"In Tegucigalpa we have achieved nine days with 0 murders. I'm not saying [nine days] in order. This is something historic. I have no reason to lie to you."
Proceso Digital checked with the coroner in Tegucigalpa, and found that this is true. There have been 9 single days when no murder victims arrived at the city morgue this year. For the record, those days were April 30, May 12, May 20, May 21, June 7, June 28, June 29, July 11 and July 13. Lobo Sosa explained why he found this remarkable:
"Before we were always talking about 2 digits; there were more than 30 murders. Today we have many days at a national level with only 1 digit. We had one day with 5 [murders] in the country and this is not something to be happy about, but yes it's getting better, and its because of the police cleanup and the participation of the Armed Forces."
So is it really getting better?
The Observatory of Violence of the National Autonomous University begs to differ.
Its director, Migdonia Ayestas, told La Tribuna today that so far this year there have been an average of 595 murders per month in Honduras, around 20 per day through May 31 of this year.
There are four departments with low homicide rates: Valle, Gracias a Dios, the Bay Islands, and Intibuca, each with fewer than 33 murders per month. On the other hand, there are four with exceptionally high murder rates: Atlantida, Colon, Comayagua, and Copan, where the murder rates exceed 165 per month.
Tegucigalpa, by the way, is in the department of Francisco Morazan, which is not in either list.
While Ayestas didn't elaborate, those numbers, when extrapolated to the whole year, contradict Lobo Sosa's optimistic spin.
If extended to the full year we can project about 7,140 expected murders in Honduras for 2013. That's a murder rate approximating 85.1- 86 per 100,000 population, depending on what you conclude the population of Honduras will be at year end.
By comparison, there were 7,172 murders last year (2012) giving a murder rate of either 85.5 per 100,000 (Observatory of Violence) or 91.6 per 100,000 (Organization of American States).
(The reason for the difference is a disagreement about the population of Honduras last year. )
So, not much of a change from 2012: 32 fewer murders than last year, but about the same murder rate as 2012.
And still the highest murder rate in the world-- even if there have been nine days without a murder.