Is Violence Driving Central American Invasion?

Violence as a result of drug warfare is blamed for the surge in unaccompanied children to the U.S. Based on statistics, I have to question this.

According to the Pew Research Center:

"The three top municipalities sending children to the U.S. are all in Honduras. San Pedro Sula leads the list, with more than 2,200 unaccompanied minors apprehended between January and May of this year, making up at least 5% of all apprehended children since October 1st. Following San Pedro Sula are Tegucigalpa and Juticalpa, both with more than 800 apprehended children during the same period.

The Honduran and Salvadoran child migrants are from some of the most violent regions in those countries. San Pedro Sula in Honduras is the world’s murder capital, with a homicide rate of 187 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013 driven by a surge in gang and drug trafficking violence. For the entire country Honduras’s murder rate was 90 per 100,000 in 2012, the highest in the world. In 2011, El Salvador was not far behind, at 70, ranking second in terms of homicides in Latin America then. Even with a significant drop in the murder rate from 70 in 2011 to 41 in 2012, El Salvador is only surpassed by Honduras, Venezuela and Belize in the entire world."

These rates are admittedly high - especially the murder rate in San Pedro Sula. But one suspects it is entirely possible to move OUT of San Pedro Sula without leaving Honduras, yet these children are taking a long, long voyage to a foreign land.

Well, is it really that much safer in the foreign land?

Here in my hometown of St. Louis we have our own problems:

Crime index*: 3.63

Population: 320,454

Murder rate (per 100,000): 35.3

Even though it still ranks second on the most dangerous cities list, St. Louis is a lot safer than it used to be. Murders have been cut in half over the past two decades -- as have the numbers for other violent crimes.

Still, at about 35 murders per 100,000 residents in 2011, St. Louis claims the third highest homicide rate of any major city.

Indeed, the murder rate peaked in St. Louis at 49.7 per 100,000 in 1970, well above current levels and above El Salvador's current 41 per 100,000 number.

The "suburban" city across the Mississippi River from St. Louis - East St. Louis - is even worse, with a violent crime rate of 49.93 per 1,000, and a murder rate of 0.63 per 1000, or 63 per 100,000, putting it well within the range of the El Salvador total for 2011. Yet, strangely East St. Louisans are not immigrating to Central America.

Or take Flint, Michigan, where the murder rate is 0.62 per thousand, or 62 per 100,000.

there is the Democratic paradise of Detroit, with a rate of 55 per 100,000.

So, the murder rates are higher in these Central American regions, but not THAT much higher to justify a mass exodus. Bear in mind that there are regions in all of these countries where the murder rates are lower, but the overall rate is driven up by the high crime areas, as indeed they are driven up here in St. Louis by a few high crime neighborhoods.

The reality is that people do not send their children on long, dangerous trips unaccompanied by adults frivolously, and the explanation of high murder rates simply doesn't make sense. These parents would try to find a place in their home countries first. Something else is at work.

IF the drug trade is to blame for this, then one must ask what has changed that has led to this explosion of trespassers into the country.

Well, there has been a move to legalize marijuana throughout the country, and this would invariably lead to a more casual attitude toward all drugs.

It should also be pointed out that Manuel Zelaya, the Marxist president of Honduras who attempted a legal coup to alter the nation's constitution and stay in office and who was deposed by the Honduran Supreme Court, was an advocate of legalizing drugs and would likely have done so had he succeeded in staying in office past his term. The Obama Administration was quite angry at his ouster, calling it a coup on the part of the Honduran military and demanding his return.

This only delayed what I suspect was a planned action to overwhelm the U.S. border in the classic Cloward and Piven strategy. See here. It is interesting to note that this invasion began ramping up shortly after the political pasting the Democrats took in 2010. I suspect it was supposed to start before then, but the unfortunate events in Honduras delayed it. It is interesting to note that American troops have been sent to the countries of interest, and their numbers have been increasing even while the drug wars have been intensifying.

Any way one looks at it, the crime explanation is inadequate. Some important piece of the puzzle is missing. Somewhere a gun is billowing smoke.

Tim blogs at The Aviary

If you experience technical problems, please write to