to halting the flight is to provide hope and a vision of opportunity within the borders of Honduras. Ironically, it is a re-affirmation of the importance and urgency in HEDAC’s mission and we are as motivated to make a difference as ever as we move forward in 2015.