In mid- September, JSRI Associate Mary Baudouin joined a U.S. Jesuit Conference delegation for a week of traveling across Honduras to learn about the political and social problems confronting that Central American country of 8.3 million people. The delegation visited small campesino communities struggling to make a living after losing their land to multinational mining companies; a filthy, overcrowded prison farm where a prisoner explained he was not even present at the trial that convited him of murder; a church parish where mothers prayed to hear from their sons who had left for the United States; and a Jesuit advocacy and research center valiantly exposing the corruption and abuse strangling the country.
"The rule of law basically does not exist," Baudouin said. "If someone is threatened by a gang, there is nobody to call to do anything about it. People fear the police almost as much as the marco-traffickers, with whom the police are widely believed to complicit. The Bishop of La Ceibe told us of people forced at gunpoint to sell their land to mining companies. The level of violence is shocking, and the impunity enjoyed by criminal actors has led to an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I am embarrassed to say that i knew almost nothing about how bad things have become there, even though I have known Hondurans my whole life growing up in New Orleans."