Are there slums in Maceio Brazil
Latin America: The Most Dangerous Cities
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
With 187 murders per 100,000 inhabitants (2013, and counting), San Pedro Sula is not only the most dangerous city in Latin America, but in the whole world. The second largest city of Honduras with around 753,000 inhabitants has even overtaken the notorious Ciudad Juárez when it comes to crime (although the experts argue because of the high number of unreported murders in Juárez).
In the past, the Honduran city with its sights and as a starting point for the Mayan ruins of Copán and the cloud forest was also very popular with tourists. But in San Pedro Sula, where extreme poverty, unemployment and a lack of prospects are driving the crime rate even higher, crime now rules.
Youth gangs particularly brutal
Armed youth gangs (“maras”) in particular use Mafia methods to spread fear and terror among the population. Many residents now carry a weapon for their own protection. The maras and other criminals make their living from prostitution, drug trafficking, arms deals, extortion and theft. Armed robberies are particularly brutal; often the perpetrators are under the influence of drugs. A human life is worthless in this city, and children are increasingly caught between the front lines and die in a hail of bullets.
Anyone who has to travel to San Pedro Sula despite these dangers should not leave their house or hotel at night. Even a short walk can be fatal. Bus trips are to be avoided as a matter of principle, as robberies can occur. Caution is also required with taxis: it is best to only get on with a taxi driver who you know personally.
If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time in Caracas, you often pay with your life. The security situation has worsened drastically since the death of Hugo Chávez in early 2013, making the Venezuelan metropolis the most dangerous capital in South America. Even on a world scale, it is way ahead with its high level of violent crime. Caracas has long overtaken the former notorious cities of São Paulo and Medellin when it comes to crime.
Most dangerous capital in South America
Organized crime has the upper hand in the slums on the slopes of the Ávila Mountains in the east and west of the 3.2 million city. Power struggles between drug gangs or youth gangs and constant bloodshed determine the everyday life of the residents. Here people shoot quickly and kill without batting an eyelid. Sometimes it's just about a stolen bike, poorly sewn pants or a bag of popcorn. Weekend after weekend, corpses riddled with bullets are brought into the capital's pathology department. On Mondays, television, radio and newspapers publish weekend murder rates (usually between 90 and 150 victims). In 2013 there were 134 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Many blame for the terrible security situation - in addition to social and political problems - also the millions of illegal firearms that are in circulation and with which old bills are unrestrainedly settled. An estimated 90 percent of all violent crimes remain unsolved. The Federal Foreign Office recommends that you go somewhere else.
Chopped off human heads, armed robberies and more than 1,000 murders a year - is that what paradise looks like? Although Mexican authorities downplay the high crime rate in Acapulco, a stay in the Pacific seaside resort does not promise a relaxing vacation at the moment. In 2013 there were 113 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in Acapulco; the entire Mexican state of Guerrero was the most violent in Mexico. Nearly 2,000 murders were recorded there from January to October. Self-defense groups that operate independently of the government often set up roadblocks. Although they are not hostile to tourists, they can be seen as unpredictable.
The decline of the bathing paradise is tragic: a few decades ago Acapulco was still considered a glamorous holiday resort, but for a few years the drug mafia has had the city in its stranglehold. Hardly a day goes by without people being brutally murdered. It is not uncommon to find beheaded men on the sidewalks or dead in taxis. There are attacks on shopping centers, fires and firefights between bandits and security forces. On some weekends, mutilated corpses suddenly lie on the streets in different parts of the city.
A visit to Cali should actually be on the program of every trip to Colombia. Dancers in particular will have fun in this salsa stronghold. In addition, the most beautiful women in the world should live here. But unfortunately you cannot enjoy your stay unharmed, as Cali is now the most dangerous city in Colombia - and the fourth most dangerous in the world. She owes this sad record above all to her poor district of Siloé, where a human life is worthless.
Violence is the order of the day
The film “Dr. Alemán ”, in which a young German doctor experiences first hand what it feels like to live with daily violence: teenagers shoot police officers, people are brutally attacked in broad daylight, drug gangs fight, innocent people die in a hail of bullets. Gunshot wounds are routine in hospitals.
Around 240,000 civil war refugees live in the Siloé, which is located on a hill. The refugee ghetto is used by Colombian underground fighters as a hiding place and retreat to go underground. The guerrilla groups Farc and M19 were founded there and are recruiting their members in Siloé. Anyone caught in their clutches is dead.
For many, this news comes as a surprise: Compared to other capitals of Brazilian states, Maceió leads the crime statistics. While 360 murders were registered in 2000, there were 1,025 in 2010. In 2011 the number even climbed to 1,564, that is around 135 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants. In 2013 a person died every two hours in Maceió. The victims are usually between 18 and 29 years old. But nobody talks, nobody helps. Friends and families are afraid of who might be next. But even that is no guarantee of survival: If you don't help the police for fear of acts of revenge, you can usually no longer be sure of your life - for example, if the drug lords don't believe you have been silent ...
From vacation paradise to criminal stronghold
Until a few years ago, the capital of Alagoas in northeast Brazil with its tropical flair, coral reefs and picture-perfect beaches was very popular with tourists and language students. But in contrast to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where crime has continuously declined over the past ten years due to economic growth and improved living conditions, the security situation in Alagoas and especially in Maceió has deteriorated dramatically.
Despite the tourism industry, there is an above-average amount of poverty and social injustice. In Alagoas, over half the population lives below the poverty line, and around a quarter can neither read nor write. Conditions are untenable, especially in the 15 large favelas (slums) of Maceió.
With the lack of prospects, dissatisfaction, alcohol and drug consumption increase. Above all, crack is blamed for the high level of violence. Many young people already pay three euros in debts to the dealer with their lives. Friends kill each other, mothers lose more sons than in times of war. Most of the murder victims are young, drug addicts, unemployed and illiterate. In addition, bills among the sugar cane farmers and ranchers are often settled with fists and knives - or with contract killers.
Officials announce that tourists will not be harmed in the slaughter, because the crime is raging on the periphery, in other words: in the favelas. But who wants to risk their life on vacation?
Distrito Central / Honduras
Murder and manslaughter are also the order of the day in the twin cities of Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela (Distrito Central). “Kidnappings and attacks using firearms are on the rise,” warns the Federal Foreign Office. The murder rate has now reached 79 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Well over a third of deaths are associated with organized crime.
The population in Hondura's capital Tegucigalpa has been growing steadily since the 1990s. Many people cannot find work and slide into extreme poverty, and the number of crimes is increasing inexorably. Street gangs and drug gangs keep the city busy with kidnapping, rape, murder, armed robbery, carjacking and break-ins. Walks in deserted streets can be life-threatening because criminals often chase passers-by in their cars and then brutally attack them.
Church tour with armed escort
In 2012 the Peace Corps withdrew its volunteers from Honduras because their safety could no longer be guaranteed. And it is not uncommon for the army to be called in to keep the criminal gangs in check on the streets. Even travelers are not spared from the crime, because - regardless of whether they are students, small employees or high earners - for many Hondurans, western foreigners are "rich". Large sums of ransom had to be paid many times, for example to free kidnapped Americans from the clutches of criminals.
When visiting the "Basílica de Suyapa", Tegucigalpa's main attraction, you should be particularly careful. It is strategically located in a very dangerous part of the city. Since many tourists have been attacked and robbed at gunpoint here, it is advisable to only visit the church in a group and with armed escort.
Fortaleza in the northeast was one of the popular Brazilian tourist destinations until recently. But violence is increasing in the metropolis. There, too, mainly young people are among the victims; mostly they are involved in drug deals. In 2013 there were 73 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in Fortaleza. At the carnival in 2014 alone, 25 people were killed.
But the criminals mostly get away with it and keep killing. The police simply lack the people to pursue crimes more intensively. There are currently around 58,000 refugees in the state of Ceará, 11,000 of them murderers. There are cases that have been in the drawer since 1991 and have never been dealt with. In addition, the cells of the main police station are chronically overcrowded. Anyone who is locked up as a criminal in Fortaleza is considered to be very unlucky ...
Guatemala City, Guatemala
68 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in the capital: In the developing country of Guatemala with huge income differences, great poverty, too many weapons and a weak judiciary, violent crimes are part of everyday life. With over 100 murders a week nationwide, underpaid, inexperienced officials feel overwhelmed. The main contributors to the wave of violence are the increase in drug trafficking, the crimes carried out by gangs, a heavily armed population (over 60% have a weapon) and an incompetent or unwilling police or judicial system that does not want to punish the criminals. The well-armed criminals rely on their impunity and continue to kill.
Nobody is safe
Theft and robbery are commonplace in Guatemala City. During the day or at night - there is no neighborhood that is immune to it, not even the expensive shopping centers, tourist and good residential areas. Pickpocketing is the most harmless crime of all, as long as the victim doesn't fight back. But bank customers are also attacked if they withdraw large sums of money from the ATM in front of the bank building - even the bank employees probably pass information on to the criminals. In addition, motorists are forced by motorcycle gangs at traffic lights to hand over their cell phones. It is not uncommon for these raids to end bloody.
Armed robberies in wealthy neighborhoods are also more common. When it comes to kidnapping, some gangs have specialized in "express kidnapping" - kidnappings for which small sums of money are demanded. However, not all hostages survive even if they are paid. Furthermore, the number of rapes has increased at an alarming rate. It increased by 70% from 2009 to 2013. Single female travelers and female drivers are particularly likely to be victims of these crimes.
João Pessoa, Brazil
67 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants (2013) - it is hard to believe that until recently the city of 1.2 million people in the northeast was still one of the safest cities in Brazil. The capital of the state of Paraíba is considered to be one of the greenest cities in the world, which unfortunately cannot be enjoyed carefree at the moment due to the high crime rate.
The inhabitants of the north-easternmost city in South America can hardly explain how this wave of violence with robberies and murders came about. In addition to the huge gap between rich and poor that is omnipresent in Brazil, it is also likely that quite a few "Nordestinos" (residents of northeast Brazil) have returned to their former homeland from large cities such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, including some criminals, who were "scared off" and driven out in the favelas of the south during the pacification. Although this has a positive effect on the crime statistics of the metropolises of the south, it is at the expense of the northeastern states.
In the first two months of 2014, the number of willful killings in Paraíba was 219 - a slight decrease compared to 261 murders in the same period in 2013. Especially the illegal drug business, for example on the city beach in the good residential area of Tambaú, with all of them its negative side effects is one reason for the high crime rate. The dealers are so brazen and the police officers so inattentive that drug deals can sometimes take place directly in front of the police station without being punished.
But apart from the drug crime, militias and extermination squads of the police probably also contribute to the high murder rate ...
Barquisimeto had actually made a name for itself with an above-average number of universities, many other educational institutions and as a tourist destination. But even this city is only writing negative headlines at the moment. The chaotic, hopeless conditions that currently prevail in Venezuela are reflected in the city of just under one million: political unrest, a high, rapidly growing inflation rate, shortages of food, everyday goods and medicines and, with 28,000 murdered in 2013, one the highest crime rates in the world.
In 2013, 65 people per 100,000 people died in violent crimes in Barquisimeto alone. Another person is killed almost every day. The situation escalated in 2013 with a prison revolt, which is now said to have been fully brought under control. But the criminals outside the prison continue to hold Barquisimeto in their deadly stranglehold.
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