Honduras 02 Sep 2014 00:00
Text by Jenny Gustafsson and Photos by Karim Mostafa
San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital of Honduras, near the border with Guatemala. It is known for its tropical climate, its friendly attitude – and its murders. For years in a row, the city has topped global homicide statistics, with over 170 killings per 100,000 inhabitants yearly. People in the city have become accustomed to the violence – and drawn into it. Most residents of the city are affected in one way or another by killings and assaults.
The city’s zonas rojas (red zones) are hardened by gang criminality; in well-to-do areas, people live their lives behind locked and barbed-wired gates. Orlin, a cameraman at one of Honduras’ TV stations, drives his car on a dark road leading out from the city. He has two mobile phones in his lap, and a gun. Each night, he drives around collecting footage from crime scenes around the city. The channel he works for is known for broadcasting raw, uncensored footage. “Everything happens during the night. Shootings, assaults. This is what I do every day, since I started to work with this as a 16-year-old,” he says.
In another part of the city, ‘La Fresa’, a young man with a football t-shirt, agrees to meet in an empty office. He carries a weapon as well, puts it on the table in front of him. “I have several guns, fifteen all in all. But this is my favorite. It’s killed 32 people.” La Fresa’s life is conditioned by violence as well, in a very direct way. He’s a sicario, a hit man – works with assassinating people for money. “I feel no guilt. It’s their destiny. If I felt guilt I couldn’t do this.”
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