Peace Corps Honduras: Why are all the US volunteers leaving?
Peace Corps Honduras: The 158 Peace Crops volunteers have been ordered out of Honduras. There's also a freeze on new Peace Corps volunteers going to Guatemala and El Salvador.
The U.S. government's decision to pull out all its Peace Corps volunteers from Honduras for safety reasons is yet another blow to a nation still battered by a coup and recently labeled the world's most deadly country.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Neither U.S. nor Honduran officials have said what specifically prompted them to withdraw the 158 Peace Corps volunteers, which the U.S. State Department in 2011 called one of the largest missions in the world.
But the wave of violence and drug cartel-related crime hitting the Central American country had affected volunteers working on HIV prevention, water sanitation and youth projects, President Porfirio Lobo acknowledged.
Last month, The Christian Science Monitor reported that Kristina Edmunson, a Peace Corps spokeswoman in Washington, said the moves stemmed from “comprehensive safety and security concerns” rather than any specific threat or incident.
Monday's pullout also comes less than two months after U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, a California Democrat, asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reconsider sending police and military aid to Honduras as a response to human rights abuses.
"It's a welcome step toward the United States recognizing that they have a disastrous situation in Honduras," said Dana Frank, a University of California Santa Cruz history professor who has researched and traveled in Honduras.
The decision to pull out the entire delegation came 18 days after a Dec. 3 armed robbery in a bus where a female volunteer was shot in the leg in the violence-torn city of San Pedro Sula.
Hugo Velasquez, a spokesman for the country's National Police, said 27-year-old Lauren Robert was wounded along with two other people. One of the three alleged robbers was killed by a bus passenger, Velasquez said. The daily La Prensa said Robert was from Texas.