The Organization of American States (OAS) chief José Miguel Insulza, said that the violence in some Latin American countries with high homicide rates can be compared to an “epidemic.”
During an open class that Insulza gave at the American Institute of Human Rights in San José de Costa Rica, the official said that among the ten countries with the highest homicide rates, “more than half” are in Latin America and that if homicide rates in some cities in the region would use the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), they would definitely rank as an epidemic.
“There are a large number of Latin American cities in which violence has turned into an epidemic that we have to face for once and for all”, and added, “the region is suffering of a crime wave that has never seen before.”
Insulza also explained that the WHO declares an “epidemic state” in a country where a disease causes more than 100 deaths per million inhabitants, and remarked that “there are at least nine cities in the region (did not say which ones) whose homicide rates are way above the WHO standards.”
The OAS chief also said that while Latin America has not suffered any long wars since the 1932-35 Chaco war between Bolivia and Paraguay, the numbers of murders committed per year in some countries exceed those of some armed conflicts.
Although Insulza avoided mentioning countries or cities, he said that while there has been a “partial improvement of the Human Rights situation in Honduras after the end of de facto regime that ruled after the coup of 2009, the country’s rate of 59 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants calls into question the progress.
“It’s difficult to know the origin of so many deaths in Honduras. Violence always threatens the safety and health of the population, and corrupts our Latin American democracy.”